Preseason daily fantasy basketball was fun yet again on Thursday night, as D’Angelo Russell, Ish Smith, Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroder and Blake Griffin all went nuts.
Of course, we saw a good amount of our NBA DFS teams crater into the ground thanks to dreadful efforts by Jordan McRae and Victor Oladipo, while late game NBA reporting reered its ugly head yet again with news of Boogie resting coming out LITERALLY the second after lineups locked.
That late game news is going to be super prevalent all year across both DFS sites, as we revealed yesterday that DraftKings will adopt FanDuel’s “no late swap” method for NBA games this year.
That’s a bummer, but if we want to play, we need to go full speed ahead with a little more attention to detail – specifically starting lineups, injury news and whispers about guys resting.
Tonight gives us another chance to act on news like that, as a few teams are playing their second game of a back to back set and some other veterans could be rested or limited.
We’ll try to update this piece as Friday moves along, but be sure to track the news yourself leading into the games. Without further haste, let’s take a look at our favorite daily fantasy basketball preseason value picks for Friday’s five-game slate:
Note: Our value picks articles take a look at specifically cheap value guys you may want to pair with studs like Stephen Curry, Hassan Whiteside and the like. You’ll only find guys we like at $6k or below at DraftKings for the slate at hand.
Stephen Curry is the top point guard and one of the best elite plays tonight, so he naturally heads the point guard position if he plays (illness). Kyrie Irving would be behind him, but he shouldn’t be playing on the second game of a back to back set.
Jeff Teague, Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic all look to be in play unless we hear about some countering lineup news, but right behind them is Mudiay.
Mudiay was rested with a bunch of other Nuggets in Denver’s last game, but he figures to play tonight with news coming from head coach Michael Malone that Denver is ditching the idea of resting guys to gear up for the new year:
Mudiay’s been solid and getting good run, so he’s probably the top point guard value pick to consider on this slate. A fast-paced home date with the Dubs probably helps his cause.
We will also want to give Kay Felder a look, as Kyrie is almost surely out after playing last night. Felder played, too, but he’s still working to earn himself a roster spot and actual role, so he’ll probably start and play a lot. The dude can score and get dimes, so if he starts, he’s probably a must-play.
Elfrid Payton was brutal (5 turnovers!) in his preseason debut earlier this week, but he can’t be much worse in his second game and he absolutely needs run to shake the rust off. I can’t see him bottoming out that bad tonight and as long as he starts, I like him a lot at this price.
D-Will and Murray deserve cursory glances, but the situation needs to be right. Williams is super cheap and carries decent upside given his price, but he needs to be a lock for 20+ minutes. Given his veteran status and the fact that he’s coming off of hernia surgery, I’m not sure we can fully bank on that.
Murray just needs to start or have a bunch of other Spurs be inactive and then I’ll trust Pop to give the raw rookie some run. He hasn’t really had a chance to prove himself yet, but with San Antonio playing just two days ago, it’s possible they sit some of their key veterans.
I think it’s Curry or bust at the point guard spot tonight, but we need to prepare for him sitting this one out. He’s my top choice if active, with Kay Felder a close second if he gets the start and Kyrie sits.
Devin Booker has been amaze balls throughout the preseason and though he’s now the most expensive SG in daily fantasy basketball tonight, he’s still the top option if he plays.
The “if” is legit, as he played a ton in his last game and hurt his ankle. That figures to make him questionable for tonight:
Jimmy Butler, Evan Fournier and Klay Thompson all have also been good and are worth a mention.
Update: Jimmy Butler won’t play tonight, as he’s been ruled out for the next two games. Doug McDermott (SF on DraftKings) figures to start in his place:
If you’re looking to save, though, we might consider going back to the well and giving Jordan McRae another try. He was awful last night, but had met or crushed value his previous three games. Not starting hurt his upside last night and that could change tonight with a lot of the main Cavs probably sitting on the second game of a b2b set. If that’s the case, he’ll be highly owned.
If McRae doesn’t seem like a fit, consider the Nuggets, who are still without Gary Harris and will continue to give Will Barton and rookie Jamal Murray a ton of run. Both guys can fill it up offensively, but we prefer Murray due to his price and versatility. Barton pretty much just scores and Murray can do a little bit of everything.
I’m not too big to give Monta Ellis a chance tonight, seeing as he’s been getting decent run and can score in bunches. I’d probably need Paul George to be out again to be in love with him, however.
McCaw was awesome early on this preseason, but as the Dubs have played their main guys more, he’s found it more difficult to make an impact. Keep an eye on their starting lineup tonight. If they sit any main guys, McCaw could be in line for a huge night against Denver.
