Here’s the good news about where we’re at in the NBA season: The teams all have played about six games and some actual statistical trends about defense and rebounding are starting to develop that we can take advantage of. However, there’s also a bad side to being more than six minutes into anything to do with basketball: Everyone’s hurt and is a game-time decision this evening. I’m only half joking, too. Trae Young ($9,200) should return with an ankle issue. Domantas Sabonis ($8,300) is questionable with a calf ailment, as is teammate Myles Turner ($6,900; ankle). Also, Wendell Carter Jr. ($6,100), Justise Winslow ($6,100) and Steven Adams ($5,800) are featured on their team’s respective injury reports.
Something else will happen before tip-off, too. Honestly, it’ll be many somethings. Yet, we persevere. Let’s break down what we know about tonight’s six-game slate on DraftKings.
StudMalcolm Brogdon, IND at CHA, $8,200 – In the Pacers’ win over the Bulls on Sunday, Brogdon failed to hit 5x value for the first time all season. Still, it wasn’t like he had a poor game. The new addition to Indiana netted 22 points on 60% shooting and added seven assists to finish with a respectable 36.3 DKFP. The real issue was the fourth-year guard suddenly had seen his salary jump above $10K. Well, it’s fallen a full $2,000 for tonight’s slate, and that’s more than enough for me to buy back in. Brogdon’s averaging 1.49 DKFP per minute in the 195 possessions he’s played without Myles Turner ($6,900) in 2019-20. Turner’s questionable. Pair that knowledge with the fact Charlotte owns the league’s fifth-lowest defensive rating, and you’re left with an alluring DFS spot. Other Option: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,000)
ValueAlex Caruso, LAL at CHI, $3,000 – This is one you’ll have to watch carefully. Caruso’s pretty much a lock to play in this evening’s contest against Chicago no matter what happens regarding Avery Bradley’s ($4,000) availability, but he’s only fantasy viable if Bradley is sidelined by his leg injury. Still, the issue was enough to keep Bradley from practicing Monday, so there’s a good chance the Lakers are cautious with the 28-year-old. If that’s the case, it would open up a ton of minutes at the guard spots for Caruso to step into, as Bradley is third on the team in both minutes (27.8) and field goal attempts (8.7) per game.
Other Option: Patty Mills ($3,400)
StudJamal Murray, DEN vs. MIA, $6,500 – Murray’s been mostly underwhelming to start 2019-20, but, with Will Barton ($4,800) questionable with a toe injury and a possibility to miss his third straight contest, I’m willing to give the Canadian guard another chance. While the raw results have not been amazing in the two games Murray’s played without Barton, he has sported a team-high 28.0% usage rate. That’s always a good sign. Plus, though Denver operates at the NBA’s slowest pace, Miami is the type of squad that could speed the Nuggets up. Of the 12 teams on tonight’s slate, the Heat easily run the most possessions per 48 minutes (106.6). We’ve yet to see Murray’s ceiling this season, but it feels like we have the right ingredients at the Pepsi Center this evening. Other Option: Jimmy Butler ($8,100)
ValueTyler Herro, MIA at DEN, $5,800 – Like with most value options, Herro’s viability is contingent on the status of the aforementioned Winslow. However, if Winslow’s inactive for the third consecutive game, feel free to attack this slate with Miami’s rookie sensation. Not only has Herro been hyper-involved in the Heat’s offense to begin his NBA career, but it’s crucial to note his role hasn’t been significantly reduced with the return of Jimmy Butler ($8,100). In fact, in the three contests Butler’s been active for, Herro’s ranked second on the team in average minutes (31.4) and touches (58.7); while also leading the team in scoring (19.3).
Other Option: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,400)
StudGordon Hayward, BOS at CLE, $6,400 – With Jaylen Brown (illness) riding the pine the past two games, Hayward has started to look a little bit more like his past self. In that span, he’s played a team-high 153 possessions, he’s averaged a respectable 1.14 DKFP per minute, and he’s posted a tantalizing 60.7% true shooting rate. On top of all that, he’s sort of acted as the team’s primary creator, leading the Celtics in passes made per game (55.0) and racking up 19 potential assists. Jayson Tatum ($7,700) also has benefitted from Brown’s absence; however, Hayward’s cheaper and, quite frankly, a better bet for secondary statistics. Roll with the former All-Star. Other Option: LeBron James ($9,600)
ValueTJ Leaf, IND at CHA, $5,000 – Leaf likely is going to be the chalk if both Turner and Sabonis are inactive, but I think he still is someone you have to put into your lineups in such a scenario. Leaf posted a 27.6% usage rate in the 22 minutes he logged this past Sunday, enabling him to score an eye-popping 1.69 DKFP per 60 seconds of action. It’s unlikely he’ll quite be able to recreate that level of efficiency this evening, though it’s not like he doesn’t have an ideal matchup. The Hornets not only own the league’s fifth-lowest rebounding rate (48.5%), but they’ve surrendered a league-high 69.1% opponent field goal rate on shots inside five feet. They are a big man’s dream.
Other Option: De’Andre Hunter ($4,400)
StudAnthony Davis, LAL at CHI, $10,000 – Here’s the guy you want to be paying up for. Davis possesses the highest salary on tonight’s slate, and there’s no real surprise as to why. Over his past four games, the 2012 first-overall pick has averaged 31.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 58.3 DKFP. He essentially has been everything you possibly could want as a Lakers fan and more. Still, this isn’t solely about Davis’ personal accomplishments. The Bulls have conceded the most DKFP per contest to opposing power forwards so far this season. They have the NBA’s lowest overall rebounding rate at 46.2%, and they also have allowed the second-most offensive rebounds per game (12.7). If you can’t keep Davis off the glass, he’s going to smash you.
ValueJabari Parker, ATL vs. SA, $5,000 – The hope with Parker is Young is healthy enough to return for this evening’s tilt with San Antonio. While welcoming a high-usage player back into the fold isn’t usually what we’re crossing our fingers for when it comes to DFS value, Young’s ability to create easy baskets for Parker is paramount. It’s not like volume’s going to be a concern, either. With John Collins suspended, Parker is going to see enough run to be viable, but you want those minutes to be as productive as possible. To wit; in the 73 possessions Parker’s shared the floor with Young, he’s averaging an insane 1.68 points per possession. That figure falls to 1.03 with Young off the court.
Other Option: Aaron Gordon ($5,900)
StudKevin Love, CLE vs. BOS, $8,800 – It would appear Love is healthy once again. Through six games this season, Love has posted five double-doubles, a career-high .610 effective shooting percentage, and he possesses the league’s third-highest total rebounding rate (23.6%). He’s hit 10 3-pointers in his past two contests and has yet to play fewer than 30 minutes in a start despite having to load manage for most of 2018-19. There’s simply no reason his price point should be lower than $9K going up against a Celtics team that’s surrendered an NBA-high 51.8 opponent rebounds per night. Other Option: Tristan Thompson ($7,100)
ValueGoga Bitadze, IND at CHA, $4,000 – There’s a lot of potential value at center this evening, but there’s also no reason to get too complicated. Bitadze has played significant minutes for the Pacers twice this season — once with Sabonis and once without. In both games he exceeded 26.0 DKFP and 7x value. If he can avoid getting into serious foul trouble Tuesday, I’d anticipate him going well over 30.0 DKFP against a soft Hornets interior.
Other Option: Nerlens Noel ($4,400)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.