We’ve got a four-game slate Thursday. Hey, something is better than nothing! I actually like small slates, but that’s just me. ATL, CHA, DAL, NOP and POR are all playing the second leg of a back-to-back. None of these teams play on Friday.
DraftKings Sportsbook has every game with a total below 225. The POR/NO game has the highest total at 224.5 while the PHI/ATL is right below at 222.5. The DAL/WAS game looks to be a WWI trench fight, as the total sits at a paltry 208.5. Dallas is dead-last in offensive pace while Washington is 27th. Good times. Miami is the biggest favorite at 11 points over Charlotte. The ATL/PHI has the tightest spread at just one point in favor of the Hawks.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks vs. Washington Wizards ($12,500) – The total may be low in this game and both teams play at a snail’s pace. It doesn’t matter because Doncic has the highest floor/ceiling combo on the slate and is garnering a usage rate over 40% on the season. He’s averaging 1.74 DKFP per minute. Think of it like this. There are two pies side by side. One serves 20 people but there are 10 people that will be eating it, so two slices for everyone. The other pie isn’t as big, as it can only serve 10 people, but only two people will be eating it, so five slices. Be right back. Heading to Apple Pan to get a banana cream pie.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard (injury management) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Pelicans.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans ($9,700) – This is purely an ownership play. De’Anthony Melton ($6,000) and Terry Rozier ($8,600) look like they could be the most popular plays at guard. Currently, Lillard has a projected ownership below two percent. Portland played Wednesday, so maybe people are worried about the back-to-back. No idea. What I do know is Lillard averages 1.25 DKFP per minute and has 50-DKFP upside — something he’s done twice this season. Melton is a low-usage player while Rozier has been struggling with efficiency, and could again tonight, so if they both disappoint while Lillard balls out, that could vault one up the leaderboard, especially since the roster construction could be unique.
Other Options - Trae Young ($10,400), Dejounte Murray ($10,300), Terry Rozier ($8,600), Tyler Herro ($7,700)
Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets ($4,400) – Vincent has exceeded points expectations 70% of the time this season. He’s a low-usage player who is only averaging 0.78 DKFP per minute, but he’s played 36, 26, 29 and 31 minutes over the last four games. He’s attempted double-digit shots and scored at least 10 points in each of the last three contests. He’s also racked up eight steals over the last four games. Vincent probably won’t access a ceiling game, but his floor is relatively high. He’s gone for at least 20 DKFP in each of the last four games and has six games on the season with at least 20 DKFP.
Other Options - Jordan Goodwin ($4,700)
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks ($7,100) – Harris will likely be the most popular forward on the slate, and for good reason. Since James Harden succumbed to injury, Harris has seen his playing time spike to 38 minutes per game. He’s attempted 15 and 18 shots in those two contests. Prior to that, he had three games with fewer than seven shot attempts and his season-high was 14, which happened three times. He’s scored over 40 DKFP in the last two games and has contributed something in every statistical category, which provides a relatively high floor. I don’t mind eating this chalk, especially since the price is palatable and the Hawks have boosted the FPPM of small forwards by 12.92% — the third-most generous rate in the league.
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets ($9,100) – Butler will rarely have you throwing the remote at the television because he’s always going to provide something thanks of his well-rounded game. That said, the ceiling games are erratic because he usually plays within the offensive system and lets things happen organically. He does force the issue at times when the team needs him to, though. Thursday may be one of those days. The Heat have lost two in a row and Herro may not play in this one. A 50-DKFP burger is within the range of outcomes.
Other Options - PJ Washington ($5,800), Max Strus ($5,600)
Josh Green, Dallas Mavericks vs. Washington Wizards ($3,600) – Green is a low-usage player, has not attempted more than six shots in a game and has scored double-digits only twice this season. His role has steadily increased over the season, though. After playing in the teens for the first eight games of the season, he’s received 20, 27 and 25 minutes over the last three contests. He’s gone over 20 DKFP twice this season, his length and athleticism allows him to get steals and playing alongside Doncic provides plenty of good opportunities.
Other Options - Herbert Jones ($4,800), Maxi Kleber ($3,400)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks ($10,900) – Embiid had a 37.3% usage rate and attempted 21 shots in the lone game he’s played without Harden this season. He’s averaging 1.3 DKFP per minute — the highest at the position — and should play over 35 minutes in this one.
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets ($7,900) – Adebayo has attempted double-digit field-goal attempts in all but one game this season. He’s not an offensive alpha like Embiid, though, as his usage rate will usually be in the low-to-mid 20% range. What Adebayo does is contribute something in every category on a nightly basis. Ceiling games are few and far between, but you can usually count on 30 to 40 DKFP. The matchup against the Hornets is a juicy one, though, as they often struggle against opposing centers — and this season is no different, as they boost their FPPM by 10.55%. Last season, Adebayo went for 57.75, 49.5, 44.75 and 41.25 DKFP vs. Charlotte.
Other Options - Jonas Valanciunas ($7,000)
Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($3,600) – Okongwu probably won’t play more than 20 minutes in this one, so that’s always a problem since minutes are half the battle. That said, he’s exceeded points expectations 50% of the time and gone over 15 DKFP seven times this season, with three games over 20 and a high of 31.75. In addition, he started a game last season against Embiid and helped limit him to 6 of 17 shooting from the field.
Other Options - Maxi Kleber ($3,400)
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