Kent Bazemore – Bazemore won me a lot of money last year whenever Mike Budenholzer decided to rest his guys. Well, DeMarre Carroll is in Toronto now and Bazemore won the starting job over Thabo Sefolosha. DraftKings should have thought about that before pricing this week. He’s the bare minimum at $3,000. You are going to need him to get to 15 DK points for him to reach 5X value (which is a number I always shoot for). He’s an extremely streaky shooter as well, making him perfect for GPP’s. If he’s on, then you’ve probably multiplied value by 10. And if playing starters minutes, you’re looking at a high floor, meaning he won’t kill your lineups. He’ll be going up against Marcus Morris who’s at best, an average defender. Also for an added bonus, he’s averaged 1.6 steals per 36 throughout his career. DraftKings gives you 2 points per steal.
Tony Snell – Maybe the most important factor in NBA DFS is minutes. So much is going on in the uptempo game of basketball that you can literally be talentless and somehow rack up fantasy points as long as you’re getting time. Whether you luck into some rebounds, steals or any other stats, you’ll only stuff the stat sheet by being on the court. This is why it’s so important to keep tabs on injuries throughout the day up until tipoff. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to know of players ruled out as early as when we wake up. Enter Tony Snell. Mike Dunleavy Jr underwent successful lower back surgery this offseason that’s expected to keep him out until December. Meaning the only 2 SF’s the Bulls will likely be playing until then are Snell and Doug McDermott with Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic spelling time there sparingly. Butler is going to draw the role of guarding LeBron, so you won’t have to worry about Snell using up all his energy on the defensive end and I fully expect LeBron to try and sustain Butler leaving JR Smith defending Snell. Smith is not a good defender. He’s even famously admitted, “Defense is not my area of expertise”.
Make no mistake, Snell is not talentless. He’s a glue guy that does all the little things that coaches love. He’ll play solid defense and hit the shot when open. Having said that, he’s just a base player for your lineups if you want to save $$. Don’t expect Snell to blow up just because Dunleavy is out. He only had 12.2 usage rating last year whenever Dunleavy did sit. If you we’re looking for more of an upside (GPP) pick, lean towards McDermott. If preseason has shown us anything, it’s that Fred Holberg wants him to shoot, shoot and shoot some more. Thibs isn’t coaching this team anymore so you won’t have to worry about McDermott getting benched if he misses a defensive assignment.
Stanley Johnson – He’s priced more than starting SF, Marcus Morris so you’re probably asking yourself, “What makes Stanley Johnson a sleeper?” It’s for that reason alone. When people construct their lineups, they lean towards the players in the starting lineup because of what’s been the ongoing theme of this column . . . minutes. DFS players would rather the player with guaranteed playing time over the guy playing behind them. Especially if he’s cheaper than the reserve. Makes sense. But here’s the thing, Stanley Johnson is a much better player than Marcus Morris. Only Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson have played more this preseason than Johnson.
“He’s played a lot for good reason,” (STAN) VAN GUNDY SAID. “He needs the time more than anybody probably. He’ll continue to play quite a bit, and he’s going to play quite a bit during the season. There’s no reason to put him on the bench. He’s earned it out here.”
Don’t be fooled with minutes on this one. Talent will eventually win out, whether it’s on Tuesday or soon after. In the preseason, he averaged 13.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals. Foul trouble has skewed those numbers somewhat because he started out on fire averaging just over 17 PPG over the first 4 games. If he can stay out of foul trouble, I can see him easily exceeding value in a really thin SF position for the opening night slate.
Bobby Portis – This one is the ultimate sleeper on this list. The Bulls are absolutely stacked with big men. I mean, Noah and Taj are coming off the bench. Let that settle in just a bit. Those two could easily start for a lot of NBA teams. So why is Portis on this list? He was the best Bulls big man this whole preseason. He finished the preseason with averages of 18.5 PPG, 15.2 RPG, 44.1 FG% and 50% 3PT per 36. That is not a typo. If he had a solidified role on another team with guaranteed minutes, I firmly believe “Crazy Eyes” Portis would have a shot at ROY. But he’s buried down the Bulls bench. You can’t trust him tomorrow, I get that — but Holberg is not Thibs. Hoiberg sounds like a guy who will let his veterans rest a bit more and let his young guys run and play freely. Let’s just say he gets about 18 minutes, you’re getting close to a double double with a three pointer or two (+0.5 on DK). I’ll gladly take that for $3,000 and a player who is expected to be severely low owned.
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