GPP Roster Deconstruction from Thursday February 25

Hey guys,

So I didn’t write anything up after Wednesday’s slate because I didn’t have power at my house until about 2 hours before lock so I didn’t do as much research as normal and my lineups were pretty chalky and not interesting. I think talking about Thursday’s slate will be more interesting.

I’m not going to go over my FCK Challenge lineup because it was God awful and I don’t want to look at it ever again. Instead I’m going to go through one of my $333 Money Ball lineups that finished tied for 14th (Would have been 3rd except I made a last minute change. Actually would have been 1st except Tyson Chandler didn’t get credit for a rebound, and I made a last minute change). Anyway, I think it is an interesting lineup because it is constructed much differently than what I normally like to do.

I usually need a really good reason to pay up for two studs, much less three, but when I researched last night’s slate I really didn’t love many of the mid priced guys. Also, I loved Amir Johnson at $3700 and the Suns were playing so I figured I could probably create a decent studs and scrubs roster.

I ended up going with:

PG Steph Curry $10,400
SG James Harden $10,500
SF Kevin Durant $9,800
PF Amir Johnson $3,700
C Tyson Chandler $4,300
G Toney Douglas $3,300
F Maurice Harkless $4,600
G Phil Pressey $3,400

Steph Curry
$10,400/ 17.1%/ 76.25 fpts

Reasoning: Obviously Steph is an absolute stud and there isn’t much explanation behind rostering him. It helps that his price is falling (despite coming off two 60+ point games) and he was playing Orlando who allows 2.8 points above expectation to PGs. That was enough to make me overlook that he can struggle somewhat in B2Bs, especially because it was only a 6 game slate.

Result: Steph did Steph things and hit 10 3-pointers en route to 51 actual points. He even got a little bit of playing time in the 4th quarter because the Magic kept it close for most of the game. I would be shocked if his price drops below the 10,400 mark and wouldn’t be surprised if he catches up to Westbrook as the most expensive PG option.

James Harden
$10,500/ 25.9%/ 67.75 fpts

Reasoning: Harden was the one guy that I locked in to my lineups immediately. Maybe because of recency bias (I did not roster him the last time he played Portland a couple weeks ago and I fell from 3rd to 6th in the $1,000 Money Ball when he went off late in the game) I knew that he absolutely destroys Portland any time he plays them. Combine that with a very high total and close spread, and that he has been playing very well of late, and he was in 100% of my lineups.

Result: He started off slow but went on a tear in the 2nd half (not surprisingly once Howard got into a little bit of foul trouble and wasn’t on the floor). He played all 24 minutes in the second half and single handedly erased a 21 point Rockets deficit. If I remember correctly it is almost the same exact thing that happened when they played Portland two weeks ago. Anyway, he obviously ended up with a very nice line and was worth his expensive price tag.

Kevin Durant
$9,800/ 16.4%/ 65 fpts

Reasoning: Out of Curry, Harden and Durant, I liked Durant the least. I was tempted to make Lillard my third stud, but I liked the cheap guard options alot more than the cheap forward options so I chose to go with Durant. I’m a huge Durant fan, being from the same county he grew up in and hoping he signs with the Wizards next year, but usually I don’t like him too much for my fantasy lineups because I feel that Westbrook caps his upside so much. He has had some monster games lately though, and on Wednesday the Thunder rotation was somewhat different with Durant getting more time on the floor without Westbrook which is obviously good for his upside. The NO/OKC game also had a very high total and single-digit spread so I definitely wanted exposure to it.

Result: KD had a monster game going for 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists. It will be interesting to watch his assist numbers going forward if the Thunder continue to stagger their rotation.

Amir Johnson
$3,700/ 1.8%/ 32 fpts

Reasoning: As I mentioned before, Johnson was one of my favorite plays. He has been absolutely terrible lately, but that has caused his price to drop all the way below 4k. As he has shown multiple times this season, he can easily hit 30+ fantasy points when given an opportunity so he has tremendous upside at his price. It is just a matter of figuring out if he will get the opportunity. Kelly Olynyk is out so that opens up more frontcourt minutes for someone, it is just a matter of who. Milwaukee’s main bigs are Jabari Parker and Greg Monroe. Parker is listed at 6’8 236 lbs and Monroe is 6’11 265 lbs. Boston has Johnson, Sullinger, Jerebko and Zeller. Out of those 4, Jerebko and Zeller are both tall and lanky while Sullinger and Johnson are much more solid. You would expect Sullinger and Johnson to get the bulk of the time against Parker and Monroe. It makes sense then, that the last time Boston played Milwaukee, on February 9th, Johnson played 27 minutes – the most he has played in any game this month. He didn’t produce particularly well in that game, but over the course of the season he has produced about .90 fpts/min and Milwaukee is not a particularly good defensive team, so I loved Johnson’s upside assuming he would play at least 25 minutes, especially since he hadn’t had a good game in a long time and nobody else would be on him (of the ~25 lineups that had him in this tournament, 5 of them were mine).

