For the second time this week, we’ve got a nice and digestible five-game NBA featured slate on DraftKings this evening. On top of that, for what already feels like the 900th time this season, both LeBron James ($10,000; ankle) and Anthony Davis ($9,800; adductor) are questionable for the Lakers. It’s nice to have a little consistency in your life, right?
Let’s break it all down position-by-position.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $8,600 - This contest has the highest total on tonight’s slate by a wide margin and it’s not overly difficult to see why. Minnesota comes into Thursday in possession of the league’s worst defensive rating (116.8), while Portland owns the second-worst defensive rating in the Western Conference (114.9). Basically, there should be points aplenty on both sides, which should suit McCollum very nicely. The guard ranks ninth in the NBA in points per 36 minutes (27.8) and fourth in the league in field goal attempts per 100 possessions (28.8), all while maintaining a sparkling .593 true shooting percentage. To be blunt, the fact that McCollum is less than $9K is astounding.
Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers, $4,300 - I wouldn’t be expecting a repeat performance of Mills’ 27-point showing on Wednesday against the Clippers, but the veteran has a concrete role in the Spurs’ rotation and that matters at this price point. Mills has logged at least 20 minutes in all of San Antonio’s most recent six games, a trend certainly aided by the continued absence of Derrick White (toe). The veteran has also managed to make multiple three-pointers in every game he’s appeared in 2020-21, and he’s registered 20-plus DKFP in four of his last six contests. If Mills’ hot shooting continues, he’ll bring back 5x value this evening.
D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers, $7,700 - Let’s keep stacking this matchup, shall we? Russell’s been a touch DFS asset to trust so far in 2020-21, yet that’s mostly been outside his control. While the former All-Star is averaging a reputable 1.15 DKFP per minute played, Minnesota’s been blown out so many times that Russell’s spent many fourth quarters sitting on the bench. To wit, in the three games where the Timberwolves have kept things close, Russell is producing 43.8 DKFP. In the four games where Minnesota’s lost by at least 15 points, Russell is putting up 27.3 DKFP. Let’s hope Portland doesn’t pull away too much on Thursday.
Editor’s Note: 76ers SG Seth Curry (ankle) has been ruled out tonight vs. the Nets.
Seth Curry, Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets , $5,500 - While I doubt Curry will continue to shoot 59.5% from three-point range or lead the league in effective field goal rate (.763), there’s no denying how important the guard has been to the 76ers’ success so far this season. Heck, Philadelphia is outscoring its opponents by 15.5 points per 100 possessions when Curry is on the floor. That’s insane. Anyway, even on the second night of a back-to-back, expect the 30-year-old to log a big workload. That should translate into Curry exceeding 30.0 DKFP for the fifth time in his past six contests.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets, $8,900 - Simmons has only surpassed the 50.0 DKFP plateau once so far this season, so it is fair to question his overall upside. However, he’s a high-floor asset that has the ability to touch all categories on the stat sheet, thanks mostly to the fact that he’s seventh in the NBA in raw touches per game (89.0). A matchup with Brooklyn also seems like the former No. 1 pick’s ideal fantasy script, as both the Nets and the 76ers rank inside the top six NBA teams in pace. Simmons is a monster in transition and there should be a lot of that tonight.
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies, $5,700 - Alright. The good news? With Kevin Love (calf), Darius Garland (shoulder), Kevin Porter Jr. (personal) and Dante Exum (calf) all out for the foreseeable future, there are a lot of available minutes for Osman to pick up. The bad news? In his two starts this season, Osman has combined to shoot 3-for-24 (12.5%) from the floor, including a 1-for-12 performance in Wednesday’s loss to Orlando. Still, the former second-round pick found other ways to contribute, registering seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. He’ll get on the stat sheet if he’s given enough opportunity.
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs, $9,800 - After a relatively slow start to the season, Davis has been rounding into form as of late. In Los Angeles’ past three games, the big man is averaging 53.5 DKFP and I doubt the good times come to an end against a Spurs squad that ranks in the lower-half of the NBA in defensive rating (111.2) and rebounding rate (48.5%). While he might not be my top-option on Thursday’s slate, if Davis is active, he’s obviously viable.
Juan Hernangomez, Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers, $4,400 - Like the aforementioned Mills, this isn’t a spot where I’m 100% chasing Hernangomez’s most recent output. The fact of the matter is it’s incredibly unlikely that the forward will post 25 points or 46.5 DKFP again this season, let alone in two-straight games. However, Hernangomez’s minutes have spiked since his addition to the Timberwolves’ starting lineup and that’s more than just a flash in the pan. If the 25-year-old is going to see 25-plus minutes in a contest with this type of implied total, he has to be a name in your player pool for this slate.
Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies, $8,400 - For a slate this small, we really have a stacked group of high-end centers to choose from. With that in mind, I think it’s possible to fade Nikola Jokic ($10,900) this evening, if that’s something you’re willing to consider. Part of that reasoning comes in the form of Drummond, who is the cheapest we’ve seen him since Cleveland’s opening game of the season. The big man has recorded a double-double in every game he’s played so far in 2020-21, the result of averaging an eye-popping 17.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. Drummond should thrive in a matchup with another traditional center — Jonas Valanciunas ($7,200) — and I think he reaches his ceiling on Thursday.
Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $5,000 - Speaking of rebounding machines, had he the minutes to qualify, Kanter’s 24.2% total rebounding rate would be the highest of any player in the Western Conference. Considering Minnesota owns the West’s lowest team rebounding rate — and have allowed an NBA-high 21.1 opponent made field goals inside the restricted area per game — Kanter should face little resistance in doing what he does best: Being an offensive force in the paint.
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