This is going to come as a bit of a surprise, but .... the key to tonight’s eight-game NBA slate on DraftKings is ... wait for it ... injuries! We’ve got a few games specifically where we can really attack certain lineup news and players resting, opening up the value we need to pay up for high-priced studs in good spots.
In this article, I’ll take a look at impactful injuries, game stacks and players that may go overlooked in order to help you construct the best lineup in DraftKings GPPs.
I’m going to focus on three key spots for tonight:
- Ben Simmons’ status for the Sixers.
- De’Aaron Fox being out for the Kings.
- Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose sitting for the Pistons.
I think it’s safe to say these are where we’re going to find all of our value tonight. Let’s first take a look at Simmons and how his potential return or absence would impact Philly’s lineup. First, I’ll note Al Horford (rest) is sitting tonight vs. the Cavaliers, so we already get great value in Joel Embiid ($9,400) at a suppressed price. The clear values are Mike Scott ($3,200) and Kyle O’Quinn ($3,000), granted neither gives us much of a ceiling. But considering the matchup and potential garbage usage, both could return decent value by getting to around 20-25 DKFP for tournaments.
Tobias Harris ($6,800) is worth mentioning as well. He’ll likely play some PF considering he can matchup decently vs. Kevin Love on defense. Harris’ price is decent, but his value would be more dependent on Simmons sitting again. If Simmons ($7,400) is back, Harris is probably a fade with a lot of mid-range plays in better spots. Plus, the fear of a blowout would mean Harris would really have to kill it early on to make due on his salary.
Moving along, we’ve got no De’Aaron Fox for the Kings and that means somebody will have to step up at point guard. I wrote up a bunch of Sacramento players in good spots tonight in my cash game plays and value plays so far today, but will reiterate those beliefs now. Buddy Hield ($6,600), Cory Joseph ($3,700) and Yogi Ferrell ($3,000) should play the bulk of the backcourt minutes. Hield is a solid overall play, Joseph is your cash play, and Ferrell is your sleeper GPP target. Trail Blazers-Kings also has the highest implied point total and highest O/U on DraftKings Sportsbook at 222, so a game stack may be in play but we’ll tackle that later.
Some solid pivots off those guys with Fox out are Richaun Holmes ($5,400) and Harrison Barnes ($5,900), who has actually been playing great in terms of fantasy. He’s got at least 30.5 DKFP in five straight games, plus Portland lacks depth in the front court.
Editor’s Note: Bruce Brown (knee) will start tonight vs. the Heat.
And finally we come to the Pistons, who are resting both Griffin and Rose on the second of a B2B. Griffin returned to the lineup in his season debut last night and was widely efficient, so look to target him next game if the price remains low. But with both out we have great value opening up, particularly with Bruce Brown (knee) questionable. I talked a bit about the key plays in my injury write up on Detroit, but let’s do a refresher. Andre Drummond ($8,900) becomes one of the top overall plays with Griffin out, plus the prospect of the Heat being very shorthanded. Luke Kennard is also a strong play at $6,000 and Langston Galloway ($4,000) should see around 30-35 minutes if Brown is out.
A few names I didn’t mention before were Tony Snell ($3,900) and Tim Frazier ($3,000). Snell has consistently been seeing 30+ minutes as a starter, so Brown’s absence would boost usage a bit. Snell would have a tough time facing former teammate Jimmy Butler ($7,800), but it isn’t hard to return value at that price. Frazier would be a punt GPP play at basement pricing. He isn’t seeing a ton of minutes, but coach Dwane Casey wouldn’t have much of a choice if Brown and Rose sit.
So to recap here’s a quick rundown of the plays:
Cash Game Plays: Joel Embiid, Raul Neto (if Simmons is out)
GPP Plays: Ben Simmons (if he plays), Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, Kyle O’Quinn
Cash Game Plays: Buddy Hield, Cory Joseph
GPP Plays: Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes, Yogi Ferrell
Cash Game Plays: Andre Drummond
GPP Plays: Luke Kennard, Markieff Morris
So now that we’ve identified some value spots, let’s take a look at where you should allocate most of your salary in tournaments.
Anthony Davis, LAL at PHX, $10,000
You could pretty much write up AD on any given slate, but I think he’s going to go a bit overlooked with so many appealing center plays (Embiid, Drummond, Rudy Gobert). AD possesses the ceiling and matchup we’re looking for in a tournament play, with a perfect game environment vs. the Suns. This is a reasonable price and we’ve seen AD hit value at this price point the past two games in tougher matchups, plus he didn’t even hit a double-double. Lakers-Suns has the second highest O/U at 220, which is always good, the only thing we have to worry about is the dreaded “Anthony Davis has gone to the locker room” tweet from FantasyLabs.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. ATL, $8,300
I realize Jokic is out of shape and struggling because of it this season. But come on, this price is pretty ridiculous, no? A few games ago he was priced as high as $10,300 and because of Mike Malone’s erratic lineup tendencies and a lack of production, we’re ready to write Jokic off? Nope. The Nuggets get a great matchup vs. the Hawks, who play up in pace and will force Denver to figure it out on offense. Plus, no John Collins makes things easier for Jokic on defense. We know Jokic is capable of a triple-double tonight and this price is wayyy too low.
Jimmy Butler, MIA vs. DET, $7,800
So if you took the time to check out the Heat’s injury report, you know they may have like 6-7 players available for tonight. That’s probably an exaggeration, but also could be true, who knows. What we do know is that Butler will probably go for the Pistons’ throats tonight at home. We’ve only sort of seen it once from Jimmy this season (vs. the Suns), but his price is reasonable and his usage should get up over 30% if Tyler Herro is out. Butler shouldn’t have high ownership and his ceiling would be around 50-60 DKFP if the game stays close.
Other options: Damian Lillard, POR at SAC, $9,500; Devin Booker, PHX vs. LAL, $8,100; Zach LaVine, CHI vs. NYK, $7,100
Top Game Stack to Target
Lakers at Suns (O/U 220)
I was very tempted to throw up Blazers at Kings as the top game to stack, but with no De’Aaron Fox for Sac Town, I think Dame could take over and the Blazers wouldn’t offer too many options.
So I’m going with Lakers-Suns because the way both teams are playing, we should see a competitive game with LeBron James, AD and LA on the road. Right now on DK Sportsbook, the Lakers are slight favorites on the road at -2.5, which bodes well. The main thing is how do we pick and choose between studs, mid-range and value plays? You’re essentially picking between LeBron/AD and Devin Booker. I like all three plays, so AD and Booker makes sense, but it’s hard to fade LeBron in a Lakers-Suns game stack, right?
Aron Baynes ($6,000) has been very consistent lately and saves us some salary and I think the other logical target is Kyle Kuzma ($4,600), who is still insanely cheap and coming off his best game of the season with 15 points and five boards vs. the Raptors on Sunday.
With all the value we’re getting from the teams mentioned above, I think you can logically fit in AD, LeBron, Booker and Baynes and still have plenty to work with salary-wise. You’d just be banking on AD, LeBron and Booker all going for ceiling games (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility).
Well, that’ll do it for today’s breakdown. If you have any additional questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @SlateBreakerDFS prior to lock. Good luck all!