It’s Thursday night and we have a four-game slate over on DraftKings. Despite only having four games on the schedule, we have several star players in action, highlighted by James Harden‘s return from a hamstring injury and Lebron James in a home matchup against the Magic. A key piece of news to track for tonight’s slate is the status of Kyrie Irving, as Terry Rozier will benefit substantially and become core plays in his absence.
However, if Irving plays, finding value isn’t going to be easy and I will be more focused on pairing mid-range plays alongside Lebron James. In today’s breakdown, I am going to identify my two favorite plays, regardless of price, at each position and then a few mid-range value plays that can help round out our line-ups if the Celtics’ value doesn’t pan out.
Elfrid Payton (ORL): $6,400 at CLE
Payton’s game has been all over the map over the past four games, mixing a 46.25 DK point effort with three games under 20 DK points. Despite the recent volatility, this is a great spot for Payton to put together a strong performance. The Cavaliers are ranked 22nd in DK points allowed to point guards and 28th in overall defensive efficiency rating. Isaiah Thomas is also a great opponent to pick on, as he ranked 78th out of 78 PGs in defensive real plus-minus (DRPM) during the 2016-2017 season. In Payton’s last matchup against the Cavaliers less than two weeks ago, he put up 35.25 DK points in 27 minutes. His price tag is affordable on tonight’s four-game slate.
Jimmy Butler (MIN): $8,800 at HOU
In typical DraftKings fashion, Butler is priced under $9,000 despite being in spectacular form. He is averaging 47.2 DK points over the past five games, while eclipsing 57 DK points twice in that span. Due to the Rockets quick pace of play, they have given up the seventh most DK points to small forwards this season. Trevor Ariza, the Rockets best wing defender (32nd out of 85 SFs in DRPM), will also not be coming out of the tunnel for tonight’s game after getting in trouble for sneaking into one, which is a huge boost for Butler on the offensive end. This game should be fast-paced and competitive, which makes Butler’s $8,800 price tag way too cheap yet again.
Dwayne Wade (CLE): $4,800 vs. ORL
With the Cavaliers struggling mightily, Wade should have an increased role in the offense tonight. Outside of a blowout loss against the Raptors last week, Wade has been playing well and has averaged 29.3 DK points over a three-game stretch. The Magic are ranked 20th in DK points allowed to SGs and Evan Fournier has a -1.45 DRPM rating, which ranks near the bottom of the shooting guard position. Wade was very active in this matchup a few weeks ago, putting up 32.75 DK points in 25 minutes of action. He is nice salary relief option on tonight’s four-game slate.
LeBron James (CLE): $11,300 vs. ORL
Any time Lebron James is on the board, he deserves consideration regardless of matchup and form. Tonight is the perfect storm for both. James has averaged 61.25 DK points over the past two games and he gets to face a Magic defense that is ranked 27th in defensive efficiency ranking. On top of that, he is reportedly unhappy with the Cavaliers current roster construction. James will likely be in “Angry LeBron” mode tonight and Jonathan Simmons ranks dead last (85th out of 85 SFs) in DRPM this season. Less than two weeks ago, James went for 75.0 DK points against this team and we should expect more of the same tonight in a matchup where the Cavaliers are projected to score 118.5 points at home. He’s the top play on my board.
Evan Fournier (ORL): $5,500 at CLE
After slumping through late December and early January, Fournier has come on strong over the past three games, averaging 32.25 DK points on 16.7 shot attempts per game. The Cavaliers and J.R. Smith (81st out of 105 SGs in DRPM) have been getting crushed by opposing shooting guards this season, ranking 28th in DK points allowed and 28th in overall defensive efficiency rating. Tonight’s game features a very high 226 total and Fournier went for 26.25 DK points in this matchup less than two weeks ago despite shooting 5 for 14 from the field. If his shot is falling, Fournier is a strong play that could return 7x on his salary.
Taj Gibson (MIN): $5,400 at HOU
Gibson is never the most exciting player to roster, but he offers a high floor on an inexpensive price tag. Over the past six games, Gibson has averaged 28.4 DK points in 32.4 minutes per game. The Rockets are an above average 14th in defensive efficiency rating but they are vulnerable against power forwards, ranking 25th in DK points allowed. Gibson doesn’t offer a high ceiling on most nights, but he has flashed 40+ DK point upside a handful of times this season. At a reasonable price tag on tonight’s four-game slate, Gibson makes sense as a mid-range forward or utility play.
Clint Capela (HOU): $6,700 vs. MIN
Capela has flashed a ton of upside recently, averaging 36.5 DK points over the past four games while going for 44+ DK in two of them. Tonight’s match-up against the Timberwolves is a favorable one, as they are ranked 23rd in DK points allowed to centers, despite Karl-Anthony Town’s recent improvementon the defensive end. Capela also stands to benefit from James Harden‘s return. The Rockets are ranked sixth in pick and roll offense efficiency, largely in part to Harden’s creativity off the dribble and Paul’s passing ability, which have both elevated Capela’s game (third in the NBA in scoring as the roll man). He will have massive double-double upside against the Timberwolves.
Al Horford (BOS): $7,000 vs. PHI
Horford has had a relatively safe floor lately, putting up 26 DK points or more in 10 straight games. Tonight, he faces a Sixers offense that ranks last in DK points allowed to centers. Last week in London, Horford put up 35.5 DK points against the Sixers with a solid line of 13 points, eight rebounds, seven boards, and one block. Horford can sometimes lack the block and steal upside that we like to see but the Sixers rank 30th in turnover percentage this season. If Horford can rack up a few blocks and steals, his DK point upside will be somewhere in the 40s. With a lot of people likely to be on Joel Embiid, I will be playing Horford for lower ownership and a cheaper price tag, especially with Kyrie Irving listed as questionable.