FanDuel and DraftKings continue to increasingly roll out single-game slates, with Sunday’s NBA All-Star extravaganza representing the latest offering in this regard. This sets up a highly intriguing lineup construction process, particularly considering the challenges of predicting minutes and usage in the contest, along with the inevitable lack of defense that’s long been part of All-Star game lore. Therefore, we can safely forgo analyzing metrics that typically come into play when preparing for a regular-season slate – defense vs. position, usage rates and prior history against opponent among them -- and focus much more on positional depth on each squad and prior All-Star game usage.
Naturally, some price sensitivity also comes into play, as does FanDuel’s 1.5 multiplier for its “MVP” slot. Moreover, there’s the added dynamic of some superstars being on the same side for the first time (i.e. LeBron James and Kevin Durant) in an All-Star setting due to the new team construction process this season. Without further ado, let’s take a stab at where some of the best value might reside in what should be another high-scoring affair:
Russell Westbrook, Team LeBron (FD salary- $14,500/DK salary- $11,000)
All-Star Game Career Statistics: 26.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals across 21.2 minutes (six games)
Needless to say, Westbrook is always a sure bet to be heavily involved, irrespective of whether he’s playing in an NBA Final or a pick-up game at the Y. His elite ability on drives to the basket should be on full display in a game where there figures to be minimal resistance in the paint, and he should enjoy a plethora of assist opportunities as well. Given his past All-Star game usage, he’s likely to see more than enough time to provide a nice return despite the hefty salary.
Stephen Curry, Team Stephen (FD salary-$13,000/DK salary- $9,800)
All-Star Game Career Statistics: 18.5 points, 7.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals across 27.8 minutes (four games)
Curry is essentially a lock for significant minutes, as well, if past All-Star games are any indication. The contest also figures to play out at a breakneck pace that he’s exceedingly comfortable with, and he should see no shortage of open looks all over the court. That should lead to a flurry of scoring from the Warriors’ sharpshooter, and with his proficiency from distance, he likely won’t need an inordinate supply of minutes to offer rewarding production.
DeMar DeRozan, Team Stephen (FD salary- $12,000/DK salary- $8,400)
All-Star Game Career Statistics: 14.0 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal across 19.3 minutes (three games)
DeRozan will compete with James Harden and Klay Thompson for time at shooting guard Sunday, but as the numbers listed above indicate, he’s made good use of modest All-Star game minutes in past appearances. The nine-year vet has also encouragingly been more aggressive from distance this year and is facilitating at an unprecedented rate (career-best 5.2 assists per game), two areas that could certainly serve as valuable sources of supplemental fantasy production in Sunday’s fast-paced contest.
Victor Oladipo, Team LeBron (FD salary- $10,000/DK salary- $7,600)
1st All-Star appearance
The tempo and tenor of the All-Star game is right in the prolific Oladipo’s wheelhouse, considering his highly aggressive style of play. He’s averaging a career-high 18.4 shot attempts and 24.4 points through his first 52 games this season, along with 1.24 DraftKings points per minute and 1.25 FanDuel points per minute. The Wizards’ Bradley Beal projects as the one other true shooting guard on Team LeBron’s roster as well, so Oladipo could see a healthy allotment of playing time in his ASG debut.
LeBron James, Team LeBron (FD salary- $15,000/DK salary- $10,600)
All-Star Game Career Statistics: 24.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.3 steals across 29.5 minutes (13 games)
It’s essentially inconceivable that James won’t enjoy a prominent role in Sunday’s contest, and that virtually guarantees he’ll play off his hefty salary. Past All-Star game usage also implies that he could well see a team-high or even game-high amount of minutes, and considering his ability to provide above-average-to-stellar production in every category on the stat sheet, he becomes one of the game’s must-plays for those who choose to spend up.
Kevin Durant, Team LeBron (FD salary-$14,000/ DK salary-$10,200)
All-Star Game Career Statistics: 25.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.6 steals across 26.7 minutes (eight games)
Despite playing on the same squad, Durant is Exhibit 1-A to James’ Exhibit A in terms of projected workhorses Sunday. The nine-time All-Star has enjoyed almost as much floor time as LeBron in his past ASG appearances, and he’s generated handsome returns with those opportunities. How many scoring chances former teammate and perennial rival Russell Westbrook sets him up for undoubtedly will be an interesting little sub-plot of Sunday’s proceedings, but irrespective of that, Durant undeniably brings more than enough to the table to warrant his sizable price tag.
Anthony Davis, Team LeBron (FD salary-$13,500, DK salary- $10,000)
All-Star Game Career Statistics: 28.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals across 18.9 minutes (three games)
Davis has been an incredible per-minute producer in his first three All-Star game appearances, and he should see an ample amount of playing time at center during Sunday’s affair. Davis can score from anywhere on the court, and he’s posting career bests in overall shooting (54.1 percent) and three-point shooting (36.7 percent) through his first 51 games. The versatile big man may not see the same rebounding opportunities as usual in a game that should have a high percentage of shots find the net, but the ability he’s demonstrated in past ASG appearances to pile up scoring in a hurry should still carry him to a solid fantasy night.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Team Stephen (FD salary-$9,500, DK salary- $7,200)
1st All-Star appearance
Compared to many of the other superstars he’ll share the floor with Sunday, Towns is a veritable bargain at his salary on both sites. The third-year big man is enjoying another fine season and could see a solid amount of playing time behind starter Joel Embiid, especially if the latter, who’s been dealing with a nagging ankle issue lately, sees his minutes somewhat capped. Towns is sporting career bests in shooting (54.6 percent) and three-point shooting (42.1 percent), so he’ll be optimally poised to take advantage of what is typically lax All-Star game defense, even if he doesn’t see as many rebounding opportunities as usual. His salaries on either site also up his chances of providing a 3x-4x return if he sees a healthy dose of minutes.