DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Sunday (8/9)
We’re now more than halfway through the seeding games, and teams are starting to settle into their rotations. We have more knowledge and information at our fingertips to help make informed decisions about who to start, who to sit, and which players present value at their position. DraftKings’ featured seven-game slate starts at 12:30 p.m. ET, so make sure to set those lineups early and be ready to adjust for injury news throughout the day.
|Austin Rivers (HOU)||@ SAC||$3,400||⭐⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
|Kemba Walker (BOS)||vs. ORL||$6,100||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Dejounte Murray (SA)||@ NO||$6,000||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
With Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon sidelined in Houston’s last game against the Lakers, Austin Rivers produced 21.3 fantasy points in 32 minutes off the bench in what was essentially a seven-man rotation for Mike D’Antoni. Westbrook and Gordon have been ruled out again Sunday, making Rivers a relatively low-risk play at just $3,400 in what should be a close, up-tempo game vs. the Kings.
Kemba Walker was priced at $7,100 when play resumed despite a minutes restriction. His salary has since dropped $1,000, and now Brad Stevens is saying Walker’s minutes will increase to 30-32 going forward. I’ll take the massive bargain on the four-time NBA All-Star.
The Spurs vs. Pelicans game owns the highest projected point total of the slate. That’s music to the ears of DFS players, but only if the value is right. That value comes in the form of DeJounte Murray. Just two games ago, De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic gashed the Pelicans for a combined 65 points. Expect a run-and-gun type game Sunday, which should yield high production for the Spurs’ point guard.
|Derrick White (SA)||@ NO||$6,100||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Fred VanVleet (TOR)||vs. MEM||$7,500||⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
|Alec Burks (PHI)||@ POR||$4,200||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
Derrick White has had back-to-back games of 43+ fantasy points, and yet his salary has only increased by $200. He continues to look for his shot while seeing minutes in the mid-30s. For all the same reasons as Murray above, I’m investing heavily in the underpriced San Antonio backcourt against New Orleans.
Fred VanVleet only costs $7,500, which seems a bit low for a guy who has put up 40+ fantasy points in three of four games since play resumed. Even in Friday’s 22-point loss to the Celtics, VanVleet still managed to play 30 minutes an hit 30 fantasy points on just 4-of-14 shooting. I expect a bounce-back game against Memphis, especially after learning he is not a finalist for the 2019-20 Most Improved Player Award.
Everyone knew Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris would step up in Ben Simmons‘ absence after suffering a knee injury, but it was Alec Burks who made the most of his opportunity in the team’s first game without their All-Star point guard. Burks put up 15 shots on his way to 22 points in 28 minutes off the bench for Philadelphia. The Sixers are in need of more ball-handling and scoring now that Simmons is likely done for the season, and Burks can provide both those things. Expect to see similar minutes and usage for Burks against the Trail Blazers.
|Lonnie Walker IV (SA)||@ NO||$4,300||⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Ben McLemore (HOU)||@ SAC||$3,800||⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Bogdan Bogdanovic (SAC)||vs. HOU||$5,300||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
Since play resumed, the Spurs are 3-0 when Lonnie Walker IV scores in double-figures. Don’t think for a second Gregg Popovich hasn’t noticed. Sunday’s game against the Pelicans should be a track meet, leading to lots of opportunities on both ends of the floor for Walker to pad his stats.
Ben McLemore gets the Revenge Game narrative as he faces his former team Sunday. In his first outing against the Kings back in December, he produced 29 fantasy points in 33 minutes off the bench. Fast forward to now, and McLemore has become a starter in the absence of Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon. Last game, he put up 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting with five triples in 30 minutes as a starter. He’ll be in the starting lineup once again vs. his former team with Westbrook and Gordon out of the lineup.
Bogdan Bogdanovic’s $5,300 salary looks like a mistake coming off two games in which he averaged 31 points on 19.5 shots with five rebounds and 2.5 assists in 36 minutes per game. He’s a set-it-and-forget-it at that price in what should be a high-scoring affair against the Rockets.
|Al Horford (PHI)||@ POR||$6,500||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Harrison Barnes (SAC)||vs. HOU||$4,700||⭐⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
|Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (BKN)||@ LAC||$3,900||⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
Horford entered the starting lineup Friday for the injured Simmons and made the most of his opportunity, scoring 21 with nine boards in 30 minutes. Until that point, he mostly underperformed since play resumed, which has led to a suppressed price tag of just $6,500. Now locked in as a starter, Horford is a good bet to exceed value as he looks to prove his last performance wasn’t just a fluke.
After averaging just 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in his first three bubble games, Harrison Barnes has come alive in his last two, averaging 19 points and six boards in 36 minutes per contest. Oddly enough, his salary currently sits at its lowest point since play resumed. This game against the Rockets should lead to lots of scoring opportunities for the eight-year veteran.
