It’s an absolute bummer that we have to wait another week until the Super Bowl. At the least, we have a whole weekend of basketball to watch since the NFL Pro Bowl isn’t as entertaining as it once was. We no longer have quarterbacks competing against each other to see how far they can throw the ball, we don't have players racing each other, and we don’t have a weight-lifting competition — which is understandable — but I digress as this is an NBA DFS article.
The All-Star break is around the corner, so some players could be itching to get a break from the monotony of the regular season. There are quite a few notable players that have been ruled out already for Friday’s main slate, so there shouldn’t be a lack of value options. With that in mind, here are my favorite pay-up and value options at each position for Friday’s main slate on DraftKings.
Pay-up option: Luka Doncic ($11,900)
The Dallas Mavericks are going to be without Kristaps Porzingis for the third straight game as he recovers from a knee injury. Even though Luka Doncic always shoulders a massive workload for the Mavericks, his ceiling is slightly increased with the absence of Porzingis. When Porzingins has missed games this season, Doncic has seen a 3.7% increase in his usage and has produced six more DraftKings points per 36 minutes. With Dallas coming off of a surprising loss to the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, I expect Doncic to be locked in on Friday. If Dejounte Murray can return for the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, I’d be fine using him as well in a fast-paced matchup with the Houston Rockets.
Value option: Brandon Goodwin ($4,100)
Ahead of Friday’s slate of games, the Cleveland Cavaliers have already ruled out Darius Garland for the third consecutive game. While the Cavaliers inserted Cedi Osman into the starting lineup to replace Lauri Markkanen, it has been Brandon Goodwin that has benefitted the most from Garland’s absence. Goodwin has recorded 25+ DraftKings points in the last two games sans Garland and has received 27+ minutes in each of those contests. With a consistent role, coupled with a pace-up game versus the Charlotte Hornets, Goodwin should be able to easily return 5x value at his current salary. Depending on Murray’s status for the Spurs, Tre Jones could be a fantastic option as well.
Pay-up option: Josh Giddey ($7,700)
There aren’t any high-salary shooting guards that are extremely enticing for Friday’s main slate. The one shooting guard that does catch my eye, though, is Josh Giddey. Despite scoring 36+ DraftKings points in each of his last three games, DraftKings decided to cut his salary from $7,900 on Wednesday when he notched 40.25 DraftKings points to $7,700 on Friday. Seeing that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander remains out for the Thunder, Giddey should continue to see an increase in his usage on Friday night in a matchup with a dismal defensive team in the Portland Trail Blazers.
Value option: Reggie Bullock ($4,500)
Amid the absence of Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. in recent games, the Mavericks have been desperate to get production from other players. One player that has been quite productive in recent games is Reggie Bullock. Over the past four games for Dallas, Bullock has averaged 17.75 points, 5.25 rebounds, and 1.75 steals per game while knocking down at least three three-pointers in each game. Even in a slow-paced, defensive matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, Bullock should get enough minutes to pay off his price tag. Devin Vassell and Lonnie Walker should be considered viable value options as well.
Pay-up option: Miles Bridges ($8,000)
It was quite the horrific outing from Miles Bridges in Wednesday’s loss to the Boston Celtics. Bridges, who has shown vast improvements in his game this season, posted a season-worst 11.25 DraftKings points while making only two of his eight shot attempts. Following his abysmal showing from Wednesday, some people may elect to avoid him in fear of him disappointing again. But in GPPs, this is the perfect time to use Bridges as he’s in a prime bounce-back spot. The Cavaliers aren’t the same team with Garland and Lauri Markkanen out and Bridges could see more opportunities if Gordon Hayward remains sidelined for the Hornets. Scottie Barnes and Norman Powell are viable if you need to save salary at the small forward position.
Value option: Kenrich Williams ($3,900)
The absence of Gilgeous-Alexander for the Thunder leaves plenty of opportunities to go around to multiple players. Besides Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City will also be without Aaron Wiggins and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl on Friday night. That should leave more minutes for someone like Kenrich Williams. Williams has been a solid player in recent years that can contribute in multiple areas of a stat sheet, making him a decent player to target in DFS. In the Thunder’s past five games, Williams has played 25+ minutes in each of them and has returned 5x value in three of them. There’s a chance we see Williams garner 30+ minutes on Friday in a potentially high-scoring game versus the Trail Blazers.
Pay-up option: Evan Mobley ($7,600)
I was torn between listing either Evan Mobley or Kevin Love as I don’t believe you can go wrong with either one on Friday night. The Cavaliers are a bit shorthanded right now with Garland and Markannen sidelined, putting more pressure on everyone else to step up. Mobley is coming off of one of his best performances of the season where he supplied 48.5 DraftKings points versus the Rockets. While Love is certainly in play, I envision Mobley being able to build off of his last outing in Friday’s showdown with the Hornets, who are giving up the fourth-most DraftKings points per game (48.92) to power forwards this season.
Value option: Terry Taylor ($4,200)
The Indiana Pacers are extremely thin in their frontcourt right now as Domantas Sabonis is in the league’s health and safety protocols, and Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze, Oshae Brissett, and Isaiah Jackson are all dealing with injuries. Bitadze and Brissett are considered questionable for Friday’s matchup with the Chicago Bulls, but if either or both of them are out again, then Terry Taylor is a smash play at his salary. Taylor has scored 28+ DraftKings points in the past two games, including a 52-point explosion in Indiana’s last game on Wednesday. Taylor should see a decent allotment of minutes regardless of their statuses, but if Bitadze and/or Brissett are ruled out, then Taylor is a free square on the green site.
Pay-up option: Nikola Jokic ($12,400)
This is what you should do on Friday night when you’re making your lineups. First and foremost, you are going to take your cursor and hover over Nikola Jokic. Then, you will hit the ‘plus’ button on the right side and insert him into your lineups. When Jokic is on the main slate, it’s wise to just plug him as it’s proven to be a fruitful strategy more often than not this season. Jokic averages a whopping 63.9 DraftKings points at home and he’s accrued 70 DraftKings points per game when facing the New Orleans Pelicans this season, so he’s in a prime spot to have a ceiling game on Friday night.
Value option: Nicolas Claxton ($4,900)
The Brooklyn Nets are going to be without LaMarcus Aldridge for an unknown amount of time, which has led to more playing time for Nicolas Claxton. Claxton made the cut as my value play for Wednesday’s main slate and he erupted for a season-high 51.75 DraftKings points against the Sacramento Kings. While we shouldn't expect 50+ point performances from Claxton consistently, he’s capable of returning at least 5x value at a salary under $5,000. Also, Claxton gets to face a Utah Jazz team that will be without Rudy Gobert again on Friday night.