This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Today's article will focus on DraftKings' featured, eight-game slate that tips off at 7 PM ET, so the early games (PHO/CHA, OKC/PHI) will not be included.
Even though we lose the likes of Westbrook, PG13 and Embiid on the slate, there's still plenty of value to be had. Speaking of value – the Rockets are playing, so you know what you have to do. James Harden ($13,400) gets more and more expensive, but even Eric Gordon's return couldn't stop this train, and the Beard finds himself in a game with the second-highest total of the night against the Lakers. I'd safely take over here, as I think this will ultimately be a shoot-out with value spread out between both teams – but more on them in a bit. We've got some interesting injury situations worth considering.
The most exploitable situation lies in Detroit, where I believe Andre Drummond (face) will take a seat in this back-to-back after taking a hit to the face. He's still listed as questionable, so we have to wait and see, but Blake Griffin ($9,000) achieves almost-lock status at home against the Kings if Drummond sits. We've rarely seen Drummond without Griffin this season, but last night's game yielded 32 points and 11 rebounds for Blake and Drummond only played seven minutes. Those numbers provide a pretty convincing argument for Griffin.
There's still no crystal-clear pivot for Clint Capela (thumb) yet, but the safest bet in this spot is P.J. Tucker ($5,300), as his 20-point, 10-rebound game on Wednesday was one of his best totals of the season. Eric Gordon will probably be on some minute restriction tonight as well, so I have no problem putting Austin Rivers ($5,600) out there – even with Gordon back, he logged a full 45 minutes of court time on Wednesday.
Some other injury storylines:
Aaron Gordon (back) – QUESTIONABLE: If he sits, your options are relatively limited. Any number of guys could heat up, but I'd expect guys like Terrence Ross ($5,300) and Evan Fournier ($5,400) to absorb that output in their usual roles.
Tristan Thompson – QUESTIONABLE: We got exactly what we expected from Ante Zizic ($4,400) as he was the pivot of the night for most of us, and he helped me to a GPP score last night. Thompson's return will end Zizic's run, so be wary of this spot until we know more.
Finally, I'd be very suspicious of the Raptors tonight against the Grizzlies. Kawhi Leonard is a near-certainty after a rest day, but Kyle Lowry is a late-scratch candidate here. Even though he has no injury designation currently, I'd keep an eye on this spot. Leonard would immediately become a chalk start if Lowry sat out.
Lonzo Ball, LAL at HOU ($6,900): I'd typically aim a little higher here but I'm going to load up on this game in most of my lineups, and I have to make room for Harden, so Ball is a decent place to start. He's averaging close to 40 DKFP over the past five games, and although he's only averaged around 27 DKFP over two games against Houston, Ball finds himself in a different game script now.
Brandon Ingram, LAL at HOU ($,6,600): I see the point of diversifying your risk, but I find it hard to argue against a Lakers stack tonight. Ball, Ingram and Kyle Kuzma ($7,500) are all guys I'm considering so I might as well get it out of the way here and make room for another player in the forward section. The pace is of this game will be off the charts, and I don't want to miss out.
Jaylen Brown, BOS at ATL ($4,300): Call it a wild guess, but Brown only logged 21 minutes last night, and Boston could use some fresh legs on this back-to-back without Gordon Hayward (personal). Granted, his stat lines have been a little slim of late, but Brown has made a splash in lopsided games. We could be in store for one of those in Atlanta, so I like going with Brown at this price.
Domantas Sabonis, IND vs. DAL ($6,700): After espousing the potential advantages for Leonard and Griffin and a full-throated endorsement of Kuzma, we fall to Sabonis in the forward section. Indiana is well-rested, and Sabonis sees a 33 percent bump on multiple days of rest. I think he's due for another breakout game.
Bobby Portis, CHI vs. MIA ($5,700): The DFS love affair with Wendell Carter came to a crashing end this week, as he's sidelined until March. Enter Bobby Portis. This price is a little high in my opinion, but Portis' 33 DKFP performance against the Nuggets on Thursday is a pretty good indication of what's to come. He'll come off the bench Saturday, but the Bulls have very little to offer at this position other than Robin Lopez, and Portis regularly sees about 10 minutes more per game than Lopez does.
Will Barton, DEN vs. CLE ($5,300): I hate going on gut instinct, but I have a feeling about Barton's chances at home against Cleveland. I understand the risk, given the minutes restriction he's currently experiencing, but those minutes have steadily trended up every night. The Nuggets have had trouble filling this void at times, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Barton come out swinging if he feels prepared to log 30 minutes.
Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC at DET ($6,800): Some of the matchups for the elites look a bit sketchy for me, so I'm inclined to go a little lower at this position. I think guys like Jokic and Vucevic will do fine, but they're a bit cost-prohibitive in these matchups. Cauley-Stein should have a slightly easier time against the Pistons if Drummond sits out, but he notched a 43 DKFP double-double against a healthy Detroit team, so the outlook for the big man is generally favorable here.
Marc Gasol, MEM at TOR ($6,700): Gasol has a lot of potential at this price. He hasn't been quite himself over the past couple of weeks, but it looks like his elbow is fine and has no injury designation tonight. He put up 47 DKFP against the Raptors in their last matchup, and even though the Grizzlies are struggling, Gasol should be a bright spot in their box score.
Ivica Zubac, LAL at HOU ($4,300): I'm not quite sure what's happening here, but the Lakers are gradually favoring Zubac over JaVale McGee. Perhaps it's just a matchup-dependent thing, but all the LA press can get out of Luke Walton is how impressed he is with his frontcourt in LeBron James' absence. There's nothing specifically to indicate that this trend will continue, but Houston is now vulnerable in the paint without Clint Capela, so either Zubac or McGee should have decent stat lines – for now, I'll stick with Zubac.
Ultimately, I chose to go with a Griffin/Harden tandem as my anchor. The only thing that would get me away from that is a go for Drummond or a sit from Lowry, in which case I would likely move that money over to Kawhi. There's ample low-cost value on the slate to make two elites work.