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Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for September 3

Garion Thorne gives his top lineup advice at each position for Thursday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors drives against Kemba Walker of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Well, it’s Thursday, and much to the chagrin of Jamal Murray, the Nuggets are starting their second round series against the Clippers this evening. On the other side of the ledger, the Celtics are looking to take a commanding 3-0 lead against the defending Champion Raptors. What does all this mean for tonight’s NBA slate on DraftKings? Let’s break it all down.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA $500K Shootaround [$100K to 1st]

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Point Guard

Worth Paying Up For: Fred VanVleet, TOR at BOS ($7,700)

It’s pretty much now or never for VanVleet. Well, he’ll always be the guy who stole one of Kawhi Leonard’s MVP votes in the 2019 Finals, but for the purposes of this run, he needs to start making some shots. VanVleet is just 5-for-23 (21.7%) from 3-point range in the first two games of Toronto’s series with Boston, including 1-for-7 (14.7%) on “wide-open” looks. Yet, due to his insane minutes volume, VanVleet’s still averaged 40.1 DKFP in that span. Imagine his ceiling if he actually starts making a few jumpers.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Reggie Jackson, LAC vs. DEN ($3,800)

It seems like Patrick Beverley ($3,200) is going to be ready to play in this game, but you’d have to imagine that his minutes load will be light. Still, his presence alone should make people skeptical about using Jackson, who was fantastic to finish out the Mavericks series. In fact, across his six playoff contests this season, Jackson is shooting an eye-popping 57.1% from 3-point range. He’s also scored at least 23.0 DKFP in three-straight, despite never having logged 30-plus minutes.

Lineup Strategy

Jamal Murray ($9,300) is still priced up from his heroics last round, while both VanVleet and Kyle Lowry ($7,500) might not leave the court this evening. I’d be exploiting the Raptors’ desperation.

Shooting Guard

Worth Paying Up For: Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. TOR ($7,400)

Brown sort of disappeared in the second-half of Game 2, but he still managed to put up 38.5 DKFP in his team’s 102-99 victory. Essentially, as the Celtics’ third option on offense, it’s hard for Brown to thrive if Marcus Smart ($6,300) is hitting every shot he sees. With people likely paying down for his red-hot teammate, I’ll pivot to the better overall asset.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Gary Harris, DEN at LAC ($4,200)

While there’s certainly a chance that Harris is a complete negative on offense, he proved his value in the closing seconds of Denver’s Game 7 win over Utah. The Nuggets need Harris’ defensive abilities and that could translate to the 25-year-old playing around 30 minutes this evening, after logging 26 on Tuesday. Through sheer regression, Harris has to shoot better than 1-for-9 (11.1%) from the field, right?

Lineup Strategy

With the aforementioned VanVleet also carrying eligibility at shooting guard, I might try to stick him here and maximize the amount of point guards I can cram into a single build. However, I truly believe Harris makes for a very nice play if you’re strapped for cash.

Small Forward

Worth Paying Up For: Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. DEN ($10,300)

Remember last year when everyone was talking about the historically efficient playoff run Leonard was having? Well, through six games, he has better numbers this season with Los Angeles. Despite hitting just 29.4% of his 3-point attempts versus Dallas, Leonard left the first round averaging 32.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game with a .639 true shooting percentage. At this point, if you’re fading Leonard in meaningful contests, you’re wrong.

Best Bang For Your Buck: OG Anunoby, TOR at BOS ($5,100)

I wouldn’t be holding my breath for Anunoby to set another career-high in playoff scoring; but, much like VanVleet, it’s hard to imagine Nick Nurse letting his best individual defender get too much rest in what essentially amounts to a must-win game. The 23-year-old is going to be chalk, but with his ability to rack up steals and blocks, you’ve got to give him a look if he’s going to log over 35 minutes.

Lineup Strategy

Almost every viable option at this position not named Kawhi Leonard carries multiple eligibilities. That’s great news, as you can slot them elsewhere after you start your build with Leonard safely locked in at small forward.

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Power Forward

Worth Paying Up For: Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. TOR ($9,200)

For the fourth time in six playoff games, Tatum managed to exceed 50.0 DKFP in Boston’s Game 2 victory. It certainly helped his cause that he shot as many free throws (14) as all Raptors players combined, but I doubt the former lottery pick gets any less aggressive this evening. Sure, Pascal Siakam ($7,900) has a similar ceiling at a price point below $8K, but Tatum has been the far superior player in the bubble.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Jerami Grant, DEN at LAC ($4,900)

When it comes to projecting playing time in the Nuggets’ frontcourt, there are few stats more telling than Paul Millsap’s ($4,300) 14 minutes played in Game 7. With the season on the line, Mike Malone instead rolled with Grant, who has now logged at least 35 minutes in Denver’s past four contests. He hasn’t always been an effective DFS asset in that expanded role, but it’s difficult to ignore that type of volume at a price below $5K.

Lineup Strategy

There’s really no shortage of options at this position. Aside from the obvious play in Tatum, Grant, Anunoby and even Daniel Theis ($5,300) can be utilized.


Worth Paying Up For: Serge Ibaka, TOR at BOS ($6,100)

Marc Gasol ($4,200) has looked completely lost in Toronto’s past two games and while I doubt there’s a starting lineup change coming on Thursday, there’s no question Ibaka will be playing more than his former Spanish National teammate. Heck, at this stage, Ibaka seems like he’s the only Raptor who can knock down an open 3-pointer. He’s also averaged a jaw-dropping 1.7 DKFP per minute across his last four contests.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Montrezl Harrell, LAC vs. DEN ($4,400)

Harrell’s role in the playoffs has been much smaller than what we saw in the regular season, but I’m still willing to take a chance on the big man’s upside. Harrell should be well-rested — as the Clippers have only played one game since Aug. 26 — and the fact that’s he stationed in the same pricing tier as Millsap and Gasol seems odd. I wouldn’t be looking for a ton of exposure, but I’ll be sprinkling Harrell into a couple builds.

Lineup Strategy

Obviously, Nikola Jokic ($9,500) is a more than viable option on this slate, though the fact that both he and Ibaka only carry center eligibility is an issue. Still, if you want to slot Ibaka in the UTIL, fade Tatum and roll out a two-pronged lineup with Jokic and Leonard, I’m not going to question your logic.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: NBA $500K Shootaround [$100K to 1st]

Injury Report

OUT (Opt-out players not included)

Gordon Hayward (ankle)
Will Barton (knee)


Patrick Beverley (calf)





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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.

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