Last night’s NBA DFS picks were a mixed bag. Andre Drummond was in theory an elite play at a very weak center position, but he was sick and performed way below expectations. I actually played him knowing this, assuming it would lower his ownership.
That did happen and you had a shot at Drums crushing it at 19% ownership. Unfortunately, these are the types of risks you want to take in GPPs and they don’t always work out.
Drummond got 30 and wasn’t crippling on a slate where centers didn’t do much, but it was still a big letdown. Elsewhere, Mario Hezonja (40!) was an elite value play and LaMarcus Aldridge (49.8) was a very strong play (and an elite pivot off of The Brow).
The Raptors vs. Celtics game was atrocious, which really hurt guys like Jaylen Brown, DMR and Jayson Tatum. Ben Simmons and other guys I faded performed below expectations as well, while the bad fades on this slate ended up being Dejounte Murray, Jrue Holiday, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Richardson.
Honestly, there wasn’t much logic suggesting those guys were locks to go nuts and Murray and J-Rich were the only two in that four-pack to top 40. Richardson is a guy I could have seen coming with Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade being late scratches, but I’m still not sure I would have expected almost 50 fantasy points out of him.
In the end, last night was a garbage slate and even the chalk really didn’t work out that well.
Moving on, Thursday provides another palatable six-game daily fantasy basketball slate.
I do like these smaller slates, but they force you to take some harsh stands and offer less value and very little wiggle room. Let’s see what my favorite tourney squad looks like for tonight’s FanDuel GPPs:
PG: Shabazz Napier – Portland Trail Blazers ($3.6k)
Damian Lillard got hurt in his last game and is not expected to suit up tonight. Welcome to Shabazz Napier chalk night, everyone.
Napier was not great the last time he replaced Thrillard in Portland’s starting five and he’s on the road against the Houston Rockets, but you probably need to use him on this slate. He’s looking at about 30 minutes of playing time and is just too cheap for a guy that could sound off.
Not a fan? It may not matter, as point guard really isn’t loaded tonight.
The only “stud” on the board is John Wall and he’s delivered mixed reviews since returning from a long layoff. Eric Bledsoe is also an option against the Brooklyn Nets, but he tends to underwhelm and the Bucks could win this one easily.
I’ll start it off with Napier and work my way from there.
PG: Tyus Jones – Minnesota Timberwolves ($3.8k)
I am definitely tempted by Wall just because he’s facing a bad Cavaliers defense and he seems intent on “proving” he’s healthy. Maybe he’ll wreck, but I don’t want to pay almost $9k for a guy who doesn’t quite look like himself yet.
Alternatively, point guard isn’t where the elite options are on this slate and if Jeff Teague (questionable) is out tonight, there’s another awesome value play in Tyus Jones.
Jones stepped up numerous times earlier this year when Teague went down and in his last game logged 33 minutes and put up 32 fantasy points. Jimmy Butler is still not expected back, so Jones could be looking at a sizable role against a Denver Nuggets team that doesn’t defend the point well at all.
This Nugget vs. T’Wolves game might be the top game to target tonight in general, as it boasts a decent -5.5 point spread and the highest Total of the night (224) per Bovada.
SG: Will Barton – Denver Nuggets ($7.3k)
As I said, this is one of the best games to target for NBA DFS options. Barton gives you a fun hammer option to close this slate out, too, while his role remains stout with Gary Harris still on the shelf.
The price isn’t amazing, but Barton feels like a better play than some SG plays that are rather inflated. I can’t bring myself to consistently trust James Harden in the face of meaningless games right now, so I’ll either hunt for value or intermediate options at shooting guard on this slate.
Barton is a fine way to deploy that strategy to start, as he’s logging heavy run and offers upside due to his explosive scoring, rebounding and ability to create. He’s fresh off of a nasty 50-burger and I wouldn’t be that shocked to see him put up a gem against a Minnesota defense that isn’t very good sans Jimmy Butler.
SG: Jordan Clarkson – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.3k)
I’m not super high on Clarkson these days, but he has a solid scoring role for Cleveland and could easily see it increased tonight. The Cavs still need to win to lock up the Central Division title and secure the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference, but with George Hill already ruled out tonight, they’ll be short on guards.
Logic suggests that could hand Clarkson some extra run and he’s shown in the past he can ball when faced with added responsibility. He’s already been quite involved for the Cavs, logging 25+ minutes in five of his last seven contests. With Hill out, I’ll take a stab at him pushing for 30 minutes and crushing this cheap price tag tonight.
Again, I’m not paying up for Harden on this slate and I don’t have a ton of interest in Victor Oladipo ($9.5k) at a premium price point. Barton is my pivot off of the likes of Bradley Beal, Khris Middleton and Donovan Mitchell, too.
C.J. McCollum could be a dangerous fade with Lillard out, but with the Blazers being big underdogs on the road, I’ll gladly pull the fade card and hope he stinks with high ownership.
SF: Nemanja Bjelica – Minnesota Timberwolves ($4.4k)
I’ll get more exposure to this Nuggets vs. Timberwolves battle. Obviously when you stack a game it needs to pan out, but I like the lack of defense with both of these teams ranking inside the bottom five in the NBA in terms of efficiency.
Bjelica tends to get solid run and would be locked into a nice role with both Teague and Butler off the floor. His price has dropped way down, too, while Denver’s best perimeter defender (Harris) remains out. The Nuggets rank just 28th against small forwards on the year, which makes this a far easier pick than I thought it’d be.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($11k)
I’m not sure you can go wrong at SF tonight, but of the three killer options at this spot, Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the game most likely to end up being a blowout.
With all three of these guys probably looking at 50+ fantasy points and a steep drop-off at small forward following them, I’ll get KD and move on.
Golden State can’t move in their playoff positioning, but they’ve been vocal about entering the playoffs in a groove. That should lock Durant into about 35 minutes a night and with Stephen Curry still out, his role makes him a potential beast every time out.
His showdown in Indy sports a conservative Total, but the spread is nice and the Pacers really don’t have anyone that can stop this guy.
Pairing two of these stud SF options could be fun, but I’m not sure it’s necessary. They’re all about the same price and have about the same floor and upside, so I’ll take the best value in Durant.
PF: Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors ($8.2k)
I really like the value at PF tonight but part of me feels like guys like Taj Gibson ($5.1k) and Jabari Parker ($5.5k) could be traps. I don’t mind using them, but Dray is a really nice price and has the ability to drop 50 fantasy points every time out.
He’s just so versatile and with Stephen Curry out he gets a few more shots and has the ball in his hands more. A date with the Pacers is far from scary, while I think he’s a better value compared to Paul Millsap ($7.5k) on this slate.
PF: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($7.4k)
I prefer Love to Thrillsap as well and hopefully that’s a hot take and I can get him at low ownership. I know I’ve been talking up this Nuggets/Wolves game as an elite hammer spot, but I love this price for Love and he’s another guy who can easily get you 40-50 fantasy points if he comes out hot.
Love hasn’t even popped off as a scorer in a bit, so I could see tonight as a solid spot for Cleveland to try getting him going.
C: Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves ($10k)
A lot of the focus here will be on Nikola Jokic, who has been amazing but is a full $1k more expensive than a guy just as capable of going nuts like KAT. I’ll take the savings and what is possibly going to be a contrarian move and use Towns.
Jokic faces less resistance as a scorer, but Towns is matchup proof and has averaged nearly 50 fantasy points in this matchup on the year. If I can get a stud at a cheaper price and lower ownership, I’m taking my chances. The best part is KAT could easily end up being the better play.