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DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Thursday (1/14)

Jan 14, 2021

The association’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols will loom over tonight’s slate, as will the four-team blockbuster deal on Wednesday that sent James Harden to the Nets, Caris LeVert to the Pacers, Jarrett Allen to the Cavaliers, and Victor Oladipo to the Rockets.

These two events, along with a plethora of injuries, have created a ton of value tonight. As always, make sure to keep an eye on the injury reports throughout the day (1:30 PM, 5:30 PM, and 8:30 PM) before locking in those lineups and make sure to keep those G, F, and UTIL available for guys that play in the later games. Below are my favorite value plays, studs you should consider building around, and notable players you might want to fade. Let’s roll!

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Point Guard

Monte Morris (DEN) vs. GSW $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ LOW
Tyler Herro (MIA) at PHI $7,300 ⭐⭐⭐ LOW

Despite recording 22.9 fantasy points per game over his last four games, Morris’ salary has decreased by $700 to $4,100. He’s also averaging almost 26 minutes per game this season in a reserve role. Gary Harris (personal) missed the Nuggets’ last game and is questionable to play Thursday night, which would keep Morris’ minutes ultra-safe. While he might not offer 40-plus point upside, Morris is a rock-solid option who can get you at least 21 fantasy points (over 5x value at $4,100), a feat which he has accomplished in eight of 11 games this season. Fire him up in what should be a fast-paced game against the Warriors.

The Heat will once again be without a whole slew of players Thursday night against the Sixers. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, and Avery Bradley will all miss their second-straight game due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. That leaves a boatload of minutes for Herro, who played 39 on Tuesday night against Philadelphia. He took 26 shots in that game, scoring a season-high 34 points. In three games Butler has missed this season, Herro has taken 18 shots per game and has produced an average of 45.3 fantasy points. With the expected usage to remain sky-high, his salary should be closer to $8,500 against the Sixers. Take full advantage of Herro’s price tag while you can.

Shooting Guard

Gabe Vincent (MIA) @ PHI $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Ben McLemore (HOU) @ SAS $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM

In his first career NBA start Tuesday night against Philadelphia, Vincent scored 24 points on 20 shots in 36 minutes. He produced 36 fantasy points. With the majority of the Heat remaining out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, there’s no reason to believe Vincent won’t have similar usage on Thursday night against the Sixers. All he needs is 25.2 fantasy points to reach 6x value, a target that seems very much attainable since Miami should enter the game with only eight available players. 

There’s a ton of value to be had with the Rockets Thursday night, and that trend continues with McLemore. He’s averaged 17.6 fantasy points in 17 minutes per game the last three games, and that was with James Harden and John Wall. Additionally, it’s unlikely Victor Oladipo suits up for the Rockets until their next game, as he’ll have to pass a physical first. McLemore has a legitimate shot to hit 8x value at just $3,400.

Small Forward

Sterling Brown (HOU) @ SAS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Eric Gordon (HOU) @ SAS $5,100 ⭐⭐⭐ LOW

The last time James Harden didn’t play, Brown received 26 minutes off the bench behind John Wall and produced 23.5 fantasy points. On Thursday night, the Rockets will be without Harden, obviously, as he’s been dealt to Brooklyn, and Wall, who has been ruled out with knee soreness. Somebody is going to have to play point, and Brown is the most likely candidate to lead the offense against the Spurs. He should be good for at least 20 fantasy points, good for 6.7x value Thursday night.

As mentioned in the Sterling Brown write-up, James Harden (traded) and John Wall (knee) are both out for different reasons. That leaves Gordon to shoulder much of the scoring load (along with Christian Wood — one of our favorite plays of the slate). The last time Harden was out, Gordon chucked up 18 shots (12 threes) on his way to 36.8 fantasy points. He’s currently listed as questionable with a lower leg injury of his own, but if available, Gordon is worth every penny of his $5,100 price tag.

 Power Forward

Jae’Sean Tate (HOU) @ SAS $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Miles Bridges (CHA) @ TOR $4,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM

The Houston value train rolls right along with Tate, who is quietly averaging 24 minutes per game this season. He’s also averaging almost 19 fantasy points in his last three games with Harden and Wall in the lineup. Without the two all-stars on Thursday night, Tate’s usage is sure to increase, making him a very good bet for at least 20 fantasy points (6x value) against the Spurs.

Gordon Hayward left Wednesday night’s game with a hip strain and didn’t return. With Thursday night’s game against the Raptors coming on the second night of a back-to-back, the Hornets could opt to sit Hayward to give him more time to heal. Miles Bridges becomes the most likely candidate to replace him in the starting five, thus making him an incredible value at just $4,700. Bridges has played two games of 30-plus minutes, and in those games, he’s averaged 37.8 fantasy points per game. Additionally, the Raptors give up the most fantasy points per game to the small forward position. Just make sure to check back prior to the game to make sure Hayward isn’t playing prior to using Bridges.


