This is the NBA contest with easily the most lopsided line on the DraftKings Sportsbook this evening and it’s not particularly difficult to figure out why. The Los Angeles Clippers have been doing pretty what’s been expected of them so far this season, getting out to a respectable 24-11 record and owning the Western Conference’s best net rating across their past 10 games (6.9). Conversely, it’s been a nightmarish campaign for the Detroit Pistons. Poor play and injuries have plagued the Pistons since all the way back in October and nothing has changed to begin 2020. To wit, the team has been outscored by 9.3 points per 100 possessions in their past 10 contests and will likely be without Blake Griffin ($7,200) tonight as the big man is doubtful with a knee issue.
Andre Drummond ($17,400 CP) is the most expensive player on Thursday’s Showdown slate, which makes a lot of sense considering the center’s ability to stuff a stat sheet. Simply put, Drummond’s defensive skills and rebounding prowess place him in a very high standing in fantasy circles. No one the league owns a higher total rebounding rate (26.5%) and only one front court player possesses a higher steal rate than Drummond’s mark of 2.8%. Add a 27.7% usage rate and an average of 1.43 DKFP earned per minute with Griffin off the court, and it becomes clear that Drummond will be a vital element to most builds this evening.
Figuring out the Clippers’ top fantasy asset is a little more complex. Kawhi Leonard ($16,800 CP) and Paul George ($15,900 CP) are obviously always in the mix for the distinction, yet it’s Lou Williams ($13,500 CP) that feels like the best choice. Though it’s currently unclear if it will in fact be Williams tapped to start at point guard in place of the injured Patrick Beverley (wrist) it’s undeniable that the veteran will benefit from his teammate’s absence. Williams has averaged 47.9 DKFP in his past three opportunities to start in 2019-20 and his skill-set should be on full display against a Detroit squad that owns the league’s worst defensive rating since Dec. 12.
Derrick Rose ($8,200) is never the most appealing fantasy prospect as a minutes restriction has capped his upside time-and-time again; yet, if there’s a time to unleash him in DFS, it’s with Griffin sidelined. In 998 possessions without the former All-Star on the court this season, Rose sports a massive 35.3% usage rate and that volume has led the the former MVP scoring a well-above average 1.43 DKFP per 60 seconds of action. If you’re going to have your workload monitored, you’d better at least be efficient, right?
Another popular option on Detroit’s roster will be Christian Wood ($6,800), who is coming off narrowly missing a double-double in 28 minutes versus the Jazz on Monday. Wood’s continuously rising price point doesn’t make him a must-play by any means, but he’s viable with Griffin and Markieff Morris’ (foot) ailments making the Pistons’ front court depth so shallow. Svi Mykhailiuk ($4,400) has also benefitted from the injuries, as he’s exceeded 20.0 DKFP in four of his last six games and is shooting 42.7% from 3-point range for the season as a whole.
Unfortunately, value isn’t the easiest thing to come by with a top-heavy team like Los Angeles. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you who to avoid. Montrezl Harrell ($7,400) is completely unreliable in contests where Leonard is active, seeing his rate of 1.27 DKFP per minute with the reigning Finals MVP off the court fall to just 0.98 with the two playing together. Additionally, Harrell’s exceeded 30.0 DKFP a mere three times in his past 12 appearances. In a similar vein, Landry Shamet ($4,200) only possesses a 13.2% usage rate while sharing the floor with Leonard and George, something that’s not likely to improve with Williams active once again.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.