The thing to be thankful for on tonight’s five-game NBA featured slate is that Portland is on the road in Philadelphia, because every contest will revolve around the status of Damian Lillard ($10,400; abdominal) and it’ll be crucial to know his status as soon as possible. Thus is the fun (and agony) of these smaller regular season slates: It can truly come down to the health of one player.
Now that we’re all caught up to speed, let’s break down Thursday’s upcoming action position-by-position.
Editor’s Note: Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard (abdominal) will not play tonight vs. the 76ers.
Opt-in before the start of the 4th quarter and if a 3-point shot is made in the final minute of Friday’s BOS vs. LAC game, you get an entry to a $100K contest on Wednesday, 2/10! See the DraftKings Big Trey Payday page for more details!
Editor’s Note: Rockets PG/SG Victor Oladipo has been ruled out tonight vs. the Grizzlies.
John Wall, Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies, $6,900 - While you could obviously go the route of Luka Doncic ($10,900) at point guard, Wall’s price tag feels like an invitation. The speculation is that the veteran will be good to go after sitting out Wednesday’s loss to the Thunder for rest purposes and, with Victor Oladipo ($8,000; rest) now likely taking his turn on the pine, Wall should have every opportunity for a huge performance. To wit, the guard is averaging 1.27 DKFP per minute with no Oladipo or James Harden on the court in 2020-21, a situation where Wall’s maintained a team-high 28.1% usage rate. Heck, even with Oladipo active, Wall’s produced 1.46 DKFP per minute across his past four games. He’s on fire.
Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers, $4,600 - Simons is going to be absolute chalk if Lillard is eventually ruled out, but even knowing that, it’ll be difficult to ignore the guard at this affordable a price. Simons has only averaged 0.88 DKFP per minute with the duo of Lillard and C.J. McCollum (foot) off the court so far in 2020-21; however, that’s the direct result of the 21-year-old shooting an unsustainably low 35.2% in those scenarios. With massive implied volume and a little luck, he’ll be a threat for 7x or 8x value.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks, $7,800 - While this game will probably be played at a slower tempo than you’d guess, there’s still a massive opportunity for Mitchell to have a huge contest. Putting aside pace, this is a nice matchup for Mitchell, as the Hawks have allowed opponents to score 115.6 points per 100 possessions across their past six games. There’s also the matter of price. Mitchell’s easily exceeded 5x value six of the last seven times he’s sported a salary below $8K, which means he’s viable even in a vacuum.
Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets, $3,700 - In the three games the Grizzlies have played since returning from their COVID hiatus, Bane is averaging about 24.0 minutes per contest, and that should continue with Grayson Allen (health protocols) once again unavailable on Thursday. Bane is also putting up 13.7 points and 23.3 DKFP within that span, which has been more than enough production to bring back value at his modest salary. Look for Bane to continuing rolling in an uptempo matchup with the Rockets, who lead the NBA in pace across the past 10 games (103.8).
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, $10,000 - This is another matchup of two very methodical offensive teams — the Lakers and Nuggets rank second-lowest and lowest in terms of Western Conference pace across their past 10 games — but if you’re looking to pay up at small forward, James is really the only option. In the former MVP’s past 19 starts, he’s failed to exceed 40.0 DKFP just once, while he’s brought back at least 50.0 DKFP 10 times within that stretch. It’s a combination of floor and ceiling that’s rarely seen and LeBron might be more engaged than on your average Thursday in February, as this is a Conference Finals rematch.
Josh Richardson, Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors, $4,900 - Well, after struggling to find his legs in his first couple of games back from the league’s health protocols, Richardson appears to be right again. The wing has logged at least 35 minutes in each of the Mavericks’ past three contests, while Richardson has averaged 36.1 DKFP in specifically his past two starts. Yes, the three-point shooting remains a concern, but remember that Richardson was consistently priced above $5K back in December and early January. Regardless of whether his shot is falling, this is a discount you have to exploit.
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $7,200 - I’d be a little concerned to aggressively stack 76ers’ assets if we find out that the aforementioned Lillard will be unavailable to play — the script could simply get too lopsided — however, Harris just always seems to be undervalued on these slates. Though he’s the clear No. 2 option behind Joel Embiid ($10,200), Harris is averaging a respectable 1.09 DKFP per minute this season and he’s scored at least 35.0 DKFP in seven of his past eight starts. Meanwhile, across their past 10 contests, the Blazers have the league’s worst defensive rating (120.5).
Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers, $4,900 - Anthony was in some kind of shooting slump prior to going 8-for-16 from the field against the Wizards on Tuesday, but as we know, there’s not much that will deter the forward from getting his daily volume. Anthony possesses a team-high 24.9% usage rate with Lillard and McCollum off the court in 2020-21, and that figure only falls to 24.1% when it’s just the latter sidelined. Basically, regardless of Lillard’s status, Anthony makes for a high-ceiling asset in the mid-tier.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $10,200 - With the same caveat as Harris, I’m just not sure how the Blazers plan on stopping Embiid in the post this evening. In general, the team’s defense has been dreadful without Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) on the floor in 2020-21, allowing opponents to score 119.0 points per 100 possessions. You’d have to think that issue is only magnified by the fact that without Nurkic, Portland has no one to matchup up specifically with Embiid, who is averaging 35.3 points and 57.0 DKFP over his past six starts. Enes Kanter ($7,000) should say a few prayers before tip-off.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks, $5,200 - With yesterday’s news that Kevon Looney (ankle) will miss the next two weeks, Golden State is literally left without a natural center on their roster for tonight’s matchup with the Mavericks. Green would seem the obviously candidate to fill in, and it’s likely he’ll see a slight bump in his rebounding rates — as we saw on Tuesday when he grabbed 11 boards versus the Celtics. Juan Toscano-Anderson ($3,500) is another name to keep an eye one, yet he’s only eligible at power forward.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.