Before the NBA takes a rare league-wide day off on Thanksgiving Day, there is a massive 13-game slate this Wednesday featuring all but four teams taking the floor. Enjoy the pre-Thanksgiving fantasy basketball feast with a huge night of contests on DraftKings. As usual, there are plenty of storylines and player statuses to monitor throughout the day by following @dklive on Twitter and downloading the DK Live app.
While more value will likely open up throughout the day, check out my top bargain picks that are listed and explained below to help save you some salary this Wednesday. Based on their form, matchup and expected workload, these four options enter the day with a chance to out-produce their very affordable price point. You can also find more bargain plays every day of the NBA season on my Twitter account, @ZT_Sports.
PF James Johnson, Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics, $4,200
Since the injuries to Bruce Brown (hamstring) and Joe Harris (ankle), Johnson has stepped into an expanded role for the Nets and filled up the box score in multiple categories. The versatile 12-year veteran gives the Nets some needed defensive toughness in their second unit and has been more aggressive on offense, taking 24 shots in the past two games after totaling just 12 shot attempts over his first eight appearances. Those eight appearances came across Brooklyn’s first 15 games of the season, and he only played 20 minutes twice. However, he has played over 20 minutes in each of his three most recent games, contributing 18.75, 39 and 26 DKFP.
His best game of the season came Friday against the Magic when he posted a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double in a game that Brown departed with hamstring soreness. Johnson remained in a more involved role and had nine points, four rebounds, five assists and 26 DKFP in a season-high 29 minutes Monday against the Cavaliers. Johnson has averaged 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.0 steals over those three contests to go with 8.7 points, so he should be able to contribute in multiple ways since Brown will remain sidelined for what should be a high-scoring game in Boston.
SF/PF Chuma Okeke, Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Hornets, $4,000
After missing the first six games of the regular season due to a bone bruise suffered in the preseason, Okeke has been staking his claim to a larger role in the Magic rotation, while rookie Franz Wagner ($3,900) has hit a significant rough patch. Okeke and Wagner are both recent first-round picks that the Magic are heavily invested in, but Okeke has been playing better lately and should continue to get more work in this very favorable spot against the Hornets.
Okeke has reached over 20 DKFP and double-digit scoring in three straight games, highlighted by a season-high 17 points in Orlando’s loss to the Nets last Friday. He came right back with 13 points and 21.25 DKFP the following night against the Bucks and had 12 points and 28.25 DKFP in the rematch in Milwaukee on Monday. The second-year forward added 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals to his 14.0 points per game over that three-game stretch, and his usage rate jumped to 19.7% over that span after only a 16.2% usage rate over his first nine games of the season. With more work and opportunity, he should thrive and be able to return value in this matchup.
PG/SG Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz, $3,700
The Thunder will be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) for a second straight game, as they return from their three-game road trip and host the Jazz. In SGA’s first absence of the season on Monday, the Thunder went with a bigger starting lineup moving Josh Giddey ($6,600) into the backcourt. Jerome still saw an expanded workload in the second unit, though, playing 16 minutes and producing season-highs with 15 points, four assists and three steals on his way to 29.25 DKFP.
Jerome has hit double-digit point totals in three straight games and has reached that threshold in six straight games in which he has played at least 14 minutes. He has only reached 19 minutes in two games this season and produced 22 and 25.25 DKFP in those two contests. On the year, he’s averaging 0.96 DKFP per minute, but he has been offering a nice offensive spark in his recent games and showing he can also chip in with non-scoring stats. Without Gilgeous-Alexander, there is a chance that he gets a lot of minutes against the Jazz and seems set up for a big night.
PF/C Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors, $3,500
Clarke has had very limited work this year due to the return of Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,300) at PF and the team’s commitment to Steven Adams ($4,400) at C. Adams has continued to struggle, though, and the tide seems to be turning in Clarke’s favor over the past few games with Jackson sliding over to spend more time in the middle.
On Monday, Clarke played a season-high 26 minutes in a huge win over the Jazz, producing 10 points, nine rebounds, one block, one assist and 24.25 DKFP. He has over 23 DKFP in three of his past four games and at least 20 DKFP in five of his past eight. In those eight games, Clarke has averaged 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.5 assists. Hopefully, his big performance Monday continues to earn him playing time from coach Taylor Jenkins. If he gets the run, Clarke offers a very high ceiling for a player at this price.
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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.
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