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DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Thursday (2/11)

Feb 11, 2021

Buy the price dip on Kyle Lowry.

We’ve got a five-game slate Thursday night, starting with the Raptors/Celtics and Heat/Rockets at 7:30 PM and ending with the Sixers/Trail Blazers and Magic/Warriors at 10:00 PM. As always, make sure to maximize roster flexibility by using those G, F, and UTIL spots for guys playing in the later games. Below you’ll find my favorite value plays, studs worth their salary, and notable players to fade. Let’s roll!

Check out today’s NBA Tip-Off from DraftKings >>

Most Value Per Dollar

Not a ton of options tonight under $5,000, but still a fair amount of value in the $5,000 – $6,500 range. Because of that, it’s going to be tough to roster the highest-priced guys on the slate (Joel Embiid – $10,800, Steph Curry – $10,100) while filling your roster out with cheap value plays. My recommended roster construction is to roll with some more affordable studs in the $8,000 – $9,500 range to give you more flexibility to roster more of the mid-range priced guys.

The Raptors and Pacers are both on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Pistons, Celtics, Trail Blazers, and Magic are all on the front end of a back-to-back. 

For DFS purposes, I like targeting close games with high projected point totals. No game on the slate has a point spread over 5.5, so we’re hopefully looking at five close games and no blowouts. The two late games offer the highest point totals, with the Sixers/Trail Blazers o/u set at 229.5 and the Magic/Warriors o/u set at 224.5. The other three games (Raptors/Celtics, Heat/Rockets, Pacers/Pistons) all have spreads of 3.5 points and O/Us between 218.5 and 221.5. For a full list of odds and spreads, make sure to check out BettingPros.

Below is a list of the top-10 players of the day expected to generate the most value relative to their salary.

Ben Simmons (PG/SF – PHI): $8,300 at POR
The Trail Blazers allow the 6th-most points in the NBA and the 5th-most DK points to the point guard position, which bodes extremely well for Simmons. Recently, there’s been an interesting trend with Simmons. Since January 23rd, he’s gone for 47+ DK points in every other game (last eight games: 37.3, 47.5, 37.5, 49.5, 28, 53.8, 25, 48.8). Simmons put up 37.3 DK points in his last game against the Kings, so based on the recent trend, he’s due for a 47+ point performance Thursday night against the Blazers. 

Kyle Lowry (PG – TOR): $7,300 at BOS
I am buying the price dip on Lowry, who was priced at $8,000 three games ago. Before a couple of down games, Lowry put up back-to-back 50 DK point performances. With the Celtics still down their best backcourt defender in Marcus Smart, expect Lowry to get back on track Thursday night. Simply put, $7,300 is entirely too cheap for a guy more than capable of putting up 45+ DK points on any given night.   

Kemba Walker (PG – BOS): $6,500 vs. TOR
After playing two slow-paced games against two of the best defensive teams in the league (Phoenix and Utah), the Celtics get a much friendlier matchup Thursday night against the Raptors, who allow the 3rd-most DK points to the point guard position. Walker shot just 6-of-22 in his last two games and will be anxious to get back on track in what is projected to be a close, high-scoring affair against a team playing on the second night of a back-to-back. 

Delon Wright (PG – DET): $6,300 vs. IND
Wright is on a tear his last two games, averaging 22 points (68% FG), 9.5 assists, and 1.5 steals in 41 minutes per game. He’s also a combined +14 in those games. With no real option behind him at point guard, expect Wright to play another full set of minutes Thursday night against the Pacers, who are on the second night of a back-to-back. Dennis Smith Jr. may be available to make his Pistons debut, but don’t expect him to take significant minutes away from Wright. 

Gary Trent Jr. (PG/SG – POR): $6,000 vs. PHI
Trent has put up 19 shots (9.5 threes) per game in his last four games. He’s also averaging close to 37 minutes per game. Thursday night’s game against the Sixers has an o/u of 229.5, and the last time these two teams met, Trent put up 23 points, three rebounds, and three assists on his way to 35.8 DK points. He’s got a floor of around 30 DK points, making him a solid value on a small slate. 

Kelly Olynyk (PF/C – MIA): $5,000 at HOU
The Heat continues to roll with Olynyk in the starting lineup, and for a good reason. In his last four games, he’s averaging 27.9 DK points (and has taken 32 three-pointers). With DeMarcus Cousins likely dealing with Bam Adebayo, Olynyk is bound to have a size advantage over either P.J. Tucker or Jae’Sean Tate. I like rolling with starters that consistently produce in games that are projected to be close, and Olynyk fits that bill Thursday night against the Rockets.  

Daniel Theis (PF/C – BOS): $4,900 vs. TOR
Theis gets a fantastic matchup against a Raptors team that struggles to defend opposing bigs. In his last seven full games in which he played from start to finish, Theis is averaging 29 DK points. If he can hit that mark Thursday night, he’ll be good for almost 6x value. Don’t forget about the Celtics’ big man when setting your lineup. 

