James Harden

Well, it only took four weeks, but we’re finally back to a place where we spent most of 2018-19. With his salary steadily rising since the beginning of the month, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000) is back up at $12K on tonight’s seven-game featured NBA slate. He’ll be joined at that price point by James Harden ($12,200), who had also seen his price tag rise slowly throughout the season before checking in over $12K for the first time in Friday night’s win over Indiana. Considering the level each has been playing at to start their respective campaigns, I wouldn’t be holding my breath for the next time you’ll be able to find either at a reduced number.

Still, that’s not to suggest there isn’t some value in basketball this evening. Let’s break it all down position-by-position.


POINT GUARD

Stud

Fred VanVleet, TOR at DAL, $7,100 – Despite the Raptors finding success with the likes of Terence Davis ($3,900) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($5,400), VanVleet is still the engine making this offense go in the absence of Kyle Lowry (thumb). The new found depth also hasn’t changed VanVleet’s massive workload, as the lone remaining true point guard on Toronto’s roster. Including the New Orleans matchup where Lowry got hurt, VanVleet has averaged 40.2 minutes and a NBA-high 103.3 touches per contest in the four games since his teammate’s ailment. It’s a span in which the Wichita State product is putting up 44.8 DKFP a night and is operating with an impressive 35.3% assist rate. It’s also a stretch where VanVleet’s just been privy to obscene volume. These are the kinds of things that can happen when you’ve played 46 of your team’s last 48 second-half minutes. This is simply more than a $7K role and it should be treated as such.

Other Option: Eric Bledsoe ($7,300)

Value

T.J. McConnell, IND vs. MIL, $3,700 – At this point, it might be easier to list off who’s definitely playing for the Pacers tonight rather than who’s injured, as the list is growing longer and longer each day. In any case, specific to McConnell, we’ll be waiting throughout the day on news of Malcolm Brogdon ($6,900), forced from yesterday’s loss to Houston with back spasms. If he’s unable to play, Brogdon will join Jeremy Lamb (ankle) on the sidelines and effectively leave all Indiana’s ball-handling responsibilities to be divided between McConnell and Aaron Holiday ($4,900). The latter might honestly be a safer DFS option than McConnell, as Holiday’s put up 5x value in four of the five starts he’s made this season and McConnell himself is listed as questionable with a groin injury. Yet, McConnell is averaging 1.08 DKFP per minute and a massive 42.6% assist rate in the 332 possessions he’s played without either Brogdon or Lamb in 2019-20. Both are viable, assuming McConnell is active.

Other Option: Malik Monk ($5,000)


SHOOTING GUARD

Stud

James Harden, HOU at MIN, $12,200 – It would just feel negligent to not have Harden in my lineups this evening. The former MVP has produced 70-plus DKFP in five of his past six games and is somehow operating with both a .631 true shooting percentage and a 41.4% usage rate in the month of November. That doesn’t even seem statistically possible. Anyway, in the contest with the slate’s highest projected total and facing a Minnesota defense that’s surrendered 115.9 points per 100 possessions in its past three matchups, I’m confident saying paying up for Harden continues to be a necessity.

Other Option: Luka Doncic ($10,300)

Value

Jarrett Culver, MIN vs. HOU, $4,000 – As you might imagine, most of Culver’s value comes down to the status of Andrew Wiggins ($8,400) and his 28.2% usage rate. If the former first-overall pick misses his second-straight game due to personal reasons, it opens up a ton of minutes and opportunity at the wing for both Culver and Josh Okogie ($4,500). The former would appear to be the better play between the two, as Culver’s averaged 24.4 DKFP in his five prior starts in 2019-20 and is putting up several more shots per 36 minutes than his sophomore teammate (13.5). The fact that the Rockets are conceding the fifth-most DKFP per contest to the position doesn’t hurt, either.

Other Option: E’Twaun Moore ($4,500)

Editor’s Note: Wiggins (personal) is questionable for tonight’s game.


