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Fantasy Basketball Value Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Bargain Plays for January 5

Garion Thorne breaks down his top DraftKings value plays for Wednesday’s NBA slate.

This is a massive slate. 11 games is pretty daunting under normal circumstances, but in the middle of a pandemic? Forget about it. Even with a couple teams yet to submit their injury reports for tonight’s action, there’s over 20 players listed as questionable on Wednesday.

That means two things. One, you’re going to have to follow the news closely up to tip-off. Two, that there should be a lot of value opening up throughout the day. Let’s focus on the latter.

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PG Keifer Sykes, Indiana Pacers vs. Brooklyn Nets, $3,300

Let’s get caught up on the biggest non-Kyrie storyline in Indiana this evening: The health of the Pacers. Malcolm Brogdon ($7,800), Chris Duarte ($5,300) and Jeremy Lamb ($4,300) all cleared health and safety protocols on Tuesday, yet Rick Carlisle didn’t exactly seem confident that any of the three would be available to play against the Nets. There’s also the matter of Torrey Craig ($4,400; groin) exiting last night’s loss due to injury, leaving Indiana with virtually zero backcourt and wing depth.

Enter Sykes. The 28-year-old rookie has been taking advantage of his opportunity in the NBA, averaging 16.0 points, 5.5 assists and 32.1 DKFP across his pair of starts. This is including yesterday’s performance versus the Knicks, where Sykes registered a notable 23.2% usage rate, logged 37.9 minutes and tied with Duane Washington Jr. ($3,800) with a team-leading 16 field goal attempts. Maybe the volume decreases slightly if Brogdon or Duarte returns to the mix, but I think we can get one more game out of Sykes, especially with his salary down from where it sat on Tuesday.

PG George Hill, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors, $3,200

Editor’s Note: Bucks PF/C Giannis Antetokounmpo (illness) and PG George Hill (health protocols) have been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Raptors.

This is an interesting situation for DFS. On the one hand, all of Milwaukee’s high-usage stars are set to be available for tonight’s contest in Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600), Jrue Holiday ($8,200) and Khris Middleton ($7,300). Heck, even a secondary high-usage piece like Bobby Portis ($6,400) is healthy and ready to go. However, according to NBA rules, the Bucks will have to start a fifth person, and I’m having a hard time seeing who that will end up being.

After the team added both Pat Connaughton and Grayson Allen to the health and safety protocols on Tuesday — and with Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) out for a couple weeks — Milwaukee is suddenly very thin on the wing. This should mean huge bumps in playing time for Hill and Wes Matthews ($3,100), with the former having led the Bucks in bench minutes in each of their past two games. Both men are essentially just spot-up shooters at this point in their careers, with each in possession of an identical 12.3% usage rate so far in 2021-22; yet I lean towards Hill as the value recommendation as he might sneak a few possessions as the lead guard for a reserve unit. Either way, if he logs 30-plus minutes, it’ll be difficult for him to not bring back at least 6x or 7x value.

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SG/SF Caleb Martin, Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers, $4,500

Martin’s price tag has increased slightly over the Heat’s past few games, but the wing’s salary still isn’t in the same stratosphere as his current role. The 26-year-old has started each of Miami’s past four contests out of necessity and, in specifically the last three, Martin’s logged an average of 35.5 minutes. That’s a lot of run in a vacuum, let alone when you’ve been producing a respectable 0.90 DKFP per minute played since the beginning of December.

Now, on top of that volume, Martin should see an uptick in usage with Jimmy Butler (ankle) once again sidelined due to injury. Sure, Max Strus ($5,300) will be available for tonight’s tilt with the Blazers and he’ll likely enter the starting five in place of Butler, but the sharpshooter has missed the team’s past four games in the protocols. Strus might have to have his minutes restricted, leaving more shots for Martin in a matchup with the league’s worst defense by points surrendered per 100 possessions (114.8). That’s pretty enticing, right?

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (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.

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