This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
At first glance, this slate isn't one where you necessarily need to spend up, and I think a lot of my builds will crowd around the DK median price of $6,250. With a couple of picks slightly above and slightly below this threshold, I was able to select a lineup I was happy with without reaching too high for elite selections (of which there are few). Both Steph Curry and Kevin Durant were mostly absent from my builds, as I think high ownership at both spots will keep me from the GPP score I'm looking for. I can't recommend fading them, though. Before we begin, let's touch on some injury designations on the docket.
Devin Booker (hamstring) – PROBABLE: Booker was just upgraded to probable for today's game, but if you choose to go this route I'd give your lineups an extra look before tip-offs, as hamstring injuries can be tricky. Any hint of soreness at the final shootaround might alter Booker's outlook significantly.
Dwyane Wade (undisclosed) – QUESTIONABLE: All you have to do is see the video of Wade's scary fall on Friday to assume a scratch for the veteran on Sunday. I expect Justise Winslow ($5,500) to take on a heavier load if Wade is out.
Trae Young ATL vs. ORL ($6,800): This back-to-back isn't too bad as both games are at home, and the talented rookie is averaging 40 DKFP over his last six games. He's also shot well above his current season averages over that span as well. He's shooting 44.2 percent from beyond the arc in recent play, and Orlando's struggles in defending the long-range ball should help pad Young's line.
Buddy Hield, SAC vs. PHO ($6,600): I think Hield is a safe play in this range, even though his history versus the Suns this season has been mediocre at best. Hield can pop when he puts together a balanced stat line. The 25-year-old has been an excellent asset for the Kings, and he's averaged 22.6 points per game over his last five contests.
Klay Thompson, GS vs. MIA ($6,300): I have no problem with Steph Curry, but as I said, I don't think it's necessary to over-spend on this slate today. I still want a piece of the Warriors though, and Thompson provides us with excellent value in this spot. Thompson relies on his shot-making skills from long range, and Miami ranks 23rd in the league in defense versus the three. He's averaged an eye-popping 70.5 percent from beyond the arc over his past three games. I predict he'll run hot again at home.
Aaron Gordon, ORL at ATL ($6,700): The Hawks are dreadful defensively, allowing 119 points per game, and they're equally bad off the glass. I don't want to knock the promise of guys like Young and John Collins, but when a guy like Gordon is priced this cheap, you have to like his chances. In this spot, I think you can get enough output to outpace Kevin Durant relative to their salary points (I.e., Durant won't be worth the extra $2,400 you'll pay). Yes, Gordon comes with some risk – he's put up a few lackluster performances in recent weeks. I have no problem pivoting to someone like Kelly Oubre ($5,900) if we hear bad news about Booker, but otherwise, I'll stick with Gordon here.
Josh Jackson, PHO at SAC ($6,200): Booker's potential return won't affect Jackson, as he's earned a place in this offense during T.J Warren's absence. He's averaged almost 41 DKFP per game over the past couple of weeks, which included a 51 DKFP performance against the Jazz. His price is starting to reflect his excellent play, but he's still a great value in my book.
Marvin Bagley, SAC vs. PHO ($6,000): I predict Bagley will be one of the breakout stars down the stretch as the Kings make a run for the playoffs. The transition from Nemanja Bjelica has been gradual but noticeable, and the rookie's totals, while a bit volatile, are trending up overall. His last game was disappointing (12,75 DKFP against Miami), but I see it as an outlier among a grouping of promising stat lines. They haven't put Bagley into the starting five yet, but he sees more time than Bjelica on a regular basis.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. ATL ($9,500): I think Vucevic is the most attractive spend-up option we have on Sunday. He lit up Atlanta with 55 DKFP in their only matchup this season, and I don't see any evidence that would infer a different outcome today. Vucevic has double-doubled in eight of his last 10 games, and he's averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds over 26 away games this season. You'll have to knock out one of these 6K plays for something cheaper, but I think he'll be worth every penny tonight.
DeMarcus Cousins, GS vs. MIA ($6,800): Regular readers of my column are probably getting sick of this endorsement, but I won't stop putting Cousins out there while he's below 7K. I might not even stop then, because his potential for big numbers is just too tempting at this price point. I'd love to see some more rebounds from Boogie, but otherwise, he's been very consistent with a 33.1 DKFP average since returning from injury.
Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC vs. PHO ($5,300): Vucevic or Cousins will dominate my lineups tonight, but Cauley-Stein might find his way into a couple of builds. Don't expect miracles from this pick – he hasn't had a double-double in six games. Still, he's managed a 32,9 DKFP average over two contests against the Suns this season, so the potential is there for the 24-year old to crush value at this price.