This week’s wild ride of alternating mini slates and giant slates is back to a jam-packed 11-game NBA schedule for Friday night on DraftKings. None of the 22 teams taking the floor will be playing for the second day in a row, although six are on the front end of back-to-back sets.
As always, injuries and absences are opening up opportunities for bargain plays to step up. There are still some key injuries to monitor as we approach tipoff, so be sure to stay up to date on all the latest news by following @dklive on Twitter and downloading the DK Live app. You can also get my bargain picks on Twitter (@ZT_Sports) each day of the NBA season. To help you find the best available cheap plays, I’ve listed my favorite bargain plays below. These players should be in a position to out-produce their salaries based on their form, matchup and expected workload.
SG/SF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks, $4,400
Vassell continues to play a larger role for the Spurs while Jakob Poeltl (health and safety protocols) remains sidelined. Vassell has played at least 25 minutes in seven of his past eight games with an 18.8% usage rate over that stretch and an average of 25.2 DKFP per contest. He had one rough shooting game against the Thunder but has at least 24 DKFP in four of his past five games. The second-year player is one of the Spurs' best defensive options and has been turning that into offensive production as well lately.
He already faced the Mavericks twice this season and had a season-high 21 points and a solid 30.75 DKFP in 30.5 minutes in their most recent meeting. He is coming off one of his best shooting games of the season as well after matching his season-high by knocking down five three-pointers and producing 27.27 DKFP against the Kings on Wednesday. Vassell has been a steady producer with good upside, so take advantage of his affordable price in this Texas-sized rematch with the Mavs.
SG Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,600
Monk’s usage in his first season with the Lakers has been inconsistent, but he should be lined up for enough work to be a good value play as the Lakers host the Timberwolves Friday. LeBron James (abdomen) and Austin Reaves (hamstring) are still out, and while Reaves isn’t a household name, he had been averaging 22.6 minutes per game over his six contests before getting hurt. With Reaves out Wednesday against the Heat, Monk exploded for 27 points, six rebounds, three assists and 41.5 DKFP. While expecting him to shoot 10-for-13 from the field as he did in that game is unrealistic, there are some encouraging signs that Monk should be able to continue to return value at this rock bottom price.
With Reaves out, Monk’s minutes jumped from 17 to 35 and his usage rate increased to 22.5%. It was his third straight game with a usage rate over 20%, and he has hit double-digit points in each of those contests, producing 26.0, 14.5 and 41.5 DKFP. He also had some big performances early in the season as a spot starter in place of James, so he has shown he can produce when given the chance, which it looks like he’ll get while Reaves is out.
SG/SF Josh Richardson, Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $3,300
The Celtics are also without an All-Star, missing Jaylen Brown (hamstring), but they have only played two games since losing Brown last week thanks to a lighter schedule. In those two games, Richardson has been very involved in the second unit and played over 30 minutes. While Dennis Schroder ($6,200) has been good in the starting lineup and had his price adjusted as a result, Richardson’s price has stayed extremely affordable, actually going down in each of his past few games.
Without Brown, Richardson posted 22.5 DKFP on 13 points over 31 minutes against the Mavericks followed by 28.25 DKFP on 15 points over 33 minutes against the Raptors. The Dallas game was close throughout, but the Celtics ran away from Toronto, showing Richardson’s workload and contributions appear safe regardless of game script. While he hasn’t flashed the upside of Vassell and isn’t coming off a huge game like Monk, Richardson is a proven player in a significant role who is still available at a rock-bottom price.
C Tony Bradley, Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors, $3,000
Continuing our theme of players stepping into larger roles for sidelined stars, Bradley could be in for all the work he can handle over the next couple of weeks after Nikola Vucevic (health and safety protocols) tested positive for COVID-19 and is expected to miss multiple games. The Bulls were already very thin up front after losing Patrick Williams (wrist) for the season, and there isn’t much size available outside of Bradley. Javonte Green ($3,000), Alize Johnson ($3,100) and Derrick Jones Jr. ($3,100) will likely get some run at center in smaller lineups, but Bradley should serve as an anchor for as much work as he can handle. While I’m not sure I’m totally sold that he’s going to be a fantasy stud over the next few weeks, he should have no problem returning value at only $3K in this contest, especially if he’s starting.
The 24-year-old had only played an average of 10.0 minutes per game this season, averaging 9.63 DKFP on 2.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, but he has shown potential in the past. Last season, he averaged 1.08 DKFP per minute over his 22 games with the Thunder and actually made eight starts for the 76ers before being traded at the deadline. In those eight starts, he averaged 7.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 blocks. He had 20 DKFP or more in half of those games, including a 40.75 DKFP performance in his best game of the season. In that contest, he had 18 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. While it’s no guarantee of a repeat performance, it is worth noting that Bradley’s big game came in a visit to Golden State—the same matchup he’ll be in for this contest.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat. (CT).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/MI/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.