After a thrilling opening night, the NBA gets a full slate of action on Wednesday with 22 teams starting their season. DraftKings is ready to roll with plenty of different styles of contests across the pricing spectrum. For this season, I’m excited to bring you my favorite value picks each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as part of our comprehensive coverage on DraftKings Playbook. You can also keep up with all the latest news with fantasy analysis by following @dklive on Twitter and downloading the DK Live app.
While plenty of star players are worth considering at the top of the salary structure, there are also some great bargain plays that will help balance out those hefty salaries. Check out these four players who seem primed to outproduce their minimal salaries based on form, matchup and expected workload.
Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $500K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]
PG Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans, $4,000
Maxey’s long-term fantasy potential is murky due to the timeshare with Shake Milton (ankle) and the return of Ben Simmons (suspension), but for DFS none of that matters, as Milton has been ruled out and Simmons is serving a suspension. Maxey had a little better preseason than Milton, hitting 50% of his shots and averaging 13.3 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds over his three games. Regardless of whether he did enough to earn the job, he should get plenty of run in the Sixers’ season opener.
In his eight starts last year, Maxey averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 31.9 DKFP at a rate of 1.10 DKFP per minute. While some of those games were without Joel Embiid ($10,600), he still brings a very high ceiling if he’s aggressive offensively in what should be a favorable matchup against the new-look Pelicans backcourt led by Devonte’ Graham ($5,700).
PG Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers, $3,600
Mitchell was the No. 9 overall pick in the draft and he should step right into a critical role with the Kings after a promising preseason. Mitchell is a hustle-first, defense-oriented player who will be a great complement to De’Aaron Fox ($9,300) and Tyrese Haliburton ($7,000). He flashed his offensive upside with 20 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal in 32 minutes in a preseason spot start in place of Haliburton, but he’ll likely have more modest usage coming off the bench early in the year while everyone is healthy.
This should be a good spot for the Kings to debut their three-guard look with Mitchell, Haliburton and Fox since the Blazers also tend to play small. Mitchell’s defense should be good enough on a nightly basis to keep him in a significant position in the rotation and contribute in multiple categories.
C Enes Kanter, Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, $3,400
The Celtics brought back Kanter this offseason, as the veteran big man continued to shuttle back and forth between Portland and Boston. While his role in the rotation may not be huge when Boston is at full strength, he should get plenty of run while Al Horford (COVID-19) is sidelined.
Robert Williams ($5,100) is expected to start with Kanter as his primary backup in this matchup against the Knicks. The Knicks typically play pretty big with Mitchell Robinson ($5,100), Nerlens Noel ($4,300) and Taj Gibson ($4,200) in the mix, so either Williams or Kanter will likely have to be on the floor for Boston. Kanter doesn’t play much defense but has shown throughout his career that he doesn’t need long to pile up points and rebounds in bunches. He’s a pretty low-risk play in this one since he should get plenty of minutes.
C Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,000
If you’re looking for more upside from a low-cost center than you get with Kanter, check out Sengun, who has a sky-high ceiling but is also a huge wild card coming into the season opener. Houston doesn’t have many proven options, which should set them up to be a regular source of great value plays like they were last season. The Rockets added Sengun with the No. 16 pick in the draft after trading two future first-rounders to the Thunder.
At just 19, the polarizing rookie is still an extremely raw talent but did win the MVP honors in the high-level Turkish league, averaging 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 34 games for Besiktas. Sengun will likely start the season coming off the bench behind Christian Wood ($8,000) and Daniel Theis ($5,300), but he could quickly grow into a starting role and pile up plenty of production off the bench. He has gotten consistent positive buzz throughout the preseason and the Las Vegas Summer League, and he has shown he can be a double-double machine if he’s given the minutes to stack up stats. Both teams in this matchup played with plenty of pace last year, so the phenom has a high ceiling for a player at the minimum of just $3K.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) 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 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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat. (CT).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/MI/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.