With a week off between NBA games, there is a lot of time for DFS players to relax and reflect on the first half of the season.
What players were great for cash games? Who was a disappointment, and how should that effect your approach to NBA DFS during the final months of the season? Read more in our first-half awards.
Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook
Stephen Curry is the Seasonal Fantasy MVP without question, but in DFS, bulk stats are king. Westbrook is crushing it this year with averages of 24.1 points, 10 assists, 7.6 rebounds and a league-high 2.3 steals per game. Sure, he's turning it over 4.2 times per game and shooting under 30% from three-point range, but it's not about efficiency on DraftKings or FanDuel, it's about the overall numbers. With 8 triple-doubles this year and 50+ DK points in 12 of his last 13 appearances heading into the break, Westbrook is the first-half DFS MVP.
Least Valuable Player: Anthony Davis
This should be relatively obvious considering how far Davis has fallen as a DFS play this year. He was the premier option throughout most of the 2014-15 season, and is now on most people's "Do Not Play" list. It's not just the injuries (which have caused him to leave 4 games early and completely torch DFS owners), it's the lack of peripheral stats and effort on the boards. Davis goes into the All-Star break with 7 rebounds over 2 games. That's simply absurd for a player with his level of athleticism. Perhaps you can blame the new Pelicans HC for not getting him touches, but his offensive game is down as well, and Davis has easily been the most disappointing star in DFS all season.
Best Coach: George Karl, Sacramento Kings
Each and every night when the Kings play, they play in a game that is worth targeting. George Karl's up-tempo style leads to shootouts quite often as Sacramento is playing at the fastest pace and giving up the most PPG (109.1) in the NBA this season. This leads to guaranteed minutes and production for DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and other role players on the Kings, but also ensures that their opponents will put up gaudy numbers as well.
The Kings gave up the most FPPG to opposing SGs (40.09), 6th most FPPG to opposing PGs (38.53), and 8th most FPPG to opposing SFs (38.46) while getting smoked by most wing players. This is often thanks to Karl's freewheeling style, and he's not bad in terms of releasing injury information either. Even with a lot of late tip times, Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins are often ruled out early in the night, which gives DFS owners plenty of time to make adjustments. For that, George Karl, we thank you.
Best DFS Cash Game Play: Pau Gasol
Gasol got off to a slow start this season, but has returned to the level of consistency that makes him king of cash games. A virtual lock for a double-double with a few assists and blocks, Pau is averaging 15.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG and 4.1 APG over 20 appearances since the start of January. Like any player, he comes up with the occasional dud, but it's usually in predictable spots such as his 12 DK points against Golden State on Jan 20. Gasol was priced below $8K for weeks and weeks on DraftKings, and he'll almost never get as expensive as Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins, but is just as reliable when you're looking for a base floor of 40+ FPs.
Best DFS Tournament Play: DeMarcus Cousins
With George Karl calling the shots, Cousins has become a nightly threat for a monstrous line. He used to be a fantastic tournament play when his price tag was not over $11K on both main DFS sites, as he's now more of a super stud that's difficult to pay up for. Still, no player has Cousins' nightly upside this year. He's fourth in the NBA in PPG (26.8) and RPG (11.1) while posting the highest Usage Rate (35.8) in the league through the first half. Included in his resume are lines of 56 points/12 boards, 48 points/13 boards, 36/17, 35/17, 33/19, and those are all over the last six weeks. No other player is as likely to produce 60+ FPs this year because of the Kings up-tempo style, porous defense, and tendency to force feed the ball to their best option.
Best DFS Punt Play: Jeff Withey
It's been a few weeks since you could use Withey, as Rudy Gobert is back in the lineup for the Jazz. However, in the middle of the season with Gobert on the shelf, Withey was a nightly bet to exceed value and perhaps even double value on DraftKings. Unlike many punt plays, his price tag didn't rise very rapidly on the two main DFS sites, as he was never more than $5.1K on DK and never really failed to even hit value.
Most Fun DFS Punt Play: Boban Marjanovic
It only lasted for a few games when LaMarcus Aldridge and/or Tim Duncan were inactive, but Boban got his chance to run for 15-20 minutes and it was glorious. The 7-foot-3 Serbian was able to produce a couple double-doubles despite playing approximately 13 minutes in garbage time a few weeks ago, and he did it in comical fashion. He grabs rebounds over NBA centers heads like they're children and dunks on their faces with a menacing stare. If only he had a different HC who would free Boban and let him do that on a regular basis.
Most Fun Actual DFS Play: Stephen Curry
If you're playing DFS to have fun, then it should be Curry over all other top options. Especially if the Warriors are on national TV against a quality opponent, it's going to be fun to watch Steph slice and dice any NBA defense while knocking down 7,8, or 11 three-pointers in ridiculous fashion. He might become the greatest offensive player of all time, he's the most exciting player in this era, and it's always great to get a piece of him in your DFS lineups.