McRae is really the only guy here I’d fully trust, provided he starts. Otherwise, I’m still all in on Booker if he starts.
If there is a spot to pay up tonight, it’s without a doubt SF, provided Kevin Durant, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard all start. KD is the clear play, as he’s a nice value by comparison and needs like 15 minutes to go nuts. Leonard might be second for us, as he’s got a nice price and George has been sick. LeBron James would be in play if he started, but he’s been held out for rest lately and it’d be a surprise if he hit the court.
If we’re not paying up, Gallo leads the small forward value picks on this daily fantasy basketball preseason slate. He has been rested twice now, so we need to pay attention to Denver’s lineup status, but he’s played well and gotten good run when he’s hit the floor.
Barnes has not been good in Dallas thus far, but you have to think the Mavs want him to build his confidence. He’s cheap and has a good role, so if he starts we could hold onto the hope that he finally has a big game with his new team.
I’m not super into Warren or Williams here, but both could start tonight and do present some value and upside. Williams is a do-it-all guy who can be awesome or brutal, while Warren is an all or nothing scorer. I certainly wouldn’t pair them together, as they’re both insanely volatile.
Robinson was a disappointment last time out (just 17 fantasy points), but crushed it in his two previous games. If Paul George rests again tonight, Robinson should start and thrive.
The same could go for Kyle Anderson if Kawhi Leonard sits tonight. I’m not sure how likely that is since Leonard sat out the other night, but if that ends up being the case, we need to consider the cheap, versatile Anderson.
Dougie Buckets lunges up our list with the news that Jimmy Butler is out tonight and Saturday. He is a pure scorer, but he can fill it up rather quickly and should get a lot of run tonight.
Again, the big three small forwards run the show tonight. Depending on how things shake out, though, we may want to turn to Gallo when it’s all said and done.
While SF is the spot we will probably want to spend on, PF is likely a position to punt. Kevin Love is the best option on the night, yet he’s unlikely to suit up after playing a good amount last night.
Love is likely not going to be a factor, which leaves us with Thaddeus Young, Aaron Gordon and Draymond Green as the best remaining options. Thad has been great and Gordon should be improving, but Dray just hasn’t been elite with the new transition in Golden State. Perhaps he gets it going tonight, but overall, this doesn’t feel like a position we need to spend cash on.
Instead, we can save if we start with guys like Powell, who has proven to be quite the versatile performer in October. He really only has high end value if Dirk Nowitzki sits, though. Speaking of Dirk, he’s really cheap and played 16 minutes in his preseason debut. He really only scores and rebounds, but if he can start and get 20+ minutes tonight, he’s a worthy consideration at such a low price.
Ibaka was not good in his Magic debut, but Orlando needs to get their chemistry going, so seeing more run and production out of him tonight wouldn’t be a surprise. Just make sure he’s starting and not randomly limited.
The Bulls are another team still trying to figure out their rotation, putting both Mirotic and Portis in play. Of the two, Mirotic offers a little more upside and is a hair cheaper.
Myles Turner is another guy who could see his run increase tonight, as he’s played just one game due to injury. Expected to be Indy’s top center this year, it stands to reason the Pacers would want to get him some solid preseason run to get him in a groove.
If we’re really punting this position, I think Chriss makes a lot of sense. He’s actually been fantastic and has outplayed fellow rookie big man Dragan Bender. He seems more NBA-ready, providing awesome dunks, blocks and rebounds. The best part is Phoenix keeps giving their young guys a ton of run, so he looks like a great punt play at power forward.
Power forward is a mess tonight, so if we’re not getting someone like Thad or Dray, I don’t see why Chriss shouldn’t be the play.
It’s Hassan Whiteside or bust most days, but Jusuf Nurkic has been just as much of a monster this preseason and is significantly cheaper. I also like Nikola Vucevic, who rounds out a pretty nice center spot tonight.
If you want to save, you can drop down to any of these three guys, as Big Al has had a really nice preseason with the Pacers, Len has double-double upside and Dedmon could get nice run if the Spurs rest their bigs. Lopez is a stable presence and getting OK run, but the Bulls can be weird with their minutes and he doesn’t offer amazing upside.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though. None of these value plays excite us – nor should they. You’re getting one or two of the top three centers tonight and Hassanity is naturally your key target. If you want a well balanced squad, though, we suggest pairing Vooch and Nurkic. Just make sure they’re starting and playing a good bit, as Nurkic was rested in his last contest.
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