There’s nothing worse for weekly fantasy league players than logging in and seeing one of your players has been scratched late.
You’re stuck with that player in your lineup for the whole week, watching them put up all 0’s for your team in a frustratingly futile effort.
However, if you play Daily Fantasy contests at Draftstars, missed games from star players can go from being a disaster – to being a goldmine for value plays!
Suddenly a backup player that doesn’t typically get many minutes and carries a low salary cost, can be a difference maker in a big contest.
One of the best indicators for spotting potential break out players is to look for two key things:
- What is their per-36 minute average?
- What are their splits like when they get an opportunity to start?
There are players like Lou Williams, and Caris Levert that are great bench players as well, however this article is devoted to players with affordable salaries, right down to the guys that could be available near the minimum, that could be difference makers in a big contest.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at 12 NBA players waiting in the wings for that moment to shine, and if you see them with an opportunity due to rest or an injury to the player starting in front of them, run, don’t walk, and get these guys into your Draftstars lineup!!
Jarrett Allen, Nets, C.
Player in front: Deandre Jordan
Career Per-36: 14.9ppg, 11.7rpg, 1.8apg, 0.7spg, 2.0bpg, 61% fg
At this point in their careers, Allen is the more effective player by far, but for whatever reason Allen seems to be relegated to benchwarmer duties behind Deandre Jordan.
In a spot start for the Nets (6th Jan 2021) Allen put up a ridiculous line: 19 pts, 18 rebs, 1 ast, 3stl, 2blk, 0 turnovers, 8/9fgs. Wowzers.
If he moves back to the bench keep him on your radar as someone to plug in and play when Jordan sits again.
Larry Nance Jr, Cavaliers
Player in front: Kevin Love
Career Per-36: 12.3ppg, 10.1rpg, 2.8apg, 1.9spg, 0.8bpg, 53%fg
Nance is currently in the driver’s seat with Love sidelined, and his game in the season opener was tantalizing for the upside he presents when he gets the minutes:
13pts, 13rebs, 8ast, 3stl, 2blk, 1 three, 5/9fgs, 2/2fts
Store those numbers away in your mind, because when Kevin Love is back in 3-4 weeks’ time, he will be resting on B2B (back to back games) meaning there will be several more opportunities to plug in Nance for a sneaky play.
Javale McGee, Cavaliers
Player in front: Andre Drummond
Career Per-36: 16.4ppg, 10.7rpg, 0.8apg, 0.9spg, 3.2bpg, 57%fg
Even at this point in his career he can fill up the boxscore when he gets the minutes. A few games back he got 24 mins of court time against the Hawks and put up a 14-9-4-2-1 line.
Do not hesitate to slot him in if Drummond gets the night off.
Jalen Brunson, Mavericks
Player in front: Luka Doncic
Career Per-36: 16.1ppg, 4.2rpg, 5.8apg, 0.9spg, 0.1bpg, 47%fg, 1.5 threes
Brunson had a few gem performances last season when required to start, and in a spot start this season he put up 31-5-6 with a steal, 3 treys and 11/17fg, 6/6fts. A superb line that can rival what you get from an elite superstar level player.
Don’t expect that every time he starts but it’s not unreasonable that he could put up something around a 20-5-5 line when he gets the opportunity.
Jahlil Okafor, Detroit
Player in front: Mason Plumlee
Career Per-36: 19.4ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.7apg, 0.5spg, 1.5bpg, 54%fg
He doesn’t hit threes, and teams seem very reluctant to play him, but when he does manage to get a start and play 30+ minutes he has some fantastic potential for DFS.
He only played over 30 minutes once last season, but managed to get: 26pts, 5rebs, 1 ast, 2stl 1blk
The season before we have a bigger sample size, he played 30+ minutes eight times, and his averages over those games were: 22.5ppg, 11.1rpg, 2.1bpg, and shot 67.5% fg. The Detroit Pistons aren’t the best team this year, so if Plumlee missed a week or two here and there, be ready to toss Okafor in your line-up if there’s news he will be starting because he’s proven he can fill the box score for losing teams.
Boban Marjanovic, Mavericks
Players in front: Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley Stein
Career Per-36: 23.0ppg, 15.0rpg, 2.0apg, 0.8spg, 1.3bpg, 58%fg
Boban is freakishly productive when he’s on the court, unfortunately that doesn’t seem to happen too often. He has never averaged over 14 minutes per game for a season, most likely because of his massive 7’4” 290lb frame.
He only played above 28 minutes in a game twice last season. His output in those games?
31pts, 17rebs, 1ast, 2stl, 12/20fgs in a win over Denver
18pts, 20rebs, 3ast, 9/14fgs in a loss to Dallas
Unfortunately with Boban, it’s a little bit flukish trying to play him because some of these big games that he has are when a game is a huge blowout.
