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FanDuel DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Thursday (3/4)

by Dan Titus | @dantitus | Featured Writer
Mar 4, 2021

Kyle Lowry is in a great spot against the Celtics.

Thursday marks the final night of hoops before the All-Star break. With nine games on the slate, entering a FanDuel contest is a great way to cap off the first half of the season. The schedule is loaded with talent and opportunity, with key players missing in action for health reasons or load management. Be sure to follow FantasyProsNBA on Twitter for any last-minute absences that could affect your lineups. Let’s get into the studs, fades, and value plays for Thursday night.

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Most Value Per Dollar 

We have some heavy hitters in play for the mid-season finale. Some of the usual studs of Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo top the market at $11.6K and $11.3K, respectively, while Bradley Beal ($10.4K) and Damian Lillard ($10.1K) are the only other players over the $10K threshold. 

To maximize production, try to target matchups with the most scoring potential. For Thursday, this caters to the following games: Nuggets-Pacers (implied total 226), Bucks-Grizzlies (implied total 235), Clippers-Wizards (implied total 236), and Blazers-Kings (implied total 238). The most compelling matchup on the docket will likely be the Warriors versus Suns’ primetime showdown (implied total 223). 

Make sure to check out BettingPros for the final game totals. 

All of tonight’s value plays will be under $8.5K in salary. There is not enough room for my cheap plays list, but here are some cost-effective options if the value plays are out of your budget. PG Saben Lee ($4,700), SG Immanuel Quickley ($5,500), Precious Achiuwa ($3,500), PF Jae Crowder ($4,300) and C Robert Williams ($5,300). 

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

Kyle Lowry (PG – TOR): $8,500 at BOS

Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are both out until the All-Star break, which leaves Kyle Lowry in a great spot against the Celtics. Lowry is averaging 46.4 FanDuel points in his last three games, so don’t hesitate to put him in your lineups in a game that takes on more significance with only one game separating the two teams from fourth and eighth in the Eastern Conference.

De’Aaron Fox (PG – SAC): $8,300 at POR
Fox continues to play extremely well sans Tyler Haliburton, putting up at least 43 FanDuel points in three of his last four contests. He’s provided a shade over 5x value over his last five and has a positive game script facing the Blazers on the road in what should be a shootout. The Blazers allow 49.1 FanDue points to opposing PGs this season, making Fox an ‘ace in the hole’ for Thursday.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SG – OKC): $8,200 at SAS
SGA plays on the backend of a back-to-back set and faces another tough road matchup against the 11th best defense in the NBA. He didn’t play well against the Mavericks on Wednesday, scoring 15 points with three assists, three rebounds, and a block. However, he went off for a career-high 42 points with eight rebounds and four assists in their last matchup. San Antonio doesn’t defend against point guards well, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing PGs this season (50.2). Gilgeous-Alexander will go toe-to-toe with Dejounte Murray, so lock him in as a good bet to exceed 40+ FanDuel points.

Paul George (SG- LAC): $7,900 at WAS
It’ll be hard to pass up PG-13 in a potential track meet against the Wizards. He’s coming off a tough road loss on Tuesday to the Celtics after dropping 32/5/4 with a steal and five triples in 38 minutes. Kawhi Leonard is questionable, and Marcus Morris Jr. will miss the game due to a concussion, leaving the Clips short-handed in the frontcourt. The Wizards run the fastest-paced offense in the league at 106.3 and rank in the bottom-five in defensive efficiency (111.7), a perfect blend for a PG explosion. He has the upside to provide 50+FanDuel points and has a relatively safe floor at 40.7 FanDuel PPG. Trust in Yg_Trece.

Khris Middleton (SF – MIL): $7,500 at MEM
Middleton is on a roll as of late, averaging 43.5 FanDuel points over his last five contests. He faces a Grizzlies team that is surrendering the seventh-most fantasy points to the SF position at 49.2 per game. As previously stated, the game total is set to 235, signaling a strong opportunity for Middleton to continue his All-Star worthy performances. With 5.8x value over the past five games, Middleton is a reliable asset tonight.

Norman Powell (SF – TOR): $7,400 at BOS
Did you know that in five games without Pascal Siakam in the lineup, Powell raised his scoring average from 18.1 to 25.4 PPG? The opportunity is even riper for him to ball out with Fred VanVleet, also not in uniform. His price went up to $600 in just a day, but it’s justified after averaging 33 points with four rebounds and one assist in his past two games. Don’t fade the walking bucket.

Harrison Barnes (SF – SAC): $7,000 at POR
Barnes continues to fly under the radar as a handy fantasy player this season. He’s been playing great lately, averaging 37.6 FanDuel points over his last five games. He’s hit 5.4x value in that span, and similar to De’Aaron Fox, he should be able to take advantage of Portland’s bottom-three defense. Barnes has been on a roll since reportedly drawing interest from contending teams, and he has no signs of slowing down.

