Thursday’s NBA slate is a good one. There are five games to choose from, and the main DraftKings slate gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET. Let’s dive into some of the top options to consider at each position.
James Harden, Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($10,700) – The Nets are playing at home on Thursday, which means Kyrie Irving will not be available. The Nets have also ruled out Kevin Durant and Patty Mills for rest purposes, leaving Harden as the last man standing. Harden has absolutely dominated in four games without Durant and Irving this season, averaging 39.8 minutes and 64.5 DKFP per game. His price has also come back to reality a bit, making him the easy choice for top stud on Thursday’s slate.
Other Options – Ja Morant ($9,200)
Dennis Smith Jr., Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets ($4,000) – Smith is going to garner insane ownership for the Blazers. They’re currently without Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Anfernee Simon and Norman Powell, which leaves the team without four of their top options. Smith should move into the starting lineup and play heavy minutes, and he has historically been an elite per-minute producer. He’s averaged 0.97 DKFP per minute with Lillard, McCollum, Simons and Powell off the court this season, so he has the potential to destroy his current price tag.
Other Options – Tre Mann ($3,200)
D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves @ Memphis Grizzlies ($7,900) – Paying up at shooting guard really isn’t an option on Thursday. There are just three players priced above $6,600 at the position, and none of those options are priced above $8,900.
Russell is my favorite of the bunch. He’s racked up three straight double-doubles, and he’s scored at least 38.75 DKFP in each of those contests. Overall, he’s increased his production to 1.14 DKFP per minute over the past month. Loading up on players from the Timberwolves-Grizzlies contest also makes sense: The 231-point total is tops on the slate by a sizable margin.
Other Options – Will Barton ($5,900), Lu Dort ($5,500)
Ben McLemore, Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets ($4,200) – The Blazers are going to be an elite source of value on Thursday. In addition to DSJ, McLemore could also provide some savings at shooting guard. He’s not nearly as effective on a per-minute basis, but he’s still averaged a respectable 0.79 DKFP per minute this season. He’s coming off 30.7 minutes and 33.75 DKFP in his last outing, so he’s a reasonable option at $4,200.
Other Options – DeAndre Bembry ($3,500), C.J. Elleby ($3,000)
Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($6,800) – I will continue to ride Hart for as long as possible. He’s elite at racking up peripheral stats for a small forward, and he’s averaged 1.01 DKFP per minute over the past month. He had his full skill set on display in his last contest, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists over 36 minutes. He’s one of the safest options at the position at just $6,800.
Other Options – Josh Giddey ($7,000), Andrew Wiggins ($6,300)
Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors @ Milwaukee Bucks ($3,500) – The Warriors are still playing without Draymond Green, which opens up a few additional minutes in the front court. Iguodala should grab a few of them. He’s coming off a poor performance in his last outing, but he racked up 23.5 DKFP over 24.9 minutes in his previous contest. Iguodala has averaged 0.97 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he doesn’t need much playing time to pay off his $3,500 salary.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($4,100)
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets ($5,600) – Power forward is headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo on Thursday. He’s been outstanding recently – he’s averaged 1.82 DKFP per minute over the past month – but he faces a brutal matchup vs. the Warriors. He’s also been priced up to $12,300, which is a monster price tag.
I’d rather save some salary with Portland’s power forward. Little has seen a bump in scoring responsibilities when Lillard and McCollum have been sidelined, and he’s coming off 31.25 DKFP over 38.5 minutes in his last outing.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,300)
Darius Bazley, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Brooklyn Nets ($4,300) – Bazley stands out as a nice value on Thursday. He’s priced at just $4,300, and he’s coming off 30.1 minutes in his last outing. Bazley has averaged 0.91 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he can do some damage with 30+ minutes.
Other Options – Kyle Anderson ($5,100)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ($12,500) – Jokic is even more expensive than Giannis at $12,500, but you can definitely afford him if you want to. Jokic has been dominant this season, averaging 1.80 DKFP per minute, but his production has waned a bit recently. He’s coming off just 50.75 DKFP in his last outing, and while that would be great for most players, it’s not enough to justify a $12,500 price tag.
Still, the Blazers represent a nice bounce-back spot for Jokic. They rank just 29th in defensive efficiency, giving Jokic one of the best individual matchups at the position.
Other Options – Bobby Portis ($6,900)
Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets ($7,600) – Nurkic isn’t technically a value play at $7,600, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a value. He has the potential to be the best point-per-dollar play at the position on Thursday’s slate. He’s averaged 1.26 DKFP per minute this season, and he’s been asked to play more minutes recently given the Blazers’ absences. Nurkic is capable of contributing in every category across the board, and he’s scored at least 38.75 DKFP in four of his past five games.
Other Options – Ivica Zubac ($4,400)
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