Bargain Point Guards (03/09/16)

By Tom W. Brewer @Tom_W_Brewer
NBA DFS: Bargain shopping for Point Guards.

Welcome to the fifth and final installment of NBA Daily Fantasy bargain shopping. Today, we're on the hunt for low-salary point guards to fill out your roster. Before we begin, there is something I have to tell you about the point guard market: You're probably going to have snatch your second PG from deep on the clearance rack.

The big scorers at the position—think Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and John Wall—will cost you at least $9,000. Clearly, these players are worth the investment, but they account for a huge salary cap hit. Even Ricky Rubio fetches a salary above $6,000. That's hardly a bargain. Look, fantasy basketball is fun, and I don't mean to be all doom and gloom: There are good deals to be had out there for pass-first PGs and second unit guys. All I'm saying is, manage your expectations about the market. It's a curious one.

1. Elfrid Payton – Orlando Magic

Most Recent Salaries:
$5,900 (DraftKings), $5,600 (FanDuel), $19 (Yahoo)

The Lowdown: Payton has turned it on recently after a lackluster start to 2016. His game has become more efficient, as his field goal and three-point percentages are both up and he's averaging double-digit points again. But the second year PG out of Louisiana-Lafayette is more facilitator than scorer and he's taken his command of the Magic offense up a notch, dishing out over seven assists per game in March. His improved play has shown in fantasy scoring, as he is averaging 28+ points per game over his last five.

2. Mario Chalmers – Memphis Grizzlies

Most Recent Salaries:
$5,200 (DraftKings), $5,300 (FanDuel), $13 (Yahoo)

The Lowdown: Back when every Miami Heat game was on TV, I always wondered how Chalmers would fare away from LeBron, Wade, and Bosh. After all, playing with three top-15 players can do a lot for a point guard's game, so it was difficult to judge the quality of Chalmers' play. Turns out, he's pretty good. Chalmers has acquitted himself well with the Grizzlies, taking as many shots and scoring as much as he ever did in Miami. Sure, he plays fewer minutes now that he backs up Mike Conley, but Chalmers' game remains the same. Offensively, he is a dribble drive guy who'll pick up a few kick-out assists. On the defensive end, the guy is a tough cover, who's good for a few steals a game. All that adds up to a reliable 24-30 fantasy points a night.

3. Norris Cole – New Orleans Pelicans

Most Recent Salaries:
$5,400 (DraftKings), $5,700 (FanDuel), $16 (Yahoo)

The Lowdown: Hey—another former member of the Heat! Cole established his bona fides as an offensive threat during his time backing up Chalmers in Miami and with every day bringing another injury for New Orleans, he's playing around 30 minutes per game. If legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross called Pelicans games, he'd describe Cole as “quicker than a hiccup,” and the Cleveland State product is as good at getting his own shot as he is at dishing to his teammates. He can be a bit inconsistent as a fantasy player, in his last five games he's scored anywhere from 17.5 to 46.8 fantasy points, but he's getting plenty of minutes. That's more than you can say for a lot of point guards in his salary range.

4. George Hill – Indiana Pacers

Most Recent Salaries:
$4,800 (DraftKings), $5,500 (FanDuel), $20 (Yahoo)

The Lowdown: Like Elfrid Payton, George Hill isn't what you'd call a scoring point guard. In fact, he's only shooting 33% from the field since the All-Star Break, but he excels at putting his Pacer teammates in a position to score. Hill is a steady hand at the point guard position, who sees the floor well and protects the ball, boasting a respectable 2.53 AST/TO ratio, better than John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Kemba Walker. Hill's fantasy game is no different: He's numbers don't wow you, but he's consistent. He's a reliable high floor-low ceiling guy. When George Hill's in your lineup, you can bank on him to give you right around 24 fantasy points.

5. Dennis Schroder – Atlanta Hawks

Most Recent Salaries:
$4,600 (DraftKings), $4,900 (FanDuel), $15 (Yahoo)

The Lowdown: As Atlanta's backup point guard, Dennis Schroder plays only about 20 minutes a night, but the guy can ball. You don't have to take my word for it, either. The Hawks would have squashed all the "let's trade Jeff Teague rumors" unless they had confidence in Schroder's game. He's been on fire recently, as his field goal percentage and points per game are up significantly since the All-Star Break. His fantasy production can be streaky, but he's generally good for around 20 points, a good value considering his salary.

The point guard position is evolving, shifting from a pass-first supporting role to a position where scoring is expected. This change is happening in part because players like Curry, Westbrook, and Wall are redefining what it means to be a point guard, and in part because more players handle the rock now and do what point guards have traditionally done. This knocks the fantasy PG market way out of whack. Top guys cost a ton and the salary dropoff from elite players to good ones is dramatic. If you can find a reliable point guard that gets you 20+ fantasy points for ten percent of your cap or less, play him. To see what players are available, current salaries, and our scoring predictions, check out our Player Projections. That's how you play smart, and get money.