This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Whenever the NBA rolls out a 12-game slate, the DFS options available can sometimes be overwhelming, but the perfect lineup is out there and I'm here to help you find it.
A word of caution for you lovebirds out there celebrating Valentine's Day – this slate is not for the faint of heart (pun intended). I can almost guarantee you that with 24 teams playing, late scratches will happen and if you find that you'll be out tonight with your significant other, it might be best to limit your risk, and looking at the back-to-back games is a good way to start.
Teams on tail end of back-to-backs: Heat, Raptors, Hawks, Rockets, Thunder, Kings
None of the above teams have particularly taxing travel days, but the Hawks will continue a road trip after a tough loss to the Bucks, and the Thunder will likely show some wear as their questionable players gave it a go on Tuesday in a hard-fought game where they failed to best the new-look Cavaliers.
Another way to clear through the noise is to focus on a few games that have the most potential fast pace and a high score total. Vegas points us directly to the Pelicans/Lakers matchup with an O/U of 221.5. The plethora of options available in this game are so tempting that I may isolate it in a GPP and play this game by itself. I will definitely be showing you some of my favorites in this game through my predictions below, and if I miss any, consider all ten starters as viable options.
First, let's take a quick look at our elite players in the 10K range. Obviously, Anthony Davis ($11,600) shows up as a great option in my favorite matchup. The Lakers rank near the bottom in defense against opposing power forwards and centers and when you pair the pace with this spot, Davis becomes extremely hard to fade.
James Harden ($11,400) and Chris Paul ($9,500) become a little easier to let go of due to the blowout potential of this game against the Kings. They may also give Harden a few extra minutes off to rest up for his big weekend in Los Angeles. I also can put Russell Westbrook ($11,200) and Paul George ($9,800) on the shelf on Wednesday on the road against Memphis. The matchups aren't that great and I think I will be able to find similar value for less money.
Andre Drummond ($10,600) is a sensible Davis pivot as he tackles a porous Hawks' frontcourt that's facing a back-to-back on the road and will be without a few regulars. But, unless you're staying at home tonight, Joel Embiid ($9,700) is best left alone. It's bad form to check your phone at a Valentine's dinner, and if you roster the always-questionable Embiid the temptation will be strong.
Interestingly enough, both Kevin Durant ($9,400) and Stephen Curry ($9,300) have seen a sharp decrease in price, and while Durant would be a nice add at this salary, I definitely favor Victor Oladipo ($9,600) over Curry as the Pacers face the Nets.
I'll now highlight three players at each position and I'll strive to provide a low-priced value pick in each spot. Along with the highlighted players, each position will have an additional list with players that hold equal weight in my predictions.
Bradley Beal, WAS at NY ($8,900): The Wizards will be playing short-handed on Wednesday with multiple starters and reserves either out or questionable, especially in the backcourt. It stands to reason that it will be up to Beal to keep things moving against the Knicks. The good news here is that New York ranks 25th against opposing shooting guards over the past two weeks, so this confluence of factors makes Beal a strong cash play for me.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. PHO ($7,900): Mitchell might very well end up taking home Rookie of the Year honors if he keeps this pace up. When you light it up for 62 DKFP against the Suns -- I know, not exactly the bastion of defensive excellence -- you must be doing something right, and while I don't expect 60, Mitchell will spearhead this offense and I think 45-50 DKFP is totally doable.
Isaiah Thomas, LAL at NO ($5,800): Say what you will about Thomas, but he's enjoyed some big stat lines since his move to LA. Even though the Brandon Ingram point guard experiment will likely continue, this lineup will switch around enough to give Thomas around 30 minutes which is plenty of time for him to crush value at this price. Who knows how Thomas will fare when Lonzo Ball returns, but there's no need to worry about that until after the break.
Otto Porter, Jr. ($6,800) and Kelly Oubre, Jr. ($4,900), WAS at NY: Beal can't shoulder the load alone in this one, and with both Tomas Satoransky and Tim Frazier a little banged up, I think Porter will see an uptick in production and Oubre will have a ton of upside as a budget play.
Brandon Ingram, LAL at NO ($6,700): You can slot him at guard or forward so you have plenty of opportunity to find space for Ingram as I continue to stack this high-paced game. He will start at point guard and inevitably slide back to the wing to give Thomas the helm, so Ingram will be all over the court and likely draw at least 35 minutes. He's a great anchor at either position.
Allen Crabbe, BKN vs. IND ($5,100): Crabbe is one of those players you see when you scroll up to the winner of your GPP and you say, "why didn't I think of that guy?" At this bargain price, Crabbe has averaged around 30 DKFP over his last ten games, and I think he'll continue to see a strong game against an average Indiana defense.
Other forwards to consider:Nikola Mirotic, NO vs. LAL ($7,000); Michael Beasley, NY vs. WAS ($6,900); Mario Hezonja, ORL vs. CHA ($5, 900); Kyle Kuzma, LAL at NO ($5,900); Kent Bazemore, ATL at DET ($5,300)
I'm a big fan of Davis and Drummond, as previously stated.
Rudy Gobert, UTA vs. PHO ($7,600): The Suns' frontcourt is almost always a good place to target, and Gobert should be getting a lot of attention inside in the form of Donovan Mitchell assists. He's averaged close to 40 DKFP in two contests against Phoenix this season, and I expect more of the same on Wednesday.
Myles Turner, IND at BKN ($6,800): Obviously, this is one spot where the Pacers will have the upper hand. Brooklyn is almost perennially the worst defense in the league inside, and while Turner has put up some clunkers, he tends to do well against the weaker teams. Brooklyn certainly qualifies as one of those.
Ed Davis, POR vs. GS ($4,700): If you want to get really adventurous, you could do a lot worse than Ed Davis as a value punt play. Jusuf Nurkic is questionable and while he may suit up, he's dealing with back soreness that could keep him on the bench for a longer period. If you bought Anthony Davis at PF or C, the other Davis could be a fun GPP play at C or the utility spot.