Wednesday features a solid nine-game NBA slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays, strategies, and injuries to monitor heading into lineup lock on DraftKings.
Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks vs. Atlanta Hawks ($10,800)
Doncic could actually be a bit overlooked tonight. There are a few other superstars who are in more “obvious” spots, but Doncic still carries arguably the highest ceiling on the slate. He’s averaged 1.62 DKFP per minute over the past month, and he’s gone for at least 64.0 DKFP in two of his past four games. The Mavericks also own the third-highest implied team total on the slate at 117.75 points.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kenrich Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers ($4,700)
Value is hard to find on today’s slate, but Williams stands out as one of the best pure values at $4,700. He should see a significant amount of playing time for the shorthanded Thunder, who have already ruled out Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Theo Maledon, and George Hill. Williams has averaged 0.87 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he’s capable of making the most of his playing time.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers ($10,400)
I’m expecting Harden to be the highest-owned stud on today’s slate. Kevin Durant remains out of the lineup for the Nets, and Harden has increased both his usage and assist rates in games without Durant this season. He’s also carrying one of the largest workloads in the league from a minute perspective since arriving in Brooklyn. He’s logged at least 39.6 minutes in three of his past four games, which gives him an excellent combination of volume and efficiency on today’s slate.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Denzel Valentine, Chicago Bulls vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($5,300)
Another reason why Harden should be so popular is the lack of quality value options at shooting guard. Valentine is about as cheap as I’m willing to go tonight, and even he carries some question marks. That said, he has played a solid handful of minutes recently, and that doesn’t figure to change for as long as Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter, and Wendell Carter Jr. are sidelined. Valentine is capable of stuffing the stat sheet, and he’s averaged a robust 0.95 DKFP per minute over the past month.
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Worth Paying Up For: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers @ Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,400)
Leonard might be the only player on today’s slate who will challenge Harden from an ownership perspective. He’ll take the court tonight without Paul George, which obviously gives him a sizable bump in value. Leonard has increased his usage rate by +2.5% with George off the court this season, resulting in a team-high mark of 32.7%. He’s also capable of contributing in the peripheral categories, so any additional scoring upside gives him a significantly higher ceiling than usual.
The Timberwolves also represent an excellent matchup. They rank 21st in defensive efficiency, and they’ve been significantly worse on defense with Karl-Anthony Towns out of the lineup.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Charlotte Hornets ($5,600)
Anderson is simply too cheap given the volume of minutes he’s been playing recently. He’s logged at least 30.2 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s responded with at least 30.0 DKFP in both contests. That’s not all that surprising, given his average of 1.07 DKFP per minute over the past month. He should have no problem returning value against the Hornets if he sees a comparable workload today.
Worth Paying Up For: Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers @ Brooklyn Nets ($8,600)
This price tag is downright disrespectful for Sabonis, who has evolved into one of the best fantasy big men in the league. He’s coming off back-to-back poor performances, but he finished with at least 59.0 DKFP in each of his two previous games. Overall, he’s averaged 1.29 DKFP per minute this season, and he ranks sixth in the league in minutes per game. He should be able to dominate against the Nets, who have been one of the worst defensive teams in basketball history since acquiring Harden from the Rockets.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Isaiah Roby, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers ($3,700)
Roby provides some much-needed value on Wednesday’s slate. There are plenty of elite players to pay up for, but there are very few players priced below $5,000 who deserve consideration in your lineups.
Roby is arguably the best of the bunch. He’s missed the past two games due to an injury, but he played 33.5 minutes in his final game before getting hurt. As long as he isn’t limited vs. the Lakers, he should return to a similar workload. Roby has averaged 0.97 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he has the potential to be one of the best pure values on the slate.
Worth Paying Up For: Al Horford, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers ($6,200)
Doubling up on the OKC big men seems like an excellent option on Wednesday. Horford will likely lose some playing time with Roby back in the lineup, but he should still be able to crush his current price tag with Gilgeous-Alexander, Hill, and Maledon out of the lineup. He’s been one of the biggest beneficiaries with all three players off the court this season, increasing his usage rate by +11.2% and his assist rate by +12.9%. The result is an average of 1.65 DKFP per minute.
Best Bang For Your Buck: DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers ($4,500)
Jordan isn’t the sexiest player to roster, but he has been a solid value recently. He should continue to see a few additional minutes with Durant out of the lineup, particularly against a team like the Pacers. Indiana plays two traditional big men in Sabonis and Myles Turner ($6,000), so the Nets will need Jordan’s size more than usual. He’s averaged 1.02 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he has a solid floor at just $4,500.
Overall Lineup Strategy
It’s very tempting to go with a stars-and-scrubs approach tonight. Guys like Harden and Leonard carry more upside than usual given their team’s current injury situations, and players like Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,600), and Nikola Jokic ($11,000) are always capable of breaking the slate.
That said, I just don’t see enough value at the moment to make that a viable strategy. Roby, Williams, and Jordan are all strong options, but they still aren’t going to be enough to let you get multiple studs into your lineup.
With that in mind, building a more balanced lineup has a lot of merit. Locking in Leonard and Sabonis leaves you with an average of over $5,300 for your remaining lineup spots, so it should be pretty easy to build around them. Adding Roby leaves you with an average of close to $5,700 for your final five slots, which gives you a lot of flexibility.
Of course, anything can change in the NBA. Make sure to follow @dklive on Twitter and download the DK Live app to stay up-to-date with all the latest news. If more value becomes available due to injuries or rest, jamming in as many studs as possible could become the optimal strategy.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.
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