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 Saturday, the Rockets take on the Raptors, and the action gets underway at 3:00 p.m. ET.
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Between James Harden ($17,400 CP/$11,600) and Russell Westbrook ($10,400), I prefer Harden as a play. With that said, we can probably roster both since there are a few cheap viable plays in this contest. In the Captain’s Pick spot, I am looking to roll with Harden. While Russ has come on strong since the new year, Harden is still the much better fantasy producer for the season. He averages 59.24 DKFP, and Westbrook averages 51.25 DKFP. The problem with Westbrook’s scoring average is that he got off to a bit of a slow start with Houston. We also need to consider the massive upside from Harden during the games that Russ missed. Harden has scored over 70 DKFP 17 times this season.
If you want to get risky and save a bunch of salary to fit the two former MVPs into your lineup, Isaiah Hartenstein ($1,000) is the ultimate boom or bust play at the minimum price. It’s well documented how hard he has busted as chalk at times this season, and he isn’t even on the Rockets’ roster anymore. This doesn’t mean he didn’t put up some strong games this season. Hartenstein has scored as many as 52.75 DKFP when he had a double-double against the Timberwolves in January. Playing a guy like Hartenstein opens up the potential for a stars and scrubs lineups with Russ and Harden.
In previous Rockets sim games, Eric Gordon ($4,000) was way overpriced, which isn’t the case for today. In fact, he’s gone from too expensive to too cheap. Gordon averages 22.04 DKFP per game, making him a solid value play despite his poor shooting to open the season. We can also consider P.J. Tucker ($3,600) in play since he averages nearly the same amount of DKFP as Gordon at 21.65 per game.
I am not sure there is a player I have written up in these NBA sims more frequently than Marc Gasol ($1,800). A core player for the Raptors, he averages 24.35 DKFP, yet he’s one of the cheapest players in this game. I am not sure why this is the case, but it happens every time the Raptors are on a slate, and he almost always ends up being a top value play. The only poor games Gasol has had are due to limited minutes either from returning from an injury or when he got injured during a game. He’s a safe play for salary savings and has decent upside since he’s scored at least 30 DKFP in a third of his games. Gasol is easily my favorite value play in this game.
Of the highest priced Raptors players, both Pascal Siakam ($9,800) and Kyle Lowry ($9,400) are viable plays. Lowry averages 41.36 DKFP, only slightly behind Siakam’s 42.45 DKFP per game average. Since the difference in price is minimal, we might as well go with Siakam as long as our cap space allows for it. The two are only $400 apart in salary and we typically see a price gap of at least $1,000 between these guys. With this said, neither of the Raptors’ stars are priorities over Harden or Westbrook.
Typically a solid play in these games, Fred VanVleet ($8,600) is a bit more expensive than what we normally see from him. FVV is scoring 36.96 DKFP per game and has upside, but he isn’t a priority play for me. There are spots where he’s had to step up and play a massive role for Toronto since Lowry has missed a handful of games. Those missed games from Lowry have almost always led to juicy stat lines for VanVleet. If we get one of those games it would be great, although I am not sure the price tag is worth the risk unless he is being rostered to fill out a lineup.
One player I definitely want to fade from Toronto is Norman Powell ($6,600). In the middle of a breakout season, Powell is averaging 27.19 DKFP, and we have seen him improve as he was forced into a bigger role when the Raptors dealt with injuries. The problem is that he’s really expensive and I would rather try to find the extra cap space to spend up for one of the All-Stars in this contest. This showdown slate sets up well for a stars and scrubs build.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) 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.