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DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Thursday (2/18)

Feb 18, 2021

Fred VanVleet has shown an ability to explode for 50+ DK points on any given night.

We’ve got a small three-game slate Thursday night that tips off with the Raptors and Bucks at 7:30 PM and ends with the Nets/Lakers and Heat/Kings 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

A lot of options over $7,500 to choose from with just three games on the slate. Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo, Fred VanVleet, Khris Middleton, and Pascal Siakam make up the tier of higher-priced options. With the amount of value to be had on this small slate, you should be able to fit multiple high-priced studs in your lineup. For example, Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes have both been ruled out, meaning you’ll find a ton of value up and down the Kings roster, which includes guys like Hassan Whiteside, Marvin Bagley, and Nemanja Bjelica

The Heat are the only team on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Bucks and Raptors are both on the front end of a back-to-back. The Kings and Lakers play again Saturday, while the Nets don’t take the court for their next game until Sunday.

For DFS purposes, I like targeting close games with high projected point totals. No game on the slate has a point spread over 6.5, so we’re hopefully looking at three close games and no blowouts. The Raptors/Bucks and Nets/Lakers both have an o/u set above 233 points, so those are two games that should see a flurry of points. Meanwhile, the Heat/Kings game sits at o/u 223.5 with a point spread of just 1.5 at most SportsBooks. 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.

Fred VanVleet (PG/SG – TOR): $7,900 at MIL
If Kyle Lowry (ankle) sits, VanVleet becomes a fantastic play at sub-$8,000. He’s playing minutes in the upper 30s even with Lowry on the floor and has shown an ability to explode for 50+ DK points on any given night. In fact, he’s done so five times in his last 10 games. He went for 33 points and seven assists on Tuesday night against the Bucks and now gets them again in a rematch Thursday night. If Lowry does end up playing, I’d be a little more hesitant to jam FVV into my lineups. 

Pascal Siakam (PF/C – TOR): $7,600 at MIL
Siakam put up 51.8 DK points (23 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists) in 39 minutes Tuesday night against the Bucks and his salary dropped $500. He’s put up 40+ DK points in four of his last five games and is seeing minutes in the upper 30s. With Kyle Lowry questionable for this game with an ankle injury, Siakam could be called upon to shoulder more of the load offensively. Find a way to fit him into your lineup.  

Tyler Herro (PG/SG – MIA): $5,900 at SAC
Herro was priced at $7,100 back on February 1. Since then, he’s averaging 32.5 DK points in 35 minutes per game, and he’s put up 43.3 in each of his last two games. There’s absolutely no reason he should be priced under $6,000, especially as Goran Dragic continues to sit with an ankle injury. It also helps that the Kings are giving up the most points to the shooting guard position in the NBA. 

Dennis Schroder (PG/SG – LAL): $5,800 vs. BKN
Schroder turns into a completely different player with Anthony Davis off the floor. In his last two games playing with AD, he’s averaged just 11.8 DK points in 25 minutes per game. He’s averaged 38.5 DK points in 36 minutes per game in his last three games without Davis. Schroder looks to be an incredible value at just $5,800 in what should be a pace-up game for the Lakers against the Nets.  

Kendrick Nunn (PG – MIA): $5,300 at SAC
Goran Dragic continues to miss games due to an ankle injury, which has led to more opportunities for Nunn. He’s put up 34+ DK points in three of his last six games and is averaging 32 minutes per game with Dragic on the shelf. After a dud in his last game due to foul trouble, expect Nunn to bounce back against a Kings team giving up the most points per game in the league (119.3). 

Marvin Bagley (PF/C – SAC): $4,800 vs. MIA
Bagley was sitting at $5,900 just two weeks ago, but his price-tag has dropped significantly since recording fewer than 20 DK points in four games between late January and early February. He seems to have turned a corner, at least for now, averaging 27.3 DK points in his last three games. With Richaun Holmes out last game, Bagley put up 30.3 DK points in just 21 minutes. Holmes is expected to miss another game, meaning Bagley should be a solid rotation piece for Luke Walton’s Kings going up against a Heat team with some size.  

Hassan Whiteside (C – SAC): $4,600 vs. MIA
Richaun Holmes (knee) is unlikely to play for a second straight game, making Whiteside one of, if not the best value on Thursday night’s slate. With Holmes out against the Nets, Whiteside put up 26 points and 16 rebounds with five blocks in 24 minutes off the bench. He could very well enter the starting lineup to put a body on Bam Adebayo, which should give him a very safe minutes floor as long as he can stay out of foul trouble. Lock Whiteside into your lineup in a revenge game against his former team. 

Cory Joseph (PG/SG – SAC): $3,900 vs. MIA
Don’t look now, but Joseph has put up 26.9 DK points in 29 minutes per game the last three games. He even drew the start last game against the Nets as head coach Luke Walton decided to roll with a small ball lineup with Marvin Bagley at center. He might not draw the start again Thursday night against a bigger Miami squad, but he should still be good for 25 minutes off the bench.