Jusuf Nurkic (POR) vs. IND $5,300 ⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Precious Achiuwa (MIA) @ PHI $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM

I called Nurkic a value last Thursday as well when he was priced at $6,200. Since then, he’s played three full games (the fourth game he only played nine minutes due to injury) and has averaged 35.8 fantasy points per contest. Yet his salary has somehow dropped all the way down to $5,300. He put up 18 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals just last night in a win over the Kings. Coming off a quad injury, the concern for Nurkic would be Thursday night’s game as the second night of a back-to-back. You should check back to make sure he’s available, but you’ll want to get Nurkic and his high ceiling into your lineup at just $5,300 if he goes. He’s a medium risk due to his propensity to get into early foul trouble, thus limiting his minutes on occasion. 

As mentioned previously, the Heat are going to be short-handed once again Thursday night against the Sixers. In their previous meeting, the rookie first-round pick out of Memphis drew the start and scored 17 points with 13 rebounds and three assists on his way to 39.8 fantasy points. On the year, Achiuwa is averaging 0.99 fantasy points per minute. He played 36 minutes on Tuesday as a starter and is likely to draw the start again Thursday night. Take advantage of an underpriced Achiuwa based on the circumstances.

4 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Stephen Curry (GSW) $9,700: The Warriors’ Friday night game against the Suns has already been postponed. That means Curry and the rest of the troops will have a full three days off until their next game. Because of that, I expect a ton of energy from the Warriors on Thursday night against the Nuggets, and Curry will lead the charge. He’s coming off two subpar performances, and for what it’s worth, he seems to have a thing for producing every third game. Here’s what he’s doing every third game this season in terms of fantasy points: 56, 75.8, 68, and now tonight. It helps that the Nuggets give up the sixth-most fantasy points to the point guard position, too. Expect Curry to bounce back in a big way.
  • Pascal Siakam (TOR) $8,500: Simply put, Siakam is on fire, as he’s scored 50-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games. Compare that to earlier in the season, when he failed to hit that mark in his first five games. Siakam shouldn’t see much resistance against a Hornets team that struggles to defend power forwards. His salary is as high as it’s been all season, but for good reason.
  • CJ McCollum (POR) $8,400: Including last night, McCollum has surpassed 50 fantasy points in more than half of his games this season (six out of 11). His $8,400 price-tag doesn’t yet match his nightly floor or ceiling. Malcolm Brogdon is likely to defend Damian Lillard, leaving either Aaron or Justin Holiday for McCollum. I’ll take CJ in that matchup, and I expect another top-notch performance from him Thursday night against the Pacers. 
  • Christian Wood (HOU) $7,700: Wood put up 20 points and 15 rebounds the last time James Harden was out of the lineup. With Harden now on his way to Brooklyn and John Wall (knee) ruled out, Wood should be the focal point of the offense and see his usage skyrocket. LaMarcus Aldridge is well past his prime as a plus defender, so Wood should have no problem lighting up the scoreboard Thursday night against the Spurs. 

4 Notable Players to Fade

  • Joel Embiid (PHI) $10,000: As a Sixers fan, I love Embiid more than a coal-fired pizza straight out of the oven. But I can’t let my fanhood cloud my judgement in DFS. Embiid went for 45 points and 16 boards Tuesday night against a short-handed Miami team. The Heat still don’t have most of their team Thursday night, so I’d expect Embiid to take more of a back seat in what should be an easy win for the Sixers. 
  • Damian Lillard (POR) $9,300: Since McCollum is a start for me tonight, I’m going to fade Lillard. It’s not that Lillard can’t put up big numbers, but he is fresh off a 40-point performance less than 24 hours ago. He may have tired legs, and I expect him to see a heavy dose of Malcolm Brogdon, one of the better defending guards in the NBA.  
  • Gordon Hayward (CHA) $7,800: Hayward had to leave Wednesday night’s game early due to a hip strain, and he’s day-to-day. With Thursday night’s game against the Raptors coming as the second night of a back-to-back, Hornets head coach James Borrego could decide to rest Hayward out of an abundance of caution. Even if he plays, I wouldn’t expect a full workload, so he’s a fade for me. I’d much rather roll with Christian Wood for $100 less.
  • Jamal Murray (DEN) $6,900: His salary has dropped, but for good reason. Murray hasn’t produced of late. He’s averaging just 21.6 fantasy points per game over his last three, compared to Nikola Jokic’s 52.6 fantasy points per game. This team is running through Jokic right now, which leaves a lot to be desired with Murray’s production. Additionally, Monte Morris has played spectacular basketball off the bench, making it easier for head coach Mike Malone to give Murray ample rest.

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Adam Koffler is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Adam, check out his archive and follow him @AdamKoffler.

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