Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings at each position for Thursday’s main NBA slate, along with some strategy unique to this slate.
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Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors ($10,900)
Luka has struggled on the second night of back-to-backs, raising a bit of a red flag here. But it’s also a short slate with limited places to pay up. Doncic scored 64.0 DKFP on Wednesday in Atlanta, and should get good pace in this matchup against the Warriors. If Dallas does rest any key players, it only adds to Luka’s responsibilities in this one.
Best Bang For Your Buck: John Wall, Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies ($6,900)
Wall rested on Wednesday, while Victor Oladipo played, and now ‘Dipo will get the rest while Wall runs the team. Wall’s only played one game without ‘Dipo in the lineup since he was acquired, and was limited to 21 minutes in his first game back from injury. Over the last four games, Wall’s scored at least 35.0 DKFP sharing the backcourt with Oladipo, leaving plenty of upside in a spot where we expect higher usage.
Worth Paying Up For: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz at Atlanta Hawks ($7,800)
SG is a super weak position, so Mitchell’s almost the play by default. D-Mitch has been hit or miss lately, but it’s a solid matchup against the Hawks, who he scored 43.25 DKFP against in 29 minutes earlier this season. The absence of Damian Lillard opens up the most value on the slate, but already down C.J. McCollum, it’s tough to figure out how that effects the top-end of the shooting guard position.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers ($4,600)
Simons makes the most sense to slot in and become the primary ball-handler for Portland. There isn’t much to say here — we’ve seen Simons go for 30-plus DKFP this season, and it’s certainly going to be an opportunity for him to shoulder the load. Because he’s still such a young and developing piece, there isn’t much blowout risk here. Simons would likely remain on the floor regardless of score.
Worth Paying Up For: Kyle Anderson, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets ($5,500)
Anderson’s taken a significant price hit recently, but he’s only had one poor game. Prior to the blowout loss to Indy, he’d scored at least 29.0 DKFP in four-straight, which means consistently floating around his average. Priced as high as $6.6K this month, there’s no good reason for a discount in a favorable matchup.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Rodney Hood, Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers ($3,700)
Portland is going to have to find scoring somehow, and Hood’s never been shy to shoot. He played 35 minutes in the last game against Washington, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Those minutes should still be there (maybe even more), but with significantly more scoring opportunities. There’s bust potential that comes with a poor shooting night or a blowout, but with limited risk at $3.7K, we can overlook that.
Worth Paying Up For: Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers at Philadelphia 76ers ($4,900)
Welp, it should be a ‘Melo night. If anybody’s going to look to carry the load and be the star for one game, Anthony fits the profile — obviously, he did it for the majority of his career. If anything, ‘Melo should go down shooting, so we’ll at least get some scoring out of him if he does wind up sitting late in a blowout. This should be a throwback night from Anthony, even if it results in an ugly Blazers’ loss.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Juan Toscano-Anderson, Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks ($3,500)
Down Kevon Looney and James Wiseman, the Warriors are simply running out of frontcourt options. With Looney going down against Boston, JTA was forced into 27 minutes, and wound up being extremely productive. He was an efficient 6-for-9 from the field, hitting all three of his triples, finishing with 25.5 DKFP. He’ll play a big role in the frontcourt for Golden State by default.
Worth Paying Up For: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers ($10,200)
This slate could go one of two ways for Embiid — he either dominates a shell of a Portland team that has nobody to matchup with him, or he’s just not needed to build a lead and gets to rest late. If you’re willing to risk this being a close game, Embiid has a spectacular matchup. Enes Kanter ($7,000) has no chance of defending him, but if you think Kanter stays out of foul trouble, he might have to score more with Lillard out. If you have this game as a blowout, Harry Giles ($3,100) is the play.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Gorgui Dieng, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets ($4,400)
Dieng’s taken on a much larger role with Jonas Valanciunas out, and it’s been working really well for Memphis. Like most Grizzlies, Dieng busted in the blowout loss to Indy, but the two previous starts, he was averaging over 25 minutes and 34.0 DKFP. In a softer matchup as a home favorite against Houston, look for that 30-plus DKFP production to get back on track.
Overall Lineup Strategy
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It’s a small slate, and honestly, the top plays are cheap. I’d identify the 3-4 top values you want in your lineup first, and then see what kind of studs fit around those plays.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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.
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