The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Thursday’s five-gamer tips off at 4:00 p.m. ET and continues with games tipping off all the way through 9:00 p.m. ET. This makes following along with all the news on DK Live even more important. Here are some lineup thoughts heading into the big slate.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, HOU vs. LAL ($10,700)
This is a much bigger game for the Rockets, who are still battling for position in the west, than it is the Lakers, who followed up clinching the one-seed with a dud against the Thunder. Now the Lakers have to face a hungry Houston squad off a loss on the second night of a back-to-back. While the matchup is tough for Harden, the Lakers will be working in some new guys, and perhaps limiting starter minutes. With Russell Westbrook ($9,000) questionable due to injury, Harden could wind up having to carry the load in this one.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Aaron Holiday, IND vs. PHX ($4,800)
Malcolm Brogdon ($6,800) is questionable with a neck injury, which kept him out Saturday against Philly. If he’s out, it’s just the cherry on top here, as Holiday’s been a huge rotation piece for Indy. Holiday’s played at least 34 minutes in all three games in the bubble, but did have his largest output (37.75 DKFP) when Brogdon was sidelined. This should be a high scoring game against the Suns.
The PG position is stacked on this slate, and some of the top studs at SG and SF can also be rostered here. There’s no lack of plays. The only potential value to add would be Kendrick Nunn ($4,100), who would step into a much larger role if Goran Dragic ($5,000) sits out with an ankle injury.
Worth Paying Up For: Devin Booker, PHX vs. IND ($8,300)
Booker is riding a lot of momentum from his game-winner over the Clippers, helping the Suns to a 3-0 start in the bubble. Coming off a 54-DKFP performance, Book is somehow at his cheapest price yet in the bubble, entering perhaps his best matchup yet.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Andre Iguodala, MIA vs. MIL ($3,300)
With Jimmy Butler (foot) sidelined for a second straight game, look for the Heat to count on one of the key veteran additions at the deadline. Iggy stepped in to play 31 minutes and score 28 DKFP against the Celtics on Tuesday. While he played just 12 minutes against the Bucks earlier this year, Iguodala scored nearly a DKFP per minute, so if we can slot him in for 30 minutes here, the 10X upside is there. He could be counted on for even more playmaking if Dragic sits.
With Butler’s absence, you’re going to want some exposure to Miami’s wings. Tyler Herro ($3,600) jumps out as another strong play. Targeting more guard plays on Indy if Brogdon winds up sitting out is another area to find value.
Worth Paying Up For: Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. DAL ($8,700)
The Clippers are coming off another loss to drop to 1-2 in the bubble and need to bounce back against the Mavericks. Dallas has been one of the worst defensive teams in the bubble thus far, and Kawhi has crushed them in previous matchups. Leonard is averaging 55 DKFP in a pair of games against Dallas this season and checks in at his cheapest salary in the bubble.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kyle Kuzma, LAL vs. HOU ($4,500)
Kuzma hasn’t been as involved in the Lakers’ last two games, following 31.25 and 25.5-DKFP outings to begin bubble play. With the Lakers locking up the top-seed in the west, it can start to limit starters’ minutes, which should mean more for Kuz off the bench. The matchup against Houston is obviously favorable in terms of pace and getting clean looks from deep. Kuzma is averaging 25 DKFP against the Rockets this season, but I suspect he could get some extra run in this one.
I think the Clippers have some really strong forward plays on this slate. If you need savings off Kawhi, Paul George ($7,800) is in equally as good a spot, scoring 47 DKFP in just 29 minutes in his lone outing against the Mavs. Marcus Morris ($4,200) also makes some sense at a nice discount.
Editor’s Note: LeBron James (groin) has been ruled out Thursday vs. Rockets
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Worth Paying Up For: T.J. Warren, IND vs. PHX ($8,400)
This has to be the day Warren stops scoring a million DKFP, right? You guys can keep fading him, but I’m not. Bubble T.J. is averaging over 63 DKFP, while playing over 40 minutes per contest. I don’t see why things should slow down on Thursday, with what should be a rapid pace against the Suns. Oh yeah, let’s also take a stroll down Narrative Street — the Suns shipped Warren to the Pacers for cash considerations. Time for some revenge.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kelly Olynyk, MIA vs. MIL ($4,800)
Olynyk’s been spectacular in the bubble, averaging over 35 DKFP in three games and reaching at least 30 in each one. With Butler out against Boston, Kelly saw 32 minutes, which was his high for the bubble, and had his best game with 41 DKFP. Even up $1,000, there’s still value here. Olynyk’s averaging 1.23 DKFP per minute against the Bucks in two contests this season.
PF has been arguably the deepest position on a lot of these slates, and that doesn’t change on this one. Denver, Miami, Portland and both Los Angeles team’s have very strong values to turn to.
Worth Paying Up For: Anthony Davis, LAL vs. HOU ($10,300)
This play is contingent on the Lakers playing their stars their full minutes in this game. However, if AD is a full-go, he should destroy Houston in the interior. The Rockets just have no size, and while they’ve pulled off impressive victories, we really saw this come into play against Portland. AD scored over 66 DKFP in his last matchup against the Rockets.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ivica Zubac, LAC vs. DAL ($4,800)
Zubac got off to a slow start in the bubble but has improved each game. He is averaging over 30 DKFP in close to 25 minutes per game in his last two contests, and this type of role should be along the lines of what we can count on moving forward. Foul trouble is the only cause for concern here, but the matchup sets up great for the Clippers to have some production inside.
Center offers no shortage of options. While I think AD is a good tournament play, Nikola Jokic ($9,500), Bam Adebayo ($7,700), DeAndre Ayton ($7,700) and Myles Turner ($6,200) all make sense. As usual, the two center route seems likely.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Domantas Sabonis (foot)
Jimmy Butler (foot)
Will Barton (knee)
Montrezl Harrell (personal)
Aron Baynes (knee)
Gary Harris (hip)
Patrick Beverley (calf)
Eric Gordon (ankle)
Russell Westbrook (quad)
Jamal Murray (hamstring)
Malcolm Brogdon (neck)
Goran Dragic (ankle)
Seth Curry (leg)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.