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Fantasy Basketball Value Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Bargain Plays for January 17

Zach Thompson breaks down his top DraftKings value plays for Monday’s NBA slate.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA does Martin Luther King Jr. Day right with games spread across the holiday this Monday, giving fantasy players multiple slates and showdowns to participate in throughout the day. The action culminates in the five-game DraftKings main slate, which tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Suns and Jazz will be the only two of the 10 teams on the main slate playing for the second night in a row and both will be in action on the road in the two latest starts of the night as they visit the Spurs and Lakers, respectively. Stay tuned to @dklive on Twitter and the DK Live app throughout the day for fantasy-relevant breaking news for all the games all day long.

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.


Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $250K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st]


PG/SG Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $4,800

The Trail Blazers are one of several teams expected to get some significant players back from injury on Monday with C.J. McCollum ($8,500) expected to return from a six-week absence. His return will be the primary storyline in this contest, but the value is actually on the other side of the ball, where Orlando continues to give big minutes to several affordable options including Suggs. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 draft started 21 straight games before missing six weeks due to a fractured right thumb. He made his return Friday and played both halves of Orlando’s back-to-back coming off the bench.

In each of those two games, Suggs scored double-digit points, finishing with 12 points and 29.5 DKFP against the Hornets followed by 16 points and 21.25 DKFP against the Mavericks. Suggs posted usage rates of 28.2% and 31.0% in those two games and now has a usage rate of 26.8% on the season. He was averaging 27.7 minutes per game, and he should offer nice value if he gets close to that total against the Blazers, who have been a great matchup for opposing guards this season.


SG/SF Max Strus, Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors, $4,300

Strus continues to be a regular in the starting lineup for the Heat, and I highlighted him in my Waiver Wire article this week because I love the ceiling he brings in that role. He has started the past eight games for Miami, including the past two with Jimmy Butler ($8,900) back in the lineup. His shot was off on Saturday, resulting in a down night, but he still managed 11 points and 19.5 DKFP. In his seven previous starts, he had averaged 17.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 27.8 DKFP in 28.6 minutes per game. Strus has hit multiple 3-pointers in 11 straight games, averaging 4.2 made 3-pointers per game.

The Heat could get Bam Adebayo ($7,800; thumb, questionable) back on Monday night against Toronto, but they’ll be without Kyle Lowry (personal) as they face his former team. Strus actually gets a significant bump in usage from 18.6% to 20.1% with Lowry off the court, and the increase of 1.5% is right around the same increase as Butler and Tyler Herro ($7,500) see without Lowry on the floor. Strus has the ability to get red hot and produce a pile of points in a hurry and also can contribute more in other categories at times. He brings a very high ceiling at this salary on Monday.


C Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat, $3,900

While Lowry’s was the main revenge game narrative to watch, Achiuwa has one of his own going on as he takes his talents back to South Beach, where he played the first season of his NBA career. Now in his second season, Achiuwa has been a good contributor for the Raptors, producing 21.7 DKFP on 7.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per contest.

His playing time had been a little reduced lately with a mostly healthy frontcourt in Toronto, but he got a big boost in his most recent game when Khem Birch (nose) and Scottie Barnes ($6,300) were both sidelined. Barnes is expected back but Birch remains out, so Achiuwa could stay in the starting lineup, especially since Miami has some formidable size in the lineup with either Bam or Omer Yurtseven ($6,800). In his start on Saturday, Achiuwa impressed with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and 38.0 DKFP and played over 39 minutes. He got a lot of starts early in the season and returned for a six-game run in the startling lineup early in December. He produced 22.5 DKFP on 8.8 points and 7.8 rebounds and his multi-category production makes him a very strong play with a high floor if he gets another start while Birch is out.


C JaVale McGee, Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs, $3,700

One of the most important injury updates to watch for on Monday is the situation with Deandre Ayton ($7,600; ankle), who was forced to leave Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle and spotted on crutches after the game. The Suns probably won’t have an injury report until late in the day for the second game of their back-to-back set, but it would seem unlikely that Ayton would be able to play just one day after the injury. Whenever the big man has been sidelined in Phoenix, McGee has been a strong fantasy play and that’s likely to be the case again for this contest against the Spurs.

McGee only played 15 minutes against the Pistons Sunday but quickly dropped 20 points to go with six rebounds on his way to 29.0 DKFP. When Ayton has been sidelined with various injuries this year, McGee has started 10 games, averaging 27.8 DKFP on 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game. He put up over 40 DKFP in two of those contests and his ceiling will be too high to ignore if he gets another start. Bismack Biyombo ($3,800) could also get some more work if Ayton is sidelined and would be an interesting play for GPP since his ownership will be lower. However, McGee is a stronger option if he starts at about the same salary.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $250K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st]


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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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