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FanDuel DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Thursday (2/25)

by Dan Titus | @dantitus | Featured Writer
Feb 25, 2021

This week is flying by, and Thursday is loaded with a six-game slate. With plenty of All-Stars in action, we’ll delve into tonight’s studs, fades, and value plays. Be sure to follow @FantasyProsNBA for any last-minute absences that could affect your lineups. Below, I’ll break down how to attack tonight’s contests with justification for each player. Let’s ride!

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Most Value Per Dollar

This slate features some high octane offenses, including the Mavericks, Sixers, Bucks, Clippers, Nuggets, Wizards, and Pelicans. I tend to focus on the games with the highest implied totals, which typically signals a high-scoring affair. In getting an early look-ahead, the Bucks/Pelicans top the list with a total of 240, followed by the Nuggets/Wizards at 237. You can check out the full list of posted totals at BettingPros.

Only three players carry a salary north of $11K, and they happen to be Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.4K), James Harden ($11.2K), and Luka Doncic ($11.0K). We’ll evaluate these superstars’ value proposition and outline if they’re worth their price points tonight with several other All-Stars available at a cheaper cost. It could be worthwhile to invest in the less expensive stars to afford yourself more flexibility in filling out your roster. 

There aren’t many surprises on Thursday’s injury report, but it’ll be important to capitalize on any notable players on the doubtful side of questionable or already ruled out. For example, Sacramento’s Hassan Whiteside won’t play against the Knicks (looking at you,  Mr. Holmes). With these parameters in mind, here are the picks to construct a winning roster.

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

Tobias Harris (PF – PHI): $8,000 vs. DAL
I know that he’s a bit pricey for a value play, but considering the other options on tonight’s slate, I can’t ignore Harris here. He faces a Dallas team that lacks a true power forward capable of defending opposing forwards. The Mavs are dead last against opposing power forwards, allowing 54.6 fantasy points to the position per night. With the Sixers playing at home (where they are notoriously better), fire up Harris as one of the night’s better plays. He and Joel Embiid should have a field day against the light Mavs frontcourt. In his last five games, Harris is providing 6x value and getting 36 minutes per contest, with an average of 43 fantasy points over the past two weeks. 

Jonas Valanciunas (C – MEM): $7,500 vs. LAC
Memphis averages the most points in the paint per contest in the NBA, and that’s largely thanks to the big man, Valanciunas. The Clippers rank mid-pack in defending the paint, and they allow opposing centers to score 36.3 FanDuel points per game. The Clippers are eight-point favorites in this one, but Valanciunas has pulled down a double-double in five of his last six games. The Clippers; frontcourt can’t hang with Jonas, so feel good about rolling with him at center if you plan to fade the higher salaried bigs.

Richaun Holmes (C – SAC): $6,400 at NYK
Holmes has a prime opportunity to return 5-6x value in close to 30 minutes of playing time. Hassan Whiteside has been ruled out due to health and safety protocols, and Holmes will benefit from Whiteside sitting around in street clothes. He’s double-doubled in his last two games, including an 18-point, 11-rebound effort against the Brooklyn Nets a couple of days ago. He had 10 points and 14 rebounds in his first meeting against the Knicks earlier this season. With no Mitchell Robinson, the efficient big man should be able to rack up boards and tally some defensive stats as well.

Terrence Ross (SG – ORL): $6,200 at BKN
The early frontrunner of the NBA’s meme of the year award, Terrence Ross has been firing on all cylinders for the short-handed Magic. Over his last five contests, the scoring threat has delivered 6x value in 31 minutes per contest while notching a stellar 1.23 FanDuel points per minute. That all accumulates to an average of 38.8 FanDuel points per game, so keep rolling with Ross in what should be a high-scoring affair against the Brooklyn Nets.

Michael Porter Jr. (SF – DEN): $5,800 vs. WAS
It’s time for the MPJ breakout performance. With Paul Millsap out of the lineup, Porter Jr has, unfortunately, looked pretty average. He’s yet to eclipse the 30-point plateau in his last seven games, but with the Wizards in town, that all could change. MPJ scored 27.9 FanDuel points against the Wizards in their last outing, but at under $6K, Porter Jr. has the upside to go for 40 FanDuel points in what should be a high-scoring game. He’s averaging a mediocre 11.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 28.6 minutes across his past nine starts, but Washington gives up the fourth-most fantasy points to the small forward position in the league. Play Porter Jr!

Derrick Rose (PG – NYK): $6,000 vs. SAC
The newly acquired point guard has seen inconsistent minutes since joining the Knicks (averaging 22 minutes per game over the last five). However, he finds himself in an ideal spot with Elfrid Payton listed as doubtful for tonight’s tilt against the Kings. Rose saw 27 minutes in his last game and put up 37.8 FanDuel points. Going up against a struggling Kings squad, Rose could be a chalky but useful play with a strong path to playing time and opportunity.

RJ Barrett (SF – NYK): $5,500 vs. SAC
Another Knick whose numbers aren’t jumping off the page, Barrett will face a Kings team that can’t defend against opposing shooting guards. The Kings allow 32.2 FanDuel points per game, the worst in the NBA, to the position. At only $5,500, Barrett’s outlook is shaping up for a positive game script. The Knicks have an implied total of 113 points by Vegas odds, so Barrett should be a good bet to produce as the second option for New York tonight.

