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DraftKings NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (3/11)

Mar 11, 2021

Clint Capela has put up 48+ DK points in two of his last three games.

Thursday nights in the NBA are typically light on games, usually with three or four games on the docket. However, this Thursday night, we’ve got a fully loaded 11-game slate coming out of the All-Star Break. Primetime games include the Nets/Celtics at 7:30 and the Warriors/Clippers 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

Many players are out Thursday night due to the league’s health and safety protocols, which opens up some value in a couple of games. Most notably, the Sixers will be without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, while the Raptors remain without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby

The Mavericks are the only team on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Bulls, Rockets, Sixers, Heat, Pelicans, and Magic are all on the first night of a back-to-back set. 

For DFS purposes, I like targeting close games with high projected point totals, and we’ve got a plethora of those on this 11-game slate. Sixers/Bucks (CHI -3) o/u 228.5 points, Celtics/Nets (BOS -3.5) o/u 233.5, Hawks/Raptors (ATL -2) o/u 227.5, Suns/Trail Blazers (PHO -2.5) o/u 226.5, and Rockets/Kings (SAC -4.5) o/u 227.5 all fit the bill. The Timberwolves/Pelicans game takes the cake for the highest projected point total at a whopping 239 points, while the Clippers/Warriors also feature an o/u of 231.5 points. 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.

Clint Capela (C – ATL): $7,900 at TOR
Capela has put up 48+ DK points in two of his last three games. Back on February 6th, in his first matchup against the Raptors, Capela dropped a cool 23 points and 16 rebounds against Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher. He’ll face little resistance again Thursday night and should be in line for another huge performance. 

Jerami Grant (SF – DET): $7,700 at CHA
The Hornets are atrocious against opposing small forwards, making Grant an incredible value even with a high price-tag. Recent performances from small forwards against the Hornets include; Kelly Oubre Jr. scoring 25 and 27 points, Buddy Hield scoring 30, and Harrison Barnes dropping 28. Grant should rack up the stats against Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges in what should be a close game against Charlotte. 

Lonzo Ball (PG – NO): $6,800 vs. MIN
The o/u in the Pelicans/Timberwolves game sits at a cool 239 points, with New Orleans projected to score 124 points. I want every part of this game in DFS, and that includes Ball, who has the ability to rack up stats in a hurry in a fast-paced game. As long as this game stays somewhat close, expect Ball to flirt with 6x value.   

Elfrid Payton (PG – NY): $5,600 at MIL
Payton’s price has come up a bit, but for a good reason. Derrick Rose remains out, and in his last four games played without D Rose, Payton has gone for 34.6 DK points in 34 minutes per game. This play comes with some risk as the Knicks will need to keep up with the Bucks for the starters to play a full allotment of minutes. 

Dwight Howard (C – PHI): $5,300 at CHI
He’s priced up, but for a good reason. In his last two games starting for Joel Embiid, Howard is averaging 12.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 minutes per game. Wendell Carter Jr. isn’t a great defender, so Howard should have plenty of opportunities to put up some big numbers in Embiid’s absence Thursday night. 

Kelly Olynyk (PF/C – MIA): $5,100 vs. ORL
Olynyk sees heavy minutes anytime Bam Adebayo is out of the lineup. In fact, in three games Adebayo has missed this season, Olynyk is averaging 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in almost 40 minutes per game. He’s far too cheap for a guy that can stuff the stat sheet and is likely to play a minimum of 35 minutes. 

Dennis Smith Jr. (PG – DET): $4,900 at CHA
The Hornets struggle to defend guards and give up the eighth-most points per game (113.2) this season. In his last five games, DSJ is averaging a whopping 32 DK points per game and has put up 30+ in four of those five contests. This should be a close game, which means Smith Jr.’s minutes should be relatively safe in the upper 20s. Fire him up against the Hornets. 

Nicolas Claxton (C – BKN): $3,700 vs. BOS
Claxton has been a point-per-minute monster in just five games this season. He has also recorded 27+ DK points in three of his last four games as a part of the Nets rotation without any big men behind DeAndre Jordan. He’s got a great shot at 25+ DK points (6.8x value) in what should be a fast-paced, high-scoring affair vs. the Celtics. 

Stanley Johnson (PF – TOR): $3,500 vs. ATL
Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby (health and safety protocols) have all been ruled out vs. the Hawks Thursday night. All three guys missed the teams’ last game before the All-Star Break, and Johnson got the start and played 36 minutes. He took 10 shots (seven threes) in that game and put up 24 DK points. He should start again and see at least 30 minutes against the Hawks, making him a nice value at just $3,500. 

