DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Thursday (2/25)
We’ve got a six-game slate Thursday night that tips off with a primetime game between the Mavericks and Sixers at 7:00 PM and ends with the Pelicans and Bucks on TNT at 9:30 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!
Most Value Per Dollar
Some interesting narratives and revenge games are in play tonight, as you’ll see in the write-ups below. Elfrid Payton is listed as doubtful to play against the Kings, which also opens up some nice value in the Knicks backcourt. Hassan Whiteside has also been ruled out due to health and safety protocols, but what does that mean in terms of who to play in the Kings frontcourt? Keep reading to find out who I like in that game.
The Clippers and Grizzlies are playing on the front-end of a back-to-back set in Memphis Thursday and Friday, while the Pelicans are the only other team in the midst of a back-to-back, as they played the Pistons last night. With no other teams on back-to-backs, minutes should be relatively safe for most guys.
Every game on tonight’s slate features an o/u of more than 221 points, and three of the six games have an o/u of over 230 points. There should be lots of points scored and ample opportunities for various players to hit and exceed value. With an abundance of fantastic high-priced options tonight, you’ll want to make sure you’re complementing those guys with some of the value plays listed below.
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.
Lonzo Ball (PG – NO): $6,300 at MIL
Lonzo has been ballin’ in his last 14 games. He’s been white-hot from deep and is playing heavy minutes for a team that scores a ton of points. Ball is averaging 35.3 DK points in those 14 games and scored 27 points with eight assists in his last game against the Bucks back in January. This game’s pace should allow Ball ample opportunities to put the ball in the basket and dish out several assists once again. Fire him up without hesitation on Thursday.
Richaun Holmes (C – SAC): $5,700 at NY
Hassan Whiteside (health protocols) has been ruled out, giving Holmes a safer minutes floor against the Knicks. Back in the team’s first matchup on January 22nd, Holmes torched the Knicks for 41 DK points. Whiteside was out for that game as well, and Holmes ended up playing 37 minutes. $5,700 is way too cheap for a guy capable of hitting 40 DK points Thursday night.
RJ Barrett (SF – NY): $5,500 vs. SAC
Barrett was once priced at $6,700 back on February 1st. He’s now just $5,500 against a Kings team giving up the most DK points per game to the small forward position. This is a pace-up game for the Knicks, and it’s expected to be a close one with a point spread of just 2.5. Barrett tends to play heavier minutes in closer games, which bodes well for his chances at 30+ minutes against the Kings. In his last two games, playing over 30 minutes, Barrett has averaged 33.5 DK points.
Donte DiVincenzo (PG/SG – MIL): $5,000 vs. NO
DiVincenzo has put up 25+ DK points in seven of his last nine games since Jrue Holiday has been out of the lineup. With an o/u of 240 points, this game could turn into a track meet as the Pelicans allow the sixth-most points in the league. Expect DiVincenzo to return at least 5x value, with the ability to reach 6x value with relative ease if the game stays close.
Eric Bledsoe (PG/SG – NO): $4,800 at MIL
Bledsoe returns to Milwaukee where he played three seasons before joining the Pelicans. He’s struggled of late, but his salary has dropped to a very reasonable $4,800 (was $6,100 on February 6), and he’s still in the starting lineup. Bledsoe went for 38 DK points in the Pelicans’ first matchup against the Bucks this season for what it’s worth. With an o/u of 240 points, Bledsoe should see ample opportunities to put up numbers against his former team.
Josh Richardson (SG/SF – DAL): $4,700 at PHI
Revenge game for Richardson, who was a member of the Sixers in 2019. With Kristaps Porzingis on the sidelines the last two games, JRich has averaged 16.5 points on 13 shots per game compared to just 12.9 points on 10.6 shots per game on the season. If Porzingis (questionable) is out again, Richardson should continue to see increased usage and makes for a great value play at just $4,700 against his former team.
Derrick Rose (PG/SG – NY): $4,600 vs. SAC
After getting off to a hot start with the Knicks, Rose has struggled a bit of late, scoring in single digits in three of his last four games. But with Elfrid Payton listed as doubtful to play Thursday against the Kings, Rose is a candidate to enter the starting lineup. Expect more minutes and possibly an uptick in usage with Payton out of the lineup. This is also a pace-up game for the Knicks as the Kings play at the 11th-highest pace in the league, whereas the Knicks average the fewest number of possessions per game.
Jalen Brunson (PG/SG – DAL): $4,600 at PHI
A little homecoming for the Villanova product as he faces off against the Sixers in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Brunson has also been playing great basketball of late. He’s recorded 29+ DK points in four of his last five games and is averaging 29 minutes per contest. Another 29 DK points would be good for 6.3x value at his current salary of $4,600.
Immanuel Quickley (PG – NY): $4,100 vs. SAC
Quickley has struggled in his last three games, shooting just 3-of-22 from the field, which has dropped his salary down to $4,100. Before that, he had two games of 28+ DK points against the Rockets and Hawks. With Elfrid Payton listed as doubtful to play Thursday night, Quickley should see a few more minutes and could be in line for a bounce-back game against a Kings team giving up the most points per game in the NBA.
