Last night was an epic disaster for my FanDuel NBA DFS picks. Giannis Antetokounmpo exited early with an ankle injury (25 fantasy points) and all of my spares failed in the worst way imaginable.
Oh, and Bradley Beal got me a cool 20 fantasy points. I know a date with the Spurs in San Antonio was never ideal, but seriously?
Alas, I digress. Thursday night brings forth a new opportunity in daily fantasy basketball and I must try to power on.
With Chris Paul (hamstring) possibly out tonight, this is shaping up as a James Harden slate. The New Orleans Pelicans playing their third game in as many nights may solidify that, too, with an expensive Anthony Davis feeling less necessary.
Those two things tentatively help me build my FanDuel GPP squad tonight, but remember to always stay on top of the latest injury news. With that, let’s dive into tonight’s NBA DFS lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers ($7.1k)
The Lakers head to New Orleans to battle the Pelicans, who are playing their third game in three nights. That has me off of the Pels for the most part tonight, but I’m fine with targeting Lakers options in a game with a high Total (228 at BetOnline).
This is bound to be a very fast game, as both the Lakers and Pels sit inside the top-three in terms of pace in the NBA. Ball is always a fine GPP try, but his price is now a bit too low for a guy with his talent and this type of matchup. This is what NBA DFS is all about and with point guard not exactly stacked up top tonight, this feels like an easy call.
PG: Ricky Rubio – Utah Jazz ($7.4k)
There is some value to consider at PG tonight, but there are other spots to save cash. Instead of dropping down too far, I’ll just hitch my second point guard wagon to a steady hand like Ricky Rubio.
Steady isn’t something normally associated with the Spaniard, but he’s been rock solid for a while now, topping 33+ fantasy points in six of his last seven contests. Rubio’s fantasy floor looks stable tonight, when he faces off with a bad Dallas team that ranks 23rd against the point guard position.
This game has some blowout risk, but that’s the case with several games tonight. I’ll ignore that and pay more attention to Rubio’s success (32 fantasy points per game) against the Mavs this year.
SG: James Harden – Houston Rockets ($11.8k)
For the moment, Harden is my stud of choice. I really don’t feel like paying up for a tired Brow, while Joel Embiid and a lot of other guys feel inflated on this slate.
Harden has the ability to beast out no matter what, but if CP3 sits, he’s a lock for me. This is a guy who is having a MVP season and he’s also proven to be rather matchup proof. Even better, a formerly stout Pistons defense has wilted down the stretch and Harden is sure to wreck them on his home court.
Helping solidify this pick is the fact that shooting guard is not as loaded as it normally can be. Jrue Holiday is way too expensive ($9k) for this slate and while he’s a contrarian pivot, that’s not a move I want to make tonight.
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Los Angeles Lakers ($5.5k)
There isn’t a ton of enticing low level value at SG, but I do love the value/upside combination I can get via KCP. Caldwell-Pope had been wrecking for the Lakers but even though he’s quieted down a bit, he’s still a guy getting a ton of run and can still pop off.
Not only is KCP a lock for 35+ minutes with Brandon Ingram still out, but the Pelicans offer up an amazing matchup. KCP isn’t always easy to trust, but he’s averaged nearly 30 fantasy points per game across two meetings with New Orleans this year and I fully expect something similar (if not far better) tonight.
SF: Justin Jackson – Sacramento Kings ($3.8k)
I know Taurean Prince has been balling lately, but he’s still not easy to trust and small forward as a whole is utter garbage tonight. Prince is pretty pricey ($7.5k) and the fact that he comes in as the best overall SF play tells you basically all you need to know.
I refuse to spend at SF on this slate, so I’m dropping down as far as it possibly makes sense tonight. Justin Jackson put up 24 fantasy points in 30 minutes in his last game, plus he’s at home in tonight’s closing game against a terrible Hawks team. In a game projected to stay close, I’ll hope JJ gets run and can produce for me late.
The price is obviously a non-issue and the position stinks, so I don’t mind assuming some risk here. You’re doing that no matter what, so you might as well save some cash in the process.
SF: Trevor Ariza – Houston Rockets ($4.8k)
It is really going to be frustrating if Prince ends up being necessary on this slate, but I can’t stomach $7.5k for him. That actually may end up making him an elite GPP play, while guys like Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb and Robert Covington hold mild arguments.
I’m looking to load up a bit tonight though, and SF being terrible gives me reason to do so. I’ll drop down again via Ariza, who still logs plenty of run and should carry some upside tonight if CP3 ends up sitting out, too.
PF: Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic ($7.5k)
Power forward is pretty stacked tonight, but I’m not paying a premium for Ben Simmons and Anthony Davis is a little too expensive for a guy who could be dead tired.
I’m not saying I’ll have zero exposure to those guys, but they’re not part of my core build. Instead, I’ll look to AG, who is healthy again and is a lock for around 35 minutes. He gets an up tempo date with a 76ers team that he’s averaged 40 fantasy points against this year, too.
Gordon can face plant, but he’s not a bad price and he always carries monster upside. I really like him in this spot tonight, as he’s literally $5k cheaper than The Brow and fits in nicely with this lineup. I think he has a really good shot at 45-50 fantasy points in this matchup.
PF: Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers ($6.2k)
Julius Randle is the same price as AG and is worth a look, but I tend to prefer perimeter-based bigs against The Brow. This game is slated to be very fast and explosive, so I certainly want some pieces in it. Ball and KCP give me two guards in this game and I’ll close things out with Kuzma.
Kuz is back to being a hot scorer, as he’s scored at least 10+ actual points in an impressive 13 straight games. He’s also logged 30+ minutes in each of his last eight games and a date with the Pels is always cause for celebration.
In addition, he’s slayed New Orleans this year (21 actual points per game) and is a great price. I’m locked into him, as there just isn’t much value in the bargain bin at power forward on this slate.
C: Dewayne Dedmon – Atlanta Hawks ($5.8k)
There are some strong options up top at center, but with Dwight Howard (suspension) and Marc Gasol (rest) both already ruled out, this may be a great slate to locate value at center. I think you can get that via Dedmon, seeing as he’s locked into a strong role with John Collins out again.
Dedmon isn’t normally a guy I trust, but he’s facing a beatable Kings defense that he dropped a whopping 55 fantasy points on earlier this year. I certainly don’t expect that again, but his run is stable right now and he has a platform in front of him where he can find some success. I think he’s a solid shot for 30-35 fantasy points and he obviously saves you some cash as well.
Overall, I don’t think this has to be an Anthony Davis slate and fatigue is scaring me off of the Pelicans in general. If that ends up being why I don’t win tonight, so be it. The play from there is to roll with Harden in the event CP3 sits. If Paul plays, I may have to revisit things.
Either way, I still love these other plays. CP3 being active might drop me down off of Harden and attack a more balanced lineup. If that happens, perhaps paying up at SF and using intermediate options like the aforementioned Barnes and Lamb could make good sense.
Whatever you decide to do, hopefully I helped you figure your lineup out. Regardless, good luck in FanDuel daily fantasy basketball contests tonight!