Tonight’s featured NBA slate on DraftKings is just eight games, as the nightcap tilts in Portland and Los Angeles have their own contests. Still, even with the gerrymandering, you’ll have to keep your head on a swivel for news all afternoon, with several teams set to take the court on the second night of a back-to-back.
Let’s dive in to the madness.
PG Aaron Holiday, Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers, $4,600
The Rockets had been pretty healthy for the first two months of the season, but the team’s injury report is starting to fill up. First it was Dillon Brooks (oblique), who sat out Wednesday’s loss to the Suns, and then it was Jabari Smith Jr. (ankle), who was forced to leave against Phoenix mid-way through the third quarter. Smith’s spot in the starting five will likely be filled by Tari Eason ($6,300), but keep an eye on Amen Thompson ($3,500), as the rookie would be viable in a larger role at his minuscule price tag. I’d also take notice of Holiday, as the veteran guard is quietly becoming Houston’s sixth man. Holiday logged 24.1 minutes versus the Suns, finishing with 13 field goal attempts and a massive 27.5% usage rate. That was after the 27-year-old saw 25.1 minutes and dropped 15 points on Tuesday — his second-highest scoring output in 2023-24. He’s in a groove at the moment.
PF Peyton Watson, Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,600
With Aaron Gordon (face/hand) sidelined, Watson took full advantage of his first start of 2023-24 on Thursday. The sophomore forward scored a season-high 20 points in just 23.0 minutes of action, finishing with 31.25 DKFP. Understandably, Watson’s salary has increased in the last 24 hours, yet not enough to make the former first-round pick unappealing, and tonight’s matchup with the Thunder should only assist his viability. Not only has Oklahoma City been operating at the league’s fifth-fastest pace in the month of December (102.3), but the Thunder should pose more of a threat to the Nuggets than the Grizzlies did last night. A 37-point win kept Watson and the rest of Denver’s starters glued to the bench in the fourth quarter. In a more neutral script? Expect Watson to challenge the 30-minute plateau on Friday.
SF/PF Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings at Atlanta Hawks, $4,800
Look, Barnes isn’t a flashy name. He isn’t going to break the slate wide open with a 50-point performance. However, the veteran does happen to be incredibly consistent. He also has a massive role for an asset priced below $5K. To wit, Barnes is averaging 33.3 minutes and 14.1 points across his last six starts. In that same span, the former lottery pick has exceeded 27.0 DKFP twice, showcasing a little bit of upside. Still, the main draw in this spot is game environment. This matchup between the Kings and Hawks has an implied total well over 250 points and is easily the largest on Friday’s slate. Over its last 10 contests, Atlanta is in possession of the NBA’s worst defensive rating (124.0). You’re going to want a piece of Sacramento’s rotation in your lineups, and Barnes is the most cost-effective way to do that.
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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.