We are back to a full 10 game slate this Wednesday and I for one could not be more excited. Across the landscape, there are several games that pop with totals north of 225 and a number of injury and back-to-back situations that should open up value. With several big-name players and marquee matchups, I’m expecting the market will overlook several consistent performers who don’t carry the name recognition of the superstars and that inefficiency where I’ll be focusing my attention tonight.
Kevin Durant, PF, Brooklyn Nets
Jock MKT Projection: 41.21 (11th)
Max IPO Bid: $10.85
Break-Even Rank: 10.3
The absolute bevy of all-star caliber talent present on this Brooklyn Nets team has confused fantasy players and wagers alike since its inception last season. Some clarity has been introduced by way of Kyrie Irving being unavailable due to his vaccination status but largely fair market value remains depressed as players try to determine how to make sense of the Durant/Harden split. For me, there’s a bit more clarity surrounding the situation. The NBA rule changes have brought to light just how dependent James Harden was on his free-throw attempts and identified Durrant as the significantly better play. His 41-point projected output for tonight represents a significant decrease compared to the fantasy output he’s delivered thus far. Through three games, Durrant is averaging 53.8 fantasy points and has flashed the upside to be the leading scorer on the slate. On the year Kevin Durant has brought better than a 30% return to those who invested in him and carries an average IPO price of $11.83. Given how top-heavy this large slate is tonight I’m projecting Durrant to be outside of the top 10 in IPO bidding. Look for him to be the focal point of the Nets game plan in a tight game against the Heat and to finish inside the top eight scorers on the night.
Jonas Valanciunas, C, New Orleans Pelican
Jock MKT Projection: 37.14 (24th)
Max IPO Bid: $8.30
Break-Even Rank: 16.2
I have been firing up Jonas Valanciunas all season long and my bankroll is thanking me for it. It feels like we have been waiting for J Val to get his opportunity for as long as anyone can remember and the absence of Zion Williamson means that day has come. We have seen his minutes walk up from 30 in the opening game to 39 his last time out, where he finished with better than 56 fantasy points and fourth on the slate. What is most promising is that 56 point explosion came even when Jay Val had his floor game shooting just 39% from the field. His projected rank has his IPO bid in the mid-20s tonight and he has shown over his past two games that he carries legitimate top-five upside on any slate. His involvement on the defensive side of the ball gives him several paths to production; making him one of the safest options on the board and leaving me taking an aggressive line to acquire him. With my maximum suggested bid is north of eight dollars I would not be surprised in the slightest to see him settle between six and seven when IPO closes.
Precious Achiuwa, C, Toronto Raptors
Jock MKT Projection: 29.25 (49th)
Max IPO Bid: $4.25
Break-Even Rank: 40
This might be one of my favorite plays of the night. Precious Achiuwa is one of the rare players that offers significant upside while going largely overlooked in the market. We’ve seen Precious flash 35-point upside and he has been an absolute double-double machine in all three games for the Raptors. What has been lagging most about his game is the scoring front and his highest output to date was against Boston where he shot 46% from the field. I’m expecting Toronto to give him more minutes at the five, leaving him a favorable matchup against Myles Turner who has a tendency to foul early and often. Those free points from the charity stripe and the potential for significant minutes facing backup-caliber centers give Precious the upside to finish the night inside the top 30. Being one of the lesser-known players in the association and coming off of a poor shooting performance I expect Achiuwa’s IPO price to be depressed significantly, making him one of my favorite penny stocks on the slate