DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Friday (1/29)
After a smaller four-game slate on Thursday night, we’re back to a bigger slate tonight with 20 teams in action. When it comes to slates this large, you have to pick and choose your studs carefully and squeeze out as much value as you can. Let’s dive in.
Most Value Per Dollar
It projects to be a particularly exciting slate tonight. Six of the ten games on the slate check-in with expected point totals north of 220 points, so there should be plenty of fantasy scoring to go around. You can see the full list of expected point totals, along with point spreads, by checking out BettingPros.
Of course, there are some key situations to monitor throughout the day leading up to tipoff. Joel Embiid (back), Clint Capela (hand), Donovan Mitchell (concussion), D’Angelo Russell (quad), and Lonzo Ball (ankle) are key players that start the day listed as questionable. If any of them should sit out, it will open up major value for others on their respective teams.
As usual this season, we also have to monitor teams dealing with COVID. The Clippers could once again be without their dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George if they remain in the league’s health and safety protocol. On the other hand, Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, and Moritz Wagner are all returning for the first time in over two weeks for Washington as they’ve cleared protocol.
There’s no shortage of studs to choose from tonight, but we’ll get to them later. Let’s start by digging for value. Below is a list of the top-10 players of the day expected to generate the most value relative to their salary. These are ranked in order.
Michael Porter Jr. (DEN): $6,600
MPJ has been producing solid fantasy numbers as of late, averaging 37.5 DK points/game over his last three games. The matchup with San Antonio is ideal, as the Spurs give up more DK points/game to the small forward position than any other team in the NBA. Then consider the 224 total points expected to be scored between the two teams tonight, and Porter becomes a tremendous value.
Dejounte Murray (SA): $6,100
I don’t understand why Murray’s price continues to plummet. A week ago, it cost $7,400 to get him in your lineup. Sure, he missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, but then he averaged over 33 minutes and 39.5 DK points over his next two games. He’s far too cheap at $6,100, so take advantage.
Al Horford (OKC): $5,900
Horford returned from a six-game personal absence Wednesday and delivered his best fantasy performance of the season. Now he gets to take on a Nets team that gives up the third-most DK points/game to centers on average. He may not push 50 DK points like he did Wednesday, but in a game that’s expected to generate 230 points, he should have no problem getting to 6x value on his modest salary.
LaMelo Ball (CHA): $5,900
Remember a few weeks ago when Lamelo’s salary nearly hit $8,000? He’s definitely cooled off, but his triple-double upside still exists every time he takes the court. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not rostering Ball in any cash lineups, but his salary and ceiling combination is exactly the kind of risk-reward pairing that can set a tournament lineup apart from the field.
Keldon Johnson (SA): $5,700
Johnson is another player that just seems too cheap for what he offers. His salary is down to $5,700, the lowest it’s been since New Year’s Day. At that cost, it would only take 34.2 DK points to hit 6x value. That’s a total he’s hit in two of his last three games and is well within range in the matchup with Denver tonight.
Jeremy Lamb (CHA): $4,900:
Lamb has now played five games since returning from a long-term knee injury, and a pattern seems to be emerging. He played limited minutes in his first game, and since then, his time on the court has alternated every other game. This makes sense if the Pacers are being careful with him as he rounds into form after nearly a year off. If the pattern holds, he’d be in line for 30+ minutes tonight, which would allow him to top 30 DK points again, just like he has each time he’s seen at least 28 minutes on the court this season.
Ivica Zubac (LAC): $4,700
Over his last three games, Zubac has nearly averaged a double-double with 9.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. That’s translated 27 DK points/game over that stretch, close to 6x value on his salary tonight. He can certainly notch a double-double tonight and hit that value in Orlando, especially if the Clippers are short-handed again.
Tyler Haliburton (SAC): $4,800
Haliburton, much like Lamelo Ball, is an upside rookie that I’m willing to take a shot on in tournaments. At $4,800, it would only take 33.6 DK points to hit a huge 7x value, a total he’s topped in four of his last ten games. With a healthy 229 points expected in the matchup with the Raptors, he’s another player that could set a lineup apart.
Joe Ingles (UTA): $4,700
Ingles got his first start of the season last time out in place of the injured Donovan Mitchell, and it resulted in his best fantasy performance of the season. Playing him with confidence relies on Mitchell’s status coming back from his concussion, but we should get word with enough time to adjust lineups. It would wise, however, to slot Ingles into a more flexible general guard, forward, or utility position to give you more options if you need to late swap.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (NO): $4,200
NAW is a good play at his price, even if the Pelicans backcourt is at full strength, but if Lonzo Ball sits out with his ankle injury, he becomes arguably the best cheap play of the night. In the three games that Ball missed earlier in the month, Alexander-Walker averaged 32.3 DK points/game, including a slate-breaking 52.5 DK points back on January 13.
Studs Worth Their Salary
- Bradley Beal (WAS) $10,200: Tonight’s game between Washington and Atlanta has the highest expected point total on the night, and Beal is coming off a 70 DK point performance earlier in the week. He’s my favorite six-figure salary player tonight.
- Joel Embiid (PHI) $9,400: Embiid faces off with Minnesota tonight, and the Timberwolves have allowed the most DK points to centers this season on average. He’s primed to flourish in this matchup made in heaven and should probably be priced over $10,000. Just make sure to confirm his active status before tipoff.
- Domantas Sabonis (IND) $9,200: In another example of strength vs. weakness, Sabonis takes on a Charlotte team that gives up the most DK points to power forwards on average this season. He’s a lock for a double-double and has a good shot to put up a second consecutive triple-double.
- Trae Young (ATL) $9,100: Staying on theme, point guard Trae Young takes on a Wizards team that allows the most DK points to the position on average. Young has topped 50 DK points in six consecutive games, and I expect that streak to continue tonight.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC) $8,300: SGA has averaged over 47 DK points/game over his last four. He carries a solid 26.8% usage rate on the season and will once again be OKC’s focal point in a game against Brooklyn that sports a massive 230 expected point total. He could easily top 50 DK points tonight.
Notable Players to Fade
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) $10,800: There are tough choices to make on a slate as top-heavy as tonight. Giannis could make me look foolish for fading him, but we need every dollar we can spare tonight, so it’s tough to pay up for the most expensive player on the slate.
- Luka Doncic (DAL) $10,600: I’m fading Doncic for essentially the same reasons I’m fading Giannis. The matchup with Utah is also less than ideal as the Jazz give up the fourth-fewest DK points to point guards.
- James Harden (BKN) $10,300: As he showed on Wednesday, Harden can put up 70+ DK points on any given night, even with his new team. Still, he has to compete with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for usage game in and game out. I feel better rostering Bradley Beal for $100 less.
- Andrew Drummond (CLE) $8,600: He’s been efficient lately, but Drummond is down to just 25.4 minutes/game since Jarrett Allen arrived in Clevland. I don’t want to get burned by a sub-30 DK point outing from Drummond tonight, something he’s put up twice in the last five games.
- De’Aaron Fox (SAC) $8,500: Fox has scored anywhere between 14 and 77 DK points over his last nine games. That’s just too volatile for me on tonight’s slate.
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.