This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
MLB may be hogging the attention of DFS fanatics, but we've still got one final weekend of NBA regular-season action before the playoffs begin. While I'll still be entering contests during the playoffs, it's much harder to find those top-notch value plays that can enthusiastically be used in any lineup.
Of course, we haven't quite reached the playoffs, so there are still some injury and rest situations worth watching.
The Warriors seemingly don't want to rest players at home, but it still wouldn't be surprising if they give some guys the night off for Saturday's game against Minnesota.
On Sunday, the Hawks, Cavaliers and Mavericks all figure to rest at least one starter, as none of the three has anything left to play for.
As for injuries, the key guys to keep an eye on for Saturday are Mike Conley (foot), Amir Johnson (ankle) and Trey Burke (back), with the primary beneficiaries being Beno Udrih ($3000), Tyler Hansbrough ($4000) and Rodney Hood ($4700). Guys like Zach Randolph ($6600), Patrick Patterson ($4000) and Gordon Hayward ($7500) could also get small boosts from the aforementioned injuries to their respective teammates.
Elsewhere, LaMarcus Aldridge (foot) and Aaron Afflalo (shoulder) have both been ruled out for Saturday's game against the Jazz, which means the Trail Blazers should offer a ton of value, even in a terrible matchup. Damian Lillard ($7900) is an excellent option whenever Aldridge sits, while C.J. McCollum ($4000), Meyers Leonard ($3800), and even Alonzo Gee ($3000) or Allen Crabbe ($3000) could provide a huge return on their miniscule price tags.
The 76ers are also shorthanded, with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (undisclosed) and Nerlens Noel (ankle) joining Isaiah Canaan (foot) on the sidelines for Saturday's game in Chicago. While the matchup is obviously quite difficult, none of Philadelphia's players figure to lose minutes because of a blowout, and there's a good chance they'll be facing the Bulls' backups in the fourth. This could be the game in which Thomas Robinson ($3600) is finally unleashed for 30-plus minutes, with similarly rebound-minded Furkan Aldemir ($3400) also a candidate to get heavy run. Henry Sims ($3100), Ish Smith ($6400) and Robert Covington ($5300) are your other options, and while none of the 76ers is a strong play for cash games, at least one of them should put together a huge performance relative to his price.
For Sunday, in addition to the possible value plays that emerge from the Hawks, Cavs and Mavs resting players, we get a game between the Nuggets and Kings that should offer up some excellent options. Danilo Gallinari, Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler are all candidates to vastly outperform their respective price tags, while the Kings provide some excellent options on the lower end, with DeMarcus Cousins (foot) and Rudy Gay (concussion) both looking doubtful. Ray McCallum, Ben McLemore and Jason Thompson are the safer choices, but Derrick Williams and Omri Casspi are also in play.
Anyway, here are some of the top choices for the upcoming weekend (Sat.-Sun.) on DraftKings…
C.J. McCollum, POR (Sat. vs. UTA) $4000 – McCollum has already been getting minutes in the mid-20s to low-30s, and he'll likely go even higher on Saturday, as the Blazers are severely lacking in healthy bodies. The team is also short on capable scorers, and while he hasn't offered a whole lot else, the former No. 10 overall draft pick has shown plenty of promise in that department, averaging 15.8 points through six April games. I'll admit that I'm a huge fan of McCollum, and it's disappointing but understandable that he hasn't gotten much playing time through two seasons. While Wesley Matthews (Achilles) is another one of my favorites, I hope the Blazers settle on an offensive-minded Lillard-McCollum backcourt for the long term.
Ray McCallum, SAC (Sun. at DEN) – According to the excellent NBAwowy.com, McCallum has a usage rate of 16.3 percent when on the court with Rudy Gay (concussion) and DeMarcus Cousins (foot) this season, while the number jumps to 19.2 percent when both Cousins and Gay sit. The gap is actually bigger for Ben McLemore, Omri Casspi, Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson, so all of these guys are in play for Sunday's likely shootout. McCallum offers a nice combo of ceiling and floor, having logged 33 or more minutes in each of Sacramento's six April games. McLemore is my other favorite of the group, but I'll happily use as many as three or four Kings in my Sunday lineups.