Tyrese Maxey (PG/SG – PHI): $3,300 at CHI
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (health and safety protocols) have been ruled out for Thursday night’s game against the Bulls. The last time Embiid and Simmons were out, Maxey dropped a career-high 39 points on the Nuggets. This go around, the Sixers will have a couple more guys available, like Tobias Harris and Shake Milton, but Maxey should still see minutes in the low 20s and put up close to 10 shots. He’s worth the risk at just $3,300. 

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

Studs Worth Their Salary 

  • James Harden (PG – BKN) $11,000: Harden is averaging 64.1 DK points in his last nine games without Kevin Durant. KD remains out Thursday night vs. the Celtics, and the game has an o/u of 233 points. Harden’s got the best combination of a high floor and high ceiling on the slate, making him an incredible play even at $11,000. 
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (C – MIN) $10,000: Both New Orleans (115.9) and Minnesota (117) rank in the bottom five in terms of points allowed per game. The Pelicans struggle to defend big men, as evidenced by Naz Reid and Jarred Vanderbilt’s performances when the teams last met back in January. Reid dropped 20 points, while Vanderbilt went for 16 points and 11 rebounds. Towns didn’t play in that game, but if history is any indication of future success, I’m in on KAT Thursday night. 
  • Zach LaVine (SG – CHI) $9,700: LaVine and the Bulls get a gift as they’ll avoid Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons due to the league’s health and safety protocols. LaVine has scored 30+ points in nine of his last 13 games before the All-Star break. Both the Sixers and Bulls rank in the top five in pace of play, not to mention the Bulls’ All-Star put up 30 points on a season-high 28 shots in his first matchup against the Sixers this season. LaVine shouldn’t have any trouble putting on a clinic against an Embiid and Simmons-less Sixers squad Thursday night. 
  • Kyle Lowry (PG – TOR) $8,600: Lowry’s salary has certainly increased, as he was just $7,000 three games ago. But don’t let that stop you from playing the Raptors point guard with Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby still out of the lineup. Lowry has recorded 49+ DK points in three of his last four games. The Hawks are the worst team in the NBA at defending the point guard position. Lowry should have his way against Trae Young Thursday night. 
  • Devin Booker (SG – PHO) $8,000: Booker didn’t get a chance to play in the All-Star Game due to a left knee sprain, but he’s not on the injury report Thursday night against the Trail Blazers. Portland struggles to defend both guard positions, and Booker dropped 34 points in just 29 minutes in the teams’ first meeting. This is a great spot for both him and Chris Paul

Notable Players to Fade

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C – MIL) $11,100: The Knicks play at the slowest pace in the league, averaging just 99 possessions per game. On the other hand, Milwaukee plays at the eighth-fastest pace in the league, which makes this a pace-down game for the Bucks. Giannis is always in play as a guy who can go for a 30-point triple-double, but I don’t want to take that chance against the slow-paced Knicks Thursday night coming off a week-long break.    
  • Damian Lillard (PG – POR) $10,700: According to Hashtag Basketball, the Suns have the highest rated defense in the NBA against point guards, thanks in large part to Chris Paul’s defensive prowess. The last time Lillard faced the Suns, he went for just 24 points and seven assists with six turnovers. There are too many other fine options on this 11-game slate to pay up for Damian Lillard. 
  • Nikola Vucevic (C – ORL) $10,400: There’s no doubting how great Vucevic has been this season. He’s averaging a career-high 24.6 points per game, but his price-tag has risen to a point where I’m uncomfortable rostering him. He’s recorded fewer than 49 DK points in three of his last five games, which would put him under 5x value at his salary of $10,400. I’d much rather roster Karl-Anthony Towns against the Pelicans for $400 less. 
  • LaMelo Ball (PG – CHA) $9,000: It was reported that Ball would stick in the starting lineup, even with Devonte’ Graham’s probable return. This makes sense, as the rookie phenom has been lighting it up the past month or so. That said, the Pistons rank 3rd in terms of DK points allowed to the point guard position, and Ball has recorded fewer than 42 DK points in five of his last seven games. I’d much rather roster De’Aaron Fox ($9,100) or Kawhi Leonard ($8,900) in the same price range tonight. 
  • Khris Middleton (SG/SF – MIL) $8,300: As mentioned in the Giannis Antetokounmpo write-up, this is a pace-down game for the Bucks against the Knicks. Jrue Holiday returned to action three games ago and hasn’t even cracked the starting lineup, yet Middleton is averaging just 39.8 DK points in those three games. Once Holiday cracks the starting lineup (likely tonight), look for Middleton’s production to fall even more. His floor might be safe, but the ceiling doesn’t get me excited whatsoever. 

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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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