This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Welcome back for take-two on the DraftKings NBA weekend article. As I mentioned last week, I'm going to do some early-season experimentation to figure out what's most helpful for readers as a supplement to our NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet.
Last week, I grouped players from different teams into categories based on the situations that led to them providing extra value to daily gamers. This time, I'm going with a format that mimics how I do my research, breaking things down on a team-by-team basis, starting with the squads playing Friday. Some of the teams I'll discuss, while for others I'll merely provide a player or two (if any) that should make for a viable daily option this weekend.
As will always be the case, these recommendations are for games from Friday-Sunday (Nov. 7 - Nov. 9). Given the plethora of sub-$4000 options currently available, I'll largely be going with a stars-and-scrubs approach, rostering only a select few players between $4500-$7500
ATL (Fri. at CHA, Sat. vs NY)
There's not a whole lot to see here. All five starters are healthy, and nobody on the bench is averaging more than 18 minutes per game. Power forward Mike Scott ($3300) is a decent dart throw, I suppose. All of the starters are reasonable options, though I'm not so much a fan of small forward DeMarre Carroll at $4800.
My favorite of the five is shooting guard Kyle Korver ($4800), who will likely average around 25 fantasy points per game again, and is actually at 25.1 through three contests this season.
CHA (Fri. vs. ATL, Sun. at LAL)
Another fairly healthy team, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($3700) is expected to return from a two-game absence Friday. MKG offers excellent value at this price, following a surprisingly fast start that was slowed down by his chest injury. He produced 37 and 28.5 fantasy points in his first two games, and was on pace for something similar in contest No. 3, until he got hurt and left the game. His price for that third contest? $5400. Yeah, I'll take $3700 instead, at least for the one game it lasts.
PG Kemba Walker ($7000) is the only other Hornet that intrigues me for Friday.
CHI (Fri. at PHI, Sat. vs. BOS)
Let the injury games begin! I'm not quite ready to pay $6800 for Derrick Rose, who is questionable for Friday's fantastic matchup due to ankle injuries. However, in the event that Rose doesn't play, backup Kirk Hinrich ($3300) and Aaron Brooks ($3100) both become very viable options. Unfortunately, neither topped 30 minutes in the previous two games that Rose missed this season. Still, one of the two figures to provide at least 25 DK points, which would be an excellent return at this price.
It's also hard not to like red-hot Jimmy Butler ($5200), who is averaging 38.4 DK points through three contests.
Joakim Noah ($6100) is off to a slow start in part because of an illness, but the price is absolutely right for a guy coming off a monster season.
I'm a bit more wary of Pau Gasol ($7500), as his fast start (39.8 DK ppg) has largely been a result of consistently playing 35-plus minutes, which probably won't continue with Noah and Taj Gibson healthy. Still, Gasol is a perfectly good option against Philadelphia, as so many before him have been.
PHI (Fri. vs. CHI, Sun. at TOR)
Tony Wroten ($7600) has been one of the daily fantasy studs thus far, and while it's hard to knock a guy with 40 or more DK points in four of his five games, I'll probably look elsewhere this weekend due to his difficult matchups.
Brandon Davies ($3000) is the real gem here, coming off three consecutive games with 25+ DK points, while Nerlens Noel (ankle) won't be playing Friday. I'm not really sure why Davies only cost $3000 but I'm certainly not complaining. He's one of the top plays for Friday, even in a touch matchup.
MIN (Fri. at ORL, Sat. at MIA)
The matchup of Montenegrin Nikolas adds a bit of intrigue, and while Nikola Pekovic ($6000) is a reasonable option, I've mostly got my eye on Kevin Martin ($5700), who recorded 42.25 and 46.75 DK points in his last two games while logging 36 and 38 minutes.
ORL (Fri. vs. MIN, Sun. at BKN)
The other side of the Nikola equation is a bit more costly, but Vucevic is a viable play at $8100, after a disappointing performance dropped his price from a too-high $8800 last game.
Elfrid Payton ($4700) is a fairly obvious play, as he's a starting point guard who has produced three straight games with 31+ DK points, following a slow start to the season.
Evan Fourner ($4400) is off to a slow start, but he seemingly has a chance to play 35 minutes each night, which makes him an interesting but somewhat risky option at just $4400.
IND (Fri. at BOS, Sat. vs. WAS)
I'm not even going to discuss all the injuries, so just know that Donald Sloan ($5600), Solomon Hill ($3500) and Lavoy Allen ($3300) are all excellent options for Friday, and probably will be for Saturday, as well.