Frank Mason III (PG – ORL): $4,000 at GS
Cole Anthony is questionable to play with a shoulder injury, which opens up a spot in the starting lineup at point guard. Frank Mason started the second half of Tuesday night’s game after Anthony went down and put up 25 DK points in 33 minutes. He’s averaging close to 30 minutes in his last two games with Anthony and Evan Fournier nursing injuries. Without many ball-handlers left, Mason should be heavily relied upon against the Warriors. If Anthony and Fournier can’t go, expect him to get the start and play 30+ minutes for a short-handed Magic squad.

Derrick Jones Jr. (SF/PF – POR): $3,800 vs. POR
Jones got the start without a minutes restriction on Tuesday against the Magic and put up 21 DK points in 29 minutes. He’s gone for 21+ points in six of his last eight games. As long as he gets another start, he should hit 5x value with relative ease against the Sixers. 

Aron Baynes (C – TOR): $3,700 at BOS
Baynes tends to play more minutes against bigger teams, so a matchup against Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis should allow for that on Thursday. There’s also a revenge narrative here, as Baynes played two seasons for the Celtics in 2017 and 2018. As long as the game stays close, he should be in line for 25-30 minutes in this one, making him a substantial value at just $3,700

Check out our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the day >>

Studs Worth Their Salary 

  • Nikola Vucevic (C – ORL) $9,400: Who on the Warriors is guarding the Magic’s 7-foot all-star? Draymond Green and Juan Toscano-Anderson together make up the frontcourt, and neither are above 6’6″. Without Aaron Gordon and potentially Evan Fournier and Cole Anthony, the entire offense runs through Nikola Vucevic, who has averaged 53.9 DK points in his last five games. The only concern here is a potential blowout if the Magic can’t keep up. Even with that little bit of risk, he’s worth the price-tag as the focal point of the Orlando offense. 
  • Jayson Tatum (PF – BOS) $8,900: Tatum struggled in his last two games against two of the top defending teams in the league in the Suns and Jazz, shooting just 15-of-42 from the field. In his previous two games against the Kings and Clippers, Tatum put up back-to-back 55+ DK point performances. Expect a bounce-back game against a Raptors team giving up the most fantasy points to both the small forward and power forward position. 
  • Bam Adebayo (C – MIA) $8,600: Adebayo presents a matchup nightmare for the Rockets, who don’t have anyone that can come even remotely close to containing the Heat big man. DeMarcus Cousins is the only guy in the starting lineup over 6’5,” and he isn’t considered a lock-down defender by any means. Adebayo should have his way early and often in a game that could be higher scoring than what the Heat are accustomed to due to the Rockets’ up-tempo style of play. He may not present massive upside, but Adebayo’s got one of the safer floors for the guys priced in the mid-to-upper $8,000 range.
  • Jimmy Butler (SF – MIA) $8,400: The Rockets, ranked 6th in pace, offer the Heat, ranked 23rd in pace, an opportunity for more possessions, which often leads to higher output. Butler has really taken control of the Miami offense since returning to the court two weeks ago. In his last six games, he’s averaging 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 1.7 steals in 34 minutes per contest. It’ll be hard to fade a scorching hot Butler in a pace-up game Thursday night.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Joel Embiid (C – PHI) $10,800: This isn’t to say Embiid won’t have a good game, but with a $10,800 price-tag, he’s officially entered into Nikola Jokic territory. For context, Embiid was just $9,400 two short weeks ago. He would need 54 DK points to hit 5x, a feat he’s surpassed just once in his last three games. I’m fading here, but not because he won’t have a good game against Enes Kanter, but because I’d rather spend down and roster Nikola Vucevic at $9,400 against the Warriors.   
  • Pascal Siakam (PF/C – TOR) $8,000: OG Anunoby is on the verge of returning, which doesn’t bode well for Siakam’s value moving forward. In fact, Siakam has put up 40+ DK points in five of seven games played without Anunoby. Without Marcus Smart, the way to attack the Celtics now is with your guards, and the Raptors have two great ones. I expect Siakam to take more of a backseat to Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry on Thursday night. 
  • Tobias Harris (PF – PHI) $7,700: The way to attack the Trail Blazers is with your guards and your center. Unfortunately, Harris isn’t either of those. Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. are both solid defenders, and one is likely to be matched up with Harris. In the teams’ last game, Harris went for just 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting. I’d much rather pay up for Ben Simmons at $8,300. 
  • Norman Powell (SG/SF – TOR) $6,700: If Anunoby returns to the lineup tonight, Powell becomes an easy fade as he likely returns to a reserve role. In order for Powell to provide solid value, you need him to get hot from deep and drop 20+ points. That’s going to be difficult if he only plays 25-28 minutes off the bench Thursday night. 

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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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