There are some years where the NBA trade deadline gets a ton of hype and then we get disappointed with the biggest trade involving someone like Kirk Hinrich (no offense to Hinrich). Unless you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers or the New York Knicks, then it’s hard to be upset at what transpired at the trade deadline. The biggest deal occurred when the Brooklyn Nets sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond.
Given all of the trades that happened ahead of the deadline, it will be important for us to navigate the rotations that each team will deploy until they can get their new additions on the court. The San Antonio Spurs, the Boston Celtics, and the 76ers are all teams that play on Friday night that completed notable trades. With those teams potentially having thinner rotations on Friday, here are my favorite pay-up and value options on DraftKings’ main slate.
Pay-up option: Dejounte Murray ($10,300)
In the hours leading up to the trade deadline, one of the surprising moves happened when the Spurs traded Derrick White to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford. With White now headed to Boston, Dejounte Murray will likely handle an even bigger workload for San Antonio. Murray has been one of the best players in DFS or any form of fantasy basketball as he got his first All-Star nod this season. Besides the fact that he’s always capable of recording a triple-double, and the fact that he’s scored 50+ DraftKings points in four out of his last five games, he also gets to face the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Atlanta is allowing the sixth-most DraftKings points per game (52.46) in their last seven games.
Value option: Payton Pritchard ($3,600)
The Celtics were active at the trade deadline, acquiring White from the Spurs to bolster their backcourt. With Richardson, Dennis Schroder, and Langford headed elsewhere, that could leave Payton Pritchard to play more minutes on Friday night versus the Denver Nuggets at only $3,600. If White can make his debut on Friday, then you can avoid playing Pritchard and go with someone like Bones Hyland if you need to save salary at the point guard position. Pritchard isn’t going to score 25-30 points but he’s capable of contributing in multiple areas of the stat sheet that should make it easy for him to return value as long as he gets minutes.
Pay-up option: Zach LaVine ($9,200)
With the injury to Lonzo Ball, the Chicago Bulls have asked their trio of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic to shoulder even more of the usage in recent weeks. If you’re interested in narratives, LaVine will be playing against his former team in the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, setting him up for an explosive performance. LaVine has contributed 5+ assists in three straight games, giving him a higher ceiling as he’s become more involved in the play-making department for the Bulls. The Timberwolves surrender the third-most DraftKings points per game (43.45) to shooting guards this season, so the stars are aligning for LaVine to be one of the top performers on Friday night.
Value option: Lonnie Walker ($4,200)
Seeing that White is headed to the Celtics, that is going to leave more playing time for guys like Lonnie Walker. Walker is an offensive-minded guard that will now be leaned on even more to be one of the go-to scorers for the Spurs moving forward. In San Antonio’s last game on Wednesday, Walker only played 11 minutes and supplied 4.25 DraftKings points, but I expect his minutes to get a major bump on Friday. While he’s an extremely volatile player, Walker is capable of putting up 30+ DraftKings points in an increased role and he’s only $4,200 on the green site. Kevin Huerter is also a viable option on the other side of that contest if you’re not a fan of using Walker.
Pay-up option: Kelly Oubre Jr. ($5,900)
Once again, the small forward position doesn’t give us many enticing options at the top on Friday night. I’m not interested in paying up at small forward, but the one player that I’ll be rostering a lot on Friday is Kelly Oubre Jr. Gordon Hayward is expected to be out indefinitely for the Charlotte Hornets, which puts more pressure on Oubre to provide more scoring for the Hornets as he’s joined the starting lineup. At any moment, Oubre can catch fire as he’s an extremely streaky scorer. Oubre gets an opportunity to face a Detroit Pistons team that is on the second leg of a back-to-back and that gives up the most DraftKings points per game (45.22) to the small forward position.
Value option: Aleksej Pokusevski ($3,500)
It is finally (hopefully) Aleksej Pokusevski time for the Oklahoma City Thunder as they don’t have much to play for at this point in the season. Pokusevski has gotten 26+ minutes in back-to-back games and it has resulted in him notching 28.25 and 38 DraftKings points respectively. Despite his recent emergence, DraftKings refuses to raise his price and I’d be shocked if the Thunder don’t keep him in their rotation moving forward. Until DraftKings increases his salary, I’ll continue to lock in Pokusevski at a massive discount. If Oklahoma City elects to bench Pokusevski on Friday — for some odd reason — then Furkan Korksmaz should be a solid choice following the 76ers trading Curry.
Pay-up option: DeMar DeRozan ($9,700)
As mentioned above, the key members of the Bulls have been asked to handle more as of late, which has condensed the production in DFS. LaVine, DeRozan, and Vucevic are all fantastic options on Friday, but I’ll go with LaVine and DeRozan of the three. DeRozan has been truly spectacular all season as he was selected as an All-Star starter. The veteran forward has recorded 45+ DraftKings points in 12 consecutive games, so his floor is extremely safe at his expensive salary. At the same time, he has legitimate 50-60-point upside, especially in a pace-up game versus the Timberwolves. I also like Tobias Harris and Wendell Carter Jr. at the power forward position.
Value option: Kelly Olynyk ($4,000)
During the trade deadline, the Pistons acquired Marvin Bagley from the Sacramento Kings in a trade that involved Trey Lyles being moved by Detroit. With Lyles no longer in the picture, the Pistons are likely going to give more minutes to Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk moving forward. While Luke Garza could also earn playing time with Detroit looking forward to the future, Olynyk is the better option right now. We’ve seen Olynyk be effective in DFS with limited minutes in the past two seasons, so an increase in playing time could make him a nice value piece. The experienced big man also gets a favorable matchup versus the Hornets on Friday, who are allowing the third-most DraftKings points per game (59.08) to the center position. Jaden McDaniels is another player to consider since he’s been added to the starting lineup for the Timberwolves.
Pay-up option: Jarrett Allen ($7,900)
I wouldn’t argue with anyone that elects to use one of the high-salary centers in Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Karl-Anthony Towns as all of them are tremendous options on Friday night. While I’ll likely ponder the idea of going with Embiid, I want to mention Jarrett Allen as a terrific option as well. Allen has compiled 15+ points and 14+ rebounds in three straight games and one of those games came against the same Indiana Pacers team he’ll face on Friday. Domantas Sabonis is no longer a member of the Pacers, Myles Turner is out due to injury, and Indiana is starting Goga Bitadze at the center position. All of those are great reasons why Allen makes a ton of sense on Friday night.
Value option: Zach Collins ($3,500)
Along with moving on from White, the Spurs also traded Thaddeus Young and Drew Eubanks on Thursday. With Young and Eubanks out of the mix, Zach Collins could be San Antonio’s go-to backup at center moving forward. Collins made his season debut earlier this week against the Cleveland Cavaliers, posting 26.75 DraftKings points in only 13 minutes of action. The oft-injured big man would follow that up by scoring 19.25 DraftKings points in 18 minutes on Wednesday. Even though it’s risky to expect him to get a consistent number of minutes, we don’t need Collins to play long on Friday against the Hawks for him to return 5x value at $3,500.