Result: Despite being in foul trouble after picking up a stupid 3rd foul at the end of the first half and a 4th early in the 2nd half, Johnson still played 25 minutes and put up a very solid line of 15 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal. Most of that was done in the first half, so it could have been even better but obviously was exactly what I was looking for. Keep an eye out for players like Johnson that are extremely volatile but can put up big numbers in the right circumstances.

Tyson Chandler
$4,300/ 5.2%/ 33.25 fpts

Reasoning: I viewed Chandler as a high risk/high reward play. He was coming back from an injury and doesn’t usually play a ton of minutes anyway so there was a chance that he would take a backseat to Len. Len is also dealing with an injury, however, so that made me more comfortable with Chandler and I felt that his upside was worth the risk at his price. My main issue with rostering Chandler, was that I liked Howard, Monroe and Lopez alot (completely wrong on Lopez) so I didn’t want to pay down at center. Since I had decided to go with the three studs though, I thought Chandler was a great option given that he can go for 30-40 points and the Nets give up a ton of points to opposing centers.

Result: This play also worked out. He dealt with a little bit of foul trouble as well (along with an incompetent scorer) but still managed to record a double-double in 33 minutes (compared to Len’s 17 so it seems he won’t lose minutes despite Len’s effectiveness while he was injured).

Toney Douglas
$3,300/ 9.6%/ 23 fpts

Reasoning: I originally was not on Douglas. I wanted Cole in some lineups but wasn’t on Douglas until I saw him mentioned on twitter and thought he could be a decent option since he had played at least 23 minutes in 3 of his last 4 games, his game was projected to be high scoring and close, and Bryce DeJean Gomes was out so that should help solidify his minutes. At the last minute I decided to switch Douglas and Pressey (more on him later) in to my lineup to replace Markel Brown and Ronnie Price – and cost myself a ton of money in the process.

Result: Douglas’ total was very nice and shows the upside that he had in this matchup considering he only actually played 14 minutes for some unknown reason. He played 5-6 minutes in the first half, and then once he came in in the second half he produced very efficiently finishing with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, no turnovers and a +/- of +6 to give a nice 7x return on his salary.

Maurice Harkless
$4,600/ 12%/ 14.75 fpts

Reasoning: My strategy with my last forward spot was to use either Teletovic, Aminu, or Harkless depending how much money I had left. I felt like they all had 30+ upside (huge understatement for Teletovic apparently) and they all had the risk to put up a dud. In retrospect, I think I looked too much in to Teletovic’s decrease in minutes and shot attempts last game and worried that he may be phased out of the rotation a little bit because otherwise he was clearly the best option out of the three. I did like Harkless though, despite his increasing salary, because he had two huge games recently against Houston. He had a dud in his last game which I figured would kill his popularity, but I didn’t see any reason why he Myles Leonard would be the first guy off the bench in this game like he was in the last game since Harkless had produced so well against recently against Houston. In those two games, he played 28 and 30 minutes and produced 1.25 fpts/min. Even at $4,600 if he has upside if he gets the minutes.

Result: Harkless was the first guy off the bench in the 1st quarter ahead of Leonard. Unfortunately, he picked up 2 fouls in his first 8 minutes and spent the rest of the half on the bench. Things didn’t get much better in the second half as he finished with 5 fouls in 19 minutes, including a couple of offensive fouls to add insult to injury. Despite the poor performance, it was good to see him regain his role ahead of Leonard because he is a good source of cheap upside in the right matchups.

Phil Pressey

Reasoning: The other half of my ill-fated roster change, I liked Pressey’s upside more than Price’s. I thought Price was safer since he was starting, but in his two games back Pressey has played 28 minutes in each and over the course of the season he has produced .94 fpts/min (compared to .74 for Price). If he got 28 minutes again and produced at his season average, he would provide about 8x his salary. Factor in that Brooklyn doesn’t play much defense and it was a nice spot to take a chance on Pressey.

Result: Similar to Douglas, he barely played in the first half. He got more minutes in the second half, playing most of the 4th quarter with the Suns getting blown out before they made a late run. He ended up with only 19 minutes, but his 18 points shows that he could produce in that matchup and probably would have had a decent game if the minutes had been distributed as expected.

So ultimately my experiment with not playing anyone priced between $4600 and $9800 went pretty well, but there are very few times I would look to apply it. It just happened to be a slate where outside of Young, Lopez and Howard I didn’t really love any of the mid priced guys for one reason or another and I thought there was more upside in going with three studs and then hoping for the best from some cheap guys in good spots.

I hope this was somewhat helpful, and feel free to comment or PM me with any comments/suggestions on what you liked or how to make it better.

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  • njsum

    I really liked amir johnson yesterday also, but opted not to go with him cause he hadnt played more than 18 minutes in 4 straight games and his last game versus milwaukee wasnt particulary strong (or particularly weak) either. however I didnt pay enough attention to the fact he saw 27 minutes in that game. Nice call!

  • rickysabogal

    Loved this break down! Don’t change a thing!

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