Thursday’s NBA slate is on the smaller size, but DraftKings is still offering up some big DFS contests. The slate features five games and gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET. Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your lineups.
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns vs. Detroit Pistons ($8,600) – The Suns picked up their 17th straight win on Tuesday, but it came at a cost. Devin Booker suffered an injury in that contest, and he’s expected to miss at least the next four games.
Luckily, Paul should be able to pick up the slack. He’s increased his usage and assist rates with Booker off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.33 DKFP per minute.
Paul also draws a strong matchup Thursday vs. the Pistons. They rank 21st in defensive efficiency, and the Pistons have surrendered plenty of fantasy points to opposing point guards. The Suns’ implied team total of 110.25 is also one of the top marks on the slate.
Other Options – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($8,100), Tyus Jones ($5,500)
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs ($4,900) – You can go a few different directions if you’re paying down at point guard, but Simons seems like the safest bet. He should continue to start in place of the injured Damian Lillard, and Simons has thrived in that role so far this season. He’s scored at least 29 DKFP in each of his two starts, and he’s averaged 0.94 DKFP per minute with Lillard off the court. Simons should see around 34 minutes on Thursday, so he should be able to pay off his price tag pretty easily.
Other Options – Derrick Rose ($4,800), Cameron Payne ($4,100)
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks ($8,900) – The Raptors are still playing shorthanded – OG Anunoby and Khem Birch are out, Gary Trent Jr. is questionable – and Fred VanVleet has carried an insane workload in their absence. He’s coming off 41.8 minutes in his last contest, and he’s logged at least 38 minutes in four of his past five games. He’s a bit pricy at $8,900, but VanVleet has upside.
Other Options – CJ McCollum ($8,500), Derrick White ($6,300)
Tre Mann, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies ($3,600) – Mann is a nice source of value at $3,600 on DraftKings. He struggled a bit in his last outing, shooting just 4-13 from the field, but he played a season-high 32.1 minutes. Mann has logged at least 30 minutes in back-to-back games, and that’s a lot of playing time for someone with such a minimal price tag. He should be a locked-in starter again on Thursday with Josh Giddey out of the lineup.
Other Options – Landry Shamet ($3,100)
Alec Burks, New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls ($6,500) – Is Burks now a fantasy stud? It’s possible. He’s exceeded salary-based scoring expectations by nearly eight points over his past 10 games, and he’s played well enough to force Kemba Walker out of the Knicks’ rotation. Burks will start at the point for the foreseeable future, and nothing in his statistics predicts much regression. He’s scored at least 40.75 DKFP in back-to-back games, and it’s not like he’s ridden unsustainably hot shooting. He will likely see a slight dip in playing time on Thursday, but he’s averaged 0.95 DKFP per minute and should still see around 35 minutes. That makes him a strong option at just $6,500.
Other Options – Khris Middleton ($7,200), Saddiq Bey ($5,500)
Javonte Green, Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks ($3,400) – Green has become an important part of the Bulls’ rotation. He’s coming off 35.9 minutes in his last game, and he should see a boost in value while Coby White is sidelined for health and safety protocols. Green isn’t great on a per-minute basis – he’s averaged 0.74 DKFP per minute this season – but that’s plenty for his current salary.
Other Options – Lonnie Walker ($3,400)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($7,100) – Jackson Jr. is one of my favorite options on Thursday’s slate. He’s been a monster with Morant out of the lineup recently, and he’s coming off 45.0 DKFP in his last outing. He remains affordable at $7,100 on Thursday, and he’s in an elite spot vs. the Thunder. They’ve struggled against opposing big men this season, and the Grizzlies’ implied team total ranks first on the slate.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000), Scottie Barnes ($7,500)
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns vs. Detroit Pistons ($4,200) – Johnson has the potential to be the biggest beneficiary of the Booker injury. He started the second half in place of Booker, which makes him the leading candidate to start on Thursday. He ultimately finished with 27 DKFP over 29.4 minutes, and he’s increased his production to 0.88 DKFP per minute with Booker off the court.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($4,300)
Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks ($9,300) – The buy-low window on Vucevic is officially closed. He dominated in his last contest, finishing with 62.5 DKFP over 35.4 minutes, which has caused his salary to skyrocket. He’s up to $9,300 for Thursday’s matchup vs. the Knicks, but Vucevic can still potentially return value at that price tag. His ownership should also be modest, making him an interesting option for tournaments.
Other Options – Jusuf Nurkic ($7,000), Jakob Poeltl ($6,100)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies ($4,400) – Robinson-Earl racked up nearly 34 minutes in yesterday’s contest, and he could be looking at another large workload on Thursday. Derrick Favors has already been ruled out, while Mike Muscala’s status is TBD. JRE has averaged 0.87 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he can take advantage of a few additional minutes.
Other Options – Precious Achiuwa ($4,600), Steven Adams ($4,300)
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