Enes Kanter (C – POR): $6,600 vs. SAC
If you like double-doubles, Kanter is your guy. He’s notched a double-double in five of his last six games, and over that span, he’s provided a shade under 5x value and 1.08 fantasy points per minute. He should feast in the paint against the Kings, as they rank dead last in the NBA, allowing 52.9 points per game. He’s consistent and poised to have another successful outing.

T.J. McConnell (PG – IND): $5,000 vs. DEN
How could we shy away from the sticky bandit? McConnell set an NBA record last night with nine steals in only one half of play against the Cavs, finishing the night with a 16 point, 13 assists, and 10 steal triple-double. At only $5K, he’s a literal steal for Thursday. He’s dished out at least five assists in his last six games and remains a good bet to see 25+ minutes on the second leg of a back-to-back set.  Don’t be surprised if he sees 5x value with ease on Thursday.

Isaiah Roby (PF – OKC): $4,600 at SAS
With the Thunder on the second leg of a back-to-back, Al Horford should get his typical DNP-rest designation on Thursday, giving Roby another shot to earn more minutes in a plus matchup. With LaMarcus Aldridge on the doubtful side of questionable, the Spurs will run a smaller unit, allowing Roby to get more involved in the game plan. He’s accumulated a nice set of counting stats in his last two, averaging 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals. If he can get 30+ minutes, he could be a cheap value option.

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

Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – MIL): $11,300: Memphis has a robust frontcourt led by Jonas Valanciunas, but no one else can really hang with Giannis in the paint. Valanciunas is known to get into foul trouble, and Antetokounmpo can be quite frustrating for opposing bigs. He’s averaging 1.77 fantasy points per minute in his last five, and more notably, according to Swish Analytics, he’s averaged 57.1 FanDuel points when the Bucks are game spread is between 6-10 point favorites.
  • Nikola Jokic (C – DEN): $11,600:  One of the frontrunners for MVP, the Joker, sees a usage rate of 29.12% this season while also averaging 63.5 FanDuel points per game in his last five contests. He’s churning out 5.5x value over that span and should have plenty of touches against the Pacers. With an average of 1.76 FanDuel points per minute, Jokic is well worth the price.
  • Russell Westbrook (PG – WAS): $9,600: Russ has been filling up the stat sheet nightly, accumulating 50.3 FanDuel points over his last five contests. He is sizzling hot, and with the Clippers resting players, Westbrook is in a good position to do what he does best – rack up counting stats. He’s a better DFS player than Beal tonight against the Clippers and comes at a lower price. He’s putting up 1.26 FanDuel points per minute in his last five games, which is comparable to Steph Curry.
  • Zion Williamson (PF – NOP): $9,000: The first year All-Star is having an excellent sophomore campaign and leading up to the break, he’s averaging 48.9 FanDuel points in his last five games. Over that span, he’s also providing 5.5x value while averaging 1.4 FanDuel points per minute. With Bam Adebayo questionable, Zion should continue to be an animal, feasting on everything near the paint. 
  • Dejounte Murray (PG – SAS): $8,700: Murray is on a tear, posting 46.7 FanDuel points per game in his last five contests. He faces off against a Thunder team that allows 48.2 FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards. He still has no real competition for minutes in the backcourt and should be a fun matchup to build on his 1.38 FanDuel points per minute in his past five games. Take comfort in rolling with a guy that fills up the box score with averages of 18.4 points,7.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists over the last 10 contests.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Bradley Beal (SG – WAS): $10,400: Beal is firing on all cylinders, but facing the Clippers may put a halt to his stellar play. It’s hard to stop Beal, and while I think he’ll still have a good night, his counting stats won’t live up to his $10+K price tag. Russell Westbrook offers more value at a cheaper cost, and it’s merely the sticker shock that is making me fade Beal on Thursday.
  • Devin Booker (SG – PHX): $7,600: Booker is lighting up the scoreboard, averaging 28 points in his last 10. However, he really isn’t doing much else, chipping in 4.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds over that span. He’s affordable at $7,600, but the Warriors have moved into the top-five in defensive efficiency, and this bout has the making of a defensive battle with a slowed pace. Chris Paul will have the ball in his hands too much for Booker to maintain his value at that price point.
  • Kemba Walker (PG – BOS): $7,000: Walker is showing new life and is finally found his rhythm since overcoming knee issues earlier in the season. He’s registered three games straight of 38+ FanDuel points, including three consecutive 20 points, four rebounds, and five assist performances. Despite his recent success, I’m not a fan of him playing against the Raptors, namely, Kyle Lowry. While Toronto is supremely shorthanded, Lowry is an elite defender that can neutralize Kemba’s scoring ability. I like Tatum or Brown for this matchup, and at $7,000, Walker is too pricey with other guards in higher-scoring games to choose from.

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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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