Welcome to the first edition of “Blick’s Six”, where I’ll use game environments to find six players I believe will be low owned with plenty of upside. These players will be a perfect way to diversify otherwise cash-like builds. Let’s get to it!
Games/Teams to Target
We’ve got a number of teams in great environments tonight. Let’s start with the pace-up spots.
The Knicks are projected for the biggest pace boost, but should go low owned as eight point underdogs. Similarly, Portland’s pace boost should far outweigh OKC’s smothering defensive rating.
Five teams have the double boost of a pace-up spot vs a defensive rating over 110 (counting BOS against Dallas’ 109.9 DEF Rating). They are:
The Thunder get a tiny pace boost in what I have projected as the third fastest game of the night. More importantly, Westbrook’s usage rate is creeping back to 30% over the last ten games despite terrible shooting. Westbrook, himself, has stated that he’s playing poorly and needs to be better for his teammates. In other words, we’re getting a motivated Russ, sure to see some positive shooting regression sooner or later. Over his past ten games, he’s shooting 37%, including 26% from three. He’s never been efficient as a scorer, but those numbers are uniquely low.
The whole world (and probably me too) will be on Karl-Anthony Towns tonight, but I would argue Vucevic should give you similar production for $600 less (and only $41 on Yahoo). Vucevic is at 1.5 FPPM on the season and should see plenty of minutes against Towns. Vuc is now averaging around 33 mpg in close games, but sees upwards of 37 when needed. I can’t imagine Clifford will leave Bamba in for very long against KAT. Meanwhile, KAT is a poor defender himself, and Minnesota is 27th in defensive rebound rate.
This is a two-part pick. Part one is he allows you to play Giannis in GPP; Milwaukee is favored by thirteen, suggesting there’s plenty of blowout risk. Playing the Hawks’ best player provides a path to GPP glory if Giannis goes off, as Collins would have to put up big numbers to keep them in the game.
There’s plenty of reason to think he could. First, Collins is priced down to $7500 for the matchup. However, Atlanta gets a three possession pace boost which should cancel out Milwaukee’s good defense. Second, Brook Lopez continues to pull opposing bigs out to the three point line and away from the basket, opening extra rebound opportunities for Collins at PF. Finally, we have yet to see any defensive upside from Collins. His athleticism suggests it should be there, meaning there’s untapped upside not included in his price.
Over the last ten games, Mudiay leads the Knicks in usage by a commanding 26.9% to 22.6% lead (over THJ). Outside of blowouts, he continues to see over 30 mpg. As mentioned above, the 8.1 possession pace boost is the biggest on the slate, and Mudiay is a prime candidate to make the most of it. Lastly, his assist rate is up ten percentage points to 43.9% over the past ten games from his season average.
Jaren Jackson Jr.
Centers against the Nets, right? Here’s the thing. We keep seeing massive rebound totals for opposing bigs, yet Marc Gasol averages only 8.5 rebounds per game, with a rebound rate of just 30.7%. Jaren Jackson Jr. is barely behind Gasol in rebound rate, and his is trending up. Furthermore, JJJ’s usage rate is actually higher than Gasol’s over the past ten games. The only question for Jackson is whether or not he can stay on the court (foul trouble), but with RHJ out for Brooklyn, I’m not worried.
We need news to break our way for this pick. With KCP starting the second half for Kyle Kuzma, Lance finished with 21 minutes played off the bench, most of which came in the second half. Lance is over a FPPM, getting a 3.1 possession pace boost against a team with a defensive rating of 115.1. Iff Kyle Kuzma is ruled out, fire up Lance with a lot of confidence (and leverage over chalky plays like Brandon Ingram).Fantasy Basketball