Availability will be the key for Friday’s slate of three NBA games, with Joel Embiid ruled out for the Philadelphia 76ers, while Jimmy Butler is in doubt for the Miami Heat after an ankle sprain on Thursday.
The opportunity to nab a value option as a result other player’s misfortune is a key part of getting ahead in Draftstars. For example, $12k Tyrese Maxey starred for the depleted 76ers earlier this week.
It’s a simple three-game slate on Friday, with the 76ers (8-4) hosting the Toronto Raptors (6-6), the Utah Jazz (8-3) welcoming the Indiana Pacers (4-8) and the Los Angeles Clippers (6-4) taking on the Miami Heat (7-4).
The 76ers have been ravaged by unavailable players, with star center Joel Embiid out due to COVID-19 along with Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Tobias Harris, although the latter is close to returning and is listed as questionable. Seth Curry was withdrawn shortly before tip-off for Wednesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks due to a foot injury and is also questionable.
Pascal Siakam has returned for the Raptors this week after offseason shoulder surgery but head coach Nick Nurse indicated he’s unlikely to back up against the 76ers as he works his way back to full fitness.
Pacers guard Caris LaVert missed Thursday’s game against Denver due to lower back soreness and will be a doubt to face the Jazz.
Clippers forward Marcus Morris looks set to be out with a knee injury against the Heat, who will be sweating on Jimmy Butler’s ankle sprain after exiting Thursday’s over-time loss to the LA Lakers early.
LAST GAME LEARNINGS
Bam Adebayo (C $15,230) produced a season-high return of 58 DS points in the Heat’s over-time loss to the Lakers, taking some of the slack after Butler left the court after playing only 17 minutes. Duncan Robinson (SF(SG) $8,870) also had a season-high 33.5 DS points in Butler’s absence, although he was only three-for-13 from three-point range.
The under-manned 76ers had a different look in Wednesday’s loss to the Bucks, with Furkan Korkmaz (SG(SF) $10,410) playing 45 minutes, yet only managing five points, five rebounds and five assists, equating to an underwhelming 19.3 DS points. On the flipside, Tyrese Maxey (PG $12,590) stepped up with a season-high 49.3 DS points, with 31 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Andre Drummond’s (C $17,560) output has also gone up a lot with Embiid out of the side, posting DS scores of 52.5 and 51.8 in the two games since the center became unavailable after entering the league’s health and safety protocol. Drummond, though, is not cheap.
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (SG(PG) $17,530) hit 27 points with three rebounds and five assists in their win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, while Clippers forward Nicolas Batum (SF(PF) $11,380) had a season-high DS score of 36, from 22 points and six rebounds in their win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Paul George (SF $19,360) keeps on getting it done, with 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in Kawhi Leonard’s absence.
The aforementioned situation at the 76ers presents some potential options to find some value, led by point guard Maxey (PG $12,590). Monitor Danny Green’s (SF $7,220) status too, having played limited minutes following a few games back from injury.
For bargain basement prices, 76ers forward Paul Reed (PF $6,000) has got more time on court in the wake of his side’s issues, so he’s worth consideration. Reed had a season-high 23 DS points against the Bucks on Wednesday, coming from six points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
The Heat’s Robinson (SF(SG) $8,870) looms as a value option if Butler does not play, given his output last time out, while Tyler Herro (SG(PG) $12,670) remains under-priced.
Pacers point guard TJ McConnell (PG $10,190) is on a hot run of form, with consecutive DS scores of 35.3, 32.8 and 37.3 belying his season average of 24.3 DS points.
It’s hard to look past George (SF $19,360) in this slate given the players on offer, assuming you’re willing to pay top dollar. George’s season average is 51.1 DS points, almost seven ahead of the next best Malcolm Brogdon (PG $16,270). George has posted three DS scores of 60 or above this season, so his ceiling is very high.
Utah’s Mitchell (SG(PG) $17,530) is in form, averaging 47.4 DS points across the past six games, including a season-high 58 against the Sacramento Kings. He is cheaper than George and has a better recent average, with the Clippers forward’s three-game average being 46.1.
Put Adebayo (C $15,230) on your radar, given his season-high output last game after Butler went down injured. He’s cheaper than both of the above two options but wait on the team news.
Embiid (C $17,460) is definitely out and Butler (SF $16,850) looks set to miss, so fade them. Jazz center Rudy Gobert (C $16,250) has been frustrating lately, with recent below-par DS scores of 33.5 and 19.5. Given other center options, he’s worth fading.