Happy New Year everybody! 2020 is officially in the books, and the NBA is celebrating the start of 2021 with a 10-game NBA slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings lineups.
D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Washington Wizards ($7,500) – Russell has struggled over his past two games, scoring just 9.0 and 36.25 DKFP, but he still figures to benefit from the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves have suffered two blowout losses in those two contests, which has resulted in fewer minutes than usual for Russell. He averaged 1.19 DKFP per minute with Towns off the court last season, so he has the potential to score a bunch of fantasy points if he can return to his usual workload on today’s slate.
The Timberwolves have a much friendlier matchup today vs. the Wizards. They rank just 26th in defensive efficiency to start the season, and the Timberwolves are merely one-point underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Other Options – Trae Young ($10,100), Steph Curry ($9,600)
Raul Neto, Washington Wizards vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($3,400) – On the other side of that matchup, Russell Westbrook is expected to get the night off on the second leg of a back-to-back. That means Neto should move into the starting lineup. He was excellent in his first game without Westbrook, finishing with 40.5 DKFP over 32.2 minutes, and he’s averaged 0.99 DKFP per minute overall this season. He is expected to be one of the highest-owned plays on the slate, but I’m not sure how you can avoid him at his current salary.
Other Options – Ricky Rubio ($5,200), Tyus Jones ($5,100), Desmond Bane ($3,700)
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,400) – Beal is an excellent bet to lead the Wizards in usage with Westbrook out of the lineup. He’s increased his usage rate to 36.4% with Westbrook off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.24 DKFP per minute. He played 39.1 minutes in his first game without Westbrook, so he has an immense ceiling in a great matchup vs. the Timberwolves.
Other Options – Zach LaVine ($7,600), Donovan Mitchell ($6,800)
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets ($5,400) – This game between the Hawks and Nets has the potential for a ton of offense. These two teams combined for 286 points on Wednesday, and the total for today’s matchup sits at 244.5 on DraftKings Sportsbook. That’s easily the top mark on the slate.
The Hawks will also continue to be without Danilo Gallinari, which means Bogdanovic should see a healthy workload off the bench. He’s played at least 28.7 minutes in each of his past three games, and he’s finished with at least 33.5 DKFP in each of his past two. He would become an even stronger option if De’Andre Hunter is unable to suit up – he’s currently listed as questionable – so make sure to monitor his status at @dklive and by using the DK Live App.
Other Options – Josh Richardson ($4,900), Cam Reddish ($4,700), Troy Brown ($3,500)
DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($7,300) – DeRozan has the chance to be one of the best values on the slate if LaMarcus Aldridge is unable to suit up. Aldridge is currently listed as questionable after missing their last contest, and DeRozan has increased his usage rate by 3.8 percentage points with Aldridge off the court this season. The result is an average of 1.35 DKFP per minute in that situation, and DeRozan played 36.0 minutes without Aldridge in their last game. Overall, DeRozan has scored at least 41.75 DKFP in three of his first four games, so he’s too cheap at his current price tag.
Other Options – Jayson Tatum ($8,600), Gordon Hayward ($7,100)
Garrett Temple, Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks ($3,600) – A lot of the best value plays at SG are also available at SF, but let’s add Temple’s name into the mix. He’s seen at least 28.4 minutes off the bench in each of his past two contests, and he should continue to see a healthy amount of playing time given the Bulls' current roster situation. They have three guards currently unavailable due to health and safety protocols. The Bucks represent a very tough test for Temple, but they also play at an extremely fast pace. That makes them a solid matchup for fantasy despite being such a good defensive team.
Other Options – Kyle Anderson ($6,000), Kelly Oubre ($5,800)
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks ($9,100) – Durant’s salary for his last matchup was an absolute joke. He was priced at just $8,400, and he responded by scoring 63.25 DKFP. His current price tag is a bit more reasonable, but it’s still too cheap given the number of minutes he’s playing. He has not been limited at all to start the season, and he’s played at least 35 minutes in each of his past two contests. Durant has historically averaged 51.01 DKFP in games where he’s played at least 34 minutes, and this is a potential smash spot vs. the Hawks.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000), John Collins ($7,200)
Jarrett Culver, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Washington Wizards ($4,100) – Towns is not the only injury that the Wolves are dealing with at the moment. Josh Okogie is also out of the lineup, and while that injury isn’t nearly the same magnitude, it does open up a bunch of minutes for Culver. Okogie has averaged 25.0 minutes per game this season, and Culver replaced him in the starting lineup last game vs. the Clippers. He struggled with just 16.0 DKFP, but he shot a dreadful 0-10 from the field in that contest. If he manages to find the hoop vs. the Wizards, he has the potential to be one of the best value plays on the slate.
Other Options – Derrick Jones Jr. ($3,800), Thaddeus Young ($3,500)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns ($10,600) – Jokic has been on an absolute mission to start the season. He’s recorded a triple-double in three of his first four games, and he currently leads the league with an average of 13.5 assists per game. Jokic is also shooting a ridiculous 62.5% from the field and 40.0% from 3-point range. Add it all up, and he’s averaged 1.77 DKFP per minute to start the season.
That production is probably unsustainable over the course of a full season, but he should continue to serve as one of the premier fantasy players in the league. He’s capable of dominating a game as a scorer, rebounder, or passer, which is something that very few players can say.
Other Options – Jonas Valanciunas ($8,300), Rudy Gobert ($7,400)
Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($6,300) – Bryant is a bit more expensive than the typical “value” play, but he stands out as arguably the best center option on the slate. He’s coming off 40.75 DKFP yesterday vs. the Bulls, and he should have no problems replicating that production vs. the short-handed Timberwolves. He’s added a 3-point shot to his repertoire this season – he went 3-3 from behind the arc in yesterday’s contest – and he remains an excellent producer around the rim on both offense and defense.
Other Options – Naz Reid ($5,200), Brandon Clarke ($5,100), Daniel Gafford ($3,000)
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