Adjusted scoring helped me double up with my NBA DFS roster last night, so it’s fair to say Thursday’s daily fantasy basketball picks were a success. That team totaled a solid 303 fantasy points behind some pretty strong efforts.
LeBron James (52) wasn’t amazing, but he did extend his streak of 50+ fantasy point outings to 10. I thought he’d shoot for 65+ last night, but I will still take 52 fantasy points. Joel Embiid (43) wasn’t worth the big price in the end either, but he was still plenty fine.
The guys that really answered he bell were De’Aaron Fox (34) and Lonzo Ball (41). I loved the value at point guard and dropping down paid off. Damian Lillard (51) was still the play at the point, but he wasn’t necessary to piece together a great team.
Jamal Crawford (14) was my only true dud on the night, as every other option was decent with 26+ fantasy points. That’s usually all it takes to at least place in tourneys, too. Just get the majority of your team close to 30 fantasy points and avoid any land mines.
That’s easier said than done, but I’ll aim to do just that yet again on Friday night. Let’s dive in and see what mixture of studs and value picks make up my favorite GPP roster at FanDuel:
PG: Ricky Rubio – Utah Jazz ($6.5k)
Rubio’s recent stat lines haven’t been amazing as he’s worked his way back from a hip issue, but 26+ minutes and 24+ fantasy points in his last two games tell me he’s almost all the way back. I also think he’ll be roaring to go tonight, when he gets to battle his former Timberwolves squad for just the third time ever.
The game is in Utah so it’s not “true revenge” but Rubio will still be out for blood. He hasn’t lit it up against Minnesota this year, but he’d been in amazing form prior to his hip injury. If he can get it even remotely back tonight, he’s shaping up as a very strong value play.
PG: Kris Dunn – Chicago Bulls ($6.7k)
There are a lot of options at the point tonight, but if you’re not spending on Russell Westbrook, I’m not seeing enough reason to waste money here. Rubio and Dunn both provide nice value and also have the ability to chase 40+ fantasy points.
I actually love Dunn for three reasons. First, he has proven all year long just how good he can be, he also has a nice matchup against a bad Mavericks team and recency bias (he was awful in his last game) should get ownership to be quite low for him tonight.
Dunn can’t be worse than he was in his last outing and this matchup is sublime, so I’m expecting big things. It sure is worth noting that he went nuts (56 fantasy points) the last time he faced this Dallas team.
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr. – New York Knicks ($6.1k)
Much like point guard, shooting guard is quite loaded and you can go in a number of directions. I really like THJ, who continues to milk a huge scoring load on a bad Knicks team. He hasn’t popped off in a bit, so there’s logic that he could be due for a big outing now that he gets a favorable tilt against the Clippers.
Los Angeles is not scary defensively and actually ranks 28th against shooting guards on the year. I don’t care about the matchup, anyways, as this is all about volume. Hardaway is a lock for 30-35 minutes as long as this game stays close and he has the scoring upside to smash this price.
I’m also looking at Evan Fournier at this spot, but THJ seems to offer a little more upside and his volatility makes him a more interesting tourney play.
SG: Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards ($7.9k)
I do want to pay up at one SG spot and I like the idea of using another guy like Dunn, who sacked me the last time I used him. That’s none other than Beal, who got a lousy 18 fantasy points in his last contest. He’s better than that and with John Wall still sidelined, he potentially offers a sick discount at his current price.
Facing Toronto isn’t ideal, but Beal is at home and is too cheap to ignore at this point. Receny bias could keep people off of him as well, while he has lit up the Raptors (30 actual points per game through three meetings). He’s an elite GPP play and could operate as a true stud on a huge slate.
SF: David Nwaba – Chicago Bulls ($4.8k)
Small forward is the second weakest position on this slate, but there is actually some solid value here. Nwaba is probably the best bang for your buck option, as he isn’t even $5k and he can safely get you 30+ minutes and 30+ fantasy points if all goes well.
Like Dunn, he’s got a solid matchup against Dallas and with his starting gig pretty locked in, I don’t see much of a reason to shy away from him tonight.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($10.2k)
You can consider paying up for The Greek Freak, but I’ll just play it safe and use KD for almost $1k cheaper. Durant doesn’t regularly offer the same upside, but a matchup with the Hawks could easily change that narrative.
There is blowout risk here, but Durant is a lock for around 40 fantasy points and if he gets hot he could easily push for 60. I’d take something in the middle, as I’m not enamored with the other SF options.
Paul George ($8.7k) is an interesting pivot against the Suns but that’s another game that could get out of hand early. PG-13 failing to meet value is always a concern of mine, too, so I’m not getting cute at this position.
PF: Jabari Parker – Milwaukee Bucks ($4.9k)
Parker was weak in the second game of a back-to-back set, but that didn’t surprise me. He’ll have his legs back tonight and should be back to 24+ minutes in a fun matchup against the Indiana Pacers. Indy plays at a solid tempo and doesn’t defend, so really any Milwaukee players are fine options on this slate.
I’ll get my exposure to that game via Parker, as he’s been a dominant scorer in Mil-town’s second unit and his run is only picking up. Power forward is arguably the weakest position on this slate, so I’ll take some high end value when I can get it.
Paul Millsap ($5.6k) is another interesting option on a minutes cap, but these guys are in similar situations and Parker is cheaper so that’s the direction I’m headed in.
PF: Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic ($7.7k)
I am again interested in Blake Griffin ($7.4k) just because he’s a talented player and his price continues to drop. He has to get things going eventually, so as long as he’s cheap I think it’s important to at least consider him.
I prefer AG right now, though. He’s in much better form and at the moment is also the more dynamic and explosive DFS option. Gordon is also at home and he averages +3 fantasy points per game at the Amway Center, compared to on the road. Detroit’s defense has actually dipped ever since acquiring Griffin via trade, so this feels like a solid spot to hop on Gordon.
C: Alex Len – Phoenix Suns ($5.1k)
Center is without a doubt the most loaded position tonight, so it’s going to be difficult to feel amazing about fading the top options. I’m not totally crazy about Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns after both played last night, but obviously they offer loads of upside.
Andre Drummond might be the best play available, but he’s over $10k and the Pistons tend to struggle on the road. I also like the value I’m getting via Nikola Vucevic, Dwight Howard and Myles Turner, but I honestly want to drop down even further.
It really sounds like Tyson Chandler is going to sit out yet another game. If he does, Alex Len should start and have another chance at 30+ minutes. Foul trouble and game flow has hurt him lately, so I like the idea of a stacked position and recency bias dropping his ownership way down.
In theory, Len is a very enticing play tonight, as he’d be needed against Steven Adams and there have been a lot of big performances against Adams this year. That isn’t to say Adams isn’t a good defender, but Len will be at home and should see a lot of floor time in this one.
Overall, I don’t really think you need to force the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook and the top centers into your lineup. I think value point guards are very viable tonight and the intermediate value via Gordon and Beal could help you get studs without paying a steep price.
Len is probably the lone question mark here, but he could be a great GPP play and he does help piece this team together. If I were to make a pivot there, I’d perhaps drop down from KD to someone like Nemanja Bjelica and try to get a stud center. For now, though, I like this roster as it stands.
Love or hate my NBA DFS picks for tonight or want to share your own? Feel free to start the conversation in the comments section below!