Highlights of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend
Covering the best moments of the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend.
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We continue to give away some solid value in this column. We took a few chances on Thursday, suggesting that fantasy owners should stream Fred VanVleet and Mario Hezonja on the night.
The relative gamble paid off, as VanVleet finished with 28.2 fantasy points and returned nearly six times his price point on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Hezonja, meanwhile, scored just eight points in an off-shooting night, but still managed to put up a respectable 29.0 fantasy points on the night, thanks to some better than expected rebounding and steals totals.
Below, we share some of our FanDuel and DraftKings NBA sleepers for Friday, Feb. 9.
Ish Smith has been returning tremendous value at the point guard spot since Reggie Jackson has been out. The Pistons’ point guard is coming off of a month in January in which he averaged 12.4 points, 5.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. His numbers have been even better since Blake Griffin arrived in Detroit. Over the last five games, Smith is averaging 15.6 points, 5.8 dimes, and 1.6 steals per contest, helping the Pistons go an undefeated 5-0 during that span. He’s also been averaging 32.9 FanDuel points per game in that stretch, making him a viable streaming option for Friday night’s game against the Clippers.
The Clippers have surrendered 43.9 fantasy points per game to point guards over the last 10 games and Smith’s penchant for pushing the pace should help him earn minutes into the 30s in tonight’s game.
Zach LaVine is easily the Bulls’ best playmaker on offense. He’s still working his way back to form from injury, but he will be fired up to go against his old team on Friday night.
The Timberwolves have been giving it up to opposing shooting guards lately too. Over the last 10 games, opposing shooting guards are averaging 44.9 fantasy points per game against the Timberwolves’ defense, which is the ninth-worst mark in the league during that span.
LaVine has come on strong over the last three games, averaging 23.7 points per game on 55.6 percent shooting from three-point range (10 for 18). The Bulls’ shooting guard has faced minutes restrictions since his return to the court 11 games ago, but that looks to be coming to an end. He has seen minutes in the 30s in each of his last two contests, which is a sign that his workload is about to return to normal.
Look for LaVine to get some revenge against his former teammates in this game. The Bulls might not end up with the win, but LaVine will do everything in his power to keep them competitive on Friday night.
Like we mentioned earlier, Dunn is expected to be out for the Bulls on Friday night, which should lead to more playmaking opportunities for some of the other players in the Bulls’ backcourt. Denzel Valentine isn’t the flashiest player and often doesn’t put up big totals in the scoring column, however, he offers fantasy owners some solid all-around production at a relatively cheap price.
Valentine’s season averages don’t jump off of the page. He’s averaging just 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game this season, however, he has been playing better for coach Fred Hoiberg since the New Year.
Valentine is coming off of a month in January in which he averaged 11.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 0.8 steals per game, while shooting an efficient 40.0 percent from downtown.
With Dunn out, Valentine will likely take over some of the playmaking responsibilities in the Bulls offense to help take the pressure off of LaVine. He should be in line for a solid all-around game, especially if Jimmy Butler swaps defensive assignments and ends up guarding LaVine.
Tobias Harris was in the midst of a career year before being dealt by the Detroit Pistons to the L.A. Clippers. He will get his first chance at revenge against his old team on Friday night, which should give the 25-year old with some added motivation for this game.
Harris has averaged a modest 21.5 points per game in two contests with the Clippers, adding 4.5 boards, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per game during those two contests.
He comes in scoring 18.2 points per game for the season, while shooting 45.3 percent from the field and a career-best 40.8 percent from three-point range on 5.7 attempts per game.
Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers has not been shy about putting the ball in Harris’ hands and the move to L.A. should do nothing but increase his overall fantasy value. Expect him to have a big game against his former team on Friday night.
Clint Capela has been one of the most underrated big men in the NBA this season. The Rockets’ center comes in averaging 14.3 points, 10.8 boards, and 1.8 blocks per game for the season and he’s been even better as of late. Capela enters Friday night’s matchup against the Nuggets averaging 39.8 fantasy points over his last five games. During that span, he’s averaging 14.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 4.0 steals-plus-blocks per game.
Friday’s game against the Nuggets should be an up-and-down affair that features a ton of points and fantasy potential. With the center position stacked with options tonight, Capela could end up as the forgotten man.
Capela’s minutes have been trending up over the last three months. He averaged 25.8 minutes per game during the month of December, which increased to 28.5 per game in January and is now up to 30.3 minutes per game through four February contests.
Look for Capela to double-double and add some defensive stats in a home game against the Nuggets on Friday night.