After three dramatic Eastern Conference matchups Wednesday, the NBA is back with another trifecta of matchups this Thursday night as the attention shifts to the Western Conference. All three matchups are Game 3 of their respective series, and the Warriors will look to take a commanding 3-0 lead over the Nuggets while the Grizzlies-Timberwolves and Mavericks-Jazz series enter the night tied at one win for each team.
There are some critical injury situations to watch closely throughout the day, and you can keep up with the latest injury and availability news by following @dklive on Twitter. You can also find more of my content at @ZT_Sports.
In each of these series, Game 3 is critical, so let’s break it down from a DFS perspective and look at some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings NBA lineups for Thursday’s three-game postseason slate.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,800) – With Luka Doncic ($10,600; calf) questionable and his workload likely to be limited if he plays, Morant is the top PG option to consider if you have the salary available. Morant is still just working his way back from his own injury after missing three weeks with right knee soreness, but he has looked excellent since returning. He had 40.5 DKFP in only 27 minutes in a regular-season tuneup before dropping 51 and 52.75 DKFP in the first two games of this series. He only needed 30 minutes in Game 2 to produce 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for 52.75 DKFP. He is churning out 1.60 DKFP per minute so far in the series, and the Timberwolves have been a favorable matchup for PG much of the season. Morant brings an extremely high ceiling and will try to get his Grizzlies back in control of the series with a road win in Game 3.
Other Options – Jordan Poole ($8,100), Jalen Brunson ($8,000)
Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors ($4,100) – Hyland offers the Nuggets energy and offensive upside in their second unit. He chipped in double-digit points in each of the first two games in the series, resulting in 17.5 and 14.0 DKFP. He averaged 21.6 DKFP in his 37 home games this season compared to a 17.5 DKFP average on the road. His infusion of energy is critical off the bench, and he has hit multiple three-pointers in seven of his past nine games with at least 10 points in seven of those contests as well. Monte Morris ($4,700) will continue to get most of the minutes, but Hyland’s high ceiling and very affordable salary make him a good value option at just over $4K.
Other Options – Jordan Clarkson ($4,900), Jordan McLaughlin ($3,000)
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks ($8,400) – The Jazz have to be disappointed after only earning a split in Dallas despite Doncic’s absence. The team’s Game 2 loss can’t be blamed on Mitchell, though, since he still had 34 points and 45 DKFP in 41 minutes. He played over 40 minutes in each of the first two games of the series with usage rates of 39.8% and 38.5%. Averaging 29.5 shots per game gives him a high floor due to volume, and he also has added at least five assists in four straight games and six of his past seven. Despite his scoring and usage, he’s still not quite a mainstream star, so take advantage of his salary still being close to $8K.
Other Options – D’Angelo Russell ($7,000), Desmond Bane ($6,200)
Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies ($4,400) – One of the biggest swings in production from Minnesota’s Game 1 win to their Game 2 loss was Beasley’s. In Game 1, he had 23 points and 35.25 DKFP while taking 14 shots in 30 minutes. He vanished in Game 2, producing just seven points and 10.25 DKFP on six shots in 22 minutes. Beasley typically provides the “instant offense” the Wolves need in their second unit, and they’ll likely need him to return to his Game 1 production level if they want to regain the lead in the series. Beasley has a very high ceiling if he gets hot from long range and is typically unafraid to put up plenty of shots.
Other Options – Will Barton ($5,800), Gary Payton II ($3,300)
Bojan Bogdanovic, Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks ($6,000) – While Anthony Edwards ($8,200) is the only really elite option at SF, don’t miss the fact that Bogdanovic has been playing huge minutes for the Jazz and returning nice production at just a $6K salary. Edwards brings a sky-high ceiling, but Bogdanovic is very steady and significantly cheaper. In each game of this series, he has played 40 minutes. He had 26 points, four assists, five rebounds and 40.25 DKFP in Game 1, and he followed that with 25 points, five rebounds and 30.75 DKFP in Game 2. The Jazz are using such a tight rotation in the playoffs that Bogdanovic and Mitchell are safe options since they’ll get so much work. Bogdanovic has now posted over 20 points with at least five boards in four straight games, and he should be able to return at least 5x value if he maintains such a huge workload.
Other Options – Anthony Edwards ($8,200), Andrew Wiggins ($5,900)
Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies ($3,600) – Like Beasley, McDaniels' production dropped sharply from Game 1 to Game 2. After scoring 15 points and producing 34.75 DKFP in Game 1, he shot just 1-for-7 and managed two points and 9.25 DKFP in Game 2. McDaniels is a key part of the Timberwolves’ bench unit and typically their defensive stopper. He doesn’t usually reach 15 points or almost 35 DKFP like Game 1, but he averaged just under 20 DKFP and regularly contributes across the box score to return value from under $4K. In good news, the ankle injury that cost him nine games late in the season doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore, so he should be locked in for over 20 minutes off the bench in Game 3.
Other Options – Reggie Bullock ($5,100), Taurean Prince ($3,300)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves ($6,300) – Jackson has shown his versatility in the first two games of this series, producing seven blocks in Game 1, four three-pointers in Game 2 and over 30 DKFP in each contest. He hasn’t had a big game in multiple categories at once, but if he does he can totally crush the slate. He has scored double-digit points in 14 of his past 15 games while supporting his production with excellent defensive numbers including 2.9 blocked shots per game. While he hasn’t taken a huge leap offensively this season, he has been consistent enough to be a strong contributor at just over $6K. He has produced over 30 DKFP in five of his six games against Minnesota this year, highlighted by a 47.25-DKFP double-double during the regular season. He has that kind of upside if he puts it all together in Game 3.
Nemanja Bjelica, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets ($3,700) – Bjelica has been getting more time in this series than starter Kevon Looney ($3,300) or promising rookie Jonathan Kuminga ($3,800). The veteran has not made a 3-pointer yet but has produced 16.25 and 16.0 DKFP in the first two games of the series with good non-scoring production. He has been a steady per-minute producer most of the season and should continue to chip in enough off the bench to be worth a look if you go cheap at PF or C.
Other Options – Brandon Clarke ($4,700), Royce O’Neale ($4,000)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors ($11,200) – It shows just how dominant last year’s MVP has been this season that his “disappointing” start to this series has resulted in 54.5 and 51.75 DKFP. He was ejected from Game 2 but already had 26 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in just 28 minutes. Coming home and having to carry his team should bring out an even better performance from Jokic, and I think he’s worth paying up for if you can find value in other spots. Jokic has produced an unreal 1.78 DKFP per minute this season, and even with all the deserved hype about Draymond Green ($6,700) and his defense, Jokic has averaged 1.64 DKFP per minute in this series. Of all the options on the board, Jokic and Ja make the most sense as cornerstones while filling in around them with value and high-upside options.
Other Option – Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,300)
Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz ($4,600) – Without Luka in Game 2, Jalen Brunson ($8,000) carried the Mavs to a win, but he got a huge assist from Kleber, who exploded for 41 DKFP in 32 minutes. Kleber hit eight 3-pointers and finished with 25 points, six rebounds and three assists. If Doncic remains out, Kleber will need another big night to keep the Mavs in the game. Kleber has also shown throughout his time with Doncic that their games mesh well together, so either way, he’s a solid mid-range target in the middle.
Other Options – Hassan Whiteside ($3,700), DeMarcus Cousins ($3,400)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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