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 Friday’s free simulated game between the Magic and Kings, which locks at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Set your FREE to play lineups here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (ORL vs SAC)
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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 are 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.
I’ve felt the Magic has been one of the most overpriced rosters in these sims, aside from one constant value. Jonathan Isaac ($9,200) was constantly in the $3,000-$4,000 range, and as a player that contributes in almost every statistical category, often finds his way to 25-30 DKFP. Now Isaac’s salary has essentially tripled since the sims began, making him an easy fade.
Nikola Vucevic ($10,800) was averaging just under 33 minutes per game this season, posting 19.5 points, 11 boards and 3.7 assists along with a block and a steal. If this was a more star-studded slate maybe we could find a reason to fade him, but Vuce was a pretty consistent play with a safe floor this season. The range of outcomes in his game log makes him a tough pass to just take the points, even at higher ownership.
I consider Aaron Gordon ($8,400), Evan Fournier ($7,800) and Terrence Ross ($6,800) to all be similar plays for their price. None are great value and each one had plenty of busts during the season. Gordon averages the fewest points of the trio, so even with his 7.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists, I’d rather pay down for one of the two scorers.
Fournier and Ross both had some big outings in the regular season, just from filling it up from downtown. Fournier is the safer play, starting over Ross, and essentially averaging four more points in four more minutes per game — 18.8 points in 31.7 minutes. Fournier scored in single digits just five times in 61 games and went off for 30 on just as many occasions. Ross was a wild card all season, so you need to be prepared for any outcome. However, if he draws an outcome from one of the games Gordon sat out, you could get the most production of the three for the cheapest. Ross went off for a 33-5-3 line with seven triples and a 35-point game with eight threes, both with Gordon out of the lineup, prior to the shutdown.
D.J. Augustin ($3,200) is the only potential cheap play on the Orlando side. Augustin was battling injuries this season, giving us plenty of busts in the 10 DKFP range. That’s also why he’s cheap. You could also draw one of his better performances of the season, and get a great bang for your buck here. From December on, he had 11 games with 15-25 points and was above average with his assists and rebounds in almost each of those games. Out of his 49 games played this season, that gives you over a 20% chance to draw one of Augustin’s top games.
De’Aaron Fox ($10,000) is obviously the strongest play on the Kings, and without too many high priced plays, I think we can fit him in a lineup with Vuce. Rostering Fox does come with a lower floor than we usually would expect. Because he was battling an injury early in the season, he had some games with his minutes cut short or where he left the game altogether. Fox still managed to average a 20-4-7 line with 1.4 steals per game and put together much stronger games as the season progressed. There’s 40-60 DKFP upside here, but you just have to be prepared to take an unusually low dud because of the injury.
Buddy Hield ($8,800) is a similar play to Fox in the sense that he underwent a major role change during the season. He played off the bench in 20 of his 64 games, which meant fewer minutes and less production. Hield was playing around 35 minutes per game early in the season, but then just 27.1 in February, and 24.6 in March. While the Kings were playing well with Hield off the bench, it makes his fantasy value much dicier. At the same time, Hield does have the highest ceiling on the Kings if you draw the right games — 42 points with nine threes against the Wolves and 41 points on 11 triples against the Celtics.
The rest of Sacramento’s roster is full of average plays at best, outside of two underpriced values. Harrison Barnes ($5,600) and particularly Richaun Holmes ($2,200) jump out as players that took advantage of injuries to have some strong games.
Barnes leads the Kings at 34.9 minutes per game, giving him a safe floor simply due to how much time he was on the court. He has very few busts, especially for just $5,600. Barnes was consistently around his 14.7 points per game, but had a handful of games with 25-35 points, giving you 40-plus DKFP.
The Kings were banged up in the frontcourt all season, especially with Marvin Bagley hardly on the floor. Holmes is insanely cheap for someone averaging about 29 minutes per game, and that includes the handful of games when the Kings were healthy and he hardly played. Holmes averaged 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds but has a much higher ceiling because of the games he was thrust into a larger role. There’s just no chance you can pass on a player that had several 30-40 DKFP outings for $2,200.
A value like Holmes being a must-play offers a lot of flexibility with lineups. I think we can pay for the safest play on the slate, and roster Nikola Vucevic ($16,200 CP), and still easily build a competitive and contrarian lineup.
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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.