Today’s NBA targets breakdown takes a look at the five games on tap for Thursday, October 30th and identifies some studs and sleepers you might want to target at each position.
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Russell Westbrook @ LAC ($9,900) – He is basically going to remain on this list until something shows us he should drop off it. With no Durant in this lineup, Westbrook is more than the focal point of the team’s offense – he basically IS their offense. Every single play runs through him when he is on the floor, and he is almost always on the floor. Anyone with this many minutes and this kind of usage rate is going to have some fantasy value, and when that player is as dynamic as Westbrook, there is almost no ceiling to his potential on any given night.
- Chris Paul vs. OKC ($9,300) – Well, we know where the action is going to be in this one. Paul and Westbrook actually may not end up D’ing each other up every time down the floor, as they each save their energy to keep their respective offenses in gear. And that is good news for fantasy owners. In the Clippers’ first game of the season, Paul is going to want to make sure they put on a good show in front of the home crowd.
- D.J. Augustin @ MIN ($3,500) – Minnesota is not exactly known for their tough perimeter D, and Augustin is in the midst of proving he can be effective when given the PT. If last night was any indication, he’s getting enough to help you out in this one.
- Jameer Nelson vs. UTA ($4,200) – Nelson’s value is actually going to be somewhat limited because he landed on a talented, experienced team. He is going to be a distributor more than a scorer himself, but he is starting to begin the season, and will likely be seeing at least 30 minutes a night, which could be plenty for him to stuff the stat sheet in lots of different ways, with a sprinkling of assists, steals, and three-pointers to help augment the scoring.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- Monta Ellis vs. UTA ($7,700) – At a thin position, you are going to be tempted to spend for the best, just from a complete lack of interest in the other options. That’s especially true on days with only a handful of days, and today, Ellis is it. It’s going to be hard to know who is going to get the most looks on any given night when you’re looking at an offense with this many options, but Ellis led the Mavs in minutes last night, which sometimes is all you can ask.
- Gordon Hayward @ DAL ($7,300) – .Considering the next guy down the price list costs $5,800, Hayward is the guy who qualifies here. But to be honest, for a $400 difference, if you’re paying up for a SG tonight, it’s probably not him.
- Dion Waiters vs. NY ($4,800) – I don’t exactly what to expect – no one does. But this price is based on last year’s production, and one thing is for sure, it’s going to be different. There is every reason to believe the addition of the best basketball player on the planet will make everyone on this team better.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope @ MIN ($3,600) – Until Jodie Meeks returns from injury, Caldwell-Pope is going to be starting in Detroit. He is not going to be consistent, at all. There is risk, but the minutes and opportunities will be there.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- LeBron James vs. NY ($10,500) – Hoe can you not? You might fall in love with so many other guys you talk yourself out of paying for him, just to save the salary cap space. But as often as not, you’ll regret it. Salaries are based on averages, and if you want to think for a minute about who has the best chance of outscoring his average by the most, well… it’s him.
- Josh Smith @ MIN ($7,500) – He showed last night what role he was going to take on with his new team: Go-To Guy. He’s always liked to shoot, and when all you’re looking for is as many stats as you can get without worrying about percentages, this is exactly the kind of situation you dream of.
- Tobias Harris vs. WAS ($5,800) – $5,800 isn’t nothing, but for a guy who led his team in minutes, points, and shots, you’re getting something for your money here.
- Shabazz Muhammad vs. DET ($3,000) – He’s a minimum salary player for a reason. You have to be okay with very low upside. But he is getting time on the floor, which is more than you can say for most players at this price point. Corey Brewer is the starter in front of him, but last night the minutes were an even split. And Muhammad was central to the way the offense flowed when he was out there with the second-teamers.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Kevin Love vs. NY ($9,000) – Many of you probably are targeting him, and he is bound to give you pretty decent numbers – he probably won’t hurt you. But he’ll cost you, and unlike Dion Waiters, who is so obviously in a better situation, Love is coming from a place where he was the primary offensive weapon, so his improved situation might not reflect as well in a daily league as it would in a year-long league. Love might very well see bumps in all his percentages, and all his efficiency stats, and really show he can help lead a team to contention, but in terms of pure volume, the chances just can’t be there like they have been in the past.
- Derrick Favors ($7,300) – Favors faced off against the Rockets last night and finished with 16 points, seven boards, and four blocks, along with a pair of assists and three steals. I see that box score and don’t see a good reason why it can’t come with consistency. On paper, it looks like a bad matchup with the Mavericks, but that is mainly because of Chandler, who is going to have his hands full with Kanter. Favors could get plenty of looks here.
- Thaddeus Young vs. DET ($6,700) – Another guy who is not cheap, but won’t break the bank in a way that keeps you from drafting the top guys. And in the first action of the season, he led his team in shots and did a little bit of everything with four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a couple of threes made to supplement his team-leading 26 points.
- Aaron Gordon vs. WAS ($3,800) – He got 28 minutes. He’ll have his ups and downs, but the talent is there, and this is a workable matchup against Washington. He might have some upside if you’re looking to fit a couple of studs into your lineup.
- Nikola Vucevic vs. WAS ($8,000) – I just don’t know that the matchup matters with this guy. He just boards against everyone, and this game should not slow him down. Twenty-three rebounds last time, with fine scoring and a handful of blocks on top of it all. He’s always in consideration for a start.
- DeAndre Jordan vs. OKC ($7,400) – At the level he’s played at in the past, he is worth this price tag, but maybe not a value. But this is the first we’re getting to see the Clips, and if you’re a believer that he’s about to make a jump with more minutes and more opportunities, this might be just about the cheapest you can get him all year long.
- Tyson Chandler vs. UTA ($5,600) – Back with Dallas, he has what looks to be a good matchup against the Jazz, following up his performance in the first action, where he just missed a double-double. He played 28 minutes, but seemed to get some extra rest early after picking up three personal fouls, so you might see that figure move upward here, which could lead to very solid, steady production from this position without breaking the bank.
- Spencer Hawes vs. OKC ($4,800) – Hawes’ best attribute is his ability to be big and hit jump shots. Has there ever been a point guard better at getting big guys open jump shots? No. Don’t expect as many shots, or likely as many minutes, as he saw last year, but you could see enough of a bump in all his efficiency stats to almost make up for it.