Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings at each position for Thursday’s 5-game NBA slate, along with some strategy unique to this slate.
Editor’s Note: Nets PG Kyrie Irving (personal) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the 76ers.
Worth Paying Up For: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($9,600)
The PG position is loaded on this slate, and with a lot of weak positions, I imagine we may be doubling down on plays here. I’m starting with the spot I feel is the safest in Kyrie. The Nets completely revamped their starting five in the first game with Kevin Durant (health protocols) sidelined, and Kyrie came out extremely aggressive. He went for his second consecutive 50-DKFP game, and didn’t even see the floor in the final quarter. We should get a good game here against Philly, leaving more upside for Kyrie.
Best Bang For Your Buck: De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($3,300)
With Ja Morant (ankle) sidelined, we saw Melton creep back into the rotation last game. He only played 16 minutes, but was productive across the board with 18.5 DKFP. He got his numbers on just 2-of-6 shooting, leaving a higher ceiling if he shoots better. There should also be room for him to see a couple more minutes, and the matchup against the Cavs is a favorable one.
Worth Paying Up For: D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers ($7,700)
D-Lo broke out of a little bit of a slump these last two games against Denver, going for 40 DKFP and 59.25 DKFP. Minnesota counts on him heavily offensively with Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) out, and the matchup against Portland should bring good pace and lots of points. This is a good spot for Russell to keep up some momentum at a reasonable price.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($3,500)
Brown was one of the surprises in Tuesday’s Nets lineup, getting the start after hardly playing this season. He wound up playing 23 minutes and scoring 20.5 DKFP. Not much of a ceiling here, but Brown is a very safe place to save a bunch of salary, assuming he keeps his starting role.
Worth Paying Up For: Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($6,800)
Without KD, we know that LeVert will have to play a bigger role. It looks like he’ll keep coming off the bench, which does cost him a few minutes, but it also scatters his minutes with Kyrie, which can be a good thing. LeVert was insanely efficient with his time on the floor Tuesday, finishing with 36.75 DKFP in just 21 minutes. Assuming we see him play more, he’s a very high ceiling play with the current Brooklyn roster.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Danny Green, Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets ($3,700)
Green’s woeful shooting from the playoffs carried into the beginning of his career in Philly, but he seems to have turned a corner these last few games. Green’s shooting 14-for-27 from the field over his last three, including 11-of-22 from deep. Averaging 27.6 DKFP over the last three, he’s worth trusting at $3,700.
Worth Paying Up For: Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies ($5,700)
It’s a PG and C slate, which means paying down at plenty of places. I’m not even entertaining paying up at PF, especially with a great mid-priced play in Osman. The Cavs are extremely shorthanded right now, which has led to big games from Osman the last two times out — 43.75 DKFP and 25.75 DKFP against the Magic. And the second game he accomplished that lower total shooting just 1-of-12 from the field. Look for his shooting to bounce-back against a soft Memphis defense.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Juancho Hernangomez, Minnesota Timberwolves at Portland Trail Blazers ($4,400)
The position is weak, so it’s worth mentioning the Juancho breakout. He shredded the Nuggets in a revenge game on Tuesday, dropping 25 points for 46.5 DKFP. Minnesota is shorthanded up front, and might look to ride the hot hand here. He also could revert back to his 14-DKFP average, so be careful here.
Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Dallas Mavericks ($10,900)
Jokic has been on a tear for the entire season. While he finally failed to post a triple-double in his last game, he still topped 70 DKFP. This is a good slate for centers, but it’s impossible not to have Joker as the top play. Not much else goes into it — Dallas defends bigs well so far this season, but Joker is matchup proof, and should see plenty of minutes in what projects as a close game.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Gorgui Dieng, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($4,100)
Dieng has seen his role expand recently, averaging about 22 minutes over his last four. It’s resulted in a pair of 30-DKFP outings, and he is averaging 25.8 DKFP during that span. Cleveland is always a soft matchup for bigs, and Memphis is actually favored in this game on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Overall Lineup Strategy
This is an interesting slate with five games, but three of them tipping off after 10 p.m. ET. With that in mind, this could be a slate you want to take advantage of late swap. We expect the Lakers to wind up playing, but stay flexible and you may be able to take advantage. Even though we’re not waiting on much news, keeping G/F/UTIL open for late slate plays could be a game-changer. It also could prove worthless, but at least you’d have the option.
As for the actual plays, you’ll pretty much want to pay up for PG and C, and get value at all the positions in-between. I could see LeVert being the most I spend at SG/SF/PF combined, along with Osman and a couple of guys under $4,000.
Kevin Durant (protocols)
Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist)
Ja Morant (ankle)
Kevin Love (calf)
Derrick White (toe)
Darius Garland (shoulder)
Dante Exum (calf)
John Konchar (ankle)
Josh Okogie (hamstring)
Trey Burke (illness)
LeBron James (ankle)
Anthony Davis (adductor)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle)
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