And we’re back.
After a brief hiatus on Monday (you can thank my immune system), we return to the Drill Down tonight with a crazy 10-game slate that features plenty of players out. Finding value shouldn’t be too much of an issue tonight, especially if you are looking in Chicago. As we approach the month of April, the NBA gets really, really weird. Teams are locked in (or out) of playoff spots, which impacts minutes for both veterans and young guys. As always, play close attention to the news throughout the day.
Transition points per game: 6.6 (2nd in NBA)
Once the Lakers were officially eliminated from playoff contention, the team announced that James would sit on the second end of back-to-back sets and be limited to around 32 minutes per game. It turns out only one of those statements was true, as LeBron has logged at least 35 minutes in three consecutive games. Assuming James will continue to play 35 minutes or more, he is vastly underpriced at $10,200 on DraftKings, especially with seemingly everyone on the Lakers roster out. With Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball off the floor this season, James is boasting a massive 36.4 percent usage rate, while his 40.4 percent assist rate also leads the team. He is also averaging nearly 1.6 fantasy points per minute with those guys on the bench. Over his last three games, LeBron is also averaging a whopping 91.5 touches per game and 7.5 minutes of possession per contest. The usage is massive and the minutes seem to be locked in to the 35 range. But even if he did happen to go down to 32 minutes, his usage and price would make it very possible for him to still eclipse value, especially in this matchup. LeBron has been playing a lot more power forward lately, which makes this spot against the Wizards even better. They are surrendering the second-most points per game to opposing power forwards (24.0), as well as the fifth-most assists (3.95) and most rebounds (12.65). The Wizards have also been a bad transition defense, coughing up the third-most points per 100 transition plays (127.1), while teams get out on the break against them at the league’s third-highest rate (16.4 percent). That bodes well for James, who trails only Giannis Antetokounmpo in transition points per game this season (6.6), while shooting 65 percent off the play type. He’ll also see a lot of Bobby Portis, who has been a terrible defender this season, allowing 1.7 isolation points per game, good for the sixth-most in the NBA. James, meanwhile, is currently averaging 4.4 isolation points per game, good for third-most in all of basketball. LeBron is in a really nice spot tonight and assuming he once again reaches 35 minutes, the price tag is just too low.
Rebound chances per game over last two: 18.0
Staying in the same game, Thomas Bryant is now in the starting lineup for Washington, which is interesting because he has been very efficient this season. Bryant has played 35 and 36 minutes over the last two games, resulting in 36 and 33 fantasy points in tougher matchups against Denver and Miami. Things get a lot easier tonight against a Lakers unit that is allowing the fifth-most points (25.2) and third-most rebounds per game (17.1) to opposing centers on the season. During those two games for Bryant, he is averaging an awesome 18 rebounding chances per game, as well as 10.5 paint touches per contest. That bodes well for him in this spot, as 38.5 percent of the shot attempts against Los Angeles this year have come from within four feet of the basket, which is the fifth-highest mark in the league. Bryant is averaging nearly 1.1 fantasy points per minute this season and now that he is starting and logging big minutes, his price tag remains too low across the industry. This game features two teams that play fairly fast, which should lead to a lot of shot attempts heading Bryant’s way. I think he has upside for a big double-double tonight.
Time Of Possession
Time of possession per game over last 15 games: 8.4 min (3rd in NBA)
Young continues to push Luka Doncic for the Rookie of the Year award. And while Doncic is still the favorite, Trae will try to make every remaining game his best in hopes of stealing the award from under him. The Oklahoma product has just had the ball in his hands so much lately. Over the last 15 games, Young is averaging 88.9 touches and 8.4 minutes of possession per game, numbers that rank sixth and third in the NBA, respectively. During that same span, he is also averaging nearly 5.70 seconds per touch, which is good for fifth-most among qualified players. Given that usage, it is difficult for him to fail for fantasy purposes, especially against a Pelicans defense that has been atrocious at defending point guards all season, coughing up the fourth-most assists per game to the position (9.11). Both of these teams play extremely fast, which bodes well for Young. The Pelicans are also surrendering the fourth-most paint points per game, while Young very quietly ranks fourth in the NBA in drives per game (17.6). People who don’t follow him as closely assume he is a Steph Curry clone, just pulling up from deep and off screens. And while he will definitely do that, Young has been attacking the rim all year long, averaging 6.5 field goal attempts per game off drives. The game environment is conducive to a ton of fantasy appeal, making Young a top-tier point guard play tonight.
Assist rate with Dunn, Porter, LaVine off the floor: 22.2%
The Bulls value is sure to be popular tonight, as Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and Otto Porter are all likely to sit out tonight. Harrison was already playing close to 40 minutes with LaVine out, so I don’t see him getting a bump in minutes, but his usage rate climbs over four percent, while his assist rate jumps from 11.9 to 22.2 percent with those three players off the floor this season. Harrison has shown some strong rebounding and steal potential over the last couple of games and with everyone out tonight, he’ll have to take around double-digit shots by default. The matchup isn’t favorable or anything but playing 40 minutes with three key guys out, Harrison should be able to walk into production and a $4,400 price tag over on DK just isn’t enough.
Also consider: Kemba Walker, Luka Doncic, Lou Williams, Frank Jackson, Ryan Arcidiacono, Rajon Rondo, Bradley Beal, James Harden, Tyus Jones, Josh Okogie, Gary Harris, Dwayne Bacon, Luke Kennard, Taurean Prince, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, Pat Connaughton, PJ Tucker, Julius Randle, Kevin Love, Pascal Siakam, Marvin Bagley, John Collins, Lauri Markkanen, Dario Saric, Karl Anthony-Towns, Clint Capela, LaMarcus Aldridge.
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