Winning in tournaments requires getting not just good efforts from your roster, but some extra high point production. Sometimes this requires differentiation in roster, and other times, it’s just identifying the high-ceiling plays for the slate.
For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the high-ceiling plays by position, and salary tier (top end, mid tier and low end), for tonight’s games, a modestly solid eight-game slate. These are plays that could go for about, on average, six times what their salary is. (Ex. $6,000 * 6 = 36DK points equals value.)
Let’s line em up! Ask any questions on Twitter @JasonWalker_72.
James Harden – HOU vs. MIN – $10,400 – Wedged in between two uber-ceiling players in Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry, one would believe that people are going to spend a hundred less for Curry or a hundred more for Westbrook. This leaves Harden underowned in a tremendous matchup, at home, against Zach LaVine. The upside is still there, though he’s much more delicious when Dwight Howard is out, but that also keeps his tournament ownership in line as well. This game has a 224.5 total, and the Rockets are favored by 8.5, so this is a good spot for Harden to get 60+.
C.J. McCollum – POR @ NO – $6,400 – There is a nice 45-50 DK point upside in McCollum, who gets a plus matchup against the Pelicans, but can remain lower owned due to back-to-back bias and shinier objects in the MIN/HOU game just below him in salary (LaVine, Wiggins). CJM just had a 40+ night against the Spurs, so he hasn’t lost the ability to produce big games, and he’s been sporting a 28% raw usage rate also over the last five games, so he hasn’t lost the opportunity, either.
Tim Frazier – NO vs. POR – $3,400 – He’s been noticed by now, after his first game with the Pelicans where he went for 33+ DK points in 26 minutes. He gets the start again tonight against the Trail Blazers, who have been a positive matchup for opposing PG this season. Frazier also had an 18% raw usage rate and had nine assists as well, so the performance wasn’t based on unrepeatable stat lines.
LeBron James – CLE @ ORL – $9,300 – I love rostering LeBron when there is a heavy star slate because more go with Westbrook, Curry, and Cousins than LeBron. I also love to roster players in plus matchups when coming off an injury or rest game, because there is no recency bias to inflate ownership percentages. LeBron has both of those factors on his side, as well. He’s still getting over 31% raw usage (over last five games), and this is the LEAST expensive he’s been all season. I’m in.
Continue your Friday Night NBA Research Journey
|Player Targets||Levitan's Leverage||Cheat Sheet|
|Game Breakdowns||Tournament Plays||Top 5's by Position|
Julius Randle – LAL vs. PHX – $6,300 – He goes overlooked often, but has nice upside variance in his game logs and is second best in defensive rebounding percentage over the past fifteen games, second only to Andre Drummond. The Suns play at a high pace and miss a lot of shots every game, so there will be plenty of chances for Randle to put that excellent board rate to work, moving him ever faster to value and some good upside.
Michael Beasley – HOU vs. MIN – $4,100 – Still good value left in that salary, even though it was super sweet when it was min priced. Beasley continues to come off the Houston bench firing, and has a raw usage rate of 31.2% and 25 DraftKings points per game (DKPPG) over his last five games. The game total and matchup are both positives here, and since he’s not starting, his ownership will be held down by that.
Karl-Anthony Towns – MIN @ HOU – $8,300 – He the top raw usage center on the board tonight, has a not so obviously positive matchup against Dwight Howard, and a terrific game total of 224.5 to work with here. With so many other places to pay up tonight, KAT won’t be a strong target, but still has the 60 DK point upside in this game to make a huge difference in tourneys.
Enes Kanter – OKC @ PHL – $5,200 – He’s not starting, he’s priced over 5K, and there are so many options to choose from, like say, Bismack Biyombo. It’s just not a popular night to toss Kanter out there as a punt center. But his matchup against the Sixers is the best on the slate tonight. His defensive rebounding rate is the same as Biyombo’s, and the Sixers play as fast and miss as much as Boston, putting Kanter in a good spot. The difference is, Kanter can score, too, and may have 35-40 DK point upside in a predicted one-sided game, and you’ll be much more alone on him than those on Biyombo.
Mason Plumlee – POR @ NO -$4,000 – Despite the case I just made for Kanter, Plumlee is actually my favorite alt-Biyombo play tonight. The Pelicans are a plus target also, Plumlee’s minutes go near 30 per game when Meyers Leonard is out (as he is tonight), and Plumlee gets nearly a DraftKings point per minute when he’s out there against neutral competition. He went for 32 DK points in 28 minutes against even the Spurs last night. The game total is a solid 218 and the spread is a single point, so as long as Plumlee can resist helping out on Anthony Davis and fouling him, he’s in a good spot tonight at 4K.