The NBA is ready to tip off a great weekend of sports with a very nice nine-game slate on Friday night for the DraftKings main slate. The slate is a little early-heavy, but there are some very intriguing matchups to keep tabs on including the Grizzlies and Ja Morant ($9,200) hosting the Mavericks and Luka Doncic ($10,900). The Grizzlies and the Warriors are the only two teams playing for a second consecutive night but 10 of the 18 teams in action are scheduled to finish a back-to-back on Saturday’s loaded slate. Since there is fantasy-relevant news breaking each and every day, make sure to pay close attention to @dklive on Twitter and the DK Live app.
With the current state of the NBA, new bargain options continue to step up just about every night. Based on their current form, matchups and expected workloads, the four players below have a great chance to outproduce their bargain-basement salaries. Stay tuned for updates to these values on Twitter @ZT_Sports, where you can also find my four to play under $4K each day of the NBA season.
C Robin Lopez, Orlando Magic at Charlotte Hornets, $4,400
The Hornets have been a great matchup to attack all season long while the Magic have often provided very nice fantasy value despite struggling with a woeful 7-35 record. Lopez jumped right back into the starting lineup in his first game back from reconditioning after the health and safety protocols. Wendell Carter Jr. (hamstring) will remain out for Friday but Mo Bamba ($5,800; toe, questionable) could return. If Bamba returns, Lopez definitely loses some luster, but the big man is a great option if Bamba needs another game to recover.
In his return, Lopez played 31 minutes against Washington and went off for 36.25 DKFP on 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and a block. On the season, he has a solid 21.0% usage rate and has produced 0.93 DKFP per minute. In his six starts, he has produced 31.1 DKFP per game with over 30 DKFP in half of those outings. Since Charlotte is one of the most generous opponents to big men, Lopez is almost a must-play if Bamba is out and he logs another start. If Bamba is back, other bargain bigs to consider include Onyeka Okongwu ($4,800), who should start again in place of Clint Capela (ankle), and Dewayne Dedmon ($4,100), who just returned from a knee injury.
SF/PF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,000
The Spurs have also been a good source of value this season, but their rotation can sometimes be a little tricky to figure out with coach Gregg Popovich moving pieces around to form different combinations. In his second year in the NBA, Vassell has shuffled in and out of the starting lineup but seems to still be a big part of San Antonio’s future. He has popped with a few big games but hasn’t settled into consistent production due to a few injuries, some bad shooting nights and a stint in the health and safety protocols. He returned from protocols on Wednesday after missing three games. Against the Rockets in his return, he had 12 points, five rebounds and 20.75 DKFP in 22 minutes despite shooting only 3-of-10 from the floor.
In general, the Spurs have been bringing players back from protocols gradually to allow for reconditioning, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Vassell move back into the starting lineup for this contest or in the near future. Before entering protocols, he started three straight games and produced 29.7 DKFP per game on 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Overall, he has reached at least 20 DKFP in eight of his past 11 games, so he has a very good shot at returning 5x value if he stays so involved. He’s obviously a better play if he’s back in the starting five, but either way, this is a good chance to grab him at an affordable salary.
SG/SF Damion Lee, Golden State Warriors at Chicago Bulls, $3,400
Lee is extremely affordable for this matchup against the Bulls and will likely carry a big workload with Klay Thompson (rest), Gary Payton II (back) and Draymond Green (calf) not expected to play on the second night of Golden State’s back-to-back. Lee played 23 minutes Thursday in Milwaukee and produced 19.25 DKFP on seven points and seven rebounds while also chipping in an assist and a steal. He typically fills in the stat sheet in multiple categories and has a high ceiling if he gets extended run.
He has hit the 30-minute mark in three games over the past month and has posted 19.25, 29.25 and 30.75 DKFP in those contests. Since he seems to be set up for another big workload, his multi-category production makes him a relatively safe play with a high ceiling in Chicago.
SF/PF De’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat, $3,400
Count me in with the Hunter stans, but way more important than my belief in the third-year forward is the way the Hawks are totally invested in making Hunter a huge part of their future. To demonstrate that investment, they shuttled Cam Reddish off in a trade to New York to open up more playing time for Hunter, who just returned from two months off due to a wrist injury. In his return in the first game of this two-game set against the Heat, he knocked off some rust while shooting 4-for-11 but still compiled 15 points and 21.75 DKFP. Even if he doesn’t improve on those results, he’s a great play at this price, but there’s the potential for much, much more as he rounds back into form.
Before the game in which he sustained his wrist injury, Hunter started 10 games for the Hawks and averaged 28.5 minutes and 10.5 field goal attempts per game for an 18.5% usage rate. He hasn’t typically stuffed the box score like Lee can, but he offers more pure scoring upside and looks like he’ll slot right back into a significant role in the Hawks’ rotation. His salary will likely catch up to his production soon and was almost $5K earlier this season, so grab him at this discount while you can.
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/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.