This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
After Friday's 11-game slate, we have seven teams (Nets, Cavs, Rockets, Celtics, Bulls, Wizards, Pistons) playing on zero rest, so analyzing minutes played and giving second-unit players a closer look should be part of your homework as we construct Saturday's six-game offering. We'll be excluding the 5:00 PM ET game between the Bucks and the Knicks.
First, I'll give you an update on last night's action. I opted to field more than one cash lineup on Friday, which is unusual for me, and one did markedly better than the other. I switched out elites while keeping Elle Okobo, Dwight Powell and Mike Conley around, and the Davis/Westbrook tandem fared much better than the Embiid/Griffin one did. The evening didn't end up in the red, but it was a wash overall.
Victor Oladipo – OUT: This will be the case for the foreseeable future, and as yet it's unclear who the sensible pivot should be. I think all of their starters will be on the hook to absorb some of his output. Tyreke Evans ($5,000) or Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,200) could emerge as the big beneficiaries, but right now I can only endorse them as speculative tournament plays.
Draymond Green – OUT: But Steph Curry ($9,000) should return, which is good news for seasonal owners. I'm not quite ready to jump on that bandwagon yet, but his absence has resulted in a deep dive in price, which might be too favorable to fade.
It's a shame that we're not using the MIL/NY game as I felt like that game had the most pop. I might fire up a single-game Showdown contest, and if you decide to as well, be sure to roster Tim Hardaway ($12,000 in Showdown format). He gets a pretty sizable 27 percent bump when playing on multiple days of rest.
Otherwise, none of the games stand out as eminently playable. So it's going to be one of those slates where we identify individual players rather than stacking toward an exploitable spot.
I'll now identify three players at each position along with a small additional list of players to consider at each spot. When possible, I'll try to include a top-shelf player, a mid-range target and a low-cost value play in my predictions.
I want to outline a couple of scenarios at guard before I make these picks.
1. At $9,000, I'm officially endorsing Curry if he plays.
2. We may see a situation where Houston elects to sit Chris Paul ($7,900 on a back-to-back. If he plays, he is simply too good of a value to fade at this price. If he sits, load up on Harden and make him your spend-up play.
Kyle Lowry, TOR at CLE ($8,400): Lowry's recent lines have been slightly earth-bound, but he excelled with 45.3 DKFP against Cleveland earlier this season. He also fares an average of about 5 DKFP better on the road. Lowry's experience edge over Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson should is a measurable gap, and I think it will be the difference-maker for Lowry today.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC vs. IND ($6,900): Fox is a pretty obvious spot at this price point, and especially like this play with Victor Oladipo sidelined. Fox's DKFP floor is in the mid-30's, and he'll need to shoot well and move the ball around to get there. Some may shy away from Indiana's defense, but DraftKings' basic opponent rank isn't taking an Oladipo-less team into account.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC vs. IND ($5,500): Oh no! I'm loading up on Kings! It's true. I usually wouldn't, but Bogdan isn't making it easy for the Kings when it comes to finding an ideal lineup. He's playing too well to fade, and if his long-range shots start to drop, his upside is undeniable. I'm not necessarily endorsing a Kings stack – in fact, I'm against most stacks tonight, but give both guys some consideration and go with one of them, at least.
Kawhi Leonard, TOR at CLE ($9,800): First, here's why I have to fade Durant. While his numbers look good against Detroit, a closer look reveals that his big totals against them over the past year came WITHOUT Curry in the lineup. I think he'll do fine, but we won't get 70 out of him. Meanwhile, Kawhi is almost a lock to play after two days of rest, and I think the Cavs will manage to keep this game closer than expected. Even if it's a blowout, Leonard still sees 30 minutes of court time, so the floor here is fairly reliable. I think 50-55 DKFP from Leonard is entirely feasible here.
Robert Covington, MIN vs. BOS ($6,500): I think a lot of people will scan Covington, look at his floor, say 'overpriced,' and move on. I'm not in that camp, however. When playing on multiple days of rest, gets a 41 percent bump in production. In case you need to brush up on your math, that's a lot. Boston is tough defensively, but they are playing on no rest, on the road. Plus Covington's floor rests at a reasonable 30 DKFP so even if the bump doesn't arrive, you won't suffer too much.
Nemanja Bjelica, SAC vs. IND ($3,900): Bjelica's numbers have been mediocre lately, and that's primarily been due to Marvin Bagley's superior play. Bagley is questionable for this game, and even if he plays, I doubt they'll elect to overwork their talented rookie. He left their last game against the Clippers and looked to be in considerable pain on his way to the locker room. This will open up the door for Bjelica to see more time and at this price, I think he's definitely worth the risk in GPPs, or if you're running out of cash.
This is where I see myself spending up a lot in both formats. Lo and behold, that spend-up pick will be...
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN vs. BOS ($9,200): I can barely believe it. If you've read any of my articles, you know that my opinion of Towns isn't always favorable, especially when it comes to his defensive ability. He'll get some love from me tonight, though. Boston is on zero rest, on the road, and there really isn't anyone for Boston who can out-rebound KAT. While we have no 2018 history for this matchup, Towns put up 61 and 36 DKFP in two games in 2017, averaging out to 48.5 DKFP per game. I think the injuries to the Celtics will put him closer to the 61 DKFP total, however.
Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. TOR ($5,800): If they don't elect to rest him, I think Thompson is a totally reasonable play. If he does sit, a similar argument could be made for Larry Nance ($5,500), and this could be a late call so the similarity in price is convenient. If Toronto is weak anywhere, it's in their frontcourt, so I'm confident with whoever ends up starting.
Jarrett Allen, BKN at WAS ($5,400): It's time to get back on the Allen bandwagon again, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot than the currently under-sized and un-rested Wizards. They've met once before this season, and Allen posted a respectable 38.5 DKFP score. It's important to note that Dwight Howard erupted for 52.25 DKFP in that game. No Dwight Howard tonight – draw your own conclusions.
Other centers to consider:Clint Capela, HOU vs. CHI ($7,800)