Since the NBA is currently on hiatus, DraftKings is running NBA simulations that give DFS basketball players a chance to keep their skills sharp and show off their knowledge. On Friday afternoon, we have a matchup between the Heat and Wizards, with a breakdown of the targets below.
How does Simulated Basketball work?
DraftKings will choose an NBA matchup and prior to each game, entrants can draft free DFS Showdown lineups for the upcoming simulated game. Lineups will receive fantasy points for a player’s performance within a randomly-assigned game earlier this season (any game from the 2019-20 season is eligible, not just the specific Showdown matchup listed above).
Set your free-to-play lineups here: $2K Simulated Basketball Free Contest (MIA vs WAS)
How does Simulated Basketball scoring work?
All lineups will receive points for the performance of their players in a specific game from the 2019-20 season. Each individual player will be randomly assigned stats from a single game in the 2019-20 season prior to the contest going live. Points will be revealed per player as the game moves along. Players will receive points in accordance with our single-game NBA Showdown Captain Mode rules and scoring.
Which players are eligible in the player pool?
Players who have played in at least 15 games in the 2019-20 season are eligible to be drafted.
What do I get if I win?
Every free contest will award DK Dollars that can be used to enter DFS contests.
What are DK Dollars?
DK Dollars act just like cash and can be used to enter any daily fantasy contest on DraftKings. DK Dollars cannot be withdrawn from your balance.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
So here’s the thing about these NBA simulations — it feels like there is a wider variety of outcomes than an actual NBA game. Why do I say this? Well, I recapped an earlier simulation in which the Hawks defeated the Mavericks, 220-102. So your lineup essentially needs to be prepared for anything, and with just one lineup in a free contest, being super contrarian is likely the key. Here are some targets I’m considering.
Miami is a very deep team, and I find the Heat to be one of the tougher ones to gage in sims. When I sense it could be a time to fade Jimmy Butler ($10,400), it typically backfires on me, but this could be one of those spots. Unless we can pay up for all three studs, I rank Butler third in the group. His 20-6-6 is valuable, but the matchup is much better for Bam Adebayo ($9,800).
The Wizards have one of the softest frontcourts in the NBA, which leaves a high ceiling for Bam. In fact, these two teams played just a few days before the league shut down, and Bam showed us just how sweet this matchup is for him — 27 points, 14 boards and six assists.
After the two stars, Miami balances out a lot and that leaves a few players that check-in pretty overpriced. Kendrick Nunn ($9,000) was having a spectacular rookie season but is priced well above his production. Goran Dragic ($8,600) was primarily a bench player when healthy, and Duncan Robinson ($7,800) is a little too one dimensional to justify his price tag.
Tyler Herro ($5,800), Jae Crowder ($5,400) and Derrick Jones Jr. ($3,600) are a drop-off from the three more expensive wings, but the production doesn’t take that much of a hit. All three are much safer plays, with Herro and Crowder being a cut above Jones. Crowder’s actually my favorite play in the bunch thanks to his versatility.
Meyers Leonard ($1,800) started all 49 games he played in this season. Although his six points and five rebounds are nothing special, this is a super-cheap starter.
Bradley Beal ($11,000) is worth the extra $600 more than Butler on scoring alone. Beal’s putting up over 30 per game, also dishing out more than six assists and pulling down more than four rebounds. His three-point upside is another bonus to consider.
Then we have a huge drop all the way down to Davis Bertans ($6,600), who usually plays off the bench for Washington. He’s arguably the team’s second-best scorer, though, and averaging over 15 points. He might be a safer play than the Miami wings in his price range.
Ish Smith ($6,200) and Shabazz Napier ($4,400) are tough to gage. Whoever started in the regular season was the play to own. In the end, I think Smith is a little too expensive for a non-scorer, to I’ll take the nearly $2,000 savings on Napier. While Smith was out, Napier actually led the team with 27 points against the Heat in their last matchup.
Rui Hachimura ($5,600) is another scorer worth considering. There’s just such a drop-off once we get past Beal, and somebody has to take care of scoring the ball. Hachimura started every game he played as a rookie, averaging 13.4 points and six rebounds.
Troy Brown Jr. ($5,000) is in a weird price range, where I prefer paying up for Hachimura, or down for some of the bigs. But he was averaging nearly 10 points and over five rebounds per game, stealing some minutes on the wing. He’s worth mentioning.
Then we have the three centers, all checking in at very affordable salaries. Thomas Bryant ($4,000) is the most consistent, and also likely brings the most upside. He averages over 12 points and almost seven rebounds per game, despite usually playing just around half the game.
Moritz Wagner ($2,400) is probably the odd man out here, but at least brings some scoring upside off the bench. But kind of like Leonard on Miami, Ian Mahinmi ($1,400) generally starts for the Wiz, and leads the team in blocks, along with being a good rebounder. He’s the better punt play.
There’s solid enough value on each side to use the CPT spot on a stud. I’m only considering Bradley Beal ($16,500 CP) or Bam Adebayo ($14,700 CP).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.