The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Friday’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 big slate.
Set your lineups here: NBA $500K Friday Shootaround [$100K to 1st]
Worth Paying Up For: De’Aaron Fox, SAC vs. BKN ($7,600)
Outside of a bust in a blowout loss to the Magic, Fox has been fire in three of four bubble games. The Kings are on the outside looking in when it comes to the postseason, but they still have something to play for. Fox has scored at least 49.0 DKFP in each of his other three games, playing 37-39 minutes in each. He should torch the Nets at a very reasonable price tag.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ish Smith, WAS vs. NOP ($5,000)
If you’re looking for the game with the most pace, Washington-New Orleans is probably the one to target. There’s a little bit of blowout risk on the Pelicans’ side, but Ish’s minutes should be safe regardless. The Pelicans really struggle defending guards — just look at what Sacramento did to them on Thursday. Scoring 28.0 or more DKFP in three of his four bubble games, this should be a good spot for Smith to continue his success.
Some of the strongest plays on the slate are at point guard, and without much star power to pay up for at other positions, this could be a slate we look to balance lineups and play a few top PGs. On top of Fox, Ja Morant ($8,500), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,800) and even Kemba Walker ($6,000) stand out as plays. Kemba should play about 30 minutes, and checks in at a discount. He’s played well in the bubble, but just in limited run. He’s averaged over 37.0 DKFP in three games against the Raptors this season.
Worth Paying Up For: Caris LeVert, BKN vs. SAC ($7,100)
LeVert’s salary plummeted after a tough game against the Celtics, but it was an awful spot for him — the Celtics made a point to key in on defense after LeVert scored 51 against them in March. Now he gets a much more attractive matchup against the Kings, and the Nets could be without some key pieces, only upping his usage.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Troy Brown Jr., WAS vs. NO ($5,500)
Brown was one of the players I overlooked entering bubble play, with the Wizards missing key scorers. He’s topped 30.0 DKFP in three straight games, including over 50.0 DKFP against the Nets. The Pelicans present one of the best matchups for opposing wings, leaving Brown in a high ceiling spot.
At SG you’re either paying up for LeVert at a discount or digging for value. There’s not much in-between. The only lineup strategy I’d suggest here is if you want to go the three PG route, but also play two centers, SGA can be slotted at SG. That helps you fit three at PG and G, while playing a second center in UTIL.
Worth Paying Up For: None
I rarely leave a spot blank, but it’s that kind of slate. I think you want to invest at PG and C, and that roster construction becomes more simple when the best plays are the position are mid-priced or cheaper.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Danilo Gallinari ($5,600)
Gallo has been floating right around 30.0 DKFP in the two games that Schroder has missed. He shot poorly against the Lakers and only played 25 minutes with OKC earning the blowout win. There should be more minutes here in a strong matchup, and his salary is yet to go up in Schroder’s absence.
SF is probably the weakest position on the slate. Outside of Gallo, you can roster Brown here to fit more guards, or target some Sacramento wings in a great spot against Brooklyn.
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Worth Paying Up For: Pascal Siakam, TOR vs. BOS ($8,200)
I think paying up for PF options in this game could wind up being a popular option on this slate, and one I’m not all that fond of. The Boston side will be more popular, though; so, from a GPP perspective, I’d take a look at Siakam. Boston hasn’t played well defensively in the bubble and Siakam’s salary is down after a poor start in Orlando. He did drop 46/0 DKFP on the Celtics the only time he faced them this season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kyle Anderson, MEM vs. OKC ($4,400)
Brandon Clarke ($4,900) chalk didn’t work out as we expected in the first game without JJJ, as Anderson was just as much, if not more involved. I think going with the less popular name at a discount could be the play this time around. Anderson scored 25.75 DKFP in 30 minutes against Utah.
I’m pretty set on fading paying up for Celtics and Raptors, which leaves the mid-priced guys. The Grizzlies and Kings have the most value here, while Gallo is PF-eligible.
Worth Paying Up For: Joel Embiid, PHI vs. ORL ($10,500)
The Magic aren’t an ideal matchup here, but with no must-play studs on this slate, it’s tough to fade Embiid in the first game Ben Simmons is sidelined with a knee injury. Embiid scored 44.25 DKFP in 31 minutes against Orlando this season, but should see more usage this time around. He’s scored at least 45.0 DKFP in each game in he bubble, while he exploded for 81.25 DKFP against the Pacers and 58.25 against the Wizards.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Derrick Favors, NOP vs. WAS ($5,200)
I think this is a good buy-low spot on Favors. Opposing centers have dominated Washington so far, and Favors is pretty cheap off a dud against the Kings. I’m a bit worried about his minutes, but this should be Favors’ most productive game in the bubble by a pretty wide margin.
If you have the salary, I prefer going to the other side of this matchup for Thomas Bryant ($7,200). His price is catching up to him, but he’s still not overpriced, and the matchup against the Pelicans is equally as favorable. It’s also worth mentioning more of a load falls on Nikola Vucevic’s ($7,800) shoulders with two Orlando frontcourt players out. He’s managed just fine against Embiid in the past.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Ben Simmons (knee)
Aaron Gordon (hamstring)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee)
Dennis Schroder (personal)
Joanthan Isaac (knee)
Jamal Crawford (knee)
Jarrett Allen (ankle)
Joe Harris (groin)
Mike Scott (knee)
Michael Carter-Williams (foot)
Tyus Jones (knee)
Glenn Robinson Jr. (hip)
Set your lineups here: NBA $500K Friday Shootaround [$100K to 1st]
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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.