Kevin Durant’s likely return highlights Friday’s seven-game $25,000 NBA Draftstars slate, but is worth picking straight up at a slightly deflated price? We’re here to try help with a bit of guidance on value picks, premium plays and in-form options.
LAST GAME LESSONS
Raptors point guard Malachi Flynn (PG $9,480) has drawn a lot of interest this week as he’s re-emerged with Toronto. Flynn had 19% ownership in Tuesday’s slate, scoring 36 DS points at basement $6k price. Toronto had a back-to-back where Flynn’s ownership and price skyrocketed to 63% and $8,800 respectively but he still delivered 35 DS points. With another price rise, the question is, is he worth a mid-30s score?
Flynn’s teammate Gary Trent Jr (SG|SF $11,420) has had decent ownership numbers this week too, at 54% and 34% on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, delivering return of 29 and 42.5 DS points.
It was noticeable that coaches jumped on Raptors players, including Scottie Barnes (SF|PF $13,650) and Pascal Siakam (PF|C $16,410), against the struggling Nets, who face the Miami Heat in this slate, for whom someone like Tyler Herro (SG|PG $13,630) might offer value.
Celtics guard Jayson Tatum (SF|PF $18,740) top scored in Wednesday’s slate at 22% ownership with 54 DS points, while Golden State’s Moses Moody (SG|SF $6,000) was a major flop for his 25% ownership showing value at basement price, scoring only 8 DS points. Sacramento’s Trey Lyles (PF|C $12,020) also underwhelmed with 62% jumping on him at $8,390 on Thursday, but he managed only 11 DS points.
We cannot ignore Ja Morant (PG $17,940) either, after posting career-high on-court scores of 46 and 52 points which translated to DS scores of 56.5 and 63.75. The Grizzlies guard looms among the top premium picks based on form.
The big news is the likely return of Kevin Durant (SF $19,210) from an MCL sprain for the Nets, which will significantly impact their options, given he tends to dominate scoring when playing. Kyrie Irving (PG|SG $16,850) is out given their game is at the Barclays Center too.
Trae Young (PG $18,540) is questionable for the Hawks with an ankle issue, while fellow guard Lou Williams (SG|PG $6,000) may have benefitted from his absence but has a hip problem of his own. Monitor that.
Another premium option, LeBron James (SF|PG $20,070), is questionable for the Lakers with a knee complaint.
Versatile Boston star Jaylen Brown (SF|SG $15,510) has been ruled out with a right ankle sprain sustained earlier this week, opening the door in their line-up.
Golden State’s Klay Thompson (SG $12,110) is expected to play despite illness, while aforementioned teammate Moody is probable despite an eye problem.
Detroit’s Hamadou Diallo (SF|SG $8,340) is probable with an ankle injury and Toronto’s OG Anunoby (SF|SG $12,520) is questionable due to a finger worry, while teammate Fred VanVleet (PG|SG $16,000) is in the same boat with a knee problem and his availability may impact Flynn. Monitor that too.
Grizzlies center Steven Adams (C $13,700) has been getting good minutes lately and making the most of them, with a three-game average of 39.1 DS points, up on his season average of 27.1.
Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony (PF $11,000) may be worth consideration, especially if LeBron is out. Anthony has been good lately, with Anthony Davis sidelined.
We already mentioned Herro in terms of the Heat plying the Nets, but Gabe Vincent (PG $10,660) is an option given his price point, having managed 38.75 DS points last time out.
Boston’s Payton Pritchard (PG $6,700) or Grant Williams (PF|SF $8,420) may benefit from Brown’s absence, playing 19 and 28 minutes after he got injured against the Hawks, with the latter scoring a near-season high 31.25 DS points.
Consider Golden State’s Gary Payton (PG|SG $6,490) who is getting more minutes lately, averaging 23.4 DS points in his past four, which is excellent at that price.
PREMO PLAYS & FADES
The aforementioned Morant (PG $17,940) tops the list of premium picks, although he relies on scoring for his DS points, which won’t be as easy against the Celtics, who are tough defensively.
Durant’s (SF $19,210) price is slightly deflated due to his DS score of 22.75 when he injured his knee in January, so if he’s locked in to return, he’s strongly worth consideration, although he may be eased back into things. However, Brooklyn do need some wins, so that may not be possible.
The Nets’ struggles mean their opponents, the Heat, need to be considered, with Bam Adebayo (C $18,030) in good scoring and rebounding form lately. But maybe Durant’s return changes things for the Nets, who can lean on him offensively.
All those question marks make Tatum (SF|PF $18,740) tempting given his consistency, averaging 45.9 DS points across the season, dipping below 30 DS points only five times this season.
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