SMALL FORWARD

Stud

Jabari Parker, ATL at LAC, $7,000 – I’m having a hard time thinking of a single reason to not trust Parker at this point. The veteran has hit 5x value in five of the six starts he’s made in place of the suspended John Collins and, more importantly, his level of play has risen alongside his price point. In Parker’s past four games — with a comparable salary to this evening — he’s averaging 24.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 18.5 field goal attempts. Sure, the Clippers present a daunting challenge with their defensive prowess, but I’ll weight overwhelming volume over bad matchup any day of the week.

Other Option: Paul George ($7,900)

Value

Ben McLemore, HOU at MIN, $3,800 – Look, it’s not always a beauty contest in DFS and it’s simply difficult to look the other way when McLemore’s taken 19 3-point attempts in his past two starts — both games where he hit 5x value. Heck, in last night’s win over Indiana, the former lottery pick scored 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting in 33 minutes of action. I don’t care what name is attached to that line, I’m going to be intrigued if it’s sitting under $4K. This also happens to be a tantalizing matchup for someone of McLemore’s archetype, with Minnesota surrendering the league’s second-highest 3-point rate to its opponents at 38.5%.

Other Option: T.J. Warren ($5,700)


POWER FORWARD

Stud

Julius Randle, NY vs. CHA, $6,400 – It’s puzzling to see Randle’s salary fall to $6.4K after what’s probably been his most productive and consistent week in a Knicks uniform. Across his past four games, Randle’s averaged 18.8 points and 10.0 rebounds, also logging at least 36 minutes three times within that span. It’s not quite the level of DFS relevance that Randle rose to in his tenure with the Pelicans, but it was something positive and, crucially, something positive he was doing with a price tag above $7K. The Hornets are a fantastic matchup, too. Charlotte leads the NBA in opponent field goals per game allowed in the restricted area (22.4) and, overall, it owns the sixth-worst defensive rating in the league (111.0). Somehow, Randle’s suddenly an enticing high-floor option on Saturday.

Other Option: Pascal Siakam ($9,200)

Value

OG Anunoby, TOR at DAL, $4,800 – Anunoby is expected to return to Toronto’s starting lineup this evening after missing the team’s win over Portland with an injury to his eye. Obviously, with the Raptors’ well-documented injury woes, losing Anunoby was poor timing for the organization; however, it was also not ideal for the player. Anunoby had arguably been in the midst of the best stretch of basketball in his career in the seven games prior to the ailment, averaging 31.9 DKFP within that span. Really, the key to Anunoby’s viability is as simple as scoring double-digit points. In the six contests he’s managed to exceed that threshold in 2019-20, Anunoby’s put up 35.2 DKFP and has hit at least 5x value every single time thanks to secondary contributions in steals, rebounds and blocks. With his expected workload in Dallas, I’m confident he reaches that mark on this slate.

Other Option: Robert Covington ($4,800)


CENTER

Stud

Bam Adebayo, MIA at NO, $7,500 – Here’s the great thing about Adebayo’s position on this slate: There’s so many different paths to him hitting value. In the third-year player’s past four games, Adebayo has averaged 41.8 DKFP despite taking only 9.8 shots per contest. These are the types of things you can achieve when you’re one of just three qualified players in the league with an assist rate above 20.0% and a total rebounding rate above 17.0%. The other two? Karl-Anthony Towns and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s some pretty good company. So, against New Orleans — the NBA’s lone team sitting in the Bottom 3 in defensive rating and Top 3 in pace — Adebayo’s almost guaranteed to have a big performance no matter how the rest of Miami’s roster shakes out. However, if either Jimmy Butler ($7,600) or Goran Dragic ($5,700) sit due to illness, the sky’s the limit for the 22-year-old.

Other Option: Domantas Sabonis ($8,500)

Value

Mitchell Robinson, NY vs. CHA, $4,500 – He’s inconsistent. He’s sporadic. He’s injury-prone. However, when Robinson’s healthy, I’m always willing to give him a go in tournaments. The block-happy big man comes into tonight as the Knicks’ lone player averaging over 1.0 DKFP per minute played (1.28). Sure, that might say more about New York’s roster than anything else, but it also lets you know how little time Robinson needs to produce. For instance, in his first game back against Dallas, Robinson scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds in just over 22 minutes of action. Opposed by the soft interior of Charlotte, I’ll be getting some exposure to Robinson this evening.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.