I'm not as hot on Chris Copeland ($5100), but he's undoubtedly a viable option, with at least 26.5 DK points in each of his last four games.
BOS (Fri. vs. IND, Sat. at CHI)
Rajon Rondo ($8600) is off to a fast start, and he seems to be playing for triple-doubles, not that anyone would ever accuse him of gunning for specific stats. He's averaging four field-goals made and 42.1 DK points per game, which is seemingly impossible in a sample size of more than two games. In any case, as odd as his stats may be, Rondo is getting plenty of minutes and making the most of them. His price has crept up far enough to make me wary, but the matchup with a decimated Indiana team provides compensation. However, I'll be looking elsewhere Saturday, when he faces the Bulls in Chicago.
MIL (Fri. at DET, Sat. vs. MEM)
Pleased as I may be with the Bucks' surprisingly non-humiliating start to the season, I don't see many strong DraftKings plays, with the exception of Brandon Knight ($7400), who has seemingly been a good option in every game.
DET (Fri. vs. MIL, Sun. vs. UTA)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3900) finally put the ball in the hoop last game, and he's obscenely cheap for a guy who's playing 35+ minutes each night. I'm not a fan of the player, but pretty much any warm body should be able to average 25 DK points while logging 35+ minutes. KCP is averaging 22.6 DK points through four games, proving that he's almost a warm body on the offensive end.
Greg Monroe ($7000) is averaging 46.4 DK points through his first two games, but I actually prefer to take a chance on Andre Drummond ($7500), whose season has thus far been defined by foul trouble. Although, come to think of it, I'll probably stay away from both, at least until Sunday.
NY (Fri. at BKN, Sat. at ATL)
Shane Larkin ($3000) hasn't done a whole lot with his minutes this season, but he's the only healthy true point guard on his team, and you can get him for the minimum price. That makes him an excellent bargain-bin option, with SG Iman Shumpert ($4100) also a more than viable play.
And, just in case Carmelo Anthony at $8300 doesn't speak for itself, the Knicks' superstar is a fantastic play. Call it a hunch, but his current averages of 19.6 points and 4.0 rebounds should improve by quite a bit.
BKN (Fri. vs. NY, Sun. vs. ORL)
Brook Lopez ($6100) is interesting but not a must-have, after logging 34 minutes in his second game of the season. I'm otherwise avoiding this team entirely over the weekend, barring any late-breaking injuries.
WAS (Fri. at TOR, Sat. at IND)
John Wall ($9800) is too expensive to roster, especially against the Raptors, but his backcourt mate Garrett Temple ($3700) remains a first-rate option. Temple has logged 30 or more minutes in each of Washington's five games, and he's averaging 26.4 DK points per contest. It's fair to expect 23-24 DK points, which is a very solid return at just $3700. I'm looking for 25+ points come Saturday, when the Wizards face what's left of the Pacers.
TOR (Fri. vs. WAS, Sun. vs. PHI)
With Amir Johnson (ankle) and Jonas Valanciunas (hand) expected to be game-time decisions Friday, both Patrick Patterson ($4100) and Tyler Hansbrough ($3000) could be solid options. However, I'll probably avoid both, as there's no shortage of cheap players this weekend, and Hansbrough has a ton of dud potential, while Patterson isn't even all that cheap.
MEM (Fri. at OKC, Sat. at MIL)
With Vince Carter seemingly still limited, Courtney Lee ($3800) is getting a ton of run, having logged 36 and 39 minutes in his two full games this season. Lee is my favorite of the bunch, but all of the Memphis starters should be solid options in both games this weekend. Lee>Conley>Randolph>Gasol>Allen, in case you're wondering how I'd rank them.
OKC (Fri. vs. MEM, Sun. vs. SAC)
You know the Thunder's injury woes are bad when the team is getting Dallas Cowboys-like national media attention in the middle of the NFL season, which is usually a time of year reserved for pretending that other sports don't exist.
Anyway, as good as the Memphis defense may be, you know there's going to be some value here for daily gamers. With Perry Jones ($4600) perhaps in danger of missing Friday's game because of a knee injury, Lance Thomas ($3000) is a candidate to make a run at 40 minutes, and he's a solid choice even if Jones plays. Sebastian Telfair ($4100) is another plus option for cheap, while Serge Ibaka ($7500) should have some huge games on a team that badly needs him to.
SAC (Fri. at PHO, Sun. at OKC)
With a pair of favorable weekend matchups, I like Darren Collison ($6400) and DeMarcus Cousins ($9900) for both games. However, I'm not quite as hot on Boogie, if only because I like a bunch of the star players in the $8000-$9000 range.