Zeke Nnaji (PF/C – DEN): $3,200 vs. WAS
The Nuggets will be without Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green, and Gary Harris against the Wizards. Nnaji has averaged 27 minutes per game in his last two games and has scored in double figures in three of the five games he’s played 20 or more minutes. With the Nuggets likely running just an eight-man rotation again vs. the Wizards Thursday night, the Arizona rookie should once again see 25+ minutes, making him a solid value at just $3,200.
Studs Worth Their Salary
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C – MIL) $11,000: Giannis dropped 67.8 DK points the last time he faced the Pelicans. He’s also gone for 65+ DK points in seven of his last eight games. Try your best to fit the Greek Freak in your lineup against one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
- Nikola Jokic (C – DEN) $10,400: The Wizards don’t have a single player that can match up with the Joker, which was evident in the teams’ first matchup four games ago. Jokic went for 33 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists (59.3 DK points) in that game. With several guys out for the Nuggets, expect Jokic to see minutes in the upper 30s once again as long as this game stays within arms reach. He’s put up 58+ DK points in five of his last six games.
- Nikola Vucevic (C – ORL) $10,000: On Wednesday, ESPN NBA Analyst Kendrick Perkins said that Domantas Sabonis deserved to make the All-Star Game over Vucevic. Don’t think for a second Vooch didn’t get wind of this take. Now he’ll face a Nets team Thursday night that ranks just 25th in terms of points allowed to the center position. Expect the Magic big man to showcase why he’s deserving of an All-Star bid. Not to mention he’s put up 64+ DK points in two of his last three ball games.
- Joel Embiid (C – PHI) $9,900: Embiid’s salary has dropped below $10,000 for the first time since late January. He’s coming off one of his worst games of the season in which he shot 3-of-13 from the field and recorded just 39 DK points. Expect a bounce-back game from Embiid against a Mavericks frontcourt that struggles to defend big men.
- Russell Westbrook (PG – WAS) $9,500: Westbrook has been filling up the stat sheet recently, notching three triple-doubles and averaging 56.9 DK points in his last five games. He put up 52.8 in his last game against the Nuggets, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do the same in a game with an o/u of 237.5 points.
- Jamal Murray (PG – DEN) $8,400: Bubble Murray is back! He’s been white-hot in his last four games, averaging 56.2 DK points in 38 minutes per game. The Nuggets are playing extremely short-handed right now, so Murray’s minutes are extremely safe against a Wizards team allowing the 2nd-most DK points to the point guard position. Fire up Murray with confidence.
Notable Players to Fade
- Luka Doncic (PG – DAL) $10,900: With Ben Simmons likely guarding Doncic, I’m perfectly fine fading him as the 2nd-highest priced player on the slate. While he’s gone for over 60 DK points in six of 10 games in February, he’s also put up fewer than 48 DK points in the other four games. That being said, Doncic is always a candidate for a 30-point triple-double, so fade at your own risk.
- Paul George (SG – LAC) $8,800: PG13 has been lights out from deep in his last two games after missing six games in February with a toe injury. George scored 30 or more points in both games and shot 10-of-19 from long distance. The Clippers and Grizzlies are playing on the front-end of their back-to-back set tonight, which gives me slight pause in rostering George even given his recent hot streak. The Clippers could decide to rest him one of these two games or limit his minutes, making him a fade for me after coming off two brilliant performances.
- Ben Simmons (PG/SF – PHI) $8,700: Simmons will be busy chasing Luka Doncic on the defensive end of the floor, which could limit his upside a bit on offense. The Mavericks rank 6th in terms of DK points allowed to the point guard position. Simmons has also been held to fewer than 38 DK points in three of his last six games. I’m looking for a little more stability out of guys that cost $8,700.
- Kristaps Porzingis (PF/C – DAL) $8,000: Porzingis is listed as questionable to play Thursday night vs. the Sixers with a back injury. He’s missed the last two games, and even if he plays, I’m hesitant to fire him up against a team that ranks 9th in terms of DK points allowed to the power forward position and 1st against centers.
- De’Aaron Fox (PG – SAC) $7,800: Fox has eclipsed 40 DK points just once in his last five games. His opponent Thursday night doesn’t give him any gifts either, as the Knicks rank dead last in the league in terms of pace of play. Although his salary has dipped below $8,000, I’m still hesitant to play him against a Knicks team that is better than average defensively against point guards.
- Jonas Valanciunas (C – MEM) $7,000: I’ve been a big proponent of Valanciunas this season, but this spot scares me away from him a bit. It’s the front-end of a back-to-back set for the Grizzlies and Clippers, which could limit the big man’s minutes in both games. He also faces Serge Ibaka and Ivica Zubac, two guys that are more than capable of defending the Grizzlies’ big man. Mix that with the fact that Valanciunas is averaging just 32.3 DK points in his last three games, and he’s a fade for me, even at just $7,000.
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