We’ve got just a four-game main slate here on Thursday, and value plays are scarce. While there are studs worth paying up for, we may need to limit our exposure, to afford some more expensive mid-priced values. Here’s your cheat sheet by position:
Target worth paying up for: Damian Lillard ($9,100) at LAC (16th)
Lillard has been extremely consistent this season, scoring over 50 DKFP in seven of his eight games. He’ll draw some tougher defense in this game, but it’s tough to imagine that taking Dame off his game. He’s a great cash play and a dangerous tournament fade.
Best value: Patrick Beverley ($4,900) vs. POR (27th)
Beverley is coming off a huge 44.5-DKFP game a night earlier, but won’t have that type of ceiling with Kawhi Leonard ($9,600) returning from a game off. At that same time, he could get extended minutes to try and contain Lillard. That little potential for boost makes him a good value on this slate.
Pickings at PG are very thin. If you need value under $5,000, Bryn Forbes ($4,300) is another consideration. Otherwise, plays will run you $5,200 or more, which means if you pay up for Lillard, it could be a one-PG slate.
Target worth paying up for: Jimmy Butler ($7,200) at PHX (12th)
Butler has been on each side of a blowout in his last two games. One resulted in just 33 DKFP in Denver, the other produced 50 DKFP against Houston. He played 29 minutes or less in both games, though. The only time we’ve seen Jimmy get 35 minutes this season, he went for 48.75 DKFP against the Hawks. He should see normal rotation minutes against the Suns, in a game with a tight point spread. Perfect timing for a $900 price slash.
Best value: Rodney Hood ($3,800) at LAC (22nd)
Hood’s the most appealing of a tough pool of value plays on the wing. But for under $4,000, it’s rare to find a play that’s gone 30-plus minutes in every game he’s played this season. He’s not shy to get shots up, so hopefully, he can knock some down in this matchup.
Butler should be the chalk with the discount we have on him. C.J. McCollum ($6,100) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,100) are other considerations if you want to play it safe. Tournament pivots off these three would be Devin Booker ($8,400) and DeMar DeRozan ($7,500), who are both overpriced in tough matchups.
Target worth paying up for: Kawhi Leonard ($9,600) vs. POR (6th)
Kawhi’s the top overall player to carve out room for in your lineup. He’s topped 50 DKFP in four straight now, and he is very fairly priced on a slate lacking star power. Leonard’s coming off plenty of rest, including taking Wednesday off. His last game following sitting out the previous game resulted in 63 DKFP against the Spurs.
Best value: JaMychal Green ($4,000) vs. POR (30th)
A lot of Green’s value goes out the window with Kawhi returning, but on the short slate, he’s still cheap enough to reach value. This is more about the matchup, with Portland allowing the most DKFP to the PF position in the NBA. That could result in some extra production for Green.
Hood gets the most minutes of the value wings with the Blazers, but Kent Bazemore ($3,900) is a consideration. Otherwise, the options to consider get much more expensive, all costing over $5,000.
Target worth paying up for: LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,900) vs. OKC (25th)
After a decent start to the season, LMA’s pretty much been a bust in four straight games. Unfortunately, his salary hasn’t come down, so he’s nothing more than an average play. It’s a good matchup against OKC, but I think this position pretty clearly dictates value.
Best value: Frank Kaminsky ($4,000) vs. MIA (19th)
Kaminsky’s had some solid games since DeAndre Ayton’s suspension, going for 22 or more DKFP in four of six games (twice topping 34 DKFP). With some strong center plays available, Kaminsky likely fits best in a forward spot.
Kaminsky is the only real PF/C value to consider. The rest are SF/PF eligible, and mostly $5,000 or more. You can slot Green in here if you need the value, but I prefer Kaminsky’s upside with Kawhi back.
Target worth paying up for: Bam Adebayo ($7,000) at PHX (30th)
Bam’s coming off a couple of his worst games of the season, but they came in difficult matchups. Now his salary has dropped $900, and he gets a matchup against the team allowing the most DKFP per game to centers. He has his usual 40-DKFP upside in this spot.
Best value: Hassan Whiteside ($6,400) at LAC (7th)
Whiteside isn’t traditional value, but he’s a great play on this slate. We usually are paying up $10,000 at center, so with the savings on Bam, we can probably play two mid-priced plays. Whiteside doesn’t have as good a matchup as Bam, but he’s been a lock for a double-double recently and is playing in a game with a high projected total.
It’ll be contrarian to fade one or both of those top center plays, which could pay off in tournaments. I don’t see many viable options beyond these two.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
Justise Winslow (headache)
Dion Waiters (stomachache)
Udonis Haslem (stomachache)
Enes Kanter (knee)
Derrick White (leg)
Mike Muscala (hand)
P.J. Washington (leg)
Jaylen Brown (infection)
Daniel Theis (ankle)
Robert Williams (hip)
Derrick Jones Jr. (groin)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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.