Despite there being only four games in the NBA on Thursday, this will still be a DFS slate that’s defined by injuries and absences. Although, to be fair, you could have probably guessed that simply from the fact that Minnesota is set to take the court this evening. Joel Embiid (finger) isn’t playing. Danilo Gallinari (calf) isn’t playing. Luke Kennard (knee) isn’t playing. Plus, if that weren’t already enough, we’ve also got a slew of important pieces currently carrying a questionable designation.
It’s all enough to make you want to pull your hair out, though injuries always lead to value. Let’s find some enticing names sitting below $5K on DraftKings.
Brandon Knight, PG/SG, CLE @ DET, $4,600
Knight had only appeared in a handful of contests this season prior to logging 23 minutes against Minnesota on Sunday, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Kevin Porter Jr. (knee) suffered an injury in that eventual loss and his absence was compounded less than 48 hours later by Dante Exum developing an illness. That, combined with the trade of Jordan Clarkson to Utah, has left the Cavaliers without anywhere to turn but Knight. Considering Detroit owns the league’s second-worst defensive rating across its past 15 games (114.5), the veteran has a decent matchup to pair with his new-found role.
Kent Bazemore, SG/SF, POR @ MIN, $3,600
Bazemore is only averaging 18.4 DKFP as a starter so far in 2019-20, yet, if Hassan Whiteside ($9,300) is forced to the sideline this evening with his reported illness, it’s possible we see the veteran wing’s modest 16.1% usage rate jump. Still, the important thing to note with Bazemore is his minutes expectation. The 30-year-old has played at least 34 minutes in two of Portland’s past three contests and it’s likely he would have reached the threshold against Toronto if not for his third quarter ejection. Matchup is also key, as the Timberwolves rank third in pace over their last five games (103.1).
P.J. Tucker, PF/C, HOU @ OKC, $4,100
Tucker is essentially the dictionary definition of a GPP play at this point in his career. Across his past nine starts, he’s been completely boom-or-bust, exceeding 30.0 DKFP three times and not even sniffing 20.0 DKFP in the other six games. However, if his overall production has been unstable, his workload has been about as consistent as they come. In fact, Tucker’s averaged a noteworthy 36.0 minutes per contest so far in 2019-20 - a figure which ranks him second on the Rockets behind only James Harden ($12,200). On a slate this small, a role like that can’t be ignored, especially with such a high implied team total.
Furkan Korkmaz, SG/SF, PHI vs. BOS, $3,300
As of right now, this is just a hunch, but I think it’s possible Korkmaz ends up drawing the start with Embiid’s aforementioned absence causing Brett Brown to make a lineup change this evening. While Indiana’s size necessitated dusting off Kyle O’Quinn ($4,900) for a spot start when Embiid was missing on New Year’s Eve, Boston doesn’t have a conventional power forward, instead choosing a more fluid approach to the position with the likes of Jayson Tatum ($6,700) and Gordon Hayward ($6,600). Korkmaz seems like the better matchup and his minutes should reflect that.
Other Injuries to Attack
Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon QUESTIONABLE
Players to Target: Danuel House Jr. ($4,200), Ben McLemore ($3,200)