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 Clippers and Pistons, which locks at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Set your DraftKings lineups here: Simulated Basketball $2K FREE Contest (LAC vs DET)
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
Los Angeles Clippers
Despite having an impressive roster, the Clippers haven’t been in many simulations where the pricing list has been this stacked in LA’s favor. The Clippers come into this afternoon’s slate with the five most-expensive assets, the direct result of being opposed by an underwhelming squad like the Pistons. We’ll get into that aspect of it all a little later, but, for now, let’s focus of Kawhi Leonard ($11,200). There’s no question that the reigning Finals MVP is the best player available, as Leonard has averaged a whopping 48.7 DKFP per game so far in 2019-20. Ironically, the robotic forward has also had a machine-like level of consistency throughout the season when it comes to his day-to-day DFS outputs, as Leonard’s exceeded 40.0 DKFP in an eye-popping 84.3% of his 51 starts. To properly put that figure in perspective, Montrezl Harrell ($10,600) and Lou Williams ($9,800) - each hovering around the $10K plateau - have managed the same feat in just 25.4% and 20.0% of their opportunities, respectively.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily make either a poor play on this slate, as you’ll have to find raw DKFP upside somewhere. But it needs to be pointed out that Paul George ($8,800) should probably be the second-highest priced asset on Monday. Not only does the former first-round pick actually rank second on Los Angeles in average DKFP per contest (39.4), but his upside in phenomenal, with six 50.0 DKFP performances in just 42 games. Yes, George comes with some risk, as a minutes restriction has limited his production following a lengthy injury absence. However, at the same time, the former All-Star has surpassed the aforementioned 40.0 DKFP mark in 42.9% of his chances. Considering he has both a higher ceiling and higher floor than Harrell and Williams, you might even have to think about sticking George into the Captain’s slot to take full advantage of his incorrect salary.
Still, it’s not all expensive players and big names when it comes to the Clippers. The team also has a fewer cheaper options that could prove useful on this slate. The first man that leaps off the pricing list is Patrick Beverley ($3,000). Though he checks in at exactly $3K, Beverley has been a very productive asset so far in 2019-20, exceeding 20.0 DKFP in a strong 68.8% of his 48 appearances. Essentially, for our purposes, that means the veteran has an amazing chance of reaching at least 6x value this afternoon. Reggie Jackson ($1,600) is another player to keep an eye on, as he has eclipsed 15.0 DKFP in 16 of his 23 games this season. In fact, Jackson has also managed to score over 30.0 DKFP nine times, making him extremely enticing at this much of a discounted salary.
While it would be easy to dismiss the entire Pistons roster as subpar, the team’s players have fallen so far in price for this Showdown contest that it’s suddenly hard to ignore the viability of a few. Take Derrick Rose ($7,200) as a perfect example. In a vacuum, Rose is essentially a poor man’s Williams. However, with Rose literally $2K less than Williams on this slate, you sort of have to take notice of the former league MVP. Rose has pieced together a nice season in Detroit, exceeding 30.0 DKFP in 60.0% of his 50 games. Would you like to take a guess as to how often Williams has surpassed the 30.0 DKFP plateau in 2019-20? Well, it’s also exactly 60.0% of the time, so it’s really difficult to see a way you’d be leaving the more cost-effective asset out of lineups.
That’s not where the savings stop, either. Christian Wood ($6,400) possesses a ton of dollar-for-dollar upside, as he has averaged a whopping 40.9 DKFP in his chances to start in 2019-20. Unfortunately, he’s only been called upon to do that in 12 of his 62 total appearances but that doesn’t detract from his overall ceiling. Then there’s the saga of Blake Griffin ($5,800), who would technically be playing in a classic revenge game scenario on Monday. The former All-Star was clearly operating at less than 100% health during his 18 contests, yet he was still putting up some decent fantasy outputs. To wit, Griffin eclipsed the 28.0 DKFP plateau 10 times this season, giving the forward a respectable opportunity to reach 5x value on this slate.
Finally, there’s the trio of Luke Kennard ($4,200), Jordan McRae ($3,600) and Bruce Brown ($1,000). Kennard’s campaign was cut short due to injury, yet the Duke product’s success while healthy was undeniable. Aside from sitting third on the Pistons in DKFP average (28.3), Kennard also managed to exceed 25.0 DKFP in 15 of his 28 games. Conversely, McRae is less about floor and more about upside, as the guard has scored at least 20.0 DKFP in 59.5% of his 37 appearances, while additionally being an asset that’s cleared the 50.0 DKFP threshold three times in 2019-20. As for Brown, this price just doesn’t make any sense. Brown’s put up an above-average 23.8 DKFP per game this season while managing to exceed 20.0 DKFP in 63.8% of his opportunities. Heck, Brown’s only scored fewer than 10.0 DKFP five times. He’s basically a free space with a salary all the way down at the minimum.
There’s so, so many possibilities when it comes to choosing a Captain for this slate, but I think I’d narrow down the choices to these three players: Kawhi Leonard ($16,800 CP), Paul George ($13,200 CP) and Derrick Rose ($10,800 CP). Leonard’s easily the safest play on the board but both George and Rose seem undervalued based off the price of players like Harrell and Williams. I guess there’s also a scenario where you could stick Bruce Brown ($1,500 CP) atop your lineup and have $9.7K left to spend on each FLEX slot, but that might be just a hair too cute.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.