Do you have a favorite NBA team? Is that team playing on Friday night? If so, do you have a favorite player on that team? Well, I have bad news for you: That player is questionable to suit up. Joel Embiid ($11,40; hip), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100; calf), LeBron James ($9,900; calf), Donovan Mitchell ($9,500; hamstring), Jaylen Brown ($7,800; illness), DeMar DeRozan ($7,500; personal)... I could keep going!
Needless to say, there’s going to be a lot that changes in the lead-up to lock.
For now, here’s a couple places to look for value on tonight’s 11-game slate.
PF/C Robert Covington, Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks, $4,500
Obviously, if the aforementioned Embiid ends up sitting, there’s a whole new angle to finding value on this Philadelphia roster. However, the reigning MVP has yet to miss a game this season and he’s now played through back-to-back questionable tags. I’ll believe he’s sitting when I see it. In the meantime, let’s talk Covington. The veteran, who was acquired in the James Harden deal, has started the 76ers’ past two games, filling in for the missing Kelly Oubre Jr. (ribs) and Nic Batum (personal). The first crack went extremely poorly, with Covington registering a microscopic 6.75 DKFP in 16.3 minutes of action. His second start? 16 points, six rebounds and 27.5 DKFP in a whopping 37.1 minutes — and that’s with Covington missing all five of his attempts from deep. If the forward sees anything close to that kind of role again in a matchup with the uptempo Hawks, he’ll be hard-pressed to not be viable.
SF/PF Julian Champagnie, San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings, $4,100
Champagnie’s salary is way up from the bare minimum after the forward managed 35.75 DKFP in his first start of the season on Wednesday. There are a couple things different in terms of the Spurs’ rotation heading into Friday’s tilt with the Kings, yet I think the 22-year-old is going to find himself back in the starting five. Basically, we’re just swapping out Devin Vassell (adductor) for Keldon Johnson ($6,700; knee), who is probable to return after missing his team’s blowout loss to Oklahoma City. Tre Jones ($5,000; hamstring) is doubtful to play. Now, is Champagnie likely to rack up a combined seven steals and blocks for a second consecutive contest? Of course not. Yet, I’d also expect some normalization in his 28.6% field goal rate (4-for-14) against the Thunder. Either way, you’ll need him in a few lineups if you anticipate he’ll log anywhere close to 30.4 minutes, as he did his last time out.
C James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers, $3,300
As crazy as it might sound, there’s a scenario where Wiseman is one of the most important assets on Friday’s entire slate. Allow me to paint the picture. Jalen Duren (ankle) has already been ruled out against the Cavaliers due to injury management. On top of that, Marvin Bagley III ($5,100; illness) is questionable. If Bagley ends up available, he himself is in a great position, as he’s on the heels of a 22-point double-double and a season-high 38.75 DKFP starting in place of Duren this past Tuesday. If Bagley sits, suddenly Wiseman is the lone center left on the roster. The former second-overall pick has appeared sparingly for Detroit so far in 2023-24, yet he’s produced when given the opportunity, racking up 1.01 DKFP per minute. “James Wiseman is a must-play” is a scary sentence, but that’s the reality we all might be living in within the next 18 hours.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.