Just about the entire sports world has been put on hold all over the world as we try to come to grips with the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, sports bettors are having to take a little hiatus of their own.
There’s just not a whole lot going on out there from a sporting perspective these days. As a result, Daily fantasy sports sites have had to get creative due to the shortage of options out there at the moment.
For the past few weeks, FanDuel has been running a new “NBA Sim” contest. It’s free to enter, and those that win will earn some cash that can be used to play in paid contests on the site. Players will fill out a 9-man NBA lineup, just as they would for a normal NBA DFS slate.
FanDuel is running 2 separate slates today. One starts at 3pm ET, with the other beginning 4 hours later. The analysis below will cover the 7pm ET slate, which contains 6 “games.”
Reggie Jackson, PG ($4,500)
Reggie Jackson has only played in 23 games all season as a result of an injury. The majority of those games came with the Pistons, though he was bought out and signed by the LA Clippers last month. He played 14 games with the Pistons compared to 9 appearances, including just one start, since moving to LA.
Jackson is priced for his Clippers role, but he had some pretty big games as the starter for Detroit earlier in the season. Jackson has averaged a hair over 23 FanDuel points per game across his 23 appearances, and he has gone over 30 FD points 8 times. That means you have about a 35 percent chance of getting at least 30 points from him tonight, which obviously makes him a great value considering he’s just $4,500.
Jackson has gone under 20 FD points 11 times, which means he’s a fairly risky play in spite of the upside. You have about a 48 percent chance of getting fewer than 20 points out of him, but that obviously hurts less given his salary. There aren’t many options in this price range that give you the kind of ceiling Jackson has, so I think he’s a reasonable value play.
James Harden, SG ($11,200)
There are quite a few spend-up options tonight. I tend to gravitate toward Giannis Antetokounmpo, but I have no qualms with James Harden at a $200 discount. The Beard has averaged a little less than 56 FanDuel points per game across 62 appearances for the Rockets. Harden has racked up fewer than 50 FD points in 20 of those games, while Giannis has gone under 50 13 times. Antetokounmpo comes with the higher floor, but Harden arguably has the higher ceiling.
Harden’s season-high for FD points is 83, while Giannis’ is 81. Antetokounmpo has gone over 70 FD points 8 times, while Harden has accomplished the feat 12 times. Harden has gone over 60 24 times compared to 20 for Giannis. They’re very comparable plays, but positional scarcity has me leaning toward Harden if you have to choose one. There are more viable small forward options than shooting guards, in my opinion.
Luke Kennard, SF ($5,200)
I made the pitch to play Kennard in this same article last week. The argument is simple. Kennard has played just 28 games all season due to injury. As a result, his range of outcomes is more narrow than most players that have played 50 or more. Kennard has averaged a respectable 26.5 FanDuel points per game on the year.
Kennard has failed to crack 20 FanDuel points just 5 times in 28 games, which means you have about an 18 percent chance of being supremely disappointed in what he gives you. Meanwhile, he’s gone over 30 FD points 11 times, which is about 39 percent. Kennard has racked up at least 40 FD points in 2 games, so you have a relatively small 7 percent chance of getting a ceiling game from him.
I like the floor and stability Kennard brings to the table at his $5,200 price point.
Jabari Parker, PF ($5,700)
Jabari Parker has only appeared in 33 games all year between stints with the Hawks and Kings. He’s averaging right around 28 FD points per game on the year. He’s generally a productive fantasy producer while he’s out there, but minutes have been hard to come by. You’re getting a very low floor here considering there are 6 games in which he played fewer than 20 minutes.
That said, you’re getting a decent ceiling from him, too. He has accrued at least 30 FD points in 14 of his 33 games, which gives you a 42 percent chance of hitting that mark tonight. He’s gone over 40 5 times (15 percent), and twice he’s recorded at least 50 FD points (6 percent).
Parker is by no means the safest option in the world considering his wonky role at times this season, but I’d imagine he won’t garner a ton of ownership considering he hasn’t really been much of a fantasy commodity in recent months. That could make him a difference-maker in your lineup.
Joel Embiid, C ($9,600)
Center is a weird position tonight. You have Joel Embiid at the top for $9,600, and the next most expensive option is a $6,600 Montrezl Harrell. Frankly, the options get ugly in a hurry here, which is why I’m just inclined to spend the money it takes to lock in Embiid.
The All-Star big man is averaging over 45 FanDuel points per game this season. He has recorded fewer than 40 FD points just 13 times across 45 games played, which is only about 28 percent. Embiid has gone over 40 31 times in 45 games, which is just under 69 percent. 15 of his games resulted in over 50 fantasy points (33 percent). Embiid has racked up at least 60 another 7 times (15 percent), and he went over 70 one time.
Embiid will be a popular option tonight given the dearth of other center options, but I think that’s chalk worth eating. He’s one of the safest plays on the board.