DraftKings NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (3/18)
We’ve got a solid six-game slate in the NBA tonight that kicks off with the Jazz/Wizards at 7:00 PM and caps off with the Hornets/Lakers at 10:30 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
Not a whole lot of new injuries to report for tonight’s slate, so we’ll have to be judicious in finding value. One guy that is out, however, is Mike Conley (injury management), so look for Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles to have the ball in their hands more often. It looks like Al Horford will return to the lineup after missing the last two games, so what does that mean for Moses Brown? Additionally, Clint Capela remains questionable with a heel injury. If he remains out, John Collins becomes a nice play in all formats after putting up 43.3 and 46 DK points in his last two games sans Capela.
The Hornets and Wizards are both on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Jazz, Magic, Timberwolves, Suns, and Trail Blazers are all on the front end of a back-to-back set.
For DFS purposes, I like targeting close games with high projected point totals. One game on this slate sticks out like a sore thumb, and that’s the Pelicans/Trail Blazers (POR -1.5) with an o/u of 240 points. The two teams played on Tuesday night and combined for 249 points, so this contest has the makings of another track meet. The other five games on tonight’s slate all have blowout potential, with no spread less than 6.5 points. The Jazz/Wizards game features a nice o/u of 237.5 points as Washington plays at the fastest pace in the league. This should open up the floor for Utah and lead to more production.
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): $6,900 at POR
Ball’s price-tag went up just $100 after putting up 46.3 DK points Tuesday night against the Trail Blazers’ 30th-ranked defense against point guards. He’s got a really safe floor and a high ceiling in a game that features an o/u of 240 points.
Montrezl Harrell (C – LAL): $6,400 vs. CHA
Harrell has been on an absolute tear his last four games, averaging 23.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. He’s put up 40.5 DK points per game over that stretch. He should continue finding success against a Hornets team that struggles to defend big men.
Deandre Ayton (C – PHO): $6,200 vs. MIN
The Timberwolves are really, really bad against opposing centers, making this a smash spot for Ayton, even if it turns into a blowout. He put up 22 points and 10 rebounds in just 26 minutes the last time these two teams met. $6,200 is entirely too cheap for a guy with 40-point upside.
Kevin Huerter (SG – ATL): $5,600 vs. OKC
The Thunder give up the 2nd-most DK points to the shooting guard position, so this is a great spot for Huerter. He’s gone for 32+ DK points in three of his last five games as well. As long as OKC can keep up with Atlanta, Huerter should be in for minutes in the mid-30s, making him a solid play at $5,600.
Josh Hart (SF – NO): $5,300 at POR
Hart recorded 34.8 DK points Tuesday night against the Trail Blazers in 28 minutes off the bench. He’ll be the first guy off the bench again Thursday night and is a good bet to produce in a fast-paced game that has an o/u of 241 points.
Joe Ingles (SG/SF): $5,200 at WAS
Mike Conley has been ruled out, which means Ingles likely slides into the starting lineup. Ingles consistently put up 35+ DK points when Conley was out for an extended period of time in February. This is also a cake matchup against the Wizards, who are on the second night of a back-to-back. Ingles should smash
Alec Burks (SF – NY): $4,900 vs. ORL
The Knicks backcourt is totally decimated. Derrick Rose remains out, Elfrid Payton is doubtful, and Immanuel Quickley is questionable. If Rose and Quickley are ultimately ruled out, that will leave a ton of minutes for Burks, who is averaging 29 minutes already in his last four games.
Moses Brown (C – OKC): $4,300 at ATL
Brown scorched the Bulls Tuesday night, going for 20 points, 16 rebounds, and five blocks. Clint Capela, John Collins, and company present a greater challenge for big men, but Brown is still too cheap given his massive upside. He’s a lock if Al Horford remains out, but more of a GPP play if Horford returns.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (PG/SG – NO): $4,200 at POR
After an up-and-down start to the season, Alexander-Walker’s minutes have seemed to normalize the last few games. He’s played 23+ minutes in four of his last five games and has recorded 31+ DK points in two of his last three. He scored 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting Tuesday night against the Trail Blazers. One would think he’d be a core piece of the Pelicans rotation once again Thursday night in a rematch.
Talen Horton-Tucker (SF – LAL): $3,900 vs. CHA
Horton-Tucker has benefited greatly from the absence of Alex Caruso. He’s averaging 35.7 DK points in his two games without him. Caruso remains out Thursday night vs. the Hornets. $3,900 seems too cheap for a guy who is locked into 25+ minutes off the bench.
Studs Worth Their Salary
- Damian Lillard (PG – POR) $11,000: Lillard has put 43 points and 50 points in two games vs. the Pelicans this season. He’s averaging 77 DK points in those two games. Even with CJ McCollum back in the lineup, Lillard deserves to be rostered against the 28th-ranked defense against point guards.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (PG/SG – OKC) $9,000: I’m a firm believer that good players bounce back after a down game, especially when they have a good matchup on tap. SGA finds himself in that situation Thursday night against the Hawks, who rank 29th in terms of fantasy points allowed to the guard position. Gilgeous-Alexander is coming off a forgettable performance Tuesday night in which he scored 21 points but turned the ball over eight times and was a -36 for the game. He’s got real 55-point upside against the Hawks.
- Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG – UTA) $8,700: Mitchell hasn’t topped 34 DK points in each of his last two games but finds himself in a nice spot Thursday night against a Wizards team that ranks first in the league in pace. Mitchell’s usage will also increase with Mike Conley ruled out. Much like Gilgeous-Alexander, Mitchell’s got 55-point upside at a very reasonable price-tag.
Notable Players to Fade
- Russell Westbrook (PG – WAS) $10,200: Westbrook recorded a triple-double in 39 minutes last night in a losing effort to the Kings. He turns around on the second night of a back-to-back and has to face the Jazz, who rank 2nd in the league in terms of DK points allowed to the point guard position. It won’t be easy sledding for Russ.
- Julius Randle (PF/C – NY) $10,000: Randle has officially reached $10,000, and that’s a little too much for me to spend on a guy who’s playing in the game with the lowest projected point total on the slate. Both the Knicks and Magic play at a glacial pace, which will cap Randle’s upside. Not to mention he only produced 37.3 DK points the last time these two teams met a month ago. Randle’s floor is a bit too low for me to feel comfortable rostering him against the Magic.
- CJ McCollum (PG/SG – POR) $7,400: It’s McCollum’s second game back, and one would figure he’d still be on some sort of minutes restriction. He played 26 minutes in his first game back, so it may be a similar workload. Once his restriction is lifted, I’ll feel much more comfortable rostering McCollum in DFS. That just isn’t quite yet.
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