With real basketball currently on hiatus, DraftKings is launching simulated basketball games! Take note of the rules since this contest doesn’t work like any other contest we have had before. Here, we will focus on Monday’s free simulated game between the Hornets and Kings, which locks at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Set your FREE to play lineups here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (CHA vs SAC)
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
One thing that’s always interesting to note as we move simulation-to-simulation is how the player salaries change. For instance, when we last saw the Kings on June 22, Buddy Hield ($10,200) was inexplicably more expensive than De’Aaron Fox ($10,800). That has thankfully been rectified for this afternoon’s contest against the Hornets. I mean, it just didn’t make any sense. Fox has enjoyed such a better DFS season than Hield in 2019-20. While the point guard has missed large portions of the campaign due to injury, he’s still averaged a team-leading 39.4 DKFP per night and he’s managed to exceed 35.0 DKFP in a stunning 75.6% of his appearances. That’s a threshold that Hield has only been able to surpass 43.8% of the time. There’s a chance that you’d want to own the ceiling of both on a slate that should end up pretty low-scoring. However, if forced to choose between the pair, Fox is the easy answer.
How about the viability of Harrison Barnes ($9,000)? The veteran forward does technically sit third on Sacramento’s roster in points per game (14.7), yet the prospect of spending $9K for Barnes’ services doesn’t really seem all that appealing at first glance. There’s a reason for that, too. Where Fox and Hield are the primary scoring threats on the Kings, what follows the duo is a very balanced set of secondary offensive options. When breaking down the numbers from a DFS perspective, there’s truly not much of a difference between Barnes’ value and the likes of the far cheaper Nemanja Bjelica ($6,000) or Richaun Holmes ($4,200). In fact, in a vacuum, I’d probably rather ride with Bjelica and Holmes anyway. Each is averaging more fantasy points per game than Barnes’ modest mark of 26.4 DKFP and, while the former Warriors draft pick has eclipsed 30.0 DKFP in 34.4% of his opportunities this season, Bjelica has accomplished the same feat in 40.6% of his 64 appearances. Not to be outdone, Holmes’ ratio sits at an even more impressive 48.7%. You might as well save the salary, right?
Finally, if you’re looking for even more value when it comes to Sacramento, your best option below the $4K mark is definitely Jabari Parker ($3,600). Though he’s played only once since making his way to the Kings, the former second-overall pick was able to exceed 25.0 DKFP in 18 of his 32 opportunities with the Hawks, a stretch that included a huge 64.5 DKFP performance versus Milwaukee. That’s a relatively enticing mixture of floor and ceiling that you won’t usually find at a price this inexpensive.
I think there’s a case to be made that both Devonte’ Graham ($9,400) and Terry Rozier ($8,400) are more viable on this particular slate than the aforementioned Hield, at least when it comes to floor and dollar-for-dollar value. Let’s begin with Graham. The sophomore guard has been a revelation for Charlotte in 2019-20, leading the squad in many major categories, including DKFP per game at 37.2. That’s already a better figure than the 34.0 average mustered by Hield, but we’re just getting started. Graham also completely outclasses Hield when it comes to percentage of appearances with at least 35.0 DKFP earned, as the 24-year-old has hit that threshold in 57.1% of his 63 opportunities this season. Heck, Rozier has a better rate than Hield, too. The Hornets’ big free-agent acquisition has managed to exceed 35.0 DKFP in 44.4% of his 63 starts, which barely edges out Hield’s 43.8% ratio. Considering Rozier’s almost $2K less expensive, it would seem to make deciding between the two assets quite simple.
Don’t worry if it seems like I’m unfairly favoring Charlotte players. The love for the Hornets quickly dries up once you get past Rozier on the team’s pricing list. It’s not that Charlotte doesn’t have some intriguing options – both PJ Washington ($8,000) and Miles Bridges ($7,000) have shown flashes of brilliance this season. However, neither makes a compelling case for ownership when directly juxtaposed by similar and cheaper Sacramento assets like Bjelica and Holmes. If I had to pick between one or the other, I’d choose to save some money with Bridges, who has been playing some of the best basketball of his career since late January. Yet, both he and Washington have failed to reach the 30.0 DKFP plateau in even 31.0% of their games in 2019-20. That’s just not good enough.
Still, while the Hornets aren’t overly appealing in the mid-tier, they do have some decent profiles when it comes to extreme bargain plays. Specifically, I’d be looking toward Willy Hernangomez ($2,400) and Jalen McDaniels ($1,000). The former has registered 15.0 DKFP in 16 of his 31 games in 2019-20, while the latter has a 56.3% chance of hitting 12x value and a 25.0% chance of hitting 20x value. Both could also be a huge bust, but, in a top-heavy build, you might need to dip this low on the pricing list.
I’ll be honest, this is a slate that is just sort of underwhelming from all angles. However, there are a few names that could be considered intelligent choices in the Captain’s slot. Obviously, you could go with either De’Aaron Fox ($16,200 CP) or Devonte’ Graham ($14,100 CP), as the duo are the best overall plays on the slate. Or, with so little top-flight talent available, you could take a more balanced approach with someone like Richaun Holmes ($6,300 CP).
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