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Let’s investigate the stock of the rising stars and DFS value plays for the final segment of the season for teams in the Western Conference.
Rising Star: Clint Capela
It is no secret that Capela has vastly improved his game and production over the last year. His average points per game has risen from 12.6 to 14.4, his rebounds per game from 8.1 to 11.1 and his blocks per game from 1.5 to 1.8. If the Rockets are going to keep the first seed locked and give the Warriors a run for their money in the Western Conference, Capela is going to play an important role. Over his last nine games, the former first round pick has averaged 2.7 blocks and 12.6 rebounds. Over the last month, he is the 38th-best player in Fantasy Basketball according to Yahoo, which means his stock is on the rise for the next couple of months as the Rockets continue to hold off the Warriors for the number one seed.
DFS Value: Trevor Ariza
Ariza has been banged up this year and when he has been healthy, he has been matchup- dependent. This is one to be careful with, but as of Friday he was only $4900 on DraftKings, which makes him a safe play as long as he is playing against a weak defense. His production really depends on him getting hot from the outside, as Ariza is a 38 percent shooter from three-point range this year. In games in which he makes multiple three-pointers, he becomes relevant in Fantasy. Ariza is averaging 1.5 steals per game and can get two or more on any given night. Being a starter on a team with James Harden and Chris Paul means there will be opportunities and Ariza should have plenty of them going forward.
Rising Star: Dejounte Murray
A pleasant surprise for the Spurs and Fantasy owners, Dejounte Murray has his best basketball still ahead of him. The second-year, 6’5” point guard has been asked to do a lot more this season under Gregg Popovich. In his last 12 games, Murray’s usage rate has been 22.45 percent, and in the last month he is averaging 25 minutes per game, which has translated to 27.6 Fantasy points per game (107 overall in standard Yahoo leagues). Murray uses his height to his advantage and has proven to be an exceptional rebounder at the point guard position, averaging 5.3 rebounds on the season and a healthy 7.3 over the last month. As he continues to earn Pop’s trust, look for Murray to be even more valuable down the stretch.
DFS Value: Davis Bertans
Over his last four games, Bertans is averaging 10.75 PPG, 4.75 RPG, and 1.75 3-point field goals made per contest in 28.27 MPG. At $4100 on FanDuel and $4600 on DraftKings, Bertans surely has returned value recently. With Rudy Gay coming back, Bertans could see his minutes cut slightly. However, until Gay is back in the swing of things, Bertans remains a value play averaging 28.2 FPPG over the last two weeks.
Rising Stars: Tobias Harris
Harris has benefited greatly from the trade to the Clippers. He has seen his minutes increase from 32 to more than 34 per game and he’s attempting 15.8 shots per game with LA compared to 14.9 with Detroit. Harris now has the opportunity to play with guys like Lou Williams who can make plays for him while he hangs out beyond the arc. Harris’ rebounds have shot up to 6.7 per game in his time with the Clippers, and both his steals (1.4) and assists (3.0) have also increased in that span. A career 34.8 percent 3-point shooter, Harris will continue to benefit from being on a team that likes to move the ball often via dribble penetration from the guard position.
DFS Value: Austin Rivers
The coach’s son is back, and you know what that means; lots of playing time for the former first round pick. Since returning from injury, Rivers is averaging 34.6 MPG and is only listed at $5600 on FanDuel and $5700 on DraftKings. It seems that Doc Rivers is making it clear that if the Clippers are going to make the playoffs that it will be with Austin in a prominent role. In five games since returning, Rivers is averaging 13.4 PPG and 4.6 APG. His price for daily Fantasy makes him a value going forward. Look for him to continue to thrive in a starting role alongside Williams and Harris while the Clippers make a push for the eighth seed.
Rising Star: Josh Jackson
Over the last month, Jackson is averaging over 30 MPG, 17 PPG, and 6.1 RPG. During that span, the rookie is averaging 27.8 FPPG and is only owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues. Jackson should be added since the Suns have no reason not to bench their young players. Jackson should continue to see a sizable minute share down the stretch and he has the ability to fill up the stat sheet. With his lanky 6’8” frame, Jackson has proven to be a threatening shot blocker at the basket (averaging 1.2 blocks per game in his last nine), and he plays the passing lanes well, averaging almost a steal per game over that span.
DFS Value: T.J. Warren
Warren broke out in the second half of last season as a legitimate player for Fantasy Basketball. He has continued that success this season despite being banged up recently. The fourth year forward out of North Carolina State is currently a bargain on both FanDuel and DraftKings at $6000. He is averaging 19.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG, good for 27.8 FPPG on the season. Warren is another young, talented player on the Suns who should be on Fantasy owners’ radar for the rest of the season.