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 Heat and Kings, which locks at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Set your FREE to play lineups here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (MIA vs SAC)
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
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.
The Heat have the two most expensive plays on the slate in Jimmy Butler ($11,400) and Bam Adebayo ($10,600). Butler deserves his price tag, as not only the most productive player but the most consistent. He averages 20-6-6 with 1.7 steals and posted three triple-doubles in his 54 games. Butler also had a 33-9-9 game and another outing just one board away from a triple-double. Sacramento should give us the value to pay up for the safety of Butler.
There’s a reason Bam has shifted to the heavy favorite on DK Sportsbook to win Most Improved Player this season — and in an extremely competitive field. Bam averages a double-double with 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, achieving that bonus often. But he’s a great passer for a big too, averaging 5.1 assists per game and bringing triple-double upside on occasion. Adebayo had three triple-doubles during the season but was close on numerous other occasions. Getting exposure to both Miami studs is an ideal build if you can achieve it.
The value on Miami is pretty thin, and there are some easily identifiable fades. Goran Dragic ($5,800) is the next most expensive player I’d consider, but he suffered some injuries during the season, so there are a lot of outcomes that could turn up. But when healthy, Dragic showed a 25-8-5 type of ceiling in a handful of games, which would be a great outcome.
Jae Crowder ($4,600) seems to be a strong mid-priced play, but we only have a 13-game sample with Miami. However, he scored 13 or more points in eight of those games and was rebounding well. Crowder played 35-plus minutes on a lot of occasions this season for someone this cheap.
Derrick Jones Jr. ($3,000) was a larger part of the rotation than I remember. He started 15 of 51 games, and averaged 24.5 minutes — but there are several occasions where the Heat were lacking bodies and he played big minutes. He’s a great place to target cheap upside.
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 ($9,400) 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 ($6,400) and particularly Richaun Holmes ($2,400) 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 $6,400. 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 $2,400.
I want to stack Butler, Bam and Fox on this slate to maximize upside, which leaves me two realistic CPT options. Richaun Holmes ($3,600 CPT) and Derrick Jones Jr. ($4,500 CPT) are the two highest-upside values, giving us the most flexibility.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.