The end of the regular season is upon us, and the NBA’s send-off consists of a mammoth 12-game slate: There’s still playoff positioning to be decided in the Eastern Conference, as well as a showdown for the eighth spot in the Western Conference between the Nuggets and Timberwolves. With no shortage of options and some potential hikes in playing time for a few value-priced plays, there’s plenty to consider. For the final time this season, let’s dive into figuring out some of our best options at each price tier:
Bradley Beal, WAS at ORL ($14,300): Beal has averaged 21.7 points (on 59.5 percent shooting), 6.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 steal across 32.7 minutes in three games against the Magic this season. Plus, Orlando comes in allowing the fifth-most fantasy points (44.1) to shooting guards on the season, including 60.8 over the last five. The Wizards have a chance to improve their eighth seeding and therefore avoid a first-round confrontation with the Raptors, which should give them plenty of motivation to push for a win. It’s also worth noting that John Wall will very likely rest for the second game of a back-to-back, and Beal sports a 29.3 percent usage and averages 1.07 fantasy points per minute without Wall on the floor.
Josh Hart, LAL at LAC ($11,400): Hart is due for another start at two-guard to close out the season due to the joint absences of Kyle Kuzma (ankle) and Brandon Ingram (concussion), leaving him in a position to extend his streak of 30-fantasy-point tallies to four straight games. The rookie has hit the 20-point mark in three consecutive as well and will be poised to take advantage of a Clippers squad that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points (44.9) to two-guards on the season, including 63.6 over the last five. They’ve also yielded the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (22.8) to the position on the campaign, while Hart is draining 50.0 percent of his 11.6 shot attempts over the last five contests.
Luke Kennard, DET at CHI ($8,200): The Lakers’ Cinderella story, Andre Ingram ($6,100), is another very appealing tournament option at just $100 away from minimum. Meanwhile, Kennard has eclipsed 30 fantasy points in two straight, and he’s shot 48.7 percent on 9.8 shot attempts over his last three, including 57.1 percent on 3.5 tries from distance. The Bulls come in allowing the most fantasy points to two-guards over the last five games (72.8), along with the highest offensive efficiency rating to the position on the season (23.2). Kennard has logged at least 24 minutes in five straight contests as well, and he should be out there for a healthy allotment of time Wednesday.
Nikola Jokic, DEN at MIN ($18,600): Naturally, Karl-Anthony Towns ($17,800) is also worthy of consideration in this same elimination game, as he too should play a pivotal part. Meanwhile, Jokic has scored 52.00 to 68.50 fantasy points over the last seven games -- a stretch in which he’s sporting a 29.5 percent usage rate and averaging 1.52 fantasy points per minute. That span includes a 52.00 fantasy-point performance against this same T-Wolves team three games ago. Minnesota also comes in allowing the fifth-most amount of fantasy points (51.9) to centers on the season, along with the second-highest shooting percentage (58.0). With the Nuggets facing a win-and-in scenario, Jokic’s usage should once again to be through the roof in a matchup he’s already proven capable of dominating.
Kyle O’Quinn, NY at CLE ($12,700): O’Quinn was on a four-game tear in which he’d scored 32.25 to 52.00 fantasy points before dropping down to 18.00 fantasy points against this same Cavs squad in his last game. O’Quinn posted three straight double-doubles during that span, and Cleveland has allowed the fourth-most points in the paint (47.0) on the season, including 52.7 over the last three. Meanwhile, O’Quinn comes in logging 65.1 percent of his scoring near the basket, and he’s averaging a double-double of 11.6 points and 12.2 rebounds across 28.4 minutes over his last five contests.
Ivica Zubac, LAL at LAC ($7,500): Zubac is a tournament-only play, but worthy of consideration at his reasonable price. Moreover, it wouldn’t be surprising to see head coach Luke Walton give his reserves plenty of run in the last game of the season, or perhaps even give Zubac a start in place of Brook Lopez, who’s been struggling with a back injury. Zubac has flashed plenty of upside relative to price over the last several games, scoring 22.25 to 26.50 fantasy points in four contests over the last seven. The Clippers come in allowing the eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating (31.3) to centers on the season, along with the second-most points in the paint (57.3) over the last three games. The latter number is relevant when considering Zubac, who’s logged 73.5 percent of his scoring in that area of the floor.
Will Barton, DEN at MIN ($13,700): Barton should be set for another start in Wednesday’s win-and-in finale, putting him firmly in play at a price that he’s consistently outperformed lately. Barton has scored 31.00 to 51.50 fantasy points in the last six games, hitting the double-double bonus twice during that stretch. He’s also averaging a solid 16.0 points (on 47.5 percent shooting), 5.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 block across three games versus Minnesota this season -- a sample that includes a 34.50 fantasy-point performance versus the T-Wolves three games ago.
Sean Kilpatrick, CHI vs. DET ($9,400): Kilpatrick has been a late-season revelation for the Bulls this season, scoring 25.00 to 31.75 fantasy points in the last five games. The Pistons come in allowing 53.9 fantasy points to two-guards over the last 10 -- a sharp uptick from their 39.6 season figure. Kilpatrick has logged well over 20 minutes in six straight games, and he should be the recipient of a similar allotment of playing time in the finale.