It's officially the time of the year when people turn on Adrian Wojnarowski’s notifications on Twitter so they can see when a trade goes down in the NBA. We’ve already seen a few notable players switch teams in recent days, including the likes of CJ McCollum, Caris LeVert, Tyrese Haliburton, and Domantas Sabonis. Also, can we take some time to ask ourselves what the Sacramento Kings are doing? I think we’ve grown accustomed to the Kings being dismal in our society, but trading Haliburton seems like a firable offense for everyone involved.
With trades taking shape around the league, we’ll need to stay on our toes in NBA DFS. While checking the news in the NBA is always a must in DFS, it’s even more important when players are changing teams hours before tip-off. Even amidst the chaos happening, I’ll be doing my best to pick out the best pay-up and value options at each position for Wednesday’s main slate on DraftKings.
Pay-up option: Fred VanVleet ($8,700)
The Toronto Raptors have been rolling as of late as they’ve gotten more healthy, winning 14 of their last 20 games. Fred VanVleet has been spectacular all season and the Raptors play their starters plenty of minutes, so even in blowouts, they tend to play the majority of the game. There’s blowout potential for Toronto on Wednesday versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, but VanVleet should be able to produce his usual numbers. VanVleet has scored fewer than 40 DraftKings points just twice in his last 10 games and he’s reached 50+ DraftKings points in 11 of his last 23 games, proving that he possesses a nice ceiling.
Value option: Dennis Smith Jr. ($4,100)
It’s evident that the Portland Trail Blazers are trying to reshape their roster around Damian Lillard after trading McCollum, Norman Powell, Robert Covington, and Larry Nance Jr. in the past few days. With Lillard sidelined and the Trail Blazers having a thin rotation, certain guys should see an uptick in minutes. Dennis Smith Jr. is one of those players as he should act as the immediate backup to Anfernee Simons until Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Eric Bledsoe can make their debuts for Portland, which could happen on Wednesday. Though, it remains to be seen if Bledsoe plays a game with the Trail Blazers. I also like Tre Mann and Jalen McLaughlin as value options at the point guard position.
Pay-up option: Donovan Mitchell ($8,600)
I have a feeling that a majority of people are going to pay up for Zach LaVine with it being a six-game slate. While I believe LaVine is a fantastic choice in a favorable matchup in a fast-paced game against the Charlotte Hornets, I believe Donovan Mitchell could be lower-owned given his matchup. There’s going to be a decent amount of people that see Mitchell playing against the Golden State Warriors and avoid playing him on Wednesday. But with Mitchell carrying such a large workload for the Utah Jazz — and with Klay Thompson ruled out for the Warriors — I still envision Mitchell having a productive game versus Golden State. Mitchell recorded 45 DraftKings points against the Warriors earlier this season and he’s coming off a game where he supplied 58.75 DraftKings points versus the New York Knicks. I’m also fine going down to OG Anunoby if you need to save some salary.
Value option: Malik Beasley ($4,100)
The Minnesota Timberwolves have altered their bench unit throughout the season as they’ve tried to discover who should be the backups in their backcourt. At least as of late, Malik Beasley has supplanted Jaylen Nowell as the primary scorer off of the bench for the Timberwolves. Minnesota gets to face the Kings on back-to-back nights, so the matchup is in his favor. Beasley has contributed 26+ DraftKings points in three of his last five games entering Tuesday night’s contest and he gets to play in a pace-up game. Sacramento allows the most DraftKings points per game to shooting guards (43.85), so the opportunities should be there for Beasley to easily return 5x value.
Pay-up option: LeBron James ($10,800)
LeBron James made his return from a knee injury on Saturday against the New York Knicks and he proceeded to record a triple-double like he never missed any time. James was able to play again on Tuesday night versus the Milwaukee Bucks, but it remains to be seen if the Los Angeles Lakers want him to suit up for a back-to-back given his recent injury. If James does happen to play on Wednesday, he’s a premier option against a shorthanded Trail Blazers squad. Now, if James is ruled out, then I’d go all the way down to either Andrew Wiggins or Kelly Oubre Jr. as I’m not big on any of the other pay-up options at the small forward position on Wednesday night.
Value option: Moe Harkless ($3,800)
The Kings are another team that is operating with a thin rotation with trades taking place. Until Sabonis, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb can make their debuts for Sacramento, which could be on Wednesday, then Moe Harkless should continue to see increased minutes for the Kings. Harkless has benefitted from an improved role recently, scoring 24+ DraftKings points in his last three games while playing 30+ minutes in each of those games. If some of Sacramento’s new additions (Holiday can’t play due to the COVID-19 guidelines in Sacramento), then you can go with Jaden McDaniels or Kenrich Williams are viable value options at the small forward position.
Pay-up option: DeMar DeRozan ($9,600)
If I had to choose between either LaVine or DeMar DeRozan on Wednesday, I’ll side with DeRozan as I believe he has a slightly higher ceiling. There is certainly an argument to be made that both of them are viable in the same lineup, but I was just letting it be known who I’d prefer if someone had to choose between the two. DeRozan continues to stuff the stat sheet for the Chicago Bulls, scoring 46+ DraftKings points in 11 straight games. On top of that, the Hornets play at the sixth-fastest pace in the NBA and they are the ninth-worst team in defensive efficiency this season. Pascal Siakam is another high-salary option worth considering and Evan Mobley is priced nice at $6,800 if you’re unable to get up to DeRozan or Siakam.
Value option: Aleksej Pokusevski ($3,600)
The Thunder have no reason not to run out a youthful lineup every night as they continue to rebuild their roster. And with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Aaron Wiggins, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Mike Muscala, and Isaiah Roby all sidelined with injuries, Aleksej Pokusevski should see increased run for the foreseeable future. Pokusevski was recalled to the Thunder on Tuesday after scoring 28.25 DraftKings points versus the Kings on February 5th. The second-year forward should see minutes whether it’s a blowout or not, which is a plus at his salary. There’s no reason for Pokusevski to not receive at least 20 minutes on Wednesday night, and at $3,600, he won’t need to do much to make him worth rostering.
Pay-up option: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,700)
The last time we saw Karl-Anthony Towns with a salary under $10,000 on DraftKings, he was coming off a 54.5-point performance on the green site versus the Denver Nuggets on February 1st. Anytime I can get one of the best centers in the NBA at a reasonable salary, I'm always going to be intrigued. Towns is squaring off against the Kings on back-to-back nights and even though he was $10,200 on Tuesday night, they dropped his salary down. Sacramento is putrid against centers this season, giving up an average of 66.82 DraftKings points per game alone in their last 15 games (worst in the NBA in that span). Nikola Vucevic and Jarrett Allen are other high-salary centers I like on Wednesday.
Value option: Chris Boucher ($4,800)
I already mentioned that the Raptors play their starters heavy minutes, which doesn’t make their backups reliable options in DFS. However, in certain matchups, it’s hard to ignore certain guys on Toronto’s bench. Chris Boucher is in a prime position to explode on Wednesday night against a Thunder squad that doesn’t have much size in their frontcourt right now. Boucher doesn’t need many minutes to be effective as he’s recorded 27+ DraftKings points in two of his last three games despite not playing more than 25 minutes in any of those games. A blowout would actually benefit Boucher, so if the Raptors get up big early and Boucher can get 30-ish minutes, then we could get a ceiling game from the versatile big man.