What you need to know:Just as it seems to happen every year, the Spurs quietly enter the playoffs with the NBA’s best record at 62-20. Likely coach of the year Gregg Popovich has again gotten San Antonio to the top seed behind stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and a supporting cast led by Kawhi Leonard. Trying to slow down the Spurs will be longtime rival Dallas, who ended up with the 8th seed as a result of their season ending loss to the Grizzlies. As has been the case with nearly every Mavs team in the Nowitski era, the team is a top 10 offense, but also a top third defensive team. The key to a Dallas upset however is likely to be rebounding where they rank 26th in the league as opposed to the Spurs 12th ranking on the glass.
Slow starts. There might be nothing more frustrating to a fantasy owner than a player who gets off to a slow start. You spend tens of hours researching a player, decided he is the guy you want to draft and when to draft him, only to have “your” player not hit for the first two weeks of the season. No doubt it is frustrating, but it is also an opportunity. In a season-long fantasy league, it is a chance to perhaps buy a good player from a frustrated owner at a discount. In daily leagues, slow starts mean that potentially good players see their salaries plummet. This week I present to you a list of players off to slow starts who you should consider in your daily fantasy league or going after in your yearly fantasy leagues.
Note: All stats as of April 12.
“Value” is an overused word these days, although there is no denying that everyone is looking to get the most out of a buck, even in the world of daily fantasy sports.
There is value to be found at the grocery store (buy one 12-pack of Diet Coke, get the next one free), restaurants (McDonald’s Value Menu, which is quite crap-a-licous) and even at clothing/shoe stores (I can buy a whole mess of those Footlocker T-shirts for $40).
The end is near. While the end is always near in daily fantasy leagues, we have little more than a week remaining in “regular” fantasy leagues. I think this is actually the most enjoyable time for fantasy basketball. Why? Because you get to do things that you would never consider. For example, if you are in a position where you cannot gain or lose ground in rebounds or points and need steals, you drop Zach Randolph for Michael Carter-Williams or Corey Brewer . You can get away with seemingly insane moves now because there is no tomorrow. If you have a chance to win, you do whatever is within the rules to win. If a player is not on your undroppable list then you can drop him. You add a “bad” player if he provides a stat that can actually help you. Call it the kitchen sink approach, you throw everything you can at you opponents.
Here is our last batch of streakers for the season. Whether you are looking for that one player to bring you a title in a roto league or a good, cheap one night play in a salary cap league, these are the guys you want to be looking at this week. As a reminder, these are widely available/cheap players, you do not need me to tell you that James Harden would be a nice player to have on your team.
This might be the most frustrating time of year to play fantasy basketball. When you are fighting for a title, teams start resting their star players “just” to save them for the actual NBA playoffs. Late scratches are annoying and can cost us money; worse still, there is nothing we can do about them, they are totally beyond our control. All we can do is take steps to mitigate the potential damage a late scratch can do. Avoid older players on playoff bound teams if they have a late game. Yes, you will miss some good games, but that is better than completely missing out on the chance to win a contest. I would also avoid players who miss the morning shoot around unless I have a report that they will play. Keep up on the latest news and realize that a seemingly minor injury, might mean a missed game for a player on a team headed for the playoffs.
Now, onto the players who can help you make your playoffs. As a reminder, I am trying to highlight lesser owned/cheaper players, you do not need me to tell you that Chris Paul is good. This week’s group is far from stud-level – it is pretty ugly actually – but they are guys you can find cheap or available on the wire and will help your team. (Stats as of 3/29).