Nick Calathes: Daily Fantasy Basketball Target

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Nick Calathes

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “who the heck Nick Calathes?!”, I don’t blame you.

Calathes was a First Team All-SEC player for the Florida Gators back in 2009, but hasn’t done a whole lot in the NBA since being taken 45th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft. In fact, Calathes didn’t even play in the NBA until this season as he’s been too busy playing for famed basketball powerhouses like Panathinaikos Athens of the Euroleague and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar of the Russian VTB United League (ok fine, I was using the term “famed basketball powerhouses” a little loosely there).

The 24-year-old finally found his way back to the states for the 2013-14 season, but was mainly languishing on the Grizzlies’ bench up until the end of last week. In a sign of how quickly things can change in the NBA, Mike Conley sprained his right ankle on Friday and opened the door for Calathes to turn into a very viable fantasy option – especially in daily fantasy basketball leagues.

In his first action since Conley’s injury, Calathes logged 40 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday (his season average is 13.4 minutes per game) and he responded with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal.

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We’re obviously working with extremely small sample sizes (if one game even qualifies as small), but minutes are king in fantasy basketball and the Grizzlies just don’t really have anyone besides Courtney Lee who they can trust at point guard (and I use that term very loosely since neither Calathes or Lee are really a point guard). Since daily fantasy is all about finding good dollar value, there isn’t a much better dollar-value guard option on DraftStreet who is seeing the minutes that Calathes likely will for the next week-plus while Conley is out.

Currently priced at $6,099, Calathes is priced alongside such daily stalwarts as Pablo Prigioni, Toure’ Murry, and Martell Webster (and by stalwarts, I mean players who would typically be found on losing daily rosters night-in and night-out). So what makes Calathes any different? Let’s go back to my handy-dandy DV (Daily Value) stat to see how Calathes compares to some other guards. Again, I realize I’m cherry picking with an extremely small sample size here, but that’s all we have to go on with Calathes and I’m just using this as a tool to try and pluck some value out of the bottom of the barrel. For those of you new to this column, here’s a quick refresh on what DV is (feel free to skip the next paragraph if you already know):

If you take a player’s fantasy points per game and divide that by his cost (I’m losing a few zeros too in the results, for simplicity sake), you get a pretty good idea of how much value (or DV) you’re getting out of him relative to other options at his position. This is not an exact science. In most cases, I’m looking at a small sample size (five games just to keep things recent) and ignoring matchups. If you use this as a baseline before you start looking at matchups, it’s a pretty helpful way to see if worth paying the piper on a certain player you’re looking at.

Daily Value over their last 10 games

J.R. Smith: 189 DV

Kyrie Irving: 193 DV

Evan Fournier: 207 DV

Isaiah Thomas: 212 DV

Lance Stephenson: 212 DV

John Wall: 215 DV

Kyle Lowry: 215 DV

D.J. Augustin: 245 DV

DeMar DeRozan: 252 DV

Joe Johnson: 306 DV

Nick Calathes: 529 DV*

*I’m only counting his one game with Mike Conley out

So again, realizing that DV is solely a guideline and keeping in mind that it’s as small of a sample size as you can possibility have, Calathes is looking better and better by the second (especially when you consider the fact that his dirt-cheap price is letting you fit top tier players under your salary cap). Even if you take the 32.25 DraftStreet points Calathes put up on Saturday night and arbitrarily cut those down to 20 DraftStreet points, his current salary would still give him a DV of 328 (which is still a lot better than any of the other players I listed above). I’m not expecting Calathes to put up 32 DraftStreet points every night, but his price tag is basically beating you over the head with value and I expect him to be a great daily play for the next week or two while Conley is out (plus, he’s got a pretty awesome first name).

Nick Raducanu is the founder/owner of FantasyTrade411.com and can also be found covering fantasy basketball at Rotoworld and XNSports. His work in other fantasy sports has been featured in the New York Times, Rotowire, Football.com, and he can be heard every Tuesday on the RotoExperts show on the SiriusXM Fantasy channel.
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