Friday night features Yahoo’s NBA $100K Baller contest that pays out $10K to the winner. It’s just $10 to enter. For first time depositors, enter promo code UNICORN and you’ll have enough Yahoo Sports Rewards Points to join this contest.
It’s a busy slate with 11 games on tap, so let’s get right to trying to assemble a winning lineup. There are four elite players in the first tier (all more than $50), and then a drop off (Andre Drummond facing a Boston team that defends centers extremely well at $44). You can’t go wrong with any of the big four (Anthony Davis, LeBron James, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo), and I’m willing to spend up for one as my foundation. Let’s go with Harden at $50, who’s second in the NBA in Usage Rate, the current favorite for MVP and is at home on a team with Friday night’s highest implied team total (117 points).
Bradley Beal ($35) continues to provide good value while John Wall is out, as does teammate Otto Porter ($26) on Friday night, as both teams rank in the top half in the league in Pace. Elfrid Payton’s price tag ($26) hasn’t caught up to his Usage Rate since getting traded to Phoenix, and he’ll be at home against a Clippers team on the second end of a back-to-back. And Milos Teodosic has been getting abused by point guards on the defensive end.
Another mid-tier player to consider targeting is a $27 Marc Gasol, who’s at home playing Cleveland, another team on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. Memphis is tanking, but coming off the All-Star break, Gasol should be in no risk of resting, and while the Grizzlies failed to trade Tyreke Evans, Gasol’s Usage Rate should still be high on an offense lacking many options. While the Cavs’ defense is improved after a roster reshuffle, it’s still a team with a mostly new roster that sports the third-worst Defensive Efficiency (109.8) in the NBA. Teammates Andrew Harrison ($13) and Dillon Brooks ($10) are nice bargains as well.
Other bargains include John Collins, who’s getting an Indiana team that’s been poor defending bigs, and while foul trouble remains a concern for the rookie, he only needs 20-22 minutes to profit at this price ($13). Cory Joseph has disappointed since entering the starting lineup, but Darren Collison is still out, and Joseph is the minimum $10. He posted a 15-11-3-2-2 line during his last game before the break.
A couple of final notes regarding the Clips/Suns game. Danilo Gallinari would be a fine target at $23, but he’s questionable with a right hand injury. I’d stay away. On the other side, Alex Len ($10) is one of my favorite building blocks of the day, as here’s a center with upside who costs the minimum. Len of course is always a risk of giving you a dud, but he’s back fully healthy and started during the team’s last game before the break, when he recorded three steals with five blocks in 38 minutes facing off against Rudy Gobert. LA defends centers poorly, both teams rank top-seven in Pace, and Len has averaged 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.3 blocks when starting this season, so hopefully he stays there.
As always, be sure to check your lineup as close to tipoff as possible. Be sure to sign up for Friday’s $100K NBA Baller contest and good luck.