Daily Fantasy Rundown – 3/22 NBA DFS: Ty Lawson is a superb value
Welcome to Sunday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem” and “dinkpiece”. Each day throughout the NBA season our daily NBA scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. Our analysis will help you consistently build winning rosters over the long run.
Russell Westbrook (OKC) – The Russell Westbrook conundrum is out in full force today. Despite his rising price tag, Westbrook is not only the top projected scorer in my model today but the top value on most sites as well. That’s a rare combination but Westbrook is a rare player. While the price finally rose to start taking into account Westbrook’s absurd 40.9 usage rate, 11.8 rebounding rate and 50.1 assist rate without Kevin Durant, his heavy playing time in March has still allowed Westbrook to consistently hit and exceed his extremely high value thresholds. Westbrook has averaged 39.3 minutes per game in March, a four minute increase from his February playing time. Given Westbrook’s unheard of per minute Fantasy production (my model has him projected for 1.66 DraftKings points per minute tonight), that increase in playing time is meaningful. With all of that said, I’m not as gung-ho as most about forcing Westbrook into cash game lineups. When you’ve got a value threshold in the 60’s, there is risk – both in terms of a low floor relative to salary in case something fluky happens (blowout, injury, foul trouble, off game, etc.) and roster construction (in general, balanced rosters are better). Westbrook is an elite value and cash game option, but I fall short of calling him a must play due to those risks and a handful of strong value options at the point guard position.
Next in line: John Wall (WAS) (very solid value in a vacuum against an up tempo, poor defensive Sacramento team but opportunity cost drives him toward secondary value play status)
Ty Lawson (DEN) – One of the reasons I hesitate to call Westbrook a must play (at least on stricter pricing sites) is he could cost you an elite mid-tier value play in Ty Lawson. Lawson is in an absolutely phenomenal spot from a DFS perspective. Reduced playing time at the end of February and beginning to mid-March has led to a big reduction in his salary across the industry (around 10 percent above the average cost of a roster spot). That investable price point comes at the perfect time as Lawson is back to playing big minutes with Denver putting Randy Foye in the starting lineup and bring Danilo Gallinari off the bench. Lawson has played 38 minutes in regulation in three consecutive games. His average performance right now puts him at or above value thresholds, and that’s based off a 36 minute per game average. On top of all that, Lawson may see an increase in per minute production with a favorable matchup against an Orlando team ranking 25th in defensive efficiency against point guards. Elfrid Payton is a below average defender across the board but is particularly susceptible on isolation play types (ninth percentile), which Lawson runs about twice as much as the average point guard.