NBA DFS Preview Friday 31 December

NBA DFS Preview Friday 31 December

The NBA’s COVID protocols have been reduced from 10 days to six while players are coming in and out complicating Draftstars selections each slate. So we’re here to help narrow the focus ahead of Friday’s four-game $30,000 Draftstars slate.

INJURY NEWS

The Brooklyn Nets will be bolstered by the return of 11-time All-Star Kevin Durant (SF|PF $22,030) after clearing COVID-19 protocols. Durant’s return will definitely have an impact on the DS output of James Harden (PG $21,520). Kyrie Irving (PG|SG $15,320) has also been cleared but need a few weeks to build up his conditioning for NBA level and will only play away games.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have lost Spanish guard Ricky Rubio (PG $14,250) to a season-ending ACL injury, while Darius Garland (PG|SG $14,770) has entered protocols, along with Cedi Osman (SF|SG $8,150), Jarrett Allen (C $13,960) and Lamar Stevens (SF $6,000).

The Cavs’ opponents, the Washington Wizards, have similar personnel issues, with Bradley Beal (SG $15,500), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG|SF $7,970), Anthony Gill (PF $6,000), Rui Hachimura (PF|C $6,750) and Montrezl Harrell (C $10,730) all in protocols.

Aaron Gordon (PF $9,890) is questionable for the Denver Nuggets clash with the Golden State Warriors with a hamstring concern. The Warriors will be without Draymond Green (PF|C $14,170) and James Wiseman (C $6,000) due to protocols.

The Brooklyn Nets will be bolstered by the return of 11-time All-Star Kevin Durant which will definitely have an impact on the DS output of James Harden.

LAST GAME LEARNINGS

Harden (PG $21,520) has starred for the Nets in his two games since returning from protocols with DS score of 77.5 and 74 from dominant performances (39 points, eight rebounds, 15 assists and 36 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). But both games have occurred without Durant (SF|PF $22,030) in the team and his return from protocols will be significant. Harden has averaged 51.1 DS points across the season, so expect a return to something around that level.

Stephen Curry (PG $18,470) may be in MVP contention but he cannot be trusted from a Draftstars point of view, posting his fourth lowest DS score this season in the Warriors’ loss to the Nuggets earlier this week. Curry only shot two points in the first half before recovering to finish with 23 points but that didn’t equate to a good DS score (33.5).

Wizards point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (PG $11,680) seems to be the big beneficiary from his side’s long list of players in protocols, having managed a three-game average of 44.9 DS points, way up on his season average of 29.3 DS points. Corey Kispert (SF|SF $6,290) is another who has benefitted with his top two season DS scores coming in the past three games.

VALUE OPTIONS

Could veteran Kevin Love (PF|C $13,740) be back? Crisis creates opportunity and Love has stepped in capably with the Cavs missing several players. Love’s three-game average is 40.1 DS points, way up on his season average of 27.4 DS points. He played 32 minutes in the Cavs’ last outing.

Warriors forward Juan Toscano-Anderson (PF $7,200) isn’t bringing in bumper points but he is providing good price-per-points value with a five-game average of 19.5 DS points and he’s arguably benefitting from Green’s absence too.

Dinwiddie and Kispert need to be considered too, while 76ers forward Tobias Harris (PF $14,520) posted a triple-double last time out along with a season-high DS score of 56 points.

Crisis creates opportunity and Love has stepped in capably with the Cavs missing several players.

PREMIUM PLAYS

Picking the out-and-out top value premiums hasn’t always been a tactic of winning teams lately but Nikola Jokic (C $21,910) is highly consistent and reliable if you want bang for your buck. The reigning MVP is averaging 58.9 DS points for the season and 65.6 DS points across the past three.

The reality is the other options; Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF|C $20,500), Joel Embiid (C $21,010) and Curry (PG $18,470), have high ceilings but greater volatility in scoring.

FADES

It’s hard to know what to expect of Durant (SF|PF $22,030) upon his return and he is the most expensive player in the slate. Durant’s price is inflated by his good form during Harden’s (PG $21,520) absence. Expect both to flatten so best to fade.

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