After a mammoth 12-game slate on Wednesday, we’re all getting to take our foot off the gas pedal on Thursday. There’s just two matchups on tap this evening, which is more than fine when you consider that everyone and their mother is going to be locked in on Philadelphia.
How should you be navigating a slate so small? Let’s dive in and go position-by-position.
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets, $10,400 - From an ownership standpoint, there’s a case to be made that Steph Curry ($9,800) as a variance option is always a nice route. However, he just doesn’t possess the ceiling of Harden on Thursday night. While the All-Star’s overall usage has fallen in his five games with the 76ers, Harden’s compensated for his reduced scoring with an eye-popping 53.7% assist rate. Heck, since his first appearance for Philadelphia, Harden leads the NBA in potential assists per contest (21.8). A motivated Harden is a scary proposition, and you know he’ll be motivated in this matchup.
Monte Morris, Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors, $4,700 - A lot of this is going to depend on how Denver’s injury report shakes out on the second night of a back-to-back. Can Will Barton ($5,900; ankle) suit up? How about Bones Hyland ($3,700; knee)? If the answer to both those questions is no, then Morris is looking very tantalizing at this price point. The guard has been heating up as of late, averaging 18.7 points and 36.0 DKFP across his past three starts. You’ll take that every time with an asset that’s less than $5K.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets, $6,600 - I think we’ve finally reached the point where Klay’s playing enough minutes to actually get excited about his ceiling. To wit, the veteran is on the heels of logging a season-high 33.7 minutes in Tuesday’s victory over the Clippers — a contest where Thompson also set a new season-high in field goal attempts (23) and posted a team-best 28.8% usage rate. Plus, on a tiny slate like this, you can afford to take a few risks.
Moses Moody, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets, $3,500 - Steve Kerr has been pretty steadfast about keeping Jordan Poole ($5,200) in his reserve role whenever possible, so it’s been Moody drawing some starts since the All-Star break. The rookie’s role has also been heavily assisted by nagging injuries to Gary Payton II (knee), Otto Porter Jr. (illness) and Andre Iguodala (back). Obviously Moody’s recent stats are inflated by a 30-point performance with most of the Warriors’ starters resting, but even logging 30.0 minutes in Tuesday’s win over the Clippers is notable. At this price, Moody just doesn’t need to do much to bring back value.
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Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers, $10,300 - Choosing between Durant and Kyrie Irving ($9,900) is going to be a huge part of building lineups on Thursday, and while I doubt too many people think Irving’s 50-burger is repeatable, recency bias might swing a few prospective owners. Still, the season-long stats tell a pretty clear story that Durant is the better DFS asset. In the limited time the duo have shared the court this season without James Harden, Durant has a much higher usage rate — 31.3% to Irving’s 23.7% — while the former MVP is also averaging more DKFP per minute. Give me Durant.
Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers, $5,100 - We’ve known for some time that Brown is a fantastic complimentary basketball player. He just, you know, needed players to compliment. Since Durant returned to the Nets’ lineup on Mar. 3, Brown is stuffing the stat sheet across all categories, and he’s exceed 35.0 DKFP in all three games. Who am I to mess with a good thing?
Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets, $3,400 - You’ll notice I don’t have a “stud” listed at power forward. How perceptive of you. The truth is, the options above $5K on this small slate are limited and generally underwhelming. In fact, you’d probably be best served by using the aforementioned Durant here, rather than at small forward. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any viable options. Jonathan Kuminga ($4,300) has some obvious upside, while I think Thybulle could be in a nice spot. The forward is generally a low-usage player, but with Durant and Irving on the other side of this matchup, I believe Doc Rivers will need his best individual perimeter defender on the court. If Thybulle cracks 30 minutes, he’ll be hard-pressed to not return value.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors, $11,200 - It’s a quirk of the small slate, but did you know that last time Jokic was available for less than $11.5K was all the way back on Nov. 29? That’s a different year than the year we are currently living in. It’s not hard to see why, either. With a 77.0 DKFP performance on Wednesday, Jokic has now exceeded 75.0 DKFP in each of his past three starts. For the season as a whole, the reigning MVP is averaging 1.76 DKFP per minute, which increases to a staggering 1.91 DKFP per minute with the aforementioned Barton off the floor. You just can’t fade this man.
Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets, $4,100 - The Warriors simply don’t have many options at center aside from Looney, particularly when Draymond Green (back) is unavailable. So, it should shock no one that Looney is forced into heavy minutes when Golden State is opposed by a team with a dominant center — a team like Denver. In fact, the Warriors have played the Nuggets twice since the trade deadline, with Looney averaging 13.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 33.0 DKFP in 28.3 minutes in those two contests. That, my friends, is a pattern.
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