The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Monday’s five-gamer tips off at 4:00 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.
Set your lineups here: NBA $800K Monday Shootaround [$200K to 1st]
Worth Paying Up For: Ja Morant, MEM vs. NO ($7,300)
This is by no means a star-studded slate, which means balancing the lineup out with mid-priced plays and picking a spot or two to pay up. Morant is the perfect balance piece, playing spectacular in the bubble and entering a paced-up matchup. Morant’s averaging just under 48 DKFP in his two bubble games and the Pelicans rank 23rd in DKFP allowed to PG.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ish Smith, WAS vs. IND ($4,700)
One of the questions entering the eight seeding games was exactly how the Wizards would distribute production with so many key pieces missing. Smith’s been one of the major contributors, topping 30 DKFP in both outings thus far in the bubble. The Pacers could also be extremely shorthanded in the backcourt.
Point guard continues to be one of the most productive positions and offers a ton of flexibility. The Jazz and Spurs are other teams missing key players that also offer value.
Worth Paying Up For: Jrue Holiday, NO vs. MEM ($8,700)
A combo of shooting guard being thin and point guard being deep leads us to Holiday at SG. Holiday’s been awful in the bubble games, particularly the blowout at the hand of the Clippers. But Holiday was tremendous prior to the shutdown and extremely efficient against Memphis this season — 47.5 DKFP in 28 minutes per game.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Derrick White, SAS vs. PHI ($5,700)
The Spurs are one of the biggest bubble surprises, off to a 2-0 start despite the absences of LaMarcus Aldridge, Trey Lyles and Bryn Forbes. White has been the guy stepping up, scoring 47 DKFP against the Kings and 35.5 DKFP against the Grizzlies. He also scored over 47 DKFP in his last game before the shutdown. Philly looked extremely sloppy against the Pacers.
Basically, we’re jamming as many PG plays in as we can. The most expensive pure SG play on the slate is $5,100.
Worth Paying Up For: T.J. Warren, IND vs. WAS ($7,400)
Warren seems to be enjoying his trip to Disney World thus far, dropping 53 points on the Sixers on Saturday night. I don’t expect another 70 DKFP on 20-for-29 shooting performance, but the 41 minutes played as the Pacers’ go-to-guy was telling. Indy is extremely thin right now and has a perfect matchup against Washington.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Torrey Craig, DEN vs. OKC ($4,500)
Denver was missing all three starting perimeter players in its opening loss to the Heat and will be missing two or three for this contest against OKC. Craig should start and play significant minutes by necessity — 25.5 DKFP in 28 minutes on Saturday.
Warren is pretty much must play, but can be slotted at either forward spot. Considering the lack of studs in strong spots, you can justify paying up for a LeBron James ($10,700) or Ben Simmons ($9,100), even if they aren’t in the best spots.
Worth Paying Up For: Brandon Ingram, NO vs. MEM ($8,100)
Ingram hasn’t been on his game thus far in the bubble but has played well in a pair of games against Memphis this season averaging 40 DKFP in 30 minutes per game. Both of these teams are 0-2 since the restart so I expect a competitive game with a lot of points, which is good for stacking the top plays in this game.
Worth Paying Up For: Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM at NO ($6,200)
Jackson isn’t your typical value spot but the position is thin and if we don’t pay up for studs, plays like this are easy to fit. New Orleans actually defends power forwards well but Jackson managed 32.5 DKFP in his lone matchup against the Pels. JJJ is averaging about 38 DKFP in the bubble thus far.
Denver might offer some value here just given the lack of bodies, otherwise I only see two other PF options. You can play Warren here or turn to the MEM/NO game.
Worth Paying Up For: Joel Embiid, PHI vs. SAS ($10,300)
Without a must-play stud, Embiid stands as the closest thing. He had 41 points and 21 boards against the Pacers, good for 81.25 DKFP. The matchup against the Spurs should be another dominant spot. San Antonio is without its starting frontcourt of Aldridge and Lyles, leaving little in Embiid’s way. He went for 46.5 DKFP in just 27 minutes against the Spurs earlier this season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Thomas Bryant, WAS vs. IND ($6,300)
Bryant shredded the depleted Nets frontcourt on Sunday, racking up 30 points and 13 boards in 34 minutes (59.75 DKFP). Now he gets a matchup against the Indy frontcourt that Embiid just handled. Not exactly the same talent but the matchup stands out as an elite one.
It’s almost certainly a two-center slate. Embiid and Bryant will be tough fades for me but Nikola Jokic ($9,400) is the other consideration. He fell apart late against Miami but averaged over 60 DKFP in two matchups against the Thunder this season.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Domantas Sabonis (foot)
Will Barton (knee)
Bojan Bogdanovic (wrist)
Gary Harris (hip)
Jeremy Lamb (knee)
Mike Scott (knee)
Tyus Jones (knee)
Jamal Murray (hamstring)
Malcolm Brogdon (neck)
Marco Belinelli (foot)
Bryn Forbes (quad)
Victor Oladipo (knee)
Glenn Robinson Jr. (hip)
LeBron James (groin)
Antony Davis (eye)
Kyle Kuzma (ankle)
Royce O’Neale (foot)
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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.