The first home game for LeBron James and the Lakers offered plenty of drama. The highlights weren’t just basketball related with a fight between Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul, and subsequently, Brandon Ingram resulted in multiple suspensions. That begs the question: what does losing Ingram and Rondo mean for the remaining Lakers? Here we break down the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) impact of these suspensions against the rest of the Lakers roster.
After LeBron James, Everyone is Equal
The Lakers’ president Magic Johnson has built this team to feature multiple ball handlers. This was evident in both games the Lakers played so far, as many players advanced the ball and had a similar opportunity in minutes, shots and assists.
Coach Walton played nine players in the first two games. Without Rondo and Ingram, those minutes will be spread out on the remaining seven players (James, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson, JaVale Mcgee, Kyle Kuzma, KentaviousCaldwell-Pope) and Michael Beasley who will likely pick up some of Ingram’s playing time and back up Kuzma.
With the relatively equal minute and shot selection opportunity between the Lakers’ players (apart from James who played and shot the most), it’s not that easy to predict who is going to get you most fantasy points on a nightly basis.
Production Increase for Ball, Kuzma, Hart, and LeBron
You know James is going to get his numbers, and he should since he is the most expensive player across the three big DFS platforms, costing $11,800 on Fan Duel (FD), $10,500 on Draft Kings (DK), and $13,500 on Fantasy Factor (FF). If you are willing to pay top dollar, you can expect James’ production to increase without Rondo and Ingram, primarily in the assist column.
Out of the other players who should produce more, I would take a hard look at Lonzo Ball ($6800 FD, $5500 DK, $6600 FF) and Kyle Kuzma ($6500 FD, $5500, $6800 FF), because their direct competitors for playing time are now suspended. More minutes = more stats.
Ball gets a lot of grief for both his father and his poor-mechanical and inefficient outside shot (36% from the field, 30% for 3 in his rookie season). However, he is an excellent play-maker and shot the ball well in the last game against Houston. His numbers across the board should be better over the next two games sans Rondo, primarily in terms of assists and scoring.
Kuzma played surprisingly well last year, averaging 16 PPG as a rookie. This year, he started both games of the season from the bench, averaging 26.5 min and 13 PPG and was spectacular in last nights loss vs San Antonio. His scoring and rebounding numbers should stay strong in Ingram’s absence.
The shooting guard position is an interesting one for the Lakers and is currently occupied by Hart and Caldwell-Pope. The latter started both games, but Hart ($6,400 on FF) outplayed him. Hart will probably play more in the future, and he could be a valuable fantasy pickup this week as well.
Cheaper Options Exist
Now if you want to save some money, you can opt for Stephenson ($4,800 FD, $3,800 DK, $4,400 FF) or Beasley ($4,300, $3,300 DK, $4,300 FF). Lance was pretty solid the first two games, scoring 6.5 points and four rebounds for 19 minutes on the court. He should play a bit more this week as well, and I would choose him over Beasley, who is a capable scorer, but will probably play limited minutes.
You might also want to take a look at McGee ($5,500 FD, $4900 DK), who for some reason is still only at $3,000 over at Fantasy Factor. He has put up solid numbers in the first two games and he should continue to do so as the first option at the center position. Taking advantage of that at Fantasy Factor, allows you to pay up for James, so you can anchor any lineup starting with those two and build from there.