The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Tuesday’s six-gamer tips off at 1:30 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 big slate.
Worth Paying Up For: Russell Westbrook, HOU vs. POR ($9,400)
The Rockets-Trail Blazers game is going to be quite the game stack, with the total sitting around 244. Westbrook might go overlooked given some of the other star power, but this is exactly his type of game. Westbrook’s averaging over 55 DKFP in the two bubble games and averaged an insane 68 DKFP in three prior contests against Portland this season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Malcolm Brogdon, IND vs. ORL ($5,400)
Brogdon was $7,000 in his last game in March and now checks in at a $1,600 discount after dropping 41.25 DKFP in 35 minutes in his first game in the bubble. Of course, production is easier to come by against the Wizards, and Victor Oladipo ($5,900) is expected to return to the floor for Indy. However, this should still be a strong spot for a very underpriced play. Brogdon went for 38 DKFP in 29 minutes in his lone matchup against Orlando this season.
The top four stud plays at PG are all in great spots and should soak up a ton of ownership. It’s probably a slate to find value at other positions. The Bucks are returning a couple of key backcourt pieces, so the value there is gone. The Nets are missing three key pieces against the Bucks, but salaries seem to be adjusted accordingly.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, HOU vs. POR ($11,300)
This is going to be a tough slate to fade Harden on. The only hole you can poke is that he was below average (by his standards) in three games against the Blazers this season — averaging just 43 DKFP. However, we’ve already seen Harden have an 85-DKFP game in the bubble, and this one should set up as a barnburner. While it’s a similar total to the last game against Milwaukee, Portland is nowhere near the same defensive team.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL vs. SAC ($6,100)
THJ went for 38 DKFP in the first bubble game against Houston and has played extremely well in this matchup against Sacramento, averaging 36 DKFP per game in three contests. This should be a fast paced game with plenty of scoring, and the likely absence of Seth Curry (leg) opens things up for THJ even more.
SG is a pretty thin position and lacks much traditional value. One play that stands out is Tyler Johnson ($6,600). On the surface, his $3,400 jump in salary after two 20-DKFP games makes no sense. Then you look at the Nets’ injury report. I’ll be curious to see his ownership, but at more than double the price he was Sunday, he’s an easy fade for me against the likes of the Bucks.
Worth Paying Up For: T.J. Warren, IND vs. ORL, ($8,000)
If there was an MVP award handed out for the eight-game bubble season, Warren would currently be the odds on favorite. Coming off consecutive 70-burgers, Warren’s obviously a bit pricey, but even with Indy getting back bodies in the backcourt, the frontcourt is still way too thin. Warren’s shooting percentage has to drop, but in the meantime, keep rolling him out there.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Gary Trent, POR vs. HOU ($4,300)
Trent is an easily forgotten piece of the Blazers’ rotation, but has been stepping in and getting some of Trevor Ariza’s minutes thus far. Trent’s averaging over 28 DKFP in 30 minutes per game in the two bubble games but remains reasonable priced for his most favorable matchup yet.
I think we’ve finally hit some fade spots for a lot of the top SF plays. You can slot Luka Doncic ($10,700) in here and pivot off the HOU/POR game, but otherwise, Warren’s the only target I want to pay up for. Some key names at the position have a chance to wind up resting, so pay attention.
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Worth Paying Up For: Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. HOU ($8,500)
Nurk is back in a big way, and PF eligibility due to all of Portland’s size is just a bonus. The big fella looked fantastic in his first action back from his gruesome leg injury, scoring over 50 DKFP in both bubble games without even getting a double-double bonus yet. He should feast on Houston’s small-ball lineup.
Worth Paying Up For: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, BKN vs. MIL ($5,300)
With so many bodies out for Brooklyn, we have to talk about targeting someone. TLC has a significant boost in salary, like the rest of the Nets, but should see a lot more run. TLC went for 33.5 DKFP in just 22 minutes against the Magic. This could be a similar spot against the Bucks, especially if this one gets out of hand as early as we think it may.
One thing that you cannot do is burn salary on Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900) with so many other elite options on this slate. If Giannis doesn’t feel the need to sit out against the Nets, he’ll likely get some quick run and then ride the bench. He went for 50 DKFP in 25 minutes against the Nets earlier this season, which wouldn’t be good enough at his price.
Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. IND ($7,800)
Vuce has quietly been killing bubble play, but in limited minutes. The Magic have dominated their opponents thus far, so Vuce is averaging just about 43 DKFP — but in just less than 26 minutes per game. This should be a more competitive contest against the Pacers, but Indy has an extremely weak frontcourt that’s already been dominated by Joel Embiid and Thomas Bryant.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Zach Collins, POR vs. HOU ($4,300)
Collins is averaging 32 minutes per game in two starts since returning to the lineup for bubble play. He’s a pretty well known value at this point, so you won’t catch anyone off guard rostering him, but the matchup sets up for a safe floor/high ceiling combo. We saw what the Bucks did inside with their size against Houston.
I want to pay up for multiple center plays in some lineups to be a bit contrarian off all the wings in HOU/POR. Kristaps Porzingis ($9,000) is another tremendous play, averaging over 60 DKFP in the two bubble games. The Kings have been horrible defensively, and KP averaged over 42 DKFP against them this season.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Domantas Sabonis (foot)
Caris LeVert (thigh)
Montrezl Harrell (personal)
Jonathan Isaac (knee)
Joe Harris (back)
Jarrett Allen (rest)
Kelly Oubre (knee)
Eric Gordon (ankle)
Wes Matthews (calf)
Lou Williams (quarantine)
Aron Baynes (conditioning)
Jamal Crawford (conditioning)
Alex Len (conditioning)
Seth Curry (leg)
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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.