Caris LeVert, Jaret Allen, and Joe Harris are all listed as doubtful Sunday. The last time all three guys sat, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot got the start and dropped a game-high 26 points en route to 33.8 fantasy points. For that game, DraftKings priced him up to $5,300 since LeVert, Allen, and Harris were all ruled out prior to opening contests. This time around, they set the pricing prior to the injury report, thus leading to an incredible value for TLC at $3,900.
|Nerlens Noel (OKC)||vs. WAS||$3,900||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Jeff Green (HOU)||@ SAC||$4,000||⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
|Alex Len (SAC)||vs. HOU||$3,400||⭐⭐⭐||HIGH|
Nerlens Noel is slated to start another game with Steven Adams out due to a lower leg contusion. In his first start against the Grizzlies with Adams on the sidelines, Noel played 27 minutes even with some foul trouble, scoring 11 points and grabbing four rebounds. If he can stay out of foul trouble and play a similar number of minutes Sunday, expect him to at least hit 5x value against a Wizards team that has given up the most rebounds in the league to the center position.
Jeff Green has quietly made his presence known in Houston’s last two games, averaging 31.5 fantasy points per contest. He’s also taken an average of nine three-pointers in his last three games. He’s been getting a heavy dose of minutes off the bench with Westbrook and Gordon sidelined and is another value play due to the Rockets’ extremely thin rotation.
Richaun Holmes had to leave the Kings’ last game with an injury. It was Alex Len, not Harry Giles III, who started the second half in his place. I’d expect Len to get the start Sunday with Holmes already ruled out, but you never know how teams are going to match up against Houston’s small-ball lineup. For that reason, Len should be considered high risk, but he’s well worth it at the low price tag. If Dwight Howard can see the court for 20 minutes against the Rockets, so can Len.
5 Studs Worth Their Salary
- James Harden, HOU) ($11,300): The Rockets are likely to be without both Westbrook and Gordon, and Harden was just named a 2019-20 NBA MVP Finalist. Enough said.
- Joel Embiid (PHI) ($10,600): Embiid posted just 41.3 fantasy points last game against the Magic. In his last four times scoring fewer than 42.8 fantasy points, Embiid has come back the next game to average 67.8 fantasy points. If history repeats itself, the Sixers’ big man is in for a monster night against Jusuf Nurkic and the Trail Blazers in what should be a close, high-scoring affair.
- Damian Lillard, POR ($10,000): Lillard missed two key free throws down the stretch in Saturday’s tough loss to the Clippers. Portland now finds itself in a must-win situation, and Philadelphia struggles to defend the guard position. Expect Lillard to bounce back in a big way after a subpar performance yesterday.
- De’Aaron Fox, SAC ($7,800): If you scrap the Kings’ blowout loss to the Magic where Fox only played 25 minutes, he’s averaging 49.2 fantasy points in four games since play resumed. He draws another juicy matchup against a Rockets team giving up 118 points per game since play resumed.
- Thomas Bryant, WAS ($7,400): The Grizzlies’ big men had a field day against the Adams-less Thunder, and I’d expect much of the same from Thomas Bryant. He’s been nothing short of spectacular since play resumed, and his salary still isn’t high enough. If you remove his first game against the Suns, Bryant is averaging 48.2 fantasy points in four games. If he just hits that average output today, he’ll reach 6.5x value.
5 Notable Players to Fade
- Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($9,300): Leonard rested Saturday on the front-end of a back-to-back and should be all systems go against the Nets. The problem is, the Nets are likely going to be without LeVert, Allen, and Harris, so this game could get ugly quick. Plus, the Clippers aren’t playing for much, as they’re sitting comfortably as the two-seed in the Western Conference. There are too many variables at hand in this game to invest $9,300 in Leonard.
- Kyle Lowry, TOR ($8,800): If you take away his performance against the Lakers, Lowry is averaging just 32.1 fantasy points in three games in the re-start. If he’s going to reach 5x value, he’ll have to hit 44 fantasy points. In a game with the lowest point total (222) on the slate, I’ll be looking elsewhere.
- Chris Paul, OKC ($8,300): Due to his very consistent play thus far in the re-start, Paul’s salary has risen to $8,300. He gets the Wizards, which sounds good on paper but has the makings of a blowout, which could result in fewer minutes for CP3. To make matters worse, the Thunder play again on Monday. For those two reasons, I’m fading Paul at his increased price.
- Jayson Tatum, BOS ($7,900): Tatum has seen his production decrease a bit with Kemba Walker slowly ramping up his minutes during the re-start. Walker’s anticipated minutes increase is great news for the Celtics, but not such so great for Tatum, who is at his best with the ball in his hands.
- CJ McCollum, POR ($7,800): Since play resumed, McCollum and Lillard’s fantasy output have tended to have somewhat of a negative correlation. Since I’m rolling with Lillard against Philadelphia, I’m subsequently fading McCollum after yesterday’s 29-point performance against the Clippers.
Beyond our daily fantasy basketball content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Tools. From our Lineup Optimizer – which allows you to build winning DFS lineups in seconds for Cash and GPP contests – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy basketball season.