Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings at each position for Thursday’s NBA slate, along with some strategy unique to this slate.
Worth Paying Up For: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers ($7,300)
We saw Miami play in this exact matchup on Tuesday, and they’ll be without the same bodies for this one. No Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic and Avery Bradley opens up the entire roster, and Herro steps in as the go-to-guy. Herro finished just shy of 50 DKFP in that contest on Tuesday, and is averaging nearly 47 DKFP over his last two. Herro’s not shy to get shots up with the depleted roster, attempting 46 field goals over the last two games.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers ($4,200)
Sticking with the Heat, Vincent might not sneak up on everyone this time around, but he’s still underpriced after what we saw in the last game. Vincent came from completely out of the rotation to step up and score 24 points in 36 minutes. He shot the ball well and contributed across the stat sheet, finishing with 36 DKFP. Matchups are becoming less and less relevant with COVID-19 news giving us the top plays, but he played well against this Philly team, which is nice.
Worth Paying Up For: CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Indiana Pacers ($8,400)
I initially had Eric Gordon written up here, assuming he had to play with James Harden gone and John Wall out with a knee issue, but now Gordon is ruled out. We’ll go over all the Houston value, but there aren’t many places to pay up at SG. CJ has been running hot for a few games now, and will face the Pacers in the middle of a tough west coast trip. Portland’s been involved in some barn burners recently.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ben McLemore, Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs ($3,400)
There just aren’t any other options Houston can turn to here. The top-three wings are all out, and McLemore profiles as someone that has to pick up the scoring load. His game log isn’t much, but he was a big-time scorer at Kansas that should get plenty of minutes. David Nwaba ($3,200) is another fine option, but I like McLemore’s scoring upside more. Playing multiple Houston wings is probably a good thing at this point.
Worth Paying Up For: Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets ($6,100)
Even with DeMar DeRozan ($8,000) back in the mix, Johnson’s minutes shouldn’t change much, if at all in this rotation. Johnson’s had pretty consistent 30-DKFP games, with the 40-plus upside. Now factor in the thin Houston team that he’ll be up against, and things may come ever easier on this slate.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Edmond Sumner, Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers ($3,200)
Victor Oladipo is now a member of the Rockets, and Caris LeVert won’t be making his debut for Indy yet. That means more time opening up on the perimeter. Sumner started in place of ‘Dipo last game, scoring just 17.5 DKFP, but playing 31 minutes. In a paced up matchup in Portland, this is a super safe punt play.
Worth Paying Up For: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets ($8,500)
Initially I looked to just keep rolling with Domantas Sabonis ($9,500) here, who’s still a fine play. But in this ugly season for the Raptors, Siakam has finally come to life over the last few games. Siakam’s averaging 51.5 DKFP over his last four contests, and the Hornets are super thin up front, allowing the second-most DKFP to PF. This should be a spot we can trust the momentum to continue.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Precious Achiuwa, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers ($4,400)
Again, the same Heat players are out, so we can expect a similar rotation to Tuesday in an identical matchup. The prices have come up a little, but not nearly enough. Precious dropped 40-DKFP in 36 minutes on Tuesday, and there’s no reason he’s not in position to go 8-10X again.
Worth Paying Up For: Christian Wood, Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs ($7,700)
Wood was going to be a play on this slate regardless of the Gordon news, but now Houston is completely desperate for scoring. Wood’s already averaging nearly 42 DKFP, making him appropriately priced for this game if Houston was at full strength. Down three key scorers, this is a massive usage game for Wood, who we should easily be able to afford given the value on this slate.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers ($6,400)
Because this slate has so many punt plays and mid-priced studs, “value” is a loose term. Olynyk is nearly as much as Wood, but another player in a tremendous spot. He’s now exceeded 32 DKFP in three of his last four, and played 45 minutes in the OT game in this rotation on Tuesday. Easy spot to go to with an extremely safe floor.
Overall Lineup Strategy
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I don’t even know how to break down strategy on this slate. There’s so much value that you’ll be looking for spots to pay up. Nikola Jokic ($11,000) is the most expensive play on the slate, and worth rostering as almost a final piece following your value selections. A balanced build should be pretty simple with the Heat and Rockets.
Key Injuries to Monitor
Rockets: James Harden is on his way to Brooklyn and Wall and Gordon are out.
Heat: No Butler, Bam or Dragic, as was the case last game.
Pacers: Oladipo on his way to Houston, so out for the second straight slate.
Sixers: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are probable with back and knee injuries, so just be sure they are both in. The players that have been out for contact tracing are also all expected back for Philly, so likely no value there.
Hornets: Gordon Hayward left Wednesday’s game with a hip injury, but is probable to play on this slate.
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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.
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