Happy Thursday, everyone! We’re almost through the workweek and in addition to an awesome Thursday Night Football match-up (finally) between the Saints and Falcons, we have a solid 4 game NBA slate.
We have 4 legitimate studs playing on Thursday’s slate that are all priced at or above $10,500 (FanDuel pricing). It’s going to be an interesting mix of studs and value in a lot of lineups. I am going to give you a few of my favorite plays and a couple of players that might be worth passing on at every position. The players are listed in tiers (studs, mid-range, value), so that you can easily narrow down your player search on Thursday night. Good luck in your contests tonight!
Russell Wesbtrook OKC: $11,500 @ BKN
It’s going to cost you to get Westbrook in your lineup tonight but in this match-up he’s worth every penny. The Nets are ranked dead last in FanDuel points allowed to the PG position this season and play at one of the quickest paces in the NBA. I don’t really see how Spencer Dinwiddie – or anyone else – can slow down Westbrook and his 33.6% usage rate. This is a can’t fade situation on a 4 game slate.
Spencer Dinwiddie BKN: $7,200 vs. OKC
If the Nets can keep this game close (the Thunder haven’t exactly been great recently) then I suspect that Dinwiddie will be a major factor in doing so. The Thunder are 14th overall against the PG position on the season but there will be plenty of opportunities in a fast paced game. Dinwiddie has played well over the past four games (33.8 FanDuel points) and has actually come down $700 over the past two weeks. I have no problem buying into him at this salary.
Lonzo Ball LAL: $6,600 at PHI
The Big Baller Brand has taken a fair share of L’s recently. Due to this, we actually haven’t heard a ton about Lonzo Ball’s play on the court. Quick update- he still can’t shoot. He is coming off a dud against a surprisingly stingy Rockets’ defense (10.7 FanDuel points) and has seen his price drop to it’s lowest point since October. Despite all of this, I think this is a good buy low spot. On a 4 game slate, we can be a bit more risky with our picks and take players based more on general upside than anything else. Against a Sixers defense that is ranked 17th against PGs, I think Ball has block/steal upside and can see him racking up some assists.
Mike James PHX: $4,400 vs. WAS
With Devin Booker expected to miss the next few weeks, there is going to be a ton of opportunity for the Suns’ supporting cast. James already has a respectable usage rate of 23% and has flashed upside at times this season. His minutes have been shaky but he should see a nice uptick in playing time with Booker out. We’re going to need some value on this slate and James is a good option to turn to.
James Harden HOU: $11,500 at UTA
There are better Pt/$ options in this slate and I don’t necessarily think I’ll go here but when Harden is playing in a short slate, he’s still worth mentioning. The Jazz are ranked 1st against the SG position this season and Gobert’s return means they’re back to having elite rim protection. Do I still think Harden can be the highest scoring SG on this slate? Of course. But do I think there are better places to spend up? Yes. This is a good spot to take a stance and fade.
Bradley Beal WAS: $8,600 at PHX
It was a week and a half overdue but the Bradley Beal game finally happened. Without Wall in the lineup, Beal disappointed for 4 straight games before putting up 55.6 FanDuel points on Tuesday on 37 (!) shot attempts. The Suns are 27th in FanDuel points allowed to SGs on the season and Beal has an elite 30% usage rate without John Wall. The shot attempts are sure to regress but Beal still has a little bit of upside at an $8,600 price tag against a short-handed Phoenix Suns team. In a larger slate, I would consider a fade but with 4 games, he is worth the price.
Kentavius Caldwell-Pope LAL: $5,800 at PHI
The Sixers are ranked 20th against opposing SGs this season and it looks like KCP is going to have the best match-up of the Laker’s 5 starters on Thursday night. Robert Covington is likely to be locked up with Brandon Ingram and the Laker’s front court will have a tough time with Joel Embiid’s interior defense. Caldwell-Pope went for 32 FanDuel points in this match-up earlier in the year on only 12 actual points. If his shot is falling, he has a nice 40 point ceiling.
Jordan Clarkson LAL: $4,500 at PHI
If you want to get some Lakers exposure for a cheap price tag, Clarkson is your best bet. He should see 20-25 minutes off the bench and, as I mentioned previously, that Sixers have struggled to defend SGs this season. Clarkson is the leader of the Lakers second unit and has a 25.9% usage rate. In his previous meeting against this team, he went for 40.7 FanDuel points. On a short slate where value is needed in order to afford our studs, Clarkson grades out as a solid value play that might fly under the radar in tournaments.
Paul George OKC: $8,600 at BKN
After burning lineups for the past two games, I am fine with going back to the well on George in a match-up against a Nets defense that is ranked 30th (last) in FanDuel points allowed to small forwards. His price is still a bit higher than I would like to attack but George has shown a 60-point ceiling multiple times already this season. A fade might be a decent play but In a 4-game slate, I don’t hate the idea of paying for him.
UPDATE: Paul George has been ruled out of Thursday’s contest with a concussion. Russell Westbrook is lock and load play in any format. Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams should now be considered elite plays. We can also give a bump to Andre Roberson in tournaments.
