For the first time all season, I sat down and really watched Victor Wembanyama play basketball last night. Like, really focused in on him — and I think it broke my brain. He’s not even on Friday’s seven-game NBA slate, but I can’t stop obsessing over him.
You know who is taking the court tonight? A bunch of normal-sized basketball players that don’t have arms the length of phone poles. Alas.
Here are a few that are inexpensive options.
PG/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks, $5,700
Quickley is a nice asset on Friday, as his viability doesn’t entirely hinge on the availability of RJ Barrett ($6,500; knee) — though I’d be lying if I said his absence wouldn’t help. With Barrett sidelined on Wednesday, Quickley logged 27.8 minutes of action in a loss to the Cavaliers, registering 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and 33.5 DKFP. Still, more than anything else, Quickley appears to be a decent value option this evening because of his matchup. That’s not something I’m used to saying about the Bucks and their defense, yet the team is clearly in a transition period after losing Jrue Holiday and Mike Budenholzer this offseason. In fact, Milwaukee enters this evening’s action with the second-worst defensive rating in the entire NBA (119.0). The Bucks surrendered 134.0 points per 100 possessions the last time they took the court. Woof.
PG/SG Cason Wallace, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Golden State Warriors, $5,400
This is a case of a player’s salary trying to tell you something. Wallace had never been priced above $4.4K in 2023-24, yet tonight he’s well over $5K. Why is that? Well, it all starts with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (knee) being ruled out. SGA was first-team All-NBA last season and he generally commands a lot of possessions. To wit, his 32.3% usage rate through five games is the third-highest mark of any Western Conference player. His absence creates a giant hole in the Thunder’s rotation and starting lineup — one that will at least be partially filled by Wallace. The rookie has looked good in a small sample. Wallace has taken advantage of his rare opportunities, offsetting a microscopic 9.0% usage rate by making an eye-popping 81.3% of his field goal attempts. Expect less efficiency, but more volume on Friday, in what should be his first professional start.
PF/C Kevin Love, Miami Heat vs. Washington Wizards, $4,300
Love’s minutes have fluctuated when he’s been available this season. However, with the veteran cleared of his shoulder injury for tonight’s tilt, I’d have to assume we’re getting the full version of Love — and that guy has been pretty useful in fantasy. Love comes into Friday averaging a very respectable 1.05 DKFP per minute logged, thanks primarily to an 18.6% total rebounding rate that proves he still has his near supernatural ability to clean the glass. That skill should come in handy against Washington, as it is surrendering the most opponent rebounds per game of any team in the Eastern Conference (51.0). The Wizards also sit 28th in defensive rating (118.3) and first in pace (107.0). To say they are a dream matchup would be a massive understatement. If Love sees around 24 minutes, 6x or 7x value is on the table.
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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.