Nemanja Bjelica (PF/C – SAC): $3,800 vs. MIA 
Both Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes have been ruled out for Thursday’s game against Miami. That leaves the Kings with Hassan Whiteside, Marvin Bagley, and Nemanja Bjelica in the frontcourt. By default, Bjelica should see at least 20 minutes against the Heat. When he’s played over 20 minutes this season, he’s averaging 24.4 DK points per game (in three games). He has a real shot at 7x value if he plays 25+ minutes Thursday night. 

Alex Caruso (PG/SG – LAL): $3,400 vs. BKN
Caruso isn’t the flashiest player, but he tends to return value on a consistent basis. He’s averaging 17.2 DK points in 22 minutes per game off the bench in his last four games. If he hits that number, he’ll be good for 5.1x value Thursday night against the Nets, who aren’t very good at defending guards. 

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

Studs Worth Their Salary 

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C – MIL) $10,900: I’m not sure how you can fade Giannis right now. He’s averaging 70.1 DK points in his last four games, and he just put up 72.5 against the Raptors on Tuesday night. Toronto had absolutely no answer for the Greek Freak in their last game, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t come through again with a monster game in a rematch Thursday night.
  • LeBron James (PG/SF – LAL) $10,200: This is the kind of game the King lives for. Primetime, going up against Kyrie Irving and James Harden. With no Anthony Davis for the foreseeable future, the ball will go through LeBron’s hands-on almost every possession. He’s put up 59.6 DK points in his last three games without AD. The Nets play at the 3rd-fastest pace in the league, which should lead to more possessions than normal for a Lakers team that ranks middle of the pack in pace of play. With Jeff Green likely drawing the assignment, expect James to record at minimum 55 DK points Thursday night. 
  • Jimmy Butler (SF – MIA) $8,800: Butler became the first player in Heat history last night to record consecutive triple-doubles, albeit in two straight losses to the Clippers and Warriors. Thursday night’s game against the Kings will be the first back-to-back set for Butler this season, but chances are he’s going to be hungry to get back in the win column. It’s hard to fade a guy at just $8,800 who has put up 53+ DK points in four of his last five games. 
  • Bam Adebayo (C – MIA) $8,200: It would be an understatement to say big men have absolutely destroyed the Kings of late. Richaun Holmes and Hassan Whiteside have had no answers for Joel Embiid (25 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists), Nikola Vucevic (42 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists), and Jonas Valanciunas (25 points and 13 rebounds) over the course of the last week. Adebayo is up next, and he’s been filling up the stat lately, averaging 18.8 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.3 steals, and a block in almost 36 minutes per game in his last four games. Look for another strong all-around performance out of the Heat big man Thursday night against a Kings team allowing the most DK points to the center position in the league. 

Notable Players to Fade

  • James Harden (PG – BKN) $10,600: With Kyrie Irving expected back for this game, Harden reverts to being more of a true point guard. In his last five games playing alongside Irving, Harden has averaged just 13 shots per game. In his most recent two games without Irving, he’s taken a whopping 21 shots per game. While he’s a near-lock for double-digit assists, Harden simply doesn’t score as much with Irving on the floor, so it’ll be much tougher for him to maximize his output against a very solid defensive team in the Lakers.
  • De’Aaron Fox (PG – SAC) $8,500: After a really hot start to the month of February where he averaged 52.2 DK points per game in five games, Fox has come back down to earth in his last two games, averaging just 40.4 DK points. Kings head coach Luke Walton is also finding more minutes for backup point guard Cory Joseph of late, who is averaging 29 minutes per game in his last three games. Meanwhile, Fox’s minutes are trending down in the last two games, averaging just 32 minutes per game after five straight games of 36+ minutes per game. The Heat also plays at a slower pace than the Kings, which could lead to more half-court offense than fast-break opportunities. I’d look elsewhere. 
  • Kyle Kuzma (SF/PF – LAL) $6,700: I had to do a double-take when I saw Kuzma was priced at $6,700. Even with Anthony Davis in and out of the lineup, Kuzma has only put up more than 32 DK points once in his last nine games. In order for him to sniff even 5x value, he’ll have to return 34+ DK points at $6,700. Strong fade for me, even in an uptempo matchup vs. the Nets. 
  • Norman Powell (SG/SF – TOR) $6,400: OG Anunoby returned to the lineup on Tuesday, and Powell managed to put up just seven shots after averaging close to 15 shots per game with Anunoby out of the lineup. He still drew the start as the Raptors went small against the Bucks, but I’m no longer interested in Powell with Anunoby back in the starting lineup.
  • Joe Harris (SG/SF – BKN) $6,000: Harris has eclipsed 30 DK points just once in his last six games, and that came without Kyrie Irving in the lineup. With Irving and James Harden on the floor, there are just not enough shots to go around for Joe Harris. Fade

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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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