By: Eric Romoff
This Tuesday the NBA has served up a very small three-game slate for us and I couldn’t be more excited. These micro-slates entirely change the strategy we need to deploy to have a profitable night on Jock MKT and I’ll find myself with a much broader player pool of holdings throughout the night. With a top scorer like Giannis Antetokounmpo playing tonight, it’s not entirely fair to say that anyone can push for the top spot on the slate but there is a long list of players who can find themselves in the top-five. Injury news and player availability will be the key to identifying who will separate from the herd and fortunately for us, many of the players in question have already been ruled out heading into the day. All three games are projected to be fairly fast-paced, with totals ranging from 218.5 to 222.5, and we have both Atlanta and Philadelphia on the second night of back-to-backs. As has been the case of late, Philadelphia and Milwaukee have several injuries to contend with and that’s where I’ll focus a good proportion of my speculation.
Paul George | SF | Los Angeles Clippers
Jock MKT Projection – 46.99 (3rd)
Max IPO Bid – $16.20
Break-Even Rank – 3.9
There are two distinct cliffs in the Jock MKT projection tonight: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George and Andre Drummond, and everybody else. Giannis, rightfully so, is commanding a nearly $19 IPO bid to acquire his services while George is due to settle in at about $15.60. The better than 15% discount on George, who carries very comparable upside to Giannis, is simply a deal too good to pass up. With Kawhi Leonard still absent due to injury, Paul George is on the short list of players averaging more than 50 fantasy points per game and has three times flashed the 60-point upside necessary to win the slate. The 27 points per game that he’s averaging show that George has stepped up as the primary scorer for this Clippers team but it’s his defensive stats that give him the most upside. On the season he’s averaging 8.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and a league-leading 2.7 steals. Tonight he gets a Trailblazers team that is allowing the most fantasy points to small forwards by way of above-average points, 3PM and steals allowed. There are just too many avenues for George to not get there and on this tiny slate, I am willing to take an aggressive line to acquire him.
Tyrese Maxey | SG | Philadelphia 76ers
Jock MKT Projection – 33.71 (10th)
Max IPO Bid – $9.65
Break-Even Rank – 11.7
One of the things working to our benefit on the small slate is that Philadelphia has already announced the majority of their starting lineup as out following last night’s game against New York. Unfortunately for 76ers fans, this has been a recurring theme in the short season and they’ve had several rotation players thrust into starting roles. Arguably nobody has benefited more from the additional opportunity than Tyrese Maxey. In the four games with Ben Simmons Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris sidelined, Maxey is averaging 35 fantasy points and is the focal point of the Philadelphia game plan. This is a big part of the reason why Maxey has returned better than 55% gains in those outings and finishing at his average tonight places him inside the top 10 at scoring. The small slate serves to drive up his asking price at IPO but he’s proven that given the opportunity he can return dividends for his investors.
Bobby Portis | PF/C | Milwaukee Bucks
Jock MKT Projection – 23.66 (25th)
Max IPO Bid – $6.15
Break-Even Rank – 21.4
The other injury situation where we already have clarity is that of the Milwaukee Bucks. Heading into tonight’s game against the Sixers Milwaukee has already ruled out Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo, opening the door for several bench players to see an uptick in playing time. Bobby Portis has forever been one of the best points per minute players in fantasy and this particular grouping of inactives all but assures that Portis will be starting tonight‘s game. Portis remains one of the league’s most capable defenders but it’s the Bucks’ reliance on him as a stretch four capable of scoring that really makes him pop when given the starting opportunity. In those games his shot attempts nearly double, increasing from eight to 15 per game. Coupled with his dominance on the boards, Portis then becomes a legitimate double-double threat. His 23.66 point projection is flatly too low for a game where he’s expected to start. Hopefully, that projection will suppress his IPO price but regardless I’m willing to bid aggressively in order to acquire him this evening.