By: Eric Romoff
The NBA is back to a full slate of games as many of those rescheduled from weeks past have landed on this Wednesday. Apart from a few spots, namely Atlanta and Chicago, I think we’re in a good position to see all nine of our games played tonight and most teams are expected to have more of their starters available than in recent days. The dynamic nature of this circumstance creates a good bit of volatility in the market, but also creates some spots that can be exploited and those will be central to my portfolio tonight. I’ll be prioritizing stability with my Blue Chip players and looking to mix in a decent amount of Penny Stock options who should see expanded minutes in shorter rotations. News is going to play a big role in where we want to invest so keep a close eye on who will be available as we get closer to lock and be mindful of how that will influence other players’ price tags.
LeBron James | PG/SF | Los Angeles Lakers
Jock MKT Projection – 51.57 (2nd)
Max IPO Bid – $13.10
Break-Even Rank – 6.9
Taking a look at the top of the projections, there are several players whose opportunity has increased as their teammates have been ruled out with COVID and are currently projected for career-high outputs on tonight’s slate. I personally don’t feel great about banking on all-time highs from fringy players and I tend to look toward the known commodities in the midst of such chaos. One of the most stable assets in the NBA, especially of late, is LeBron James. He is one of three players on the board tonight that has a projection over 50 points and has been blazing hot over his last six games, where he’s been over 51 fantasy points in each and surpassed 60 points in five. LeBron is a triple-double threat any time he takes the court and has assumed the primary scoring responsibility with Anthony Davis off the court since December 18. LeBron’s price tag is particularly appealing tonight as he’s projected to come in close to $13.00 when IPO closes. On the year, LeBron has returned a profit in 16 of 21 games where his IPO price was below $14.00 for a total ROI of 743%. We’ll have to keep a close eye on the news with this play as LeBron is prone to sitting on the second-half of a back to back but I think with the Lakers needing to collect every win they can we’re more likely than not to see him out there tonight against the Grizzlies.
Kristaps Porzingis | PF/C | Dallas Mavericks
Jock MKT Projection – 38.66 (20th)
Max IPO Bid – $8.15
Break-Even Rank – 17.4
This one is pretty straightforward. Kristaps has been on an absolute tear since returning from a toe injury to a team that is without Luka Doncic, who is still in the health and safety protocol. Given the shortened quarantine time of the updated protocols Luka could technically return for this game but all the reporting out of Dallas and Sacramento indicate that the Mavs are planning to be without Doncic tonight. That clears the path for another stellar performance for Porzingis, who has averaged nearly 51 fantasy points since returning and doesn’t have a game below 45.25 points on Jock MKT in that stretch. If he hits that floor again, that would have him inside the top five of projected totals and primed for a considerable profit on his $8.15 price tag. Tonight he gets a matchup against the Kings who are the seventh-most favorable to opposing big men and should allow Porzingis to secure double-digit boards to go along with what projects to be another prolific scoring night for him. I’m hoping that this being the last game on the slate and not having definitive word on Luka’s availability will drive down the asking price on Porzingis to the $7.00 range but I’m more than happy getting him closer to $8.00
Luka Garza | C | Detroit Pistons
Jock MKT Projection – 22.03 (82rd)
Max IPO Bid – $2.60
Break-Even Rank – 56.75
The Detroit Pistons are one of the teams across the NBA that have been absolutely decimated by players going onto COVID Reserve. Among the ranks of the G-Leaguers that the Pistons have been trotting out there, Luka Garza has shone through as one of the few bright spots. In his last game out against the Spurs, Garza fouled out early in the 4th quarter and saw his playing time limited to 20 minutes. Despite the brevity of his time on the court, Garza still managed to score 20 points, six rebounds and two assists en route to a 30+ point fantasy performance. That type of point-per-minute production at a Penny Stock valuation is simply too good to pass up. I’m expecting Garza to see north of 30 minutes tonight and much of that should be against the backup players for the Knicks, who will likely sit their starters when they are up big at the end of the game. This range of IPO price is always a bit risky on such a large slate so I’m not going to be overly aggressive bidding on Garza. Luckily, I do think there are enough games being played tonight that most investors won’t be targeting this depleted Detroit team and that should keep his strike price right around $2.00.