No Russell Westbrook. Anthony Davis and James Harden involved in the same game. Injuries everywhere. And an excruciating small forward pool. I think that just about sums up tonight’s 10-game daily fantasy basketball slate.
Despite all of that, there are still price discrepancies across the industry to note — some even attached to the stars in this slate. Sit back and confidently build your lineup around the following list of valuable and high-priced (but worth the cost) players.
Daily Fantasy Basketball Plays of the Day
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ CHI ($9,300 on DraftKings, $9,900 on FanDuel)
Although recency bias is certainly in play here and worth considering before paying for Antetokounmpo in tournaments, he was a lock by many in Thursday’s slate because his salary on DraftKings at the time ($9,500) was too low. He now costs $200 less, and is implied to score a mark (44.1 DraftKings points) he’s failed to reach only twice over his last 13 performances. He’s averaged 51.6 DraftKings points in that span. Given his upside, Antetokounmpo is a steal in cash games and should be blindly rostered at that price.
Isaiah Thomas VS CHA ($7,000 on DraftKings, $8,200 on FanDuel)
On the night Thomas was injured, he cost $8,100 on DraftKings. Four games later, he costs $1,100 less there. $7,000 is also be a season-low mark for Thomas’ salary, an odd caveat since he doesn’t have any reported restrictions tonight. It also helps that the Charlotte Hornets play just over one possession faster with Ramon Sessions, starting for Kemba Walker (personal), on the court. Thomas will likely never be priced at an even $7,000 again all year, which is all the more reason to roster his 30-point floor with confidence.
Ramon Sessions @ BOS ($3,700 on DraftKings, $4,300 on FanDuel)
Speaking of Sessions, he’s already been named the starter in place of Walker tonight. He’s essentially averaged just under one DraftKings point per minute alongside Nicolas Batum this season, while the latter has averaged 1.05. Batum’s usage rate has also plummeted to 21 percent with Sessions on the court. For nearly the stone minimum across the industry, a catastrophic event would have to occur in order for Sessions to not hit value. He most recently averaged 36.8 DraftKings points in his last five starts for Washington last season.
Evan Fournier VS BRK ($5,900 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel)
Nikola Vucevic is reportedly healthy and will play “serviceable minutes” tonight, but that should have a trickle-down effect that negatively impacts Elfrid Payton more so than Fournier. Fournier has notably averaged 34.9 minutes and 39.1 DraftKings points (both team-highs) sans Vucevic in Orlando’s last three games, while Payton has logged 27 minutes or less in two of those three contests. Assuming Fournier is still given extended run with the starters tonight, it’s an elite matchup for him as Brooklyn has allowed the fifth-most DraftKings points to opposing shooting guards this season.
Kelly Oubre VS DET ($4,000 on DraftKings, $4,000 on FanDuel)
Although Oubre’s eventual ceiling hinges on Markieff Morris’ status (questionable) at tip-off, Oubre is worth discussing as a Play of the Day given the landscape of this slate. First off, nobody at Oubre’s position cost more than $9,000 across the industry tonight. That already makes it a terrific strategy in cash games to just pay down at SF. Unlike others priced similarly to him, though, Oubre is guaranteed 38-plus minutes if Morris is ruled out. And if the latter event does occur, $4,000 arguably isn’t enough for a player of Oubre’s caliber, especially since he led Washington in minutes and took 12 shots in his first start of the season Wednesday. He’s a lock in any format if given the nod.
Paul Millsap @ TOR ($8,000 on DraftKings, $8,300 on FanDuel)
In Toronto’s last game, head coach Dwane Casey opted to match Pascal Siakam against Jahlil Okafor and place Jonas Valanciunas across from Joel Embiid. If that matchup remains similar according to position, Siakam would be assigned Millsap tonight. And while Dwight Howard’s minutes have fluctuated recently, averaging 27.9 in Atlanta’s last five contests, Millsap meanwhile has averaged a team-high 36 minutes and 48.7 DraftKings points. Whether he’s playing the four or five, Millsap has an ideal matchup and should be heavily involved in what’s quietly the third-highest implied total (215.5) of the evening.
Jahlil Okafor VS LAL ($5,100 on DraftKings, $5,100 on FanDuel)
Joel Embiid (knee) is questionable for tonight. Okafor, though, should flourish whether Embiid is active or not. In 32 minutes alongside the latter this season, Okafor has quietly averaged 1.2 DraftKings points per minute. That admittedly pales in comparison to Embiid’s average of 1.5 DraftKings points per minute when the two centers share the court, but Okafor — recently stripped of any restrictions — additionally has the ability to stay in the game when Embiid, who remains limited to 28 minutes, comes off the court. And if Embiid is ruled out after lineup lock, note that Okafor has averaged 25.9 DraftKings points as Philadelphia’s lone starting center this season. It’s a win-win scenario if you’re playing Okafor tonight, especially since the Los Angeles Lakers have allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points per game to opposing centers this season.
Andre Drummond @ WAS ($7,600 on DraftKings, $8,300 on FanDuel)
Drummond collected 12 rebounds in the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday and ‘only’ finished with 17. Coincidently, that performance was the only outing in his last eight games in which he failed to exceed value. In the seven games prior, Drummond averaged 45.4 DraftKings points and a line of 17.2-15.2 and 1.4 blocks. His total of three shot attempts against Dallas was absolutely a fluke and eight fewer than what he’s averaged on the season. Considering that Washington has permitted the fifth-most DraftKings points to opposing centers in its last five contests, it’s another night in which Drummond should finish with a minimum of 14 points and 14 rebounds.