There are six games for Thursday’s main DraftKings NBA slate, which starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. There are two teams (the Nuggets and the Pelicans) playing the second leg of a back-to-back. DraftKings Sportsbook has one game with a double-digit spread: Bucks (-13) at Rockets. There are three games with an O/U of at least 230: The Nets at the Pacers (241), the Bucks at the Rockets (234) and the Warriors at the Timberwolves (233.5).
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings lineups.
Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder, $6,800 - Ball’s missed 11 of the last 14 games. Upon his return, the ramp-up took some time. He played 20, 27, 26 and 25 minutes. Over the most recent three games, though, he’s received 34, 38 and 36 minutes of run, producing 37.5 DKFP, 43.25 DKFP and 65.5 DKFP. Wowzers! Now he gets a matchup against a Thunder team that is seventh in pace and 24th in defensive efficiency. They also boost the fantasy points per minute to point guards by 7.7% above league average.
Other Options – Stephen Curry ($10,300)
Editor’s Note: Mavericks PG/SF Luka Doncic (elbow) and SF/PF Dorian Finney-Smith (leg) have been ruled out tonight vs. the Pistons. PF/C Kristaps Porzingis (ankle), SG/SF Josh Richardson (hamstring) and SG JJ Redick (heel) are available.
Trey Burke, Dallas Mavericks at Detroit Pistons, $3,100 – Burke has played 28 and 31 minutes the last two games, starting one of them. He contributed 34.5 DKFP and 21 DKFP, respectively. The Mavericks have been dealing with injuries in the backcourt so this play is predicated on the health of the other players. As of this writing, Luka Doncic ($10,800; elbow), JJ Redick ($3,000; heel), and Josh Richardson ($4,600; hamstring) are all questionable. Burke garners a usage rate over 20% when he plays, and he went for 29 points back in January, so there’s ceiling here. At close to the minimum, he could be a smash play, especially if Doncic is unable to go.
Other Options – Killian Hayes ($4,400), Facundo Campazzo ($4,600)
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D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors, $6,700 – Since returning from a 26-game absence, Russell has been coming off the bench and averaging 25.9 minutes per game. Over the last three games, though, he’s played 31, 31 and 29 minutes, contributing 32.75 DKFP, 53.0 DKFP and 30.75 DKFP. The usage rate has been a robust 30%, 27% and 30% in those contests, and he’s jacked up 17, 16 and 18 shots. Now he gets a matchup against a Warriors team that is second in pace and ...REVENGE! I kid, but I always like playing around with that narrative.
Other Options – Caris LeVert ($8,000)
Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans, $3,500 – There’s some uncertainty with this play as Jerome could play 30 minutes or 20. At $3.5K, though, the risk is mitigated. With that said, over the last two games, Jerome has played 31 and 24 minutes, attempted 12 and 10 shots, contributing in every category but blocks, and producing 31.0 DKFP and 26.0 DKFP. His usage rate has been a healthy 23% and 18% percent. The game environment is a good one as both teams play fast and eschew defense.
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets vs Toronto Raptors, $8,300 – Remember when Porter Jr. had injury concerns? Seems like a decade ago. A wise man once said to buy when there’s blood in the streets. A wiser man once said that you get no biscuit if you don’t risk it. Now, he did tweak his ankle during last night’s game, but played through it and ended up with 40 minutes. Keep an eye on the injury report, especially since this is the second leg of a back-to-back. Over the last four games, Porter Jr. has produced 43.25 DKFP, 59.0 DKFP, 47.25 DKFP and 44.0 DKFP. With the high number of perimeter shots that he attempts, it’s amazing that he’s shooting 54% from the field on the season. Anyways, the matchup is a good one as the Raptors boost the fantasy points per minute to power forwards by 2.4% above the league average.
Other Options – OG Anunoby ($6,800)
Kent Bazemore, Golden State Warriors at Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,900 – Kelly Oubre Jr. ($6,400; wrist) is doubtful for today, which will likely mean more minutes for Bazemore. Now Bazemore is returning from a three-game absence due to health and safety protocols. All indications are that the conditioning is up to standard, but there is a modicum of risk. With that said, the matchup and game environment don’t get much juicier than this as the Timberwolves are fourth in pace, 27th in defensive efficiency and boost the fantasy points per minute to small forwards by 14.0% above league average. Prior to entering the health and safety protocols, Bazemore went for 52.25 DKFP against the Wizards, another team that plays fast with no regard for defense.
Other Options – Aleksej Pokusevski ($4,900)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets, $11,000 – Giannis is good. No, he’s great. Actually, he’s a gigantic, ginormous and glorious guy who makes us all go “goo-goo-ga-ga” over the godly glut of DKFP he graciously graces us with. Giannis averages a ridiculous 1.65 DKFP per minute. Over the last four games, he’s gone for 54.5 DKFP, 61.5 DKFP, 58.0 DKFP and 62.5 DKFP. He played 24 minutes in the 58.0 DKFP performance due to blowout. The crazy thing is that 60.0 DKFP outputs are closer to his floor than ceiling. The Rockets are fifth in pace, 25th in defensive efficiency and boost the fantasy points per minute to power forwards by 3.2% above league average.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($8,500), Kelly Olynyk ($6,900)
Jeff Green, Brooklyn Nets at Indiana Pacers, $4,800 – Over the last three games, Green has been starting and playing the small-ball center role. He’s received 35, 34 and 37 minutes and has produced 11, 11 and 16 shot attempts, respectively. This has translated to 33.5 DKFP, 24.75 DKFP and 39.0 DKFP. This game has the highest total on the slate, and for good reason, as the Nets are 11th in pace, while the Pacers are tied for fifth. The Pacers are the most generous matchup to opposing centers, as they boost the fantasy points per minute by 35.3% above league average.
Other Options – Oshae Brissett ($5,300)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Toronto Raptors, $10,900 – Jokic is on the Giannis level, as he averages 1.60 DKFP per minute. He’s not quite high enough to get the alliterative “J” superlatives thrown around, though. Jokic has gone for 62.75 DKFP, 53.75 DKFP and 55.5 DKFP over the last three games. Those have been a joy, but nothing to get jacked up about because he has spoiled us with 10 70-burgers this season — one being an 88.5 DKFP explosion against the Kings.
Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons vs Dallas Mavericks, $6,000 – Mason Plumlee (rest) is out for this one, so fire up Stewart. In seven games as a starter, he’s averaged 28.5 DKFP, 13.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.0 blocks, all while shooting 69% from the field and 78% from the line. His usage rate has been 16%. That’s translated to 26.75 DKFP, 50.5 DKFP, 50.75 DKFP, 42.25 DKFP, 29.0 DKFP, 16.0 DKFP and 33.25 DKFP, with those last two happening way back in February.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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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