It’s Friday night and we have a nine-game slate over on DraftKings tonight. There are several exciting matchups and a few games that should be heavily impacted by yesterday’s trade deadline, with the Cavaliers being the key team to watch. We also get Blake Griffin‘s first chance at revenge against his former team. There are certainly stud players in great spots tonight (i.e. Griffin – who I am trying to fit into a lot of my lineups), but there is actually a lot to like the mid-range as well. In order to create a more contrarian build, I am looking to target players in the $6,000-$9,000 range on DraftKings.
With this in mind, I have focused on identifying my two favorite plays, regardless of price, at each position that can give us an edge in tournaments on tonight’s slate.
Ben Simmons (PHI): $8,500 vs. NOP
Simmons has provided a safe floor over the past few weeks, averaging 38.7 DK points over the past seven games. While he did not eclipse 42.25 DK points in that span, tonight seems like a great opportunity for Simmons to have a ceiling game. The Pelicans are ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency rating to guards this season, while Rajon Rondo (-1.50 DRPM) and DeAndre Liggins (-0.35 DRPM) are both below average defenders and should struggle immensely to slow him down. Another factor working in Simmons favor for tonight’s game is pace. The Sixers and Pelicans both rank inside the top five in the NBA in pace and the 221.5 Vegas total reflects that. Simmons could flash 50+ DK upside in tonight’s matchup.
Donovan Mitchell (UTA): $6,900 vs. CHA
After missing a game with an illness, Mitchell has not looked like himself over the past two games. He has put up a meager 11.2 DK point average on five of 18 from the field, which was good for 11 actual points over those two games. Yuck. So why play him tonight? After trading Rodney Hood to Cleveland yesterday, Mitchell should see an increased opportunity to dominate the ball on offense. In 817.8 minutes without Hood on the court this season, Mitchell has a team-leading 28.8% usage rate and averages 1.02 DK points per minute. The Hornets have also allowed the 11th most DK points to shooting guards this season. Mitchell is a great buy-low candidate in a slate where he should easily get overlooked.
Blake Griffin (DET): $9,100 vs. LAC
Griffin was surprisingly traded from the Clippers last week and you have to believe that he will be looking to get revenge against his former team tonight. In his first four games with the Pistons, Griffin has averaged 43.2 DK points and has been an amazing fit alongside Andre Drummond. The Clippers have given up the 11th fewest DK points to PFs this season, but this obviously accounts for time Griffin spent with the team. Over the past few games since the trade, the Clippers have actually been running out Danilo Gallinari at power forward. Advantage: Blake Griffin. He is going to be one of the most popular plays on tonight’s slate, but the ownership will be warranted. He has 55-60 DK point upside in tonight’s matchup.
Nikola Mirotic (NOP): $6,800 at PHI
We only have two games to grade Mirotic on in his brief Pelicans career and, unfortunately, they hit both ends of the spectrum at 48.0 and 12.75 DK points. While that’s not much to work off of, we do know that Mirotic has a 20.2% usage rate, while averaging 34 minutes per game in his brief stint in New Orleans. Mirotic has shown a ton of upside when he saw extended run in Chicago and he will likely be a huge difference maker in DFS for the remainder of the season. The Sixers are most beatable at the power forward position, as Dario Saric ranks 76th out of 96 PFs in DRPM, which equates to being ranked 22nd in DK points allowed to opposing power forwards. Mirotic is a strong bet to be closer to the higher end of the spectrum in tonight’s game.
Danilo Gallinari (LAC): $6,500 at DET
After battling injuries for most of the season, Gallinari has looked phenomenal in his first three games back in the lineup. After sitting out for nearly two months, Gallinari has averaged 34.4 DK points per game. More impressively, he has put up 22.3 actual points per game on 58.9% from the field in that stretch. In terms of tonight’s matchup, the Pistons have been weak against opposing wings all season, allowing the seventh most DK points to small forwards. His shooting is certainly bound to regress, but at this point riding his hot hand is not a bad idea in tournaments, where I will be running him back alongside my Blake Griffin shares.
Hassan Whiteside (MIA): $7,400 vs. MIL
Whiteside’s performance has been all over the map this season, but he when he has received the minutes he has responded with great performances. Over the past two games, Whiteside has put up 39.4 DK points per game while averaging 15.5 rebounds, which is important to note because the Bucks are ranked 27th in rebounding percentage this season. If Whiteside gets the minutes in tonight’s matchup, which is always a big if, he should be able to have his way against a weak Bucks frontcourt that allows the sixth most DK points to centers.
Tristan Thompson (CLE): $5,000 at ATL
The Cavaliers completely overhauled their roster in the past 24 hours, but they are going to be extremely shorthanded in tonight’s matchup against a terrible Bucks team. While a few of the Cavaliers wing options are going to be enticing, I am looking to play Thompson in a matchup against a Hawks team that ranks 26th in rebounding percentage. Thompson’s $5,000 price tag may seem like a heft price to pay, but he has averaged a solid 25.5 DK points over the past two games. While Thompson won’t see a bump in usage rate, his minutes upside in this matchup gives him a safe floor and the potential to return 6x on his price tag.