The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Friday’s six-gamer tips off at 2:30 p.m. ET and continues with games tipping off all the way through 9:00 p.m. ET. This makes following along with all the news on DK Live even more important. Here are some lineup thoughts heading into the first big slate.
To celebrate the return of the NBA, DraftKings is hosting a Millionaire contest that pays out $3 million in total prizes, including $1 million to the winner. In addition $1 million, the winner will also earn a ticket to the Big Game in Tampa in February 2021 to compete for another $1M top prize.
Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, DAL vs. HOU ($10,500)
Doncic has looked good in scrimmages in Orlando and should benefit from playing at a rapid pace against the Rockets. This game has the highest total on the board by a mile, and the last two meetings between these two teams have yielded 260 and 249 points. Doncic played in just one of those games, posting a 41-10-6 line for 71 DKFP.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Dejounte Murray, SAS vs. SAC ($6,100)
Already without LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) and Trey Lyles (appendectomy), Bryn Forbes (quad) will also be sidelined, creating more minutes for Murray in the backcourt. Missing so much firepower, this should be a spot for Murray to step up as one of the young stars on this team. Murray’s dominated the Kings this season, averaging 40 DKFP in a pair of contests.
PG is super flexible on this slate, so I don’t think you need much advice. You’ll likely use your other guard spot on a PG, and potentially slot another one in at SG or UTIL. Another player I want to give mention to is Donte DiVincenzo ($4,900), who is also PG/SG eligible. He essentially scored 30-plus DKFP in his last three games before the shutdown and 30 DKFP in his only game against Boston this season. He should see an expanded role with the Bucks missing some guards.
Worth Paying Up For: Devin Booker, PHO vs. WAS ($8,800)
Booker’s just too cheap for a matchup against Washington, with the only downside a potential blowout. Booker was hitting a groove with Kelly Oubre (knee) out of the lineup and scored at least 45 DKFP in his last four games before the shutdown. With Bradley Beal (shoulder) sidelined, Booker should only have an easier time taking care of business against one of the league’s softest defenses.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Shabazz Napier, WAS vs. PHO ($5,700)
Napier is more of a PG, but has eligibility at both guard positions. He’s one of my top overall plays on this slate, checking in at just $100 more than his last game. Napier was averaging 45 DKFP in his final two games, but that was with Beal and Davis Bertans (Opt-out) on the floor. Even if this one gets ugly, I expect Napier to see big minutes and continue producing.
I’m probably just looking to stay flexible enough to fit three PG plays in my lineup, although Booker pops as my top SG play. James Harden ($11,000) averaged over 68 DKFP in two games against Dallas this season, so while I lean Doncic, you could always game stack HOU/DAL.
Worth Paying Up For: Caris LeVert, BKN vs. ORL ($7,800)
The Nets are just so thin without their two studs, along with four players opting-out of playing in the Orlando bubble. LeVert was on an insane run before the league shutdown, scoring 60 DKFP three times in his last eight games. He played well against the Magic earlier in the season and should see monster usage with this roster the Nets have. LeVert’s only downside is Brooklyn getting blown out or facing an unusual amount of double teams.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Rudy Gay, SA vs. SAC ($5,300)
I already mentioned all the key pieces missing for the Spurs, and while Gay may continue to come off the bench, his scoring is absolutely necessary. San Antonio’s scoring options are just too scarce not to fore Rudy to go back to some of his old ways as a go-to-scorer. The matchup against Sacramento, one of Gay’s former teams, should be played at a favorable pace.
SF is one of the weaker positions on the slate. If you fade LeVert, who should be a popular play, you could consider slotting Doncic at SF to pay down for more of the cheap guard value. Jayson Tatum ($8,700) could be a contrarian tournament play because of the matchup against the Bucks, but should be called upon to step up with Kemba Walker ($7,100) limited to 18-20 minutes. Tatum was on a tear prior to the shutdown.
Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. BOS ($10,500)
Giannis is the clear-cut stud at the PF position and has played right to his average of 60 DKFP in two games against the Celtics. I think Giannis is a safe play, particularly for cash, but I can’t justify rostering him over Doncic or Harden. That matchup should feature too much production to fade for a Bucks vs. Celtics matchup.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM vs. POR ($4,900)
If you do stack HOU/DAL with both studs, Jackson is one of the top values to help you do that. JJJ was averaging 30 DKFP prior to his injury back in February, but he’s a full-go at this stage. Three game prior to getting hurt, Jackson was $6,400, so we’re getting a massive discount here, in a near perfect matchup. Portland has allowed the most DKFP to opposing PFs and will be without Trevor Ariza (Opt-out), their best defensive presence to defend Jackson.
Danuel House ($3,800) is another value piece worth mentioning and will be starting for Houston in place of Eric Gordon (ankle). House was already averaging over 25 DKFP this season. Rui Hachimura ($7,400) has been a popular name because of how many scorers the Wizards lost, but it doesn’t mean he’s a “value play.” He was $4,900 the last time we saw him, so he’s actually probably overpriced.
Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. BKN ($8,500)
The Nets are one of the smallest teams in the bubble because of how many players they had opt-out, which isn’t good when opposing Vucevic. Vuce is always a consideration to roster against the Nets to begin with, who rank 24th in DKFP allowed to centers. That number will only drop in this instance.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jarrett Allen, BKN vs. ORL ($5,800)
The Nets might be thin, but unless Allen gets into foul trouble, he should need to play a lot — especially against a big team like Orlando. Allen’s averaging over 31 DKFP in two games against Orlando this season and should play significant minutes.
If you want another stacking option for HOU/DAL, Kristaps Porzingis ($8,600) makes a whole lot of sense as a third star, or a pivot of Doncic. KP scored nearly 54 DKFP per game against Houston this season. Hassan Whiteside ($8,100) is an easy fade for me, with Portland returning two key PF/C plays.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Eric Bledsoe (illness)
Pat Connaughton (illness)
Alex Len (conditioning)
Kelly Oubre (knee)
Tyus Jones (knee)
Eric Gordon (ankle)
Bryn Forbes (quad)
LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder)
Trey Lyles (apendectomy)
Bradley Beal (shoulder)
Jonathan Isaac (knee)
Dario Saric (ankle)
Aron Baynes (illness)
Wes Iwundu (concussion)
Jamal Crawford (conditioning)
Marvin Williams (groin)
Rodions Kurucs (hip)
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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.