Dwyane Wade, MIA (Sat. vs. TOR), $7200 – With an underwhelming group of options at shooting guard for Saturday, Wade sticks out as the best of the bunch, even though his price seems pretty fair. He's been in a bit of a slump over the past two weeks, and the recent results should keep his ownership percentage reasonable, despite the fact that he's finally getting minutes in the mid-to-high 30s.
J.R. Smith, CLE (Sun. at BOS) – The Cavs will likely rest Kyrie Irving or Lebron James, if not both. Not that Smith is ever shy, but with one or two of the Cavs' stars sidelined, he'll likely be even more aggressive than usual. I also think Smith will be one of the lesser-used options at his position, after turning in a hideous dud against this same Celtics team on Friday. While there's admittedly some chance he again plays limited minutes, Smith is a candidate to explode if he gets his usual 30-plus.
Rodney Hood, UTA (Sat. at POR), $4700 – Hood gets a bump if Trey Burke (back) misses another game, but I still like the former Duke Blue Devil, even if Burke is able to give it a go. Hood is averaging 20 points over 33.3 minutes in four April games, and he now gets to face a Portland team that's decimated on the wing. With Nicolas Batum likely to spend most of his night guarding Gordon Hayward, Hood should get more favorable matchups against the likes of C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe and Alonzo Gee. There's also a pretty good chance that some key players in this game don't get their normal minutes, as the Jazz have been cautious with Hayward, while the Blazers are locked into the No. 4 seed. Given the unusual circumstances, this game could easily end up as a McCollum-Hood battle.
Kawhi Leonard, SA (Sun. vs. PHO) – That Kings-Nuggets game offers a trio of options at small forward in Danilo Gallinari, Derrick Williams and Omri Casspi. However, Casspi and Williams are both pretty risky options, while Gallinari may sit out or play limited minutes, after logging 46 minutes in Friday's double-OT loss to the Mavs. I'm not arguing against any of those guys for a GPP lineup, but their collective presence means that Leonard could fly under the radar for the first time in a few weeks. There's obviously some blowout potential here, but if the Suns can keep it close and force Kawhi to log 30-plus minutes, a massive outing could be in the cards. Basically, there will be no shortage of excellent GPP options at small forward for Sunday's slate. How many times have we been able to say that this season?
Tyler Hansbrough, TOR (Sat. at MIA), $4000 – Hansbrough is an automatic choice for my Saturday lineups, assuming Amir Johnson (ankle) misses another game. In Johnson's absence over the last three contests, Hansbrough logged 36, 37 and 36 minutes, going for 18-8, 12-12 and 16-7. While he's not going to pile up blocks, assists or steals, Psycho T still has a reasonable chance to top 30 DK points for a fourth consecutive game.
Jason Thompson, SAC (Sun. at DEN) – We've already spent enough time on the Kings, but Thompson is worthy of another mention. He logged 31 or more minutes in each of the last four games, averaging 7.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 blocks. He'll continue to get heavy run while DeMarcus Cousins (foot) is unavailable, and the Nuggets have long been one of the top teams to target with opposing big men. Given the fast pace and weak opposition, Thompson should find his way to a double-double, despite his obvious lack of offensive skill.
Hassan Whiteside, MIA (Sat. vs. TOR), $7000 – Meyers Leonard ($3800) needs to be mentioned in the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge (foot), but Whiteside is actually my favorite center-eligible player for Saturday. The breakout star went quiet while dealing with a serious laceration on his hand over the past couple of weeks, but he finally got back to his old ways Thursday night, putting up 19 and 16 over 38 minutes in a blowout loss to the Bulls. With Miami's season on the line, Whiteside could again get minutes in the mid-to-high 30s, if he's able to stay out of foul trouble. Given that he's averaging 30.0 DK points over 23.2 minutes this season, the 7-footer has an enormous ceiling for a guy with a $7000 price tag.
Brook Lopez, BKN (Sun. at MIL) – While the Bucks aren't a team that I usually target, they do often struggle against scoring-minded big men. Lopez, as you've probably noticed, has been a monster on offense over the last few weeks, frequently turning in 30-point games. Also, he has a shot to approach 40 minutes, as this is a massive game for the Nets. Not only would a win put them in great position to earn a playoff spot, but it would also give Brooklyn a shot at the No. 6 seed, which would mean avoiding the Heat and Hawks in the first round.