The NBA is back from the All-Star break, and following a six-game Thursday slate, we’re stepping things up to a nine-gamer on Friday night. Here’s your cheat sheet by position:
TOP OPTION TO CONSIDER
Set your lineups here: NBA $400K Excellent 8’s [$100K to 1st]
Target worth paying up for: LeBron James ($10,500) vs. MEM (21st)Guard is loaded on this slate, and so are value plays across all positions. That should leave salary to pay up for a play like LeBron. If you want to go elsewhere, I don’t think LeBron is must play, just unusually easy to afford in a good matchup.
Best value: Anfernee Simons ($3,500) at NOP (24th)Part of the reason LeBron’s easy to afford is the value provided by Damian Lillard’s (going) absence. A ton of Dame’s minutes should fall to Simons, and we saw that in the game he goes injured — 34.75 DKFP in 28 minutes for Simons. He has the potential to see even more time in this upcoming stretch.
Positional StrategyHonestly, navigate PG however you want, you’re just going to want to make sure you have some exposure to the Portland guards one way or another. If you pay up at just one guard spot, I’d do it here.
Target worth paying up for: C.J. McCollum ($6,600) at NOP (21st)McCollum should be the most popular target with Lillard out. Getting that boost from the No. 2 to No. 1 option in Portland’s offense creates massive value, especially against a team like New Orleans. McCollum’s already averaging 34 DKFP in this matchup this season.
Best value: Malik Beasley ($5,400) vs. BOS (22nd)Beasley’s been tremendous since coming over from the Nuggets, going for over 40 DKFP in two of his three games with his new team. The lack of guards in Minnesota’s rotation means plenty of playing time (38 minutes last game), and Karl-Anthony Towns’ (wrist) absence leaves a lot of offense to pick up.
Positional StrategyWith PG offering a little bit more upside in terms of plays to pay up for, I’d just focus on value at SG. McCollum obviously counts as one of the top values on the slate at his price.
Target worth paying up for: Jayson Tatum ($7,800) at MIN (26th)Tatum took another step towards stardom prior to the break, out-dueling Kawhi Leonard in Boston, en route to 56.25 DKFP. His confidence should be sky-high, and he gets a much more manageable matchup against the Wolves. Kemba Walker (knee) is also sitting this one out, leaving Tatum as the clear top scoring option.
Best value: Juan Hernangomez ($4,700) vs. BOS (6th)Hernangomez was already solid in his first two games with Minnesota, scoring 23.25 DKFP in each. But with KAT out the game before the break, Hernangomez saw his role grow, scoring 37 DKFP in 38 minutes. The $800 bump in salary isn’t enough.
Positional StrategyBoth plays featured should really benefit from key injuries. The Towns and Lillard injuries are the bigger headlines, so maybe that gets us lower ownership on some Celtics plays. I do really like this spot for Tatum, along with the rest of the wings.
Target worth paying up for: Brandon Ingram ($6,800) vs. POR (15th)Ingram hasn’t played in a regular-season game since Feb. 6, but he did play nine minutes in the All-Star game, indicating he’s headed in the right direction. More than two weeks since his last regular-season action, let’s see if Ingram has any limitations. If not, his price tag is astoundingly low.
Best value: Carmelo Anthony ($5,300) at NOP (7th)I mentioned C.J. being the No. 1 while Dame is out, but Melo may not view it that way. This should be a chance for Anthony to get plenty of shots up, potentially in a few more minutes. With how much Dame does on a nightly basis, loading up on Simons/McCollum/Anthony in the same lineup is nothing to be afraid of.
Positional StrategyJulius Randle ($8,100) deserves some honorable mention, but I couldn’t slot him anywhere. He’s played very well against Indy so far this season, and Randle is an even bigger piece of the offense with Marcus Morris shipped out.
Target worth paying up for: Anthony Davis ($9,900) vs. MEM (20th)AD’s averaging over 60 DKFP in a pair of contests against the Grizz this season, but his salary is back down under $10,000 for the first time in four games. This just feels like a good buy-low spot without too many high priced centers jumping out.
Best value: James Johnson ($4,600) vs. BOS (1st)With KAT off the floor, Minnesota has too much value not to bring it up twice. Portland’s value might be a little stronger since those players aren’t adjusted in salary for Lillard being out, but Johnson is still in a very good spot to go at least 6X. He’s averaging over 25 DKFP in three games with the Wolves and saw his minutes go up to 32 with Towns out.
Positional StrategyIt’s not the usual slate that’s loaded with centers. Hassan Whiteside ($9,200) could be a popular play, but I don’t love his jump in salary after four below-average games in his last five. This very well could be a slate I don’t play a center and just use a PF.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
QUESTIONABLEDeandre Ayton (ankle)
Elfrid Payton (ankle)
T.J. Warren (back)
Will Barton (knee)
Thomas Bryant (foot)
D.J. Augustine (knee)
Ian Mahinmi (foot)
OUTKarl-Anthony Towns (wrist)
Damian Lillard (groin)
Kemba Walker (knee)
Mike Conley (rest)
Marc Gasol (hamstring)
Get all the news and analysis up to the minute on DK Live.
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