Barring any cancellations, we’ve got ourselves a nice little five-game featured slate tonight on DraftKings, with more than enough value to make things interesting. It’s anyone’s guess who the Rockets will be able to have active less than 24 hours after reportedly trading James Harden to Brooklyn, while the Heat are still dealing with a bunch of starters in the league’s health and safety protocols.
How will everything shake out? Let’s go position-by-position and break it all down.
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors, $7,600 - This is the highest we’ve seen Ball’s price point all season long, but I’m not going to let that — or an underwhelming performance on Wednesday — scare me away from utilizing him on the second night of a back-to-back. Ball is averaging a team-best 1.31 DKFP per minute so far in 2020-21 and it’s unlikely that efficiency is effected by squaring off with a Raptors defense that’s allowing 118.7 opponent points per 100 possessions across its past six games. Add in that Gordon Hayward ($7,800; hip) is questionable to suit up, and this becomes a very tantalizing spot.
Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, $4,200 - I have a hard time believing that the undermanned Heat will be able to force another overtime session in tonight’s rematch against the 76ers, but, as was the case on Tuesday, Erik Spoelstra will have just eight players at his disposal. That means more big minutes for Vincent, who scored 24 points in that eventual 137-134 loss, which was almost as many career points (29) as the guard had come into the night with. While a repeat performance might not be in the cards, Vincent was second on Miami in usage rate (25.6%) and third in touches (65). I can’t see why that volume would change on Thursday.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, $7,300 - Herro’s price is up $600 from where it was on Tuesday, but that’s not nearly enough of an adjustment for an asset that posted a 36.2% usage rate and 49.25 DKFP. Again, Herro was definitely aided by a script we’re unlikely to see again — especially with the 76ers likely getting Tobias Harris ($7,900) and Shake Milton ($5,200) back in the fold — but I simply don’t see how Herro doesn’t take 20-plus shots in this contest. Don’t forget, the sophomore is also technically Miami’s lead guard, and he dished out 10 potential assists in Tuesday’s loss. He’s going to stuff the stat sheet.
Editor’s Note: Rockets SG/SF Eric Gordon (leg) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Spurs.
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs , $5,100 - It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Rockets have no guards left on their roster, which is really ironic when you consider last year’s team. Anyway, Harden’s in Brooklyn, John Wall (knee) has been ruled out for tonight and Chris Clemons (Achilles) has been sidelined all season. There’s reinforcements on the way, but they won’t be in San Antonio on Thursday. That leaves Gordon, who should have a massive role if he’s able to play through his own questionable designation due to a leg issue. If he’s not, set your sights down to Ben McLemore ($3,400) in a spot where the former lottery pick might need to log 45 minutes out of sheer desperation.
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets, $6,100 - Honestly, small forward is an absolute mess on this slate. DeMar DeRozan ($8,000; personal) and Hayward are viable if they’re active, but aside from them, you’re best hunting in the mid-tier. Johnson’s value is obviously also tied to the status of DeRozan, though the young forward has put together a few solid performances playing alongside the former All-Star so far this season. Specifically in San Antonio’s past three games, Johnson is averaging a staggering 38.0 minutes. That’s a level of volume that’s incredibly intriguing at just over $6K.
David Nwaba, Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs, $3,200 - Nwaba’s viability is more clear if the aforementioned Gordon is eventually ruled out, yet, at this price, that’s not something that needs to occur for you to use the wing. To put it in simple terms, Nwaba will likely see more than 25 minutes of action this evening and, in the four games he’s crossed that threshold so far in 2020-21, he’s averaged 19.8 DKFP. There’s nothing ever wrong with 6x value.
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers, $9,500 - On a slate with so much uncertainty, it’s nice to have someone like Sabonis in your lineup. The All-Star has registered at least 39.0 DKFP in 10 of his 11 starts so far this season, the result of posting a double-double in all but one contest. He’s just such a high-floor asset. Sabonis leads the NBA in passes made per game (81.9) and touches per game (105.3), while he sits second in minutes per game (37.7). Basically, you can rest assured that he’ll be out on the court — in an involved role — in the matchup that has the slate’s highest implied total. Sounds good to me.
Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers, $4,400 - I think you get the point with all these Heat players, so I won’t spend too much time explaining Achiuwa. Here’s all you need to know. The rookie is averaging 17.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per 36 minutes this season. On Tuesday, Achiuwa logged 35.6 minutes and posted a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. If he gets the opportunity, he’ll produce, and Miami has no other choice this evening.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors, $11,000 - Jokic is a great play on virtually any slate, but the challenge he presents an undersized Warriors roster is unique. There’s simply no one employed by Golden State who can hope to stop the hulking center. I mean, there’s a reason that the Warriors have the second-lowest total rebounding rate in the NBA (47.5%). I’d expect Jokic to absolutely dominate the paint and the glass, which should lead to his seventh game this season with at least 60.0 DKFP.
Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets, $6,500 - Don’t get lost in the debate of whether or not Boucher should be starting or not, the fact of the matter is he’s the only person Nick Nurse currently trusts — aside from OG Anunoby ($5,800) — to play center for the Raptors. Aron Baynes ($3,100) literally hasn’t seen a minute of action in over a week. Boucher is almost a lock to play 30 minutes in tonight’s contest, which is good news considering his 11.5% block rate is second in the league and he’s averaging 1.37 DKFP per minute.
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