If you had Scott Barnes, Brandon Goodwin, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) last night, good for you! You can buy all of us drinks for the rest of the NBA regular season! Barnes returned incredible value at 11.6x and easily broke the slate with nearly 40% ownership. Goodwin was another slate breaker with close to 50% ownership and 8.5x. His teammate Kevin Love had much lower ownership but returned high value and finally ended his shooting slump. SGA was amazing as were the other studs (Giannis and Morant) but SGA was cheaper. We shouldn't be too surpised about SGA's 60+ fantasy point since he faced one of the weakest defenses in the league and it was a pace up spot for OKC. In fact, here is how high usage guards have fared against Sacramento since the Kings traded Tyrese Halliburton for Domantas Sabonis.
Feb. 9 vs MIN
De'Angelo Russell ($7.4K on FD): 29 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 10 for 20 FG shooting, 6 for 13 3pt shooting, 29.6 usage %, 50.8 FD points, 6.9x value
Feb. 12 @ WAS
Corey Kispert ($3.9K on FD): 20 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 turnovers, 7 for 16 FG shooting, 4 for 11 3pt shooting, 23.8 usage %, 30.6 FD points, 7.8x value
Feb. 14 @ BKN
Bruce Brown ($4.6K on FD): 19 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, 3 blocks, 0 turnovers, 8 for 12 FG shooting, 15.3 usage %, 59.2 FD points, 12.9x value
Seth Curry ($5.3K on FD): 23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 10 for 18 FG shooting, 3 for 8 3 pt shooting, 30.8 usage %, 34.9 FD points, 6.6x value
Feb. 16 @ CHI
Coby White ($4.6K on FD): 31 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 11 for 19 FG shooting, 6 for 11 3 pt shooting, 23.2 usage %, 48 FD points, 7.1x value
Feb. 24 vs DEN
Will Barton ($5.4K on FD): 31 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 11 for 17 FG shooting, 3 for 6 3 pt shooting, 29.0 usage %, 42.5 FD points, 7.9x value
Monte Morris ($5.4K on FD): 19 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 7 for 9 FG shooting, 3 for 4 3 pt shooting, 15.3 usage %, 32.4 FD points, 6.0x value
Feb. 26 @ DEN
Monte Morris ($5.4K on FD): 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 8 for 13 FG shooting, 5 for 6 3 pt shooting, 20.0 usage %, 32.3 FD points, 5.9x value
It seems that Sacramento's gain in the frontcourt with the arrival Sabonis brought on a huge deficiency in the frontcourt with the departure of Halliburton. Backcourt players against Sacramento have feasted to the tune of 7.87x value with the following shooting stats: 72/124 FG shooting (58.1%) and 31/60 3 pt shooting (51.7%).
Those are incredible numbers so again it's no surprise that SGA had the following stat line against the Kings yesterday.
37 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals, 5 turnovers, 12 for 16 FG shooting, 3 for 3 3pt shooting, 64.4 FD points, 6.7x value
Clearly we are playing high usage guards against Sacramento for the rest of the regular season since the defensive void created by the Halliburton trade represents a great path to profitability.
So what else can we glean from this analysis? Roster players facing teams with a weak defense and fast pace. Of course Sacramento does not play today but we can find similar opportunities by combining each team's defensive efficiency and pace from John Hollinger's page on ESPN. Then we select high usage players against the teams that rank high with the combination of those two metrics. Here is an image showing that ranking.
I am sure you are now salivating over the Clippers matchup against Houston. The Rockets cannot stop anyone but during their last game they finally held an opponent to under 100 points. The previous time Houston allowed fewer than 100 points to an opponent was Nov. 29. That is 39 straight games the Rockets have allowed an opponent to reach the century mark with points. Interesingly the Rockets last game was against the Clippers. Even more interesting is that the Clippers scored 142 points against Houston right before the NBA All Star Break. That point total is the most Houston has allowed during its 39 game futilty streak. So which Clippers team do we see tonight? Something tells me that it will be more of the former than the latter. That means we are firing up Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris. They typically combine for 30 FG attempts and each have a usage % of at least 23%. Combined FD salary for those two is $12.8K. Could they team up for at least 76.8 FD points or 6x value? Check out the scatterplot below relating the FD points for both players this season.
Focus on the dot that is in between 35 - 40 for each player. That is how both players performed when they played Houston on Feb. 17 and that is not their best combined performance this season. A Jackson-Morris stack is looking very promising.
The other juicy matchups we should exploit are DET-WAS, ATL-BOS, and GSW-MIN. The top usage guys for WAS, BOS, GSW are Kuzma, Tatum, and Curry, respectively. Brown is in play for Boston and he is cheaper than Tatum but no question Kuzma and Curry dominate usage for their teams. We can definitely build a viable roster with our LAC stack, Kuzma, Curry, and either Brown or Tatum. Then we have 4 more players to roster.
Of course we can't forget about Luka Doncic. He has underperformed in his last two games but he also faced two teams that play spectacular defense and an average pace. The Lakers, Dallas's opponent tonight, play at the 4th fastest pace and recently have not looked too hot defensively.
Here is a spreadsheet showing my model's outputs and this time I added a column for FD position.
Also, here are tables showing the top 5 optimal lineups using my model.
It's clear that the model loves Doncic, Curry, and Tatum. KCP, Bullock, and Eric Gordon are regulars. KAT is interesting. I know the Warriors frontcourt is hurting but I think I might replace Anunoby with Kuzma and then go down in salary for Center. I might also fade Curry since he hasn't been the same with Draymond Green out (shows how valuable Green is with the little things he does). Here is a sample lineup to consider for FD.
PG: Flynn, Jackson
SG: Doncic, Mann
SF: Barnes, Hunter
PF: Kuzma, Tatum
Clearly I don't have Morris in this sample lineup but Mann is a good replacement. Barnes could repeat his success and Gafford could be the sleeper we need to get to the top of our GPPs.
Good luck tonight!