The NBA is back from the All-Star break with a six-game Thursday slate. Things get a bit more tricky this time of year, with the trade deadline passed, players getting bought out, and tanking coming into play. Teams could wind up changing rotations around significantly. The good news for these first games back is that the injury reports are relatively straight forward, so don’t expect too many surprises there. Here’s your cheat sheet by position:
BETS TO CONSIDER
Set your lineups here: NBA $700K Return from Break [$25K Value Play Bonus!]
Target worth paying up for: De’Aaron Fox ($7,400) vs. MEM (18th)Fox was pretty consistently priced over $8,000 prior to the break, and rarely available for less than $7,500. Dropping his salary this much for a matchup against Memphis is a head-scratcher, as the Grizz play at a pace that’s exactly the way Fox wants to play. He’s been great in this matchup twice already this season, averaging 48.4 DKFP in 29.5 minutes against Memphis.
Best value: Derrick Rose ($5,900) vs. MIL (2nd)The Pistons traded away Andre Drummond just before the break and then went even deeper into tank mode by buying out Reggie Jackson. Rose hardly played due to a hip injury prior to the break, which has his salary down $1,700 over the last three games. Jackson is on this slate priced at $6,100, so removing him from the equation opens up a huge role for a wildly underpriced Rose.
Positional StrategyPG is pretty loaded with plays. The Bulls have tons of value that can slot in across PG/SG/SF, the Pistons should have a brand new rotation, and the Rockets have pay-up options (outside of the two guards I wrote up) if you have the room to spend.
Target worth paying up for: Jimmy Butler ($7,900) at ATL (27th)Butler’s consistently been a 6X play at this price point when going up against the Hawks. He’s averaging just over 48 DKFP in the three previous matchups between these teams. I prefer the savings for Butler overpaying up for Houston’s guards, which I’ll touch on more later.
Best value: Jordan Poole ($4,000) vs. HOU (29th)Poole’s going to remain in the starting five for Golden State, but his salary still doesn’t reflect his recent bump to his role. Over the last four games, Poole’s playing 28.25 minutes, and averaging 25.8 DKFP. He’s also been shooting poorly the last two games, hitting just 7-of-23 from the field. If he has a better shooting game in what should be a rapid-paced game against Houston, there’s 8-10X potential here.
Positional StrategySo the reason I prefer going to Butler and value plays over the Rockets is because I’m nervous of a blowout. Houston is favored by double-digits, and while it’s not a huge sample, Butler’s been better in terms of DKFP-per-dollar against ATL than the Rockets’ guards have been against GSW.
Target worth paying up for: Andrew Wiggins ($7,600) vs. HOU (30th)I’ll almost certainly wind up only playing value at SF, which I’ll touch on in the strategy. But if I do pay up, it’ll be for Wiggins. It’s a pretty simple thought process, with him finding his stride with his new team, dropping 52 DKFP in Phoenix in the final game before the break. His matchup is very good for all the same reasons as Poole.
Best value: Shaq Harrison ($3,000) vs. CHA (14th)The Bulls remain without many of their frontcourt players, and we can now add Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) to that list. That should mean significantly more minutes for Harrison against a poor Charlotte team. Harrison’s scored more DKFP than he’s played minutes in five straight, so 30 minutes could leave 10X potential.
Positional StrategyThe SF position just doesn’t have reasonable places to pay up. Ben Simmons ($9,500) is up $1,500 over three games. Khris Middleton ($8,300) is priced for the games Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100) missed, and Wiggins is the next highest salary. I think he’s a fine play, but I’d rather spend elsewhere and use strong values.
Target worth paying up for: Christian Wood ($6,900) vs. MIL (9th)Like Rose, Wood’s going to be a player Detroit leans on for a ton of production for the rest of the regular season. Wood’s gone for 35-52 DKFP in four of his last five, but his salary takes a slight dip coming out of the break. Having played 35-plus minutes in three of his last four, there’s a safe floor here.
Best value: Al Horford ($5,000) vs. BKN (27th)Horford is super cheap after being moved to the bench and playing poorly in the last two games. He still played 28 minutes in his last game off the bench, which is just 2.5 minutes below his season average. With Horford averaging 36.4 DKFP in 28.3 minutes per game in a pair of contests against the Nets, there’s no reason He can’t be in the neighborhood of 7X value in this game.
Positional StrategyI think there’s plenty of PF/C value we can use on this slate, and Wood, although more expensive, is the safest of the bunch. Giannis is likely a fade for me, just because the Bucks have been so dominant against the Pistons this season, and Detroit has shed parts to get even worse. In two games against the Pistons, Giannis is averaging 51.6 DKFP in just 27 minutes per.
Target worth paying up for: Bam Adebayo ($7,800) at ATL (28th)Bam has been super consistent, topping 40 DKFP in seven straight games. He’s been even better against the Hawks, averaging 49.3 DKFP in three matchups against them this season. I was very surprised to see Bam check in at under $8,000 out of the break, especially given the matchup.
Best value: P.J. Tucker ($4,000) at GSW (4th)Tucker can completely disappear at times, but we know he’s going to get roughly 35 minutes. Against Golden State, that’s been valuable so far this season. Tucker’s averaging 32.6 DKFP in 38 minutes per game in two matchups against the Warriors.
Positional StrategyJoel Embiid ($9,000) is the only other consideration here. Part of Horford’s success in this matchup is that Embiid hasn’t faced Brooklyn yet. I’d consider him a high-upside tournament play.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
QUESTIONABLEDe’Andre Hunter (ankle)
Eric Gordon (leg)
OUTKyrie Irving (shoulder)
Clint Capela (heel)
Chandler Hutchison (shoulder)
Kris Dunn (knee)
Tyler Herro (foot)
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