T.J. Warren PHX: $8,100 vs. WAS
As the biggest beneficiary in Booker’s absence, Warren is already priced accordingly. Despite having a reputation as a team that can’t defend wings, the Wizards are surprisingly ranked 8th against the small forward position this season. We would think that Warren sees a huge bump in usage with Booker off the court but after running CourtIQ on RotoGrinders, there is no change in usage. With people likely to flock to Warren in the Suns first game without Booker, I am fine with taking a pass and waiting for his price to correct.
Otto Porter WAS: $7,100 at PHX
Porter was a bust on Tuesday against the Blazers but I might go right back to the well tonight. T.J. Warren is a decent individual defender but the Suns play at such a fast pace that they end up getting exploited at every position on defense. In a pace up game, Porter has 40 point fantasy upside if this game stays close in the 4th quarter.
Kelly Oubre WAS: $5,300 at PHX
Without Devin Booker in the lineup, the Suns are a bad team. Their second unit? Even worse. Kelly Oubre should see 25-30 minutes in a game off the bench for the Wizards and continue to see a bump in usage without John Wall in the lineup. He played well on Tuesday so his ownership might be 15%+ but this is a game environment Oubre should be able to excel in. I don’t hate the idea of pairing him up with Otto Porter if you’re thinking about a Beal fade.
Joe Harris BKN: $3,800 vs. OKC
I almost wrote up DeMarre Carroll as a mid-range play but the more I thought about, the more Joe Harris made sense as decent value. Harris has averaged 30.4 minutes over the past 5 games (17.9 FanDuel points per game) and should see a ton of opportunity in a fast paced game. With only 8 teams in action and a cheap price tag of $3,800, Harris opens up the salary cap so we can fit some studs into our lineup.
Ben Simmons PHI: $10,500 vs. LAL
As the primary ball handler for the Sixers, Simmons has been a match-up nightmare for opposing point guards. The Lakers are ranked 28th against opposing point guards this season and Lonzo Ball should struggle to keep Simmons in check in this game. The $10,500 price tag is tied for a season high but in a 4-game slate, Simmons is the only player with power forward eligibility that has 50+ point upside. Stacking him or Embiid with Westbrook is where I’m likely to be headed in this slate.
Carmleo Anthony OKC: $6,900 vs. OKC
If you want exposure to the Thunder and don’t want to pay up for Westbrook or George, Anthony is a decent mid-range play at the power forward position. The Nets give up the 3rd most FanDuel points to opposing power forwards on the season and Rondae Hollis Jefferson is likely to have a tough time staying in front of him on defense. Anthony’s scoring has been down recently but he has averaged 14.5 shot attempts over the past two games.
Dario Saric PHI: $6,400 vs. LAL
Saric’s price is getting up there but he finds himself in a great spot against a Lakers’ team that is dead last against the power forward position this season. He has averaged 31.6 FanDuel points over the past 4 games and has eclipsed 30 minutes in the past 6. Saric is a safe play on a short slate.
UPDATE: Dario Saric has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game. Expect to see more of Jeryd Bayless at guard and Amir Johnson off the bench.
Markieff Morris WAS: $4,800 at PHX
Revenge game, anyone? Morris gets to face off against his former team that is hemorrhaging 47.3 FanDuel points per game to the power forward position. Morris has been all over the map in terms of FanDuel points in the past three games (24.3, 16.2, 41.9) but this is a match-up that should yield a total on the higher side of those outcomes. He will likely be one of the most highly owned value plays in the slate but this is a price where fading is an extremely tough call.
Joel Embiid PHI: $10,800 vs. LAL
The last time these two teams played, Embiid dismantled the Lakers for 93.5 FanDuel. This game features a 219.5 total and the Lakers are still bad against centers, allowing the second most FanDuel points to the position this season (54.9 per game). Embiid has an extremely high floor and seems like the only center on the slate that has a 50 point ceiling. His price is steep but the pay-off could be massive.
Rudy Gobert UTA: $7,600 vs. HOU
Since his return from injury, Gobert has the following two stats lines:
- 21 minutes, 27.5 FanDuel points against the Wizards (17th DvP vs. centers)
- 27 minutes, 17.2 FanDuel points against the Thunder (8th DvP vs. centers)
He massively under-performed against the Thunder in a tough match-up but still saw a boost in minutes. If we can project Gobert for 30 minutes tonight, I like his chances against a Rockets team that is ranked 28th in FanDuel points allowed to opposing centers. Rostering Gobert in his third game back from injury carries substantial risk but we might be able to catch him at sub-10% ownership in a 4-game slate.
Steven Adams OKC: $6,900 at BKN
Tonight seems to have a lot of plus match-ups on paper, as Adams gets to face off against a Nets team that is ranked 27th in FanDuel points allowed to centers. He has been on fire in his last three games, averaging 38.2 FanDuel points per game. Adams should be one of the most popular mid-range options on tonight’s slate and should have no problem hitting value if this game stays close.
Tyson Chanlder PHX: $5,300 vs. WAS
Believe it or not, Tyson Chandler has put up 40+ fantasy points in the last two games he has played. Coming off a game in which he rested, Chandler should have fresh legs against a Wizards team that is in it’s third game of a four game west coast trip. Playing a Suns center always carries a bit of risk but without Devin Booker on the floor, the Suns will probably be more effective at a slower pace. Chandler should have no problem scoring 25-30 FanDuel points in tonight’s match-up.