By: Eric Romoff
We are zeroing in on the Thanksgiving holiday and the NBA has queued up a neat little 4-game schedule for us this Tuesday. These games feature some of the marquee teams in the Association but ultimately can all be filed away as fairly average when it comes to projected scoring and strength of matchups. The story of the night on Jock MKT really boils down to two key points; the availability of multiple Blue Chip players and which among them can land in the 2nd spot on the leaderboard. Nikola Jokic, who is questionable but expected to play, currently has a projection that is 12 points greater than the next closest combatant and carries the IPO price to go with it ($18.61). While I don’t think it likely that anyone knocks The Joker from the top spot, there is a full complement of about 20 players who have the 2nd-most points on their range of outcomes and that is where I’ll be focusing my efforts tonight on Jock MKT.
Jimmy Butler | SF | Miami Heat
Jock MKT Projection – 40.47 (6th)
Max IPO Bid -$11.95
Break-Even Rank – 8.1
Jimmy Butler has been on a tear lately. He has broken the 40-point threshold in 10 of his last 12 games and since returning from an ankle injury he has delivered performances of 43.75, 51.25 and 60 fantasy points. Butler has always been one of those players who can stuff the stat sheet and deliver those prized stocks that everyone is chasing, but over this most recent three-game stretch he has taken a more forward role in the offense and that is where his fantasy production has skyrocketed. In those three games, he has been right in line with his season averages for the secondary stats but his scoring has increased to nearly 31 points per game. Tonight Butler gets to square off with a Detroit team that is the eighth-most favorable matchup for fantasy points to opposing small forwards at nearly 44 points. The Heat are the biggest favorite on the board tonight, but I don’t mind taking players on the winning side of a blowout. The absence of Isaiah Stewart removes arguably the Pistons’ best defender from the court and will leaving them rolling out a smaller lineup tonight. Jimmy Buckets should live up to his namesake tonight as he’s being defended by Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo and should he be able to flirt with 30 real-life points, Butler can easily find himself finishing in the top three on this slate. Keep an eye on the news around the other top-flight options going tonight. Should they be ruled out or even have some uncertainty around their availability tonight, be prepared to increase your IPO bids on Butler by another dollar or two.
Ivica Zubac | C | Los Angelas Clippers
Jock MKT Projection – 26.68 (23rd)
Max IPO Bid – $6.55
Break-Even Rank – 24.7
Let me start by saying this: you are not investing in Zubac for his upside. Quite frankly, he’s doesn’t really have any. Even though his price is in the mid cap range, I think of Zubac as more of a blue-chip asset. You know what you’re going to get from him and that is steady returns. On the season he has brought a 99% ROI and does so by way of consistently out-performing his IPO price, usually by 15-20 points. On a night where I am going to cover a lot of the board in search of the second-highest scorer, I love having a good bit of exposure to Zubac and his steady returns. Looking at his matchup specifically, he couldn’t possibly be in a better spot. The Dallas Mavericks are the #1 matchup for opposing centers, allowing them to score 26.54 points and collect 18.09 rebounds per game. Those are both the areas most naturally aligned with Zubac’s style of play and he showed it last time out against the Mavs, scoring his second-highest total on the season and securing 10 boards just two nights ago. I’m expecting Zubac to finish close to 30 fantasy points tonight, bringing his investors nearly 27% ROI on his IPO price of $6.55.
Hamidou Diallo | SG/SF | Detroit Pistons
Jock MKT Projection – 18.1 (44th)
Max IPO Bid – $4.85
Break-Even Rank – 34.6
Penny stocks on these extra-small slates are tricky. There is a cliff on the pay scale right around position 37 where we see the likelihood for a negative return increase unless the player out-performs their projection. You need a good degree of confidence in your player’s scoring upside or you can really bottom out your portfolio for the night. One such player for me is Hamidou Diallo. Diallo has been coming on as of late, breaking double-digits in scoring and finishing with 20.25 and 32.5 fantasy points in his last two. What this play really boils down to is opportunity. He played 21 minutes en route to his 32.5 fantasy point day but nearly 13 of them came after the point where Isaiah Stewart was ejected in glorious fashion. The Pistons seemed entirely content with moving to a smaller lineup in absence of Stewart and the suspension he was served means that will likely be the case again tonight. I’m expecting Diallo to push for greater than 20 minutes once again tonight and his role off the bench will likely have him seeing minutes even if the Pistons find themselves in a blowout against the Heat. My hope is that Diallo not being a Power Forward/Center will keep him off of the “next man up” radar even with Stewart out and keep his IPO price south of $4.00.