Last night was initially looking rather promising. DeMarre Carroll (36) and D’Angelo Russell (44) were both hits and guys like Aaron Gordon and Marc Gasol both got off to strong starts with 14 fantasy points each in the first quarter.
It really went downhill from there.
AG put up just eight fantasy points through the final three quarters and Gasol also fizzled (10 over the final three). Those were really disappointing performances for two options priced over $8k, while the Portland spares also failed to deliver. On top of that, Lonzo Ball (19) exited after just 24 minutes with a knee injury.
Yeah, it wasn’t good.
Fortunately, Carroll and Russell were great options if you used them, while C.J. McCollum (54!) was a stud and Tobias Harris (32.9) was solid enough. It still wasn’t a great night for my NBA DFS picks, but for the second straight slate, injury had something to do with it.
Thursday’s slate is going to be relatively quiet, as Opening Day arrives for the 2018 MLB season and NBA DFS gamers only get five games to work with.
You will be forced to take some stands on this slate, but I’m here again to help you navigate the terrain and see which studs and value plays you may want to use. Here’s my favorite tourney squad for Thursday night at FanDuel:
PG: Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee Bucks ($7.5k)
The game of this slate figures to be the nightcap between the Bucks and Warriors. It’s my favorite contest to stack, as it boasts the slate’s top Total (216) and has a nice -5.5 spread, per Bovada.
That leads me to Bledsoe, who should be very busy in a fast-paced showdown at the Oracle Arena. He was good the last time he battled the Dubs (39 fantasy points) and with Milwaukee needing wins, I can see him having a solid game here.
Beyond that, I hate point guard tonight. Nobody in the value department feels like a must-have and I’m not paying over $11k for Russell Westbrook on the road against the San Antonio Spurs.
I’m saving about $4k by pivoting to Bleddy in a way better setting. I won’t be shocked at all if he tops Russ on this slate and ends up being one of the best PG plays.
PG: Quinn Cook – Golden State Warriors ($5.7k)
I know Cook is due for a usage hit tonight, as Kevin Durant already said he’s playing and Draymond Green is also expected back. Cook’s upside and run could both potentially go down right away, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both remain out still.
One way or another, Cook is probably going to get around 30 minutes of court time and in an up tempo setting with good players back on the court with him, I think he can live up to the value this price tag suggests.
There aren’t many enticing options at PG tonight, so I’ll stick with the best game environment and a guy that has otherwise (29+ fantasy points in 5 of his last 6 games) been killing it.
SG: Jason Terry – Milwaukee Bucks ($3.8k)
I normally would have zero faith in Terry, but I’m piecing together a bold GPP squad tonight that relies heavily on two things: the Bulls getting housed (+13.5 dogs) and this Bucks/Warriors game delivering as the game of the night.
For what it’s worth, Terry keeps getting run (29+ minutes in four straight games) due to injuries and popped off for 30 fantasy points in his last game. I don’t expect the world at this price, but in an up tempo setting, he’s a solid try in a tourney team at this price.
SG: Sean Kilpatrick – Chicago Bulls ($3.5k)
There are some solid SG options up top, but after the first three guys, the position thins out rather quickly. I’m going to ride the “Bulls are getting wrecked” theme hard in this one, barring Kris Dunn and/or Zach LaVine returns.
Those guys coming back could mess with this play a bit. However, Killer got 18 minutes in a blowout loss to the Rockets in Chicago’s last game and if this one goes in a similar direction, I think he could get even more. He’s a solid scorer looking to prove himself, so worse fliers could be taken.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($10.8k)
KD announced he’s coming back tonight, so I’m all over him in what should be a great game. Golden State literally has nothing to play for, but they should look to get their guys going as the playoffs close in.
Durant put up 46 fantasy points against the Bucks earlier this year, but with two key scorers still sidelined, he’s a lock to go off.
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks ($11.2k)
Most people will find a way to just pick a side in the Giannis vs. KD debate tonight, but hopefully pairing the two will end up being contrarian. That gives me a double-hammer to close this slate, provided my early plays pan out.
This is all asking a lot, but this slate is pretty small and I don’t love the value. Small forward is particularly dicey beyond these guys, so I love the idea of stacking them and hoping they both drop 60+ in a fight for the ages.
PF: Noah Vonleh – Chicago Bulls ($4.6k)
Staying with the idea of the Bulls getting blown out again, I’ll use big man Noah Vonleh. He’s getting run for a young team no matter what, but he’s much more likely to soak up minutes if this game gets out of hand early.
Miami is still vying for playoff positioning, so they’ll be focused at home. Vegas doesn’t like this game to stay close, so I like Vonleh’s chances to log minutes in the mid 20’s. At this price, I don’t need a huge game for Vonleh to pan out.
I also really like Markieff Morris ($5.6k) if you want to go a different route and want a cheaper guy with a little more stability. He put up 36 fantasy points per game across two meetings with the Pistons earlier this year, so he feels like a solid play.
PF: Blake Griffin – Detroit Pistons ($8.6k)
Griffin is a very interesting GPP stud, seeing as foul trouble and game flow has led to him playing just 24 and 23 minutes over his last two outings. Most DFS gamers will scoff at that and look to fade him or they’ll only be paying up for one SF and choose to pay down at PF.
LaMarcus Aldridge is also in play here if active, but a knee issue makes him a tough call. I’ll take my chances with Blake, who is highly versatile and has the ability to crush it if the run is there.
C: Marcin Gortat – Washington Wizards ($4.3k)
If Ridge sits tonight I really like Pau Gasol ($4.6k), while center has several viable options, starting up top with the best overall play at the position in Andre Drummond. I don’t feel the need to pay for Drums, as the Wiz actually have two capable post defenders to keep him from going crazy.
I think that could lead to Gortat getting stable minutes tonight. He tends to play more when Washington is facing a team with a stud down low, while he was solid 26 fantasy points across 28 minutes per game in three previous meetings with Detroit. If the run is there, he makes a lot of sense and could still end up being really contrarian.
Overall, I’m taking some big risks here, but I’m pairing two of the best studs and fading Russ and Drums. The moves are backed by logic, but I absolutely need Miami to end their game with Chicago early and the Bucks/Dubs game cannot disappoint. On a small five-game slate, though, I’m perfectly willing to take hard stands and hope my logic wins out.
Love or hate my NBA DFS picks? Let me hear it in the comments below!