Daily fantasy sports sites have had to get creative due to the shortage of options out there at the moment.
For the past few weeks, FanDuel has been running a new “NBA Sim” contest. It’s free to enter, and those that win will earn some cash that can be used to play in paid contests on the site. Players will fill out a 9-man NBA lineup, just as they would for a normal NBA DFS slate.
FanDuel is running 2 separate slates today. One starts at 3pm ET, with the other beginning 4 hours later. The analysis below will cover the 7pm ET slate, which contains 6 “games.”
Kyrie Irving, PG ($9,700)
Targeting players that have endured injury-shortened seasons is one of the strategies worth considering when it comes to these sim contests. Kyrie Irving logged just 20 total games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, so his pool of games is obviously quite a bit smaller than most other players in the pool.
That makes him an outstanding option at $9,700. Kyrie averaged better than 46 FanDuel points per game before going down. He finished with fewer than 20 FanDuel points in just 3 of those 20 games (15 percent). Kyrie topped 40 FD points in 13 of his 20 games (65 percent). He topped 50 in 8 of 20 games (40 percent), and he went over 60 6 times (30 percent).
There is an excellent chance Irving will greatly exceed value on that $9,700 salary tonight, so he’s the first guy I’m plugging into my FD lineups.
Donte DiVincenzo, SG ($4,300)
Unfortunately, we can’t pay up at every position. We have to find some savings somewhere. Shooting guard has plenty of quality mid-tier options tonight, but I don’t mind using one of my SG slots on Bucks swingman Donte DiVincenzo.
The former first-round pick had really come into his own in his second pro campaign. The Villanova product averaged about 22.5 fantasy points per game across 59 appearances for the league’s best team. A number of Milwaukee’s core pieces have missed games due to injury this season. DiVincenzo started plenty of those games, and it gave him a chance to excel.
He has gone under 20 FD points in 22 of his 59 games, so you have a fairly high 37 percent chance of being disappointed. However, the risk is obviously mitigated by his cheap salary. DiVincenzo has topped 25 FanDuel points in another 22 games, and he’s gone over 30 in 10 (17 percent). He doesn’t give you a ton of ceiling, but he still looks like one of the more alluring cheap plays at the position.
Kelly Oubre, SF ($6,500)
Small forward is a position without a lot of depth. Paying all the way up for Giannis Antetokounmpo is appealing, but I like the idea of nabbing Kelly Oubre for just $6,500. Oubre has topped 30 FD points in 31 of his 56 games played, which comes out to about 55 percent.
Oubre also has a ceiling of 59.5, so if you happen to hit that you’re in great shape. The former Wizard has busted for under 20 fantasy points just 6 times across those 56 games, so at the very least you’re likely to get a workable floor out of him tonight.
Oubre and Jaylen Brown are essentially interchangeable options at comparable salaries.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF ($7,900)
Porzingis is another player that has played in a limited number of games due to injury. Porzingis has made 51 appearances for the Mavs this season, and a number of those games have come without the usage monster known as Luka Doncic. We have seen several ceiling performances out of Porzingis this season, especially recently. KP was priced up over $9,000 as recently as last month, so we’re getting a sizable discount here at only $7,900.
Zinger has averaged just under 40 fantasy points per game, but he has managed to top 50 15 times (29 percent). His ceiling of 75.6 is also among the highest on the slate for any player at any position, which makes him a very appealing option. The quality at power forward drops off considerably once you get past the $7,200 Julius Randle, so this looks like a position at which you’ll want to spend some salary.
Deandre Ayton, C ($8,600)
Deandre Ayton has played very well this season, but he hasn’t played a whole lot. The former No. 1 overall pick has been limited to just 30 games played as a result of injuries and a 25-game performance-enhancing drug suspension. As is the case with Kyrie Irving, that smaller pool of game logs comes in handy for a contest like this.
Center has 3 quality expensive options, but once you get past them the position turns into a crapshoot. As is the case with power forward, I like the security that comes with paying up. Ayton has averaged about 41 FD points across those 30 games played.
Ayton has crossed the 50-fantasy point threshold 9 times, which means you have a 30 percent chance of getting a ceiling type of performance out of him. The big man has failed to crack 30 just 5 times (16 percent), and he has topped 40 in exactly half of his outings.
Plugging these 5 guys into your 9-man lineup leaves you with an average of $5,750 to spend on each remaining player. That’s more than enough to fill out a roster that should be competitive on tonight’s slate.