By: Eric Romoff
The NBA was kind enough to spare us from the whiplash of last week and instead is rolling out a more manageable 11-game slate on the heels of yesterday’s three-spot. There are a lot of things to like about the lineup we have in store for tonight; several games with totals north of 220, some of the most generous positional matchups in the league and several soft spots in the Jock MKT projections that can be exploited. There are so many solid plays available, this slate will be more about who I’m fading than anything else. Players like LaMelo Ball and Julius Randle simply have no business being inside the top-seven of fair market value given how inconsistent they’ve been on the season, the strength of their individual matchups and the pace of the games they’re playing in tonight. On the whole, I love the mid-cap options on the board tonight and that is where I’ll be focusing the majority of my investment on Jock MKT.
Jayson Tatum | SF/PF | Boston Celtics
Jock MKT Projection – 39.46 (15th)
Max IPO Bid -$7.40
Break-Even Rank – 20.4
The 15th-highest projected player is a blue-chip, right? Regardless of where his projection lands him on the board heading in, Jayson Tatum has been playing at the level that the “blue chip” label connotes for several games now. Tatum is one of the most versatile and skilled young players in the NBA of his own right but it has been the loss of running-mate Jaylen Brown that has really boosted Tatum’s output of late. Since losing Brown, Tatum has actually returned a loss to Jock MKT investors, despite 25 points, 9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.8 stocks per game. A close look will show that like happiness, the negative return for Tatum has been a product of his expectation. His IPO price has varied significantly over that stretch, ranging from $8.86 to $11.88, while he has averaged 42 fantasy points and surpassed that threshold in four of five games. Now we find him with a suggested IPO bid south of $7.00 and that discount is just too good to pass up. If he delivers an average game tonight, that would land him near the eighth overall spot on the board and bring better than a 75% profit on the night. I expect Tatum to lead the Celtics in scoring once again tonight and do just enough in the secondary stats to climb the leaderboard and deliver a nice return to his investors.
Damian Lillard | PG | Portland Trail Blazers
Jock MKT Projection – 37.45 (24th)
Max IPO Bid -$6.75Break-Even Rank –23.53
Damian Lillard sitting with the 24th-highest projection feels like it’s completely out of alignment. Lillard has only finished worse than 24th once in the last 10 games and that was a night where he went absolutely ice-cold shooting 2-13 from the field and 0-6 from downtown. Assuming Lillard doesn’t have another career-low shooting night tonight against the Bulls, its fair to expect him to finish north of 40 points – as he has in four of his last five games. His game tonight is carrying a total right around 220 and features two teams inside the top-11 in scoring in the NBA, providing Lillard plenty of opportunity for offensive production and the foundation for a considerable fantasy output. Lillard has yet to show the 50-point upside that has won slates in seasons past but he is consistently into the mid-40s and should be able to deliver a nice return on his $6.75 price tag tonight. Lillard is carrying a questionable tag today so keep an eye out for news around his availability but ultimately it sounds like he is expected to go so the “Q” next to his name is just another factor driving down his price tag.
Gordon Hayward |SF/PF | Charlotte Hornets
Jock MKT Projection – 28 (62nd)
Max IPO Bid -$4.15
Break-Even Rank – 40.83
This is a pricing play at its finest. Gordon Hayward has returned a profit for his investors every time his IPO price has dipped below $5.00 and has yielded an average ROI of better than 85% in games where his IPO was less than $4.00. I’m expecting the top-flight options on tonight’s large slate to keep Hayward’s IPO price well under that threshold and love getting exposure to one of the highest-scoring games on the night. Hayward is one of those players who can fill up the stat sheet on any given night and offers several ways to cover his minuscule price tag. Should he deliver the 40-point upside he’s shown four times this year, he could easily flirt with top-10 upside and close to 300% profit on the night. I’m going to take a very aggressive line bidding on Hayward in the IPO phase but fully expect his price to settle in around $3.50. He is also carrying a questionable tag but is reported to be probable so I’m heading in with the expectation he plays tonight.