The NBA only has two games on the slate for Thursday night, so we’re taking a look at the best picks and strategy for your DFS Showdown contests at DraftKings. The slate gets underway with the San Antonio Spurs taking on the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. ET.
The Pelicans are 8.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, priced at -350 on the moneyline to get the win at home. The point total for this matchup is set at 228. Here’s a closer look at the captain’s picks, flex plays, and fades ahead of tonight’s action.
CJ McCollum ($12,900) - With both Zion Williamson (health and safety protocols) and Brandon Ingram (toe) ruled out for tonight’s game against the Spurs, your next best option from the Pels at captain is McCollum. The point guard has been averaging 36.9 DraftKings fantasy points per game all season long, and has put up at least 44 DKFP in four of his last five outings. He put up a season-high 31 points from the floor in their loss to the Bucks, adding eight rebounds and nine assists on the night as he totaled 56 DKFP on the night. With both Williamson and Ingram out, expect McCollum to bear the majority of the scoring load once again.
Devin Vassell ($12,600) - With Keldon Johnson (hamstring) doubtful to suit up tonight for his second straight game, Vassell should be your captain’s pick if you’re looking to go the San Antonio route. He put up 26 points, four rebounds, and five assists in the win over the Rockets on Monday night, totaling 42 DKFP on the night. He’s averaging 33.8 DKFP per game through the season but if Johnson is off the floor tonight, expect Vassell to put in another elevated performance.
Jonas Valanciunas ($7,000) - Valanciunas is coming off a season-high 37 points and 18 rebounds against the Bucks on Monday night, almost matching his career high of 39 points set in 2021. He racked up 73 DKFP as he continues to be an extremely important piece for the Pelicans, especially when Williamson doesn’t suit up. While you can’t expect over 70 DKFP from him every night, expect him to bring in a solid performance while Williamson is sidelined for tonight’s game.
Zach Collins ($5,600) - Collins recently moved back to the bench after serving as a starter in the absence of Jakob Poeltl, but he’s still been able to turn in decent performances even while seeing less minutes on the floor. He’s averaged 22.7 DKFP per game all season long, but he’s put up closer to 30 in three of his last four games.
Larry Nance Jr. ($5,000) - Nance missed Monday night’s game due to an Achilles injury, but is listed as questionable ahead of tonight’s contest. If he suits up, he should be a solid pick as he averaged 31.55 DKFP through the five matchups prior to suffering his injury in the game against the Suns. If he doesn’t see the floor, you can look to Willy Hernangomez or Jaxson Hayes to slot in as a flex play.
Jakob Poeltl ($7,400) - Poeltl is coming off of a knee injury that saw him miss seven straight games, but in his two since his return, he’s scored just 19.25 DKFP in each one. He’s listed as probable ahead of tonight’s game, but he may still be dealing with some knee soreness and shouldn’t be trusted to turn in a big performance. It’s too risky at his price point.
Doug McDermott ($4,800) - McDermott put up a solid 25 DKFP in the Spurs’ win over the Rockets on Monday, but don’t expect that to be the normal output for him. It was the best performance the Spurs had seen from him since mid-November, and he just hasn’t been consistent from week to week off the bench. His elevated stats in Monday’s win was largely due to Houston’s poor defending, but he won’t run into that same situation against the Pels.
Trey Murphy III ($5,200) - Murphy has averaged 23.6 DKFP throughout the season, but has failed to hit that mark in his last four straight outings. He was held scoreless in their first game of a back-to-back against the Jazz last week through 25 minutes on the floor, bringing in just 6.5 DKFP on the night. His most recent effort saw 13 points and five rebounds against the Bucks on Monday, but was only good for 19.75 DKFP. You can find some similar performances off the bench for a much better price point if you look to the likes of Herbert Jones or Naji Marshall.
The Pelicans have won both their games against the Spurs this season and while they’re currently riding a four-game losing streak, they should be able to snap that at home against a struggling San Antonio side. The Spurs won’t have to deal with Williamson on the court, but they’ll likely be down their own leading scorer with Johnson set to sit. Expect the Pelicans to get the comfortable win at home where they’re 12-4 on the season.
Final score: Pelicans 117, Spurs 105