Donte DiVincenzo (SG – MIL): $5,200 vs. NOP
The Bucks and Pelicans have the highest game total of Thursday’s slate at 242. The Bucks are favored by nine points, which will leave plenty of opportunities for Donny D to contribute. He has the upside to provide north of 38 FanDuel points and has a relatively safe floor that ranges from 23 to 25 points. That said, he didn’t have the best game against the Pelicans back in January (10 points, three reboards, two assists). Still, with the Pelicans playing on the second game of a back-to-back, DiVincenzo has a strong opportunity to rebound in what should be a track meet.

Josh Richardson (SF – DAL): $4,700 at PHI
Who’s been benefiting most with Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup? J-Rich! His salary has remained a modest $4,700 over the past two games, and that’s despite the fact that he scored 30.9 and 21.3 FanDuel points, respectively. Richardson’s shooting has leveled up over his last two games — he’s scored 16 and 17 points with Porzingis out. Over his last five games, he has seen 30 minutes per night, and with a revenge game against the Sixers on deck, expect Richardson to play inspired basketball against his former team. Though J-Rich is listed as a small forward, he’s really a two-guard, and Philly stinks at guarding opposing shooting guards. They allow 32.2 FanDuel points per game to the position.

Facundo Campazzo (PG – DEN): $4,200 vs. WAS
The Argentinian is cruising as of late. He has averaged 29 minutes per contest in his last five while chipping in 5.7x value over that span. In the front end of a back-to-back set going up against the fast-paced Wizards, look for Campazzo to make a splash. He’s averaged  24 FanDuel points in his last five games, and with the game total set at 238, he should get plenty of minutes. He scored 21.7 FanDuel points in their last contest and is a viable option for anyone looking to fill out their roster with a cheap value play. 

Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – MIL) $11,400: The former MVP is rolling right now — he has scored at least 62 FanDuel points in eight straight games. The Pelicans’ porous defense just surrendered 118 points to the Jerami Grant-less Pistons. And, as previously stated, they are on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Pelicans will struggle to stick with Giannis, so you can fire him up as one of the safest plays of Thursday’s slate.
  • James Harden (SG – BKN) $11,200: This one’s a no-brainer, as Harden is averaging a cool 56.8 FanDuel points over the past two weeks. Dating back to last season, where Harden torched the Magic for 54 points, it’s hard to fade the Nets’ new point guard in a plus matchup — and with Kevin Durant still out of commission. Harden is a walking bucket and triple-double, so he is a must in all lineups.
  • Nikola Jokic (C – DEN): $10,800: Much like Embiid, Jokic is lobbying for MVP with his stellar play this season. He has a plus matchup against the Washington Wizards in what should be one of the most entertaining games of the night. Fresh off a 41-point showing, lock Jokic into your lineup, as the Wizards rank last in the league in pace with no answer for him defensively. With averages of 27/11/8, Jokic is a sure bet to ball out.
  • Joel Embiid (C – PHI) $10,400: Embiid continues his strong bid for MVP, and that won’t stop on Thursday against the Mavericks. Embiid is averaging a robust 31.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists with a plus/minus of +12.8 when playing at home this year. Needless to say, the Sixers are a far better team at home when Embiid is on the floor. Not that Porzingis could check him anyway, but Maxi Kleber is also doubtful for tonight, which leaves the Mavs extremely undermanned and vulnerable in the frontcourt. Embiid’s ceiling is a 70-point outing but either way, he should dominate as usual.
  • Nikola Vucevic (C – ORL) $9,900: Vuc will also benefit from the potential shootout with the Nets, as they are letting up the seventh-most points to the center position at 39.5 fantasy points per game. His ceiling is 60-plus, so don’t shy away from a sure bet like Vuc tonight.

Notable Players to Fades

  • Ben Simmons (PG- PHI) $9,400: Simmons had a small coming-out party as of late, but that tends to happen when Joel Embiid is out of the lineup. With him back in his normal role as a facilitator, Simmons is not a good play against the Mavericks with all of Philly’s main weapons at their disposal. With seasonal splits of 15/8/8, it’s hard to pay up that much for a player that is the third scoring option on a contending team.
  • Zion Williamson (PF – NOP) $8,500: Like with Brandon Ingram, the second leg of a back-to-back set isn’t attractive when there are so many other players available that can exceed their projections. Williamson played 31 minutes last night, but with New Orleans listed as nine-point dogs, the Pelicans could go down fast — leaving Zion and Ingram on the bench to watch their bench get more minutes. It’s tough to fade Zion with the highest implied total on the slate, but he’ll have a rough go against the Bucks. That means he won’t be as valuable for the price as some of the studs and value plays.
  • Brandon Ingram (SF – NOP) $8,000: Coming off a tough win over the Pistons, the Pelicans will face a dangerous Bucks team that has the potential to run them out of the gym. Ingram played 37 minutes last night and while he is still young enough that it shouldn’t matter, he’s a tough sell on the road in the late-night matchup against the Bucks. I think the Pelicans will fall flat and paying $8K to Ingram will not hit value.
  • De’Aaron Fox (PG – SAC) $7,700: Fox has been playing well as of late, averaging 23 points, 8.4 assists, and 2.9 rebounds while shooting 45% from the field over his last 10 games. However, he faces a New York Knicks team, on the road, that ranks third in defensive efficiency. Fox led the Kings to a victory in Sactown over the Knicks earlier this year, but I think Tyrese Haliburton will find more success against the Knicks than Fox. At 7.7K, there are better options available at point guard on today’s slate that may not get caught up in a negative game script.

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Dan Titus is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Dan, check out his archive and follow him @DanTitus

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