• Welcome back Hoop Ballers! It is Friday, March 1 and we have seven games to open the new month. As always we have some top-tier studs on the board in LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. They face off against each other in the late game, and both are priced up but still in play. I’d lean LeBron given Giannis’ playing time concerns, but I would not be surprised to see the Greek Freak play with some fire against LeBron.

    Nonetheless, we have plenty of other spots in we could target and a ton of high paced games and pivots. More value will surely open up throughout the day, but as of this morning these are some of my favorite value plays on the slate.

    Point Guard

    Kemba Walker vs. Nets $8,200 – This price tag seems a tad too low. We’d expect a slight price bump given that matchup versus the Nets, but Walker’s price has actually dropped $300 since their last game. Walker will surely be a popular play and if you are looking to pivot off of him Trae Young ($8,100) has been hot and has a similar price tag.

    Elfrid Payton vs. Suns $5,600 – His lowest score over the last three games is 34.75 DK points and he has yet to hit the threshold where we fade. It’s a fantastic matchup versus a Suns team that plays at a fast pace and bleeds fantasy points. It will be hard to not have some sort of exposure to the Pelicans backcourt. Still waiting for a random triple-double from Payton and keep in mind this is a revenge game for him.

    Rajon Rondo vs. Bucks $5,000 – Rondo may fly under the radar in what will be one of the best games of the night. The Lakers have been a dumpster fire as of late and the recent play forced Luke Walton to make another change to the starting lineup. If Rondo is starting and playing 30-plus minutes we have to consider him. I don’t love the matchup for point guards, but he played 36 minutes in the Lakers’ win last game and dropped 48 DK points. I’d run to the bank with 30 DK points and take whatever else I could get from this matchup.

    Shooting Guard

    Jrue Holiday vs. Suns $7,900 – Everything I mentioned with Payton’s matchup could be said for Holiday’s. The Suns do not have a decent defender outside of Richaun Holmes. The organization mentioned limiting Holiday’s minutes going forward, but we haven’t really seen any sort of limitations on him thus far. He is averaging 43 DK points over his last over his last four games and has already dropped 46.5 DK points on this Suns team earlier in the season.

    Tyler Johnson vs. Pelicans $5,000 – Johnson has been playing well in his new threads. He is averaging 36 DK points over his last three games, one game is slightly inflated, but now we are hearing that Devin Booker is questionable with a toe injury and if he is forced to sit we should see Johnson handle plenty of minutes with increased usage. Johnson is in play for me regardless of Booker’s status, but if Booker does in fact get ruled out he becomes a chalky play. I’d also take a strong look at Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre if Booker does sit. If Booker plays he becomes a fantastic play in this matchup.

    Pat Beverley vs. Kings $4,900 – Bev has quietly returned to the form that fantasy owners love. He’s been aggressive on defense, fighting for rebounds and playing big minutes. This is going to be one of the higher scoring games on the night and Bev is my favorite guard on the team. He’s dropped 38. 5 and 45 DK points over the last two games and scored 23.5 DK points in 25 minutes in the three games the two teams have met this season. If he were to play 35 minutes that would equal to 32.9 DK points at 0.94 DK points per minute.

    Small Forward

    Khris Middleton vs. Lakers $6,600 – Middleton has begun turning his play around following the All-Star break. Over his last four games Middleton is averaging 39 DK points. Everyone will be on LeBron and Giannis and for good reason, but this may lead to Middleton flying under the radar slightly and I don’t mind taking advantage of that.

    Jeremy Lamb vs. Nets $5,300 – Lamb has been crushing since going to the bench. In fact, he is averaging 1.24 DK points per minute since going to the bench, while his season average is 1.01 DK points per minute. It is a great matchup versus the Nets and allows us to get some exposure to this game if we are not spending up on Kemba.

    Moe Harkless vs. Raptors $3,800 – I don’t love this matchup, but Harkless has been taking advantage of the minutes left behind by an injured Evan Turner. If you need the value he’s there, but I am not in love with the play this early and looking for value to break later.

    Power Forward

    John Collins vs. Bulls $7,000 – How is Collins only $7,000 in this matchup? The Bulls play at one of the league’s fastest paces with one of the worst defenses. Collins dropped 53 DK points on this Bulls frontcourt already this season and just came out with a bang against the Timberwolves last game with 38 points and eight rebounds.

    Nikola Mirotic vs. Lakers $4,800 – This is a dream spot on paper for Mirotic, but the question is, does he see the minutes? Well, we know they are comfortable with rolling him out there for 27 minutes like we saw last game, but that was also an overtime game so will he need to play that much? Personally, I don’t care, I know the upside is there now and if this game gets out of hand early he should still see some decent run. He can provide value in limited minutes as well and while everyone will be jamming the studs into this game I am leaning towards the value.

    Jabari Parker vs. Celtics $4,700 – I will always reiterate the fact that Parker should only be played in tournaments. He is one of the better GPP values on the slate given his upside, but his floor is also extremely low and could sink lineups. The Celtics have an excellent team defense, but Parker should draw a few plus individual matchups against the Celtics second unit. I am not going overboard on Parker, but I will definitely have a share or two.

    Nemanja Bjelica vs. Clippers $3,800 – Bjelica has been phased out of the rotation for the better half of a month now, but the injury to Marvin Bagley should open up some playing time for him again. He only played 10 minutes last game, but Bagley also played 20 minutes in that game and we can’t imagine a world where the Kings want to run out Harry Giles big minutes. This puts Bjelica in play along with another name we will get to in a moment.

