There are two games for Thursday’s main DraftKings NBA slate, which starts at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Denver Nuggets travel to take on the Portland Trail Blazers while the Phoenix Suns go on the road to face the Los Angeles Lakers. Both the Suns and Nuggets are up 3-2 in their respective series and look to finish things off on the road. The Nuggets won Game 3 on the road and were 22-14 away from Denver during the regular season. The Suns won Game 4 on the road and were 24-12 away from Phoenix. DraftKings Sportsbook has Portland favored by five points with the O/U at 227.5, while the Lakers are favored by two points with the O/U at 207.5.
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings lineups.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, $10,300 – After shooting 1-for-10 from the field in Game 4, Lillard bounced back in a massive way in Game 5 with 55 points on 17-for-24 shooting from the field while going 12-for-17 from downtown. He put up a ridiculous 92.5 DKFP in 52 minutes of action. The usage rate was surprisingly only 25%. Now, a repeat performance is unlikely but in the first three games of the series, Lillard played at least 40 minutes in each contest and garnered a usage rate over 35%. He contributed at least 50 DKFP in every game with a high of 68.5. It’s win or go home, so Lillard is going to be massively involved and will have the opportunities to put up the highest score on the slate.
Other Options – LeBron James ($10,100)
Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, $5,400 – Payne has been so good for the Suns. The usage rate has been at least 25% in every game this series and he’s scored double figures in the last four. He’s grabbed rebounds and notched a steal in every game with a high of four. This has translated to 10.25, 39.74, 35.25, 28, and 25.5 DKFP. In that 10.25-DKFP game, Payne only played 13 minutes due to getting ejected. The floor looks to be relatively high with upside if something happens to Chris Paul ($6,500).
Other Options – Austin Rivers ($4,500)
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, $8,200 – Booker is averaging 40 minutes and 19.8 shots per game in this series. He’s scored at least 30 points in three of the contests. The usage rate has been 31%. While he has three games in the 30-DKFP range, he has two games with 48.75 and 55.25 DKFP. With Paul banged up, Booker is the guy and will be needed to score a ton of points if the Suns are going to close out the series tonight.
Other Options – CJ McCollum ($7,600)
Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers, $4,700 – Morris is the vanilla ice cream of the Nuggets. He’s bland but it’s still ice cream. He doesn’t turn the ball over and he will contribute around 20 DKFP. In the first four games of the series, he went for 19.5, 29.25, 22.75, and 24.75 DKFP. In the Game 5 overtime thriller, he put up 43.25 DKFP, so there are sprinkles and chocolate fudge on top from time to time. The usage rate has been at least 20% in all but one game and the playing is secure in the 25-minute range.
Other Options – Austin Rivers ($4,500)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns, $10,100 – LeBron is not 100% and he’s not able to get to the rim on a consistent basis. Part of that is due to age and health, while the Suns have to be given credit for walling off the paint. That said, LeBron does have a deep offensive bag and all the rabbits will need to be pulled out in this elimination game, especially with the status of Anthony Davis ($9,400) up in the air. Whether the Lakers win or lose, I expect a vintage LeBron performance in this one.
Other Options – Michael Porter ($6,900)
Jae Crowder, Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers, $4,900 – The production can be volatile with Crowder because he can be so inefficient shooting from the field. He’s shot below 34% in four of the five games with two of those in the 20% range. That said, he does contribute in every category and plays around 30 minutes, so the floor is relatively high. When he gets hot shooting, then ceiling games are accessed like the 39.25 DKFP he put up in Game 4 on 6-for-12 shooting from the field.
Other Options – Aaron Gordon ($5,300)
Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers, $6,900 – Porter went for 51 DKFP last game. In Game 4, he put up 8.75 DKFP. Will the real MPJ please stand up? He averages 1.06 DKFP per minute and has played 34.7 minutes per game in this series. Somewhere in the 30-DKFP range should be expected, but as we saw in Game 5, the ceiling is massive.
Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, $4,200 – Outside of Game 2 in which he only attempted five shots, Anthony has attempted at least 11 shots in every other game. He’s played 22, 21, 26, 22, and 30 minutes. Somewhere in the low-20s should be expected. Anthony averages 0.91 DKFP per minute and all we can ask for in this price range is opportunities and Anthony should have plenty to score some fantasy goodies.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($4,900), Robert Covington ($5,100)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers, $10,700 – Jokic is the only other player on the slate who can match Lillard. Outside of the Game 4 blowout in which he scored 28.25 DKFP, Jokic has scored at least 55 DKFP in every other game with a high of 77.25. He’s a threat to triple-double on any given night and chips in defensive stats as well. The usage rate in this series for Jokic has been 39%, 37%, 37%, 33%, and 36%. He has one of the best floor/ceiling combos on the slate.
Other Option – Deandre Ayton ($7,700), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,300)
Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, $5,100 – Covington is a low usage player who won’t score many points. What he does do is contribute in every category. He’s grabbed 11 rebounds in two of the last three games and notched at least one steal and one block in three games. He’s put up 39.75, 26.75, and 29.25 DKFP in the last three games. Now, the floor is low as he went for 18.25 and 12.25 in the first two games of the series despite playing 34 and 37 minutes. That said, he does play a ton of minutes and can access ceiling games if he knocks down his shots.
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