The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a nine-game slate starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Kyle Lowry doesn’t typically garner a ton of “stud” consideration, but he’s simply too cheap at just $7,000. He returned from a three-game absence on Wednesday and finished with 49.25 DraftKings over 35 minutes. He didn’t appear to be limited in any capacity in that contest, so expect him to play his usual number of minutes today vs. the Rockets. Lowry has historically posted a Plus/Minus of +3.04 with a comparable salary — including a mark of +6.07 this season — so he’s an excellent value (per the Trends tool).
Lowry stands out in particular on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 98%.
Dennis Smith Jr. has split the point guard minutes with Saban Lee since Delon Wright went down with an injury, and both players are excellent options today vs. the Kings. That said, our NBA Models give a slight edge to Smith. He saw four more minutes than Lee in their last contest, and Smith has the ability to rack up fantasy points in bunches. He’s averaged 0.97 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he should have no problems against the Kings’ league-worst defense.
Despite today’s slate being on the larger side, there aren’t a ton of studs to pay up for. Trae Young stands out as one of the exceptions. He’s priced at $9,600 on FanDuel, but that price tag still comes with a Bargain Rating of 75%. He also owns one of the best individual matchups on the slate given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.90 vs. the Thunder.
LaMelo Ball has been fantastic as a rookie, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +7.07 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. His salary has remained very reasonable — his $7,600 price tag results in a Bargain Rating of 87% — and he leads the position with 13 Pro Trends in a great matchup vs. the Warriors. Devonte’ Graham has also been ruled out for the fourth straight game, so his role in the starting lineup should be safe for at least one more game.
Shooting guard doesn’t seem like the best position to pay up at tonight, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the exceptions. He’s coming off a career-high 42 points in his last outing, and he finished with 56.6 FanDuel points. He also played 38 minutes in that contest, and his $8,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 85%. The Hawks aren’t exactly a great matchup — SGA owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +0.38 on FanDuel — but he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.91 with a comparable price tag this season.
Buying low on talented players is typically a smart decision in NBA DFS, and Buddy Hield fits that description on today’s slate. He’s been priced as high as $7,000 on DraftKings during the month of February, but he’s down to just $5,800 for tonight’s matchup vs. the Pistons. Detroit ranks merely 20th in defensive efficiency, so Hield has a bit more scoring upside than usual, as well.
Eric Gordon has posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.66 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he should be asked to take on a slightly larger workload than usual for the Rockets vs. the Raptors. Houston recently waived DeMarcus Cousins, and Christian Wood will miss at least another week with his ankle injury. Gordon is one of the best values at the position at $5,300 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 86%.
The Pistons are begging for offense at the moment, and Josh Jackson has been more than happy to oblige. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 30.5% in each of his past three games, and he’s scored at least 30.4 FanDuel points in all three contests. He should continue to carry a large usage rate off the bench, which makes him an appealing option vs. the Kings.
Gordon Hayward is another player I’m looking to buy low on today. He’s been priced down to just $6,700, which is about as low as he’s been all season. Hayward has averaged nearly 37.5 DraftKings points per game this season, so he has the potential to provide massive value at this price. The Warriors are also an excellent matchup since they play at the second-fastest pace in the league, and the total on that game is a slate-high 232.5.
We’ve been waiting for the Danilo Gallinari breakout game for a while now, and it finally happened Wednesday vs. the Celtics. He finished with 55.5 DraftKings points thanks to 38 points and 10 3-pointers. We shouldn’t expect a repeat performance tonight vs. the Thunder, but there’s no reason he can’t pay off his current salary. Gallo has averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he could see a few additional minutes if Cam Reddish is forced to miss his third straight game.
LeBron James is another stud option that you can certainly consider paying up for. The Lakers have not played well with Anthony Davis out of the lineup recently, but LeBron will get some help back today in the form of Dennis Schroder. LeBron leads the position with 11 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where he owns a Bargain Rating of 72%.
Danuel House has quietly started to turn things around this season. He’s scored at least 28.2 FanDuel points in three of his past four games, and that kind of production would make him an elite value at just $4,500. He should continue to start in the thin Rockets’ frontcourt, which makes him an extremely safe option at his current price tag.
Pascal Siakam is a very similar option to Lowry on tonight’s slate. He might not have the highest ceiling among the stud options, but he’s simply too cheap at his current salary. He’s coming off a dreadful performance in his last outing, but he’s scored at least 42.0 DraftKings in five of his previous six games. Overall, he leads the position with 11 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where his $7,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. This is a prime bounce-back spot.
The theme of the day is “buy low”. Darius Bazley is another player that qualifies. He’s seen a price decrease of -$1,000 on DraftKings over the past five games, but nothing has fundamentally changed about his role. Bazley simply just hasn’t made any shots recently: He’s shot just 29% from the field over his past four games. He should be able to return value easily with some positive shooting regression, and he should see a slightly larger workload than usual with Al Horford out of the lineup for rest.
Marvin Bagley has seen a nice spike in playing time recently. He was limited to just 22.7 minutes in his last game, but he struggled with foul trouble and the Kings ended up getting blown out. He’s currently projected for 29.2 minutes in our NBA Models, and Bagley is very appealing with that kind of playing time upside. He’s averaged 1.05 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, so he can do some damage in 30 minutes.
P.J. Tucker is priced at the absolute minimum on FanDuel, and it’s impossible to ignore him at that salary. Tucker is one of the worst producers in the league on a per-minute basis — he’s averaged just 0.44 FanDuel points per minute over the past month — but he should be able to return value through sheer volume. Historically, players with comparable salaries and minute projections have averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.80. Even if we restrict the same to players who average less than 0.5 FanDuel points per minute, it still results in an average Plus/Minus of +1.43.
Clint Capela was limited to 27.25 DraftKings points in his last outing, but he played just 21.4 minutes in a blowout win. He should return to his normal workload tonight, and that would give him a great chance at returning value. He’s averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he should be able to find success against the Thunder without Horford.
Mike Muscala and Isaiah Roby have split the center minutes pretty evenly when Horford has sat recently, with Roby being the one who enters the starting lineup. However, I think Muscala is the stronger option today given the difference in salary. Both players have produced at a similar level on a per-minute basis over the past month, so I will grab the discount with Muscala. He’s a particularly nice option on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 88%.
Deandre Ayton has posted a positive Plus/Minus in back-to-back games, and I will continue to advocate for him as a buy-low option on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $6,800 on FanDuel, and he’s historically posted an average Plus/Minus of +4.80 with a comparable salary. He’s also in a solid spot vs. the Bulls, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.72.
Mason Plumlee is in a dream spot tonight vs. the Kings. He leads the position with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.00 on DraftKings, and he’s increased his production to 1.16 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s underpriced at just $6,500 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 88%.
Pictured above: Kyle Lowry
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