PHO (Fri. vs. SAC, Sun. vs. GSW)
Isaiah Thomas' presence is a factor, and the slow start shouldn't entirely be ignored, but Goran Dragic ($5700) offers a ridiculous ceiling at this price. He's still an excellent player, and while the reduction in playing time may hold up to some extent, he should still be viewed as a threat to reach 50 DK points in any given game. That's the kind of ceiling that's hard to pass on in a GPP, even if our expectation is more in the range of 25 DK points.
DAL (Fri. at UTA, Sun. vs. MIA)
I like the Friday matchup, but the Mavs all seem to be priced pretty fairly, which means I'll be avoiding them both Friday and Sunday. Monta Ellis ($6900) and Dirk Nowitzki ($7300) are at least decent options for Friday, but I don't think I'll be rostering either.
UTA (Fri. vs. DAL, Sun. at DET)
What is it about this Dallas-Utah game? I'm really just not seeing anything I like here. I guess I can tolerate PF Derrick Favors at $7400, but I don't anticipate using him Friday or Sunday.
CLE (Fri. at DEN)
Kevin Love ($9000) hasn't impressed thus far, and while he isn't going to bring his Minnesota numbers to Cleveland, he's still a strong choice at this price, in a matchup that should provide plenty of rebound opportunities. He's averaging 12 boards and 2.5 3PM through four games, while the points and assists should come eventually, though not to the same extent as in past years.
DEN (Fri. vs. CLE, Sun. at POR)
Ty Lawson ($6900) may be off to a slow start, but I'll happily take even a marginally-conscious Lawson at this price. It helps that he'll get to face Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard; fellow star points guards who aren't exactly known for focusing on defense.
Aaron Afflalo ($5000) is also interesting, as his declining price makes up for a poor start.
MIA (Sat. vs. MIN, Sun. at DAL)
Shawne Williams ($3900) has emerged as a surprisingly consistent option for this price range, making him a stronger play than teammate SF Luol Deng ($5500), who I want to see one good game out of before using.
Meanwhile, I like both Dwyane Wade ($7600) and Chris Bosh ($8800) for Saturday, against a Minnesota team that will once again struggle to protect the rim. The early post-LeBron returns have been more than encouraging, though Bosh's price has adjusted accordingly. Still, he'll likely run circles around the Timberwolves, but I'm not quite ready to use him at this price versus the Mavs.
POR (Sat. at LAC, Sun. vs. DEN)
Playing in the lone afternoon game, the Clippers and Trail Blazers will be somewhat stranded in the world of daily fantasy come Saturday. As for Sunday, I've got my eye on Nicolas Batum, who is off to a surprisingly slow start.
LAC (Sat. vs. Por)
Hey, it's not like this team has any good players anyway.
GSW (Sat. at HOU, Sun. at PHO)
I like the idea of a well-rested, looking-good Andrew Bogut at $5600, but between the back-to-back and Dwight Howard's presence, I suppose it would be wise to look elsewhere. For centers, I'll likely go with cheaper options, but in terms of guards I'm a big fan of Stephen Curry ($10,200) this weekend, especially if Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley (hamstring) remains sidelined.
HOU (Sat. vs. GSW)
He didn't do much with his first opportunity, but Isaiah Canaan will likely get another start, if Beverley (hamstring) is unable to play. Yes, he'll have his hands full with Curry, but it's hard to pass on a starting point guard at $3000, especially with Saturday offering far fewer discount options than Friday.
NOP (Sat. at SAS)
Austin Rivers ($3000) has my eye, but I'm absolutely not going there at this point. The real takeaway is to steer clear of Eric Gordon ($4100), who somehow produced just 0.75 DK points while playing 34 minutes against the Mavs last Saturday.
As much as it kills me, I'm also avoiding Anthony Davis ($10,500), who will have to deal with a well-rested Spurs team that's none too happy about getting smacked by the Rockets on Thursday. Basically, I want no part of the Pelicans this weekend.
SAS (Sat. vs. NOP)
I love Kawhi Leonard ($5200) and hate pretty much everyone else. Actually, I take that back, Boris Diaw ($4600) is once again a solid but unspectacular option. I'm not a fan of Duncan ($7500) in this matchup, even coming off a massive performance that was followed by a rest game Thursday.
LAL (Sun. vs. CHA)
Sunday prices aren't yet available at the time of writing, but I've liked Kobe Bryant thus far, and am guessing that will continue Saturday.