Welcome to the NBA DFS Bargains column, where we’ll sort through underrated players on DRAFT while also mining for value in salary cap formats like FanDuel and DraftKings. Please take note that this article was created earlier in the day, so pertinent injury information and breaking news could add or subtract bargain situations. Paying attention to our NBA News & Headlines feed is one way to stay on top of everything.
With that, let’s go ahead and dive into the bargain bin!
Kemba Walker – G - Charlotte (DRAFT Projection: 41.1)
It’s pretty strange that Kemba Walker would be underrated considering his rise to the fantasy superstar hemisphere fueled by hype and highlight reels. However, I believe he checks in as a relative bargain on DRAFT tonight. Perhaps this projection accounts for the overall defensive efficiency of Utah – ranking eighth in the league. However, the Jazz rank 23rd in defensive efficiency vs the point guard position, and Walker tends to perform better at home. I’ll raise his projection up to 46.70 fantasy points, passing players like Jrue Holiday, Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard, Marc Gasol, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, and Paul George in the pecking order.
Luka Doncic – G – Dallas (DRAFT Projection: 33.7)
Luka seems to be perpetually underrated on DRAFT. That provides a nice opportunity for those paying attention. Tonight’s matchup is a great one for Doncic, as he’ll be playing up in pace against a Lakers team that ranks 25th in defensive efficiency vs opposing backcourts. As a result, I’m expecting an efficient effort with plenty of minutes from Luka, and he should be able to near 40 fantasy points in this one. I’ll raise his baseline closer to the 37 FP projection level.
FANDUEL & DRAFTKINGS BARGAINS
Larry Nance Jr – PF - Cleveland (FD: $5900 / DK: $5600)
This play is contingent upon an injury. David Nwaba is considered questionable for Cleveland tonight. He has missed the past two games, where Nance stepped in to average 37 minutes and 30 fantasy points over that span. Nance has always been an efficient fantasy producer throughout his career, he just needs a clear path to playing time in order to become a reliable DFS option. He would get a full helping of minutes if Nwaba misses another game, making him one of the best overall value plays of this slate.
Jonathan Isaac – SF – Orlando (FD: $4900 / DK: $4400)
This play is contingent upon an injury. Aaron Gordon missed Wednesday’s game at Portland, and Jonathan Isaac responded with 26 fantasy points in 30 minutes. Take note that Isaac also saw 30 minutes in the previous game after Gordon was forced to leave early. If Gordon missed his second straight game, Isaac would look to step up with plenty of minutes in a great matchup against a bad Phoenix defense that also ranks 23rd in rebound rate.
Marcus Smart – SG – Boston (FD: $4500 / DK: $4300)
Jaylen Brown (already ruled out) will miss his second straight game tonight, leaving Marcus Smart to pick up the slack in Boston’s backcourt. Smart tallied 39 minutes in Brown’s absence on Monday, and there’s a good chance he’ll see quality playing time once again. I wouldn’t bank on 39 minutes, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 32-34 seems appropriate as a baseline. That should give Smart enough opportunities to reach value on a bargain salary for both sites. He’s a fine value filler while facing a Cleveland team that ranks 24th in defensive efficiency vs opposing shooting guards.
Rodney McGruder – SG – Miami (FD: $4500 / DK: $4800)
I like Marcus Smart a little more than Rodney McGruder if choosing between the two. However, you could utilize both in the same lineup while looking to spend on upside elsewhere. McGruder doesn’t exactly have GPP-winning upside, but he’s a steady fantasy contributor who is seeing quality minutes. He has held serve around his value threshold of 24+ fantasy points in three of his past five games. He should surpass that mark while playing up in pace against a New Orleans team that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency vs opposing backcourts.
Aron Baynes – C – Boston (FD: $3500 / DK: $3200)
Al Horford has been ruled out tonight, which will elevate Aron Baynes into a heightened role. The last time Horford missed a game, Baynes stepped in for 34 fantasy points in 23 minutes last Friday. I’m not saying a repeat performance is to be expected, but a reasonable matchup vs Cleveland could lead him to value for near-minimum salary levels on both sites.
Jerami Grant (OKC) is a tournament pick who has been all over the place from a production standpoint. However, a soft matchup vs Atlanta could bring out the best in him.
John Collins (ATL) doesn’t have a great matchup on paper, but he does carry the ability to rack up fantasy numbers in a hurry. The playing time has stabilized as of late, so keep him on your tournament radar. The $5600 salary on DraftKings is way too soft.
Take note that T.J. Warren has been ruled out for Phoenix. Josh Jackson (PHX) will be asked to pick up the slack – among others. Jackson didn’t do much in that role earlier this season, but he’s worth a look in tournaments with more opportunities and playing time.
Chris Paul is questionable to play tonight. If he’s out, Eric Gordon (HOU) deserves to be on your DFS short list. He’s averaging 38 minutes and 35 fantasy points over the past three with Paul sidelined. His opponent, San Antonio, ranks bottom ten in defensive efficiency vs backcourt members.