    Center

    Julius Randle vs. Suns $8,000 – Randle has been playing big minutes and that means big DK point totals. I am never worried about Randle burning me and his upside is immense in this game. There is not much that needs to be said here, but if for some reason we hear Anthony Davis is ruled out he would only be better (obviously).  The sky is the limit for Randle in this matchup.

    Robin Lopez vs. Hawks $4,900 – Lopez is finally seeing a price increase, but not enough to scare me off of him in this matchup. The Atlanta frontcourt is just as poor defensively as the Bulls’ and while Lopez isn’t an offensive juggernaut, he should continue playing heavy minutes and have plenty of rebounding and block upside.

    Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Clippers $4,500 – WCS will be chalky tonight with Marvin Bagley ruled out, but someone has to take advantage of the minutes and usage and over the last few weeks we have been seeing plenty of Bagley at the five. This price tag is great and so is the matchup. We target bigs against this weak Clippers frontcourt and there is no reason to shy away from it tonight, especially with this game’s total.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Kyrie Irving, Eric Bledsoe, Al Horford and Harry Giles (GPP value play)

    As always you guys can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions and comments. Good luck!

Fantasy News

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    SG, Oklahoma City Thunder

    In 29 minutes, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander provided 16 points (7-for-16 FGs, 2-for-2 FTs) and eight rebounds but also five turnovers and zero assists in a 107-70 loss to the Mavs on Monday.

    It was a mixed bag for SGA, but he's still looking like a good pick in the middle rounds. Dennis Schroder started and hit just one of his 10 field goal attempts, though he did pass out six assists.

  • Rudy Gobert
    C, Utah Jazz

    Rudy Gobert scored 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting with six rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in Monday's 115-128 loss to the Kings.

    Gobert remains doing Gobert things and the only real worry for fantasy owners is seeing the blocks decline. There are plenty of promising young bigs headed into the next season which means Gobert's value is a bit less than it once was.

  • Joe Ingles
    SF, Utah Jazz

    Joe Ingles scored 12 points with a game-high eight assists to go with a steal and two triples in Monday's loss to the Kings.

    He went 3-for-6 from the field and hit all four of his free throws. Ingles looks like he'll be the sixth man for the Jazz which dampens his value a bit, but the contributions across the board mean he's still a standard-league value. The assists from Jingles are overlooked and when you pair it with the triples and steals you have a high-floor player that can fit in fantasy roster.

  • Donovan Mitchell
    SG, Utah Jazz

    Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting with a 3-pointer, five boards and two dimes on Monday against the Kings.

    Mitchell is still learning how to play alongside Mike Conley (six points, two rebounds and six assists) but it's Conley that's taking a backseat and learning how to adjust. Spida will get his shots and usage and the shot from outside is still suspect, but the counting numbers should be there as usual.

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 16 points on 6-of-16 shooting with five rebounds, eight assists, a steal, a block and two triples on Monday against the Jazz.

    Bogdanovic put up a solid line and is a great player to have coming off the bench, but this situation means his fantasy value is very limited. The Kings have a plethora of guys that can play and Bogdanovic came off the bench even with Trevor Ariza (DNP-CD) sitting this one out.

  • Richaun Holmes
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Richaun Holmes scored 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting with three boards, two steals and a block in Monday's preseason win over the Jazz.

    Holmes returned to action from a sore groin and looked great out there per usual. He'll most likely stay behind Dewayne Dedmon as he and Bagley don't work out as well due to them both playing inside the paint. His fantasy impact will be stifled as long as the Kings are healthy but there's no doubt that his contributions in reality are going to be well worth the two-year $10 million contract he signed this summer.

  • Buddy Hield
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Buddy Hield scored 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting with three rebounds, five assists, a steal and three triples on Monday against the Jazz.

    Hield continues to sink shots from deep and looks like he'll pick up where he left off from last season. The steals numbers are still going to be a concern, but the efficient scoring and volume of triples are sure to be worth the price of admission on draft day. De'Aaron Fox (14 points on 5-of-11 shooting with two rebounds, four assists, two steals, a block and a 3-pointer) had a decent night as well and his upside is much higher due to the ability to rack up assist numbers.

  • Marvin Bagley III
    PF, Sacramento Kings

    Marvin Bagley double-doubled on Monday vs. the Jazz with 22 points and 11 boards to go with a steal, two blocks and two triples.

    He shot 8-for-16 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 at the line. Bagley has looked great in the preseason and the Kings signing Dewayne Dedmon (seven points, seven rebounds, two assists, three steals, a block and a 3-pointer) complements Bagley's athletic, slashing playstyle with his floor spacing. Bagley remains the safest big man to own in Sacramento.

  • Nerlens Noel
    C, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Nerlens Noel started and blocked four shots, adding eight points (4-for-6 FGs), four rebounds and a steal in 22 minutes in Monday's loss to the Mavs.

    This is your reminder that Noel doesn't need many minutes to help your team. As Steven Adams' backup, he's probably not worth rostering unless you have a bench that you don't need to play. But if it looks like the Thunder are shopping Adams, grab Noel immediately.

  • Danilo Gallinari
    SF, Oklahoma City Thunder

    Danilo Gallinari went for 16 points (6-for-12 FGs, 2-for-2 FTs), six rebounds, two assists and two 3-pointers in 22 minutes in Monday's loss to the Mavs.

    Gallo is in a great spot to put up plenty of threes and free throws this season. If you're feeling optimistic about his injury history, take him earlier than his sixth-round ADP and reap the benefits.