After a lighter three-game slate on Tuesday night, Wednesday features the biggest slate of the season so far, with a jam-packed 13-game giant slate on DraftKings. Only four NBA teams have the night off, meaning there are many, many ways to consider assembling your roster and multiple superstars to consider building around. There are also multiple significant availability situations to keep close tabs on, so stay up to date on all the latest news by following @dklive on Twitter and downloading the DK Live app. You can also get my bargain picks on Twitter (@ZT_Sports) each day of the NBA season.
As you decide how to construct your rosters for the giant slate, you may be looking to balance out some of those heftier salaries with some solid affordable plays. Check out my favorite bargain plays of the day below who are in a position to out-produce their salaries based on their form, matchup and expected workload.
PG Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers, $4,400
Nikola Jokic (suspension) is one superstar that will miss this monster slate since he’ll be serving his one-game suspension for his shove in the back on Markieff Morris on Monday. Jokic has a massive 31.7% usage rate and is clearly the focal point of the Nuggets’ offense. While he is out, there will be plenty of work available, and Morris should see an uptick from his 17.8% usage rate. Whoever steps in for Jokic won’t offer nearly the offensive output, so more of the workload will fall in the backcourt. Morris is already one of the cheapest starting PGs in the NBA but has produced 10.9 points, 3.3 assists, 2.2 rebounds and 20.85 DKFP in his 29.4 minutes per game.
Morris’ offensive workload was already on the rise, evidenced by five straight games with double-digit shots attempts. He posted over 20 DKFP in four of those five games, highlighted by a season-high 30.5 DKFP against the Timberwolves and 27.75 DKFP against the Heat in his most recent contest. He has played over 30 minutes four times this season with over 27 DKFP in three of those four contests. With more shots available and offensive responsibility, Morris should be in a solid spot to offer reliable returns.
C Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics, $4,100
Achiuwa started the season hot but faded while Khem Birch (knee) ate into his workload. With Birch out on Sunday against the Nets, Achiuwa’s minutes went back up to 27:15 and he produced 27.5 DKFP on 13 points and eight rebounds. Ironically, it was the first game all season in which he didn’t start since Scottie Barnes ($6,900) stayed in the lineup next to Pascal Siakam ($8,300), who made his first appearance of the season.
Even with Spicy P getting more minutes as he ramps up to full speed, Achiuwa should remain the primary backup big while Birch is out for the next two games. In his 11 games with Toronto, the second-year big man has averaged 22.25 DKFP on 8.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game. He has at least eight boards in four straight games and could even be a little more involved in the offense if he plays with the second unit. His 11 shot attempts on Sunday were his highest mark since the opening week of the season, and if he gets that kind of run again, he should easily return value and could even approach a low-end double-double.
PF/C Daniel Theis, Houston Rockets vs. Detroit Pistons, $3,700
Theis brings a lot of upside while in a starting role for the Rockets, and he has posted over 26 DKFP in three of his past five games. He did miss a couple of contests with a toe injury but has been excellent since his return. He posted 28.25 DKFP in 31 minutes against the Nuggets in his first game back and followed that with 26.75 DKFP in just 21 minutes against the Warriors on Saturday.
Theis had a usage rate over 20% in each of those two contests, after posting a usage rate of just 14.3% in his six games prior to the injury. With Kevin Porter Jr. ($6,500; thigh, questionable) uncertain, the Rockets might need Theis to handle even more work on offense, so he should bring nice sub-$4K production if he stays in such a prominent role in the offense.
PG/SG Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,300
Even though his offensive output on Monday wasn’t quite as high as I hoped when I included him in my bargain picks, Payton did stay in a key role and actually logged a season-high with 21 minutes. Since Stephen Curry ($11,700) handled the scoring with 50 points, Payton only ended up taking two shots while scoring two points to go with three steals, four rebounds and an assist for 13.5 DKFP.
I’m coming back for more of The Mitten on Wednesday, though, since he gets a good matchup against Minnesota and has become a key part of the second unit. He has played at least 17 minutes in four straight games for Golden State, averaging 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.8 steals and 25.4 DKFP. His multi-category contributions have helped him average 1.3 DKFP per minute, and his complementary role gives him a high ceiling at this very affordable salary.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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.
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