However if you get news of him starting, put him in and hope for the best!
Gorgui Dieng, Grizzlies
Player in front: Jonas Valanciunas
Career Per-36: 12.9ppg, 10.1rpg, 2.2apg, 1.4spg, 1.6bpg, 50%fg
While not having quite the upside as some of the other players on this list, Dieng can still get nice all round numbers when he gets decent court time.
In back to back games this season Dieng got 22-24 minutes court time and in those two games he put up:
17-6-2 with 1 steal and 2 threes
14-8-1 with 2 blocks and 2 threes
These were when playing behind Valanciunas off the bench, however if he gets a start you could expect similar numbers to above as a plug and play option.
Just be aware that Jaren Jackson Jr is due back in a few weeks, and the Grizzlies may opt to play small ball against some teams and plug him in at C, which doesn’t really help with Dieng. Keep a watchful eye on him though because he can be a sneaky play that gets you a great value return.
Nerlens Noel, Knicks
Player in front: Mitchell Robinson
Career Per-36: 13.0ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.9apg, 2.1spg, 2.3bpg, 54%fg
Noel offers some of the best defensive numbers in the NBA on a per minute basis. We’re yet to see him on court in this early part of the season for the Knicks, but keep an eye out for him, because in his first chance to start last season he put up 15pts, 14rebs, 2ast, 1astl, 1blk.
He has the upside that he can have games with 3+steals and 4+ blocks on any given night when he starts, and as you know those defensive categories are worth a lot in DFS.
Dwight Howard, 76ers
Player in front: Joel Embiid
Career Per-36: 18.0ppg, 13.2rpg, 1.5apg, 1.0spg, 2.1bpg, 59%fg
D12 is still a very productive player when he’s on the court. His per-36 for the 76ers this season is still really impressive: 16.0ppg, 15.2rpg, 1.5ast, 1.5blk on 72%fgs. Embiid isn’t the most reliable player each year when it comes to his health either, so there will be opportunities for Howard to get some starts this year and put up big numbers.
I wouldn’t expect anything earth shattering at this point in his career, but if there’s news that Embiid is out and you’d got a minimal salary left at C, consider D12 because he could chip in a low end double-double with blocks.
Hassan Whiteside, Kings
Player in front: Richaun Holmes
Career Per-36: 18.5ppg, 15.8rpg, 0.9apg, 0.8spg, 3.3bpg, 58%fg
Whiteside is firmly entrenched in coach Luke Walton’s doghouse right now, and most people paying attention to the situation probably don’t see a clear path to minutes for Whiteside right now.
He did average 15.5ppg, 13.5rpg and led the league with 2.9bpg last season, and a player of his talent should eventually force Walton’s hand to play him. Keep an eye on Holmes’ status and be ready to swoop and play Whiteside if the opportunity to start arises.
Enes Kanter, Blazers
Player in front: Enes Kanter
Career Per-36: 19.2ppg, 12.6rpg, 1.4apg, 0.7spg, 0.8bpg, 54%fg
Kanter is a vacuum cleaner when it comes to rebounds, and he will attack the offensive glass as well. In his previous game vs the Warriors, he managed to get 24 & 12 off the bench. He’s actually putting up better numbers than started Jusuf Nurkic right now.
Keep close tabs on Nurkic because if he misses any time then Kanter will be a great DFS play, primarily around his pts and rebounds. He typically doesn’t do too much in the other categories but if he can give you a 20-10 game on a cheap DFS salary he might be enough to propel you to the top of a Draftstars contest if everything goes your way.
Chris Boucher, Raptors
Player in front: Aaron Baynes
Career Per-36: 18.9ppg, 12.1rpg, 1.1apg, 1.0spg, 3.2bpg, 47%fg, 1.8 threes
Boucher can be a massive source of stats when he gets court time, highlighted by a few of his top games this season. In the 2 times he managed to get over 25 minutes so far this season this is what he produced:
22 points, 10 rebounds, 1ast, 7 blocks, 3 treys, on 9/13fgs against the Spurs
24pts, 5 rebs, 1ast, 2stl, 1blk 1trey on 7/13fgs against the Pelicans
It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Boucher gets a starting spot, however just be aware that he does foul a lot which could also keep his minutes in check. 5.3 fouls per 36 over his career means that there is the risk that when he’s thrown in with the starting unit he can pick up the dreaded 2 quick fouls in the first quarter and get benched early.
Despite that, he will definitely be a very popular play for sharp players when he gets an opportunity to start, so check for updates and have him ready to play on your Draftstars lineup!
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