The 5 Best Small Forwards to Target in Daily Fantasy Basketball Cash Games

Now that All-Star Weekend is here, most NBA players will finally get an opportunity to take a breather. And, in a season that spans 169 days, that's just about all six days is: a breather.

It's a chance for players to rest their bodies and minds. A chance to catch up with sleep and family.

In the same way, this break is a chance for diehard fans to regroup. For fans of struggling teams to hope for a better tomorrow, and for fans of contenders to gear up for the playoff run. But, after a little less than 60 games per team, it's also a chance for NBA DFS players to take a step back and analyze.

With such a large sample size behind us, we're able to do just that. We can look at how rosters have shaped up, how minutes are being allocated and what effects tanking could have down the home stretch.

In a more specific way, we can reflect on each position to see which players have been the most consistent cash-game plays and best tournament options. For the purposes of this piece, we're concerned with the best cash-game centers.

That can mean a lot of things, though. From low-priced players to mid-priced and high-priced players, they can come in all shapes and sizes. However, we're working with the requirements that someone has played at least 30 games with and average of 25 minutes a night. For cash games, the best players will have the highest percentage of games at or above an output of 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 of salary.

Based on what we know, who should we be most willing to plug-and-play in cash down the home stretch?

5) Harrison Barnes, Dallas Mavericks

Many critics poked fun at the max deal awarded to Harrison Barnes this past summer, but one would be hard pressed to conjure up criticism now. Barnes has averaged 20.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the field in his first season with the Dallas Mavericks. Barnes has played 35.8 minutes per game, which ranks 11th in the NBA.

Player Games Games > 4.5x Rate
Harrison Barnes 56 32 57.1%

Early in the season, Barnes' FanDuel price certainly failed to mirror the size of his contract. He started the season with a tag of $4,800 and stayed at or below $6,200 for the first 20 games of his Mavericks career. In that span, Barnes reached at least 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 in salary in 14 of 20 games.

Lately, Barnes' salary has more adequately resembled the player he has become in Dallas. Although he is no longer producing cash viable games at a 70% clip, Barnes is certainly a staple of consistency at small forward.

4) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

It is strange to see a list in which LeBron James is not ranked number one. However, James cannot choose his FanDuel salary. What James has done this season at age 32 is pretty incredible as he is second in the league in minutes per game (37.5). He is averaging 25.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game while leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Player Games Games > 4.5x Rate
LeBron James 52 30 57.7%

LeBron began the 2016-17 season with a remarkable FanDuel record. Over the first 34 games of the season, James reached 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 in 24 games (70.6%). During that run, LeBron was never priced above $10,400. Now, FanDuel has caught on and has priced him at or above $11,000 in each of the Cavs' last eight games.

Despite the recent rise in price, LeBron is still a player who can consistently backbone lineups in cash games. However, rumors of him resting games and reducing his minutes may make him riskier than before.

3) Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

The model of consistency in the NBA over the past two decades has been the San Antonio Spurs, and it only makes sense for them to have a player on this list. Kawhi Leonard has improved each year he has been in the league, and he has become a bonafide superstar. The Spurs' wingman has averaged 25.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.8 steals per game this season.

Player Games Games > 4.5x Rate
Kawhi Leonard 51 31 60.8%

Regardless of his price, Kawhi has been consistently producing value in cash games. Lately, Leonard's salary has ballooned to the high-$9,000's, but despite the rise, Leonard has been able to produce 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 in 16 of his last 23 games.

What makes Leonard so great is his ability to consistently provide real-life points in addition to a well-rounded statline (assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks). Even when Kawhi's shot is not falling, which hasn't happened much, his ability to provide superior returns in the peripheral statistical categories makes him one of the safest players in NBA DFS.

2) Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers

Robert Covington is starting to get his due as a good NBA player, but FanDuel has been slow to catch on this season. Covington is averaging 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.9 steals per game this campaign. His statistical totals are clearly the least impressive of this list, but his price has simply not reflected his play this season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Player Games Games > 4.5x Rate
Robert Covington 50 31 62.0%

Covington's price has displayed a trend much to the contrast of others on this list. Rather than his price starting low and progressively increasing, Covington saw a severe drop in his price.

FanDuel opened the season by pricing him at $5,900. His price fell as low as $4,200 14 games into the season, before it started to rise again as Covington began to consistently produce high-value performances.

Now, without Joel Embiid in the lineup for 14 of the past 15 games, Covington has seen his price soar as high as $6,400. During that stretch, Covington was able to produce 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 in 12 of 15 contests (80%).

Although the loss of Embiid has certainly added to the value of Covington, it is his ability to provide statistical categories other than points that makes him such a reliable cash-game play. Covington can reach his value threshold in a game in which he scores less than 10 real-life points, something that is invaluable in a cash-game lineup.

1) Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins is a fascinating DFS asset largely because of how he accrues his fantasy points. In a lot of ways, he's the complete opposite of Covington (and Leonard, to a degree).

The Minnesota Timberwolves' wing obtains more than 72% of his fantasy points from actual points scored, a higher proportion than any player on this list. The knock on Wiggins as a fantasy basketball player is that he doesn't provide enough peripheral statistics to consider him elite, but this year, his return of FanDuel salary value has been as elite as it gets.

Player Games Games > 4.5x Rate
Andrew Wiggins 57 37 64.9%

Wiggins is averaging a career high in points (23.9) and assists (2.9) per game this year. He also averages 4.2 rebounds per game and is third in the NBA in minutes per game (37.2). While the criticism of Wiggins' lack of peripheral stats is still fair, he averages the 10th-most field goal attempts per game this season. His sheer volume of shots makes up for his weakness in other categories.

During his first 43 games, Wiggins reached 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 in 26 of contests (60.5%). However, the loss of Zach LaVine has led to an even greater offensive responsibility for Wiggins. In the seven games since the LaVine injured his knee, Wiggins' price has rose to $7,900. Despite the rise, Wiggins achieved 4.5 FanDuel points per $1,000 in all seven contests.

Wiggins' salary may rise more after the break, but until it really jumps, his volume -- both usage and minutes -- makes him a great cash-game option.