With the NFL regular season now behind us, I’ll be making the transition to NBA DFS moving forward. The NBA is vastly different from NFL in the DFS realm, as stacking isn’t a popular strategy in basketball. The strategy you should deploy in NBA DFS is different depending on each slate. Some days you may want to go with a balanced lineup, while other days it may warrant going the stars and scrubs route due to the endless value options that become available.
On DraftKings, the scoring is a bit different where steals and blocks are worth two points each (instead of three points on FanDuel) and a made three-point shot is an extra half-point compared to a full-point on the blue site. In addition to those differences, DraftKings offers bonuses to players that achieve a double-double (which is an additional 1.5 points) and a triple-double (which is an additional three points). For my NBA DFS articles, I’ll be listing a pay-up and value option at each position. With the possibility of news changing, follow me @skyler_carlin on Twitter to get any updates on my picks.
*Note: News is constantly changing throughout the day in the NBA and COVID-19 is still a concern this season. It is extremely important to pay close attention to the news in the NBA as things could change minutes before tip-off occurs.
Pay-up option: Dejounte Murray ($9,700)
Dejounte Murray has been on an absolute tear for the San Antonio Spurs this season and Derrick White is sidelined for the Spurs. Murray has been one rebound short twice of recording four triple-doubles in his last eight appearances. The dynamic point guard posted only 41.5 points on DraftKings on Monday against the New York Knicks, but he will be playing in a fast-paced environment on Wednesday versus the Houston Rockets. The Spurs play at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA while the Rockets are tied for playing at the fastest pace in the league. On top of that, Houston surrenders the most points per game (51.25) to point guards on DraftKings. With White still out for San Antonio, there’s a decent chance we get 50+ points from Murray on Wednesday night.
Value option: Rajon Rondo ($3,800)
Upon the news of Ricky Rubio tearing his ACL and being out for the rest of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t waste any time in acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers. As the backup point guard to Darius Garland, Rondo has assumed a decent-sized role on the Cavaliers in recent games. In his first three outings with Cleveland, Rondo has not posted fewer than 22 points on DraftKings and he’s only $3,800. On the surface, it may not look like the veteran point guard has a favorable matchup on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. However, the Jazz have allowed the fifth-most points per game (50.11) to the point guard position in their past 30 games and Rudy Gobert could be sidelined again for Utah, opening up the paint for Rondo.
Pay-up option: Zach LaVine ($8,800)
One of my favorite games to target on Wednesday night is the showdown between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls. The game is held in Chicago, meaning that Kyrie Irving will be available for Brooklyn. On the other side of the court, I’m liking Zach LaVine quite a lot versus the Nets. LaVine has evolved into one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA and is averaging 40.4 points per game on DraftKings. While the Bulls are on a back-to-back, LaVine has averaged 47.1 points in the previous two meetings versus the Nets this season. I’m expecting a high-scoring affair between Brooklyn and Chicago on Wednesday night, with LaVine racking up points in bunches.
Value option: Lonnie Walker IV ($4,600)
Besides White, the Spurs are also without Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Tre Jones. With those guys absent from the lineup, Lonnie Walker has taken on a larger role in recent games. Walker has combined for 64.8 DraftKings points in his past two games as one of the go-to scorers alongside Murray. Once again, the Rockets and the Spurs play fast, which should lead to more scoring opportunities on both sides of the court. If San Antonio is without a few of their backcourt options again on Wednesday, then Walker is still a fantastic value option at $4,600 that could easily return 5x value on DraftKings.
Pay-up option: LeBron James ($11,700)
Not much needs to be said about how dominant LeBron James has been this season. Despite the Los Angeles Lakers being a disappointing team thus far, James has cemented himself as an MVP candidate. The 37-year-old forward is shouldering a heavy workload with Anthony Davis sidelined, averaging 54.5 points per game on DraftKings. James gets an opportunity to face a Sacramento Kings squad that plays at the eighth-fastest pace in the NBA while Los Angeles is tied for the fastest pace in the league. Paying $11,000 or more for a single player can sometimes be risky. But with James, he’ll likely be locked in on Wednesday night versus the Kings following the Lakers’ recent loss against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Value option: Josh Green ($3,700)
The Dallas Mavericks have already ruled out Kristaps Porzingis for Wednesday night’s contest against the Knicks, opening up some value on the Mavericks. Josh Green has benefitted from Porzingis’ absence in recent games, seeing 22+ minutes in back-to-back games for Dallas. In the 47 minutes he’s played in the past two games, Green has accrued 57.8 points on DraftKings. Even though New York and Dallas play at the slowest paces in the NBA, Green’s ability to contribute on both ends of the court makes him well worth his salary of $3,700. Using guys like Green can help you fit in players like James or Murray into your lineups.
Pay-up option: Kevin Durant ($11,000)
Another player that is $11,000+ on DraftKings that is well worth the price is Kevin Durant. While James Harden is expected to return following a one-game absence and Irving is projected to play despite an ankle injury, Durant is the primary scorer on the Nets. Durant is averaging 51.6 points per game on DraftKings and with Brooklyn losing their last game to a depleted Portland Trail Blazers team, Durant is going to be extra motivated to lead Brooklyn to a victory on Wednesday night. The unguardable forward has posted 56.1 points per game on the green site in the previous two games versus the Bulls this season. Durant could be rostered at a lower percentage if Harden and Irving suit up, which is fine by me.
Value option: Onyeka Okongwu ($3,900)
The Atlanta Hawks are currently listing Clint Capela as doubtful for Wednesday night’s matchup with the Miami Heat. That would mean that Onyeka Okongwu could be slate for his second straight for the Hawks. Okongwu has scored 20+ in five of his seven games this season and was one point short of a double-double in his last start in place of Capela. While Okongwu is a bit undersized, he’s still capable of competing for rebounds and scoring points in the paint. If Capela is officially ruled out, Okongwu could become one of the most popular value options on DraftKings at only $3,900.
Pay-up option: Joel Embiid ($11,200)
Along with James and Durant, Joel Embiid has made his case to be the NBA MVP this season. With Ben Simmons still not present for the Philadelphia 76ers, Embiid has showcased his versatile skill set at the center position more than ever. Embiid is recording a career-best 4.4 assists per game while also posting 27 points and 10.6 rebounds per game for the 76ers. The dominant big man has been unstoppable in recent games, notching 55+ points on DraftKings in five of his last seven games. It just so happens that Embiid draws the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, a team he’s scored an average of 62.4 points per game against on DraftKings in the first two meetings this season. If you are unable to get to Embiid at the center position, Omer Yurtseven and Christian Wood are mid-tier options that are worth using.
Value option: Montrezl Harrell ($4,700)
Montrezl Harrell made his return to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night and he didn’t take long to make his presence felt. And with Bradley Beal in the health and safety protocols for the Wizards, Harrell’s scoring contributions are much-needed off of the bench right now. Harrell averages 29 points per game on DraftKings this season and is priced at $4,700 upon his return to the lineup. The Orlando Magic surrender the ninth-most points per game (55.41) and the seventh-most rebounds per game (16.22) to the center position this season, making this a remarkable matchup for a stat-stuffing center like Harrell. You could go down to Dwight Powell or use Okongwu at the center position if you’re desperate to save salary somewhere.