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FanDuel NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (3/18)

by Dan Titus | @dantitus | Featured Writer
Mar 18, 2021

Roll with Deandre Ayton tonight because Minnesota is awful at defending opposing centers.

Thursday’s NBA slate features six games, a nice change-of-pace coming off of Wednesday’s 10-game schedule. For tonight’s FanDuel contest, five out of the six games have an implied game total greater than 225, so there should be plenty of high, uptempo games to hone in on a combination of opportunity and production. Be sure to follow FantasyProsNBA on Twitter for any last-minute absences that could affect your lineups. Let’s dive into the studs, fades, and value plays for Thursday night.

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Most Value Per Dollar

To maximize production, target games with the most scoring potential. The Wizards are playing on the back-end of a back-to-back set, as well as the Charlotte Hornets. Conversely, the Magic and Jazz are on front-ends of back-to-backs. These scheduling parameters should factor into the decision-making process. Still, with such high-octane offenses on display (notably the Trail Blazers and Pelicans matchup), there are plenty of options to take down a GPP or cash contest. 

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

John Collins (PF – ATL): $7,500 vs. OKC
With big man Clint Capela questionable coming into Thursday’s game, Collins should be the primary beneficiary of his absence. He’s double-doubled in two straight games and put up at least 30 FD points in three of his last four games. There’s a good chance Moses Brown, and Isaiah Roby will match up against him, and frankly, that’s barbeque chicken.

Anthony Edwards (SG – MIN): $7,100 at PHX
The Rookie fears no one, not even the Suns. He’s put up at least 35 FD points in four of his last five contests with 5.5x value over that span. He scored 25 points with five rebounds against the Suns in their first matchup this year, and fantasy managers should have no issues plugging Edwards into their lineup. With the Suns favored by 10.5 points, Edwards is ripe with opportunity.

Deandre Ayton (C – PHO): $6,800 vs. MIN
Roll with Ayton tonight because Minnesota is awful at defending opposing centers. They let up 43.1 FD points to the center position this season, ranking last in the NBA. Ayton got a 20 and 10 double-double in their first matchup (shooting 9-of-11 from the field), so he should be able to replicate these numbers. With an encouraging game total of 228.5, he’ll have a big game if he can stay out of foul trouble.

Lonzo Ball (PG – NOP): $6,700 at POR
Ball’s salary increased by $100 since last week, which is drastically understated considering his play as of late. He dropped 17 assists versus Portland on Tuesday and put up over 37 FD points in his last two games. Good thing he faces the Trail Blazers again on Thursday, as both teams play minimal defense and offer a ton of value given the projected high totals in a competitive matchup.

Montrezl Harrell (C – LAL): $6,700 vs. CHA
Harrell’s been a monster. In his last three games, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is averaging 23.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists with 1.7 steals, and 1.3 blocks across 29 minutes per game. He’s put up over 41 FD points in three of his last four and faces a team that’s allowed the eighth-most FD points per game to opposing centers. He’s a mismatch against the Hornets frontcourt.

Kyle Kuzma (PF – LAL): $6,000 vs. CHA
Kuzma has been an excellent source of fantasy points in FanDuel lately, providing 6.0x value over his last five games. Even under 30 minutes, Kuzma is contributing off the bench for the Lakeshow. The Lakers are 8-point favorites, and with Charlotte playing the second game on a back-to-back, the Lakers bench will get plenty of time to produce, which bodes well for Kuzma.

Danilo Gallinari (SF – ATL): $5,700 vs. OKC
Gallinari is red-hot for the Hawks lately. He faces the Thunder, who let up the third-most Fanduel points to opposing small forwards this season (52.4 FD points). But how hot is Gallo? He’s averaging 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, with 1.2 steals and 4.0 threes in his last five games. With a revenge narrative in play against his former team, this is one of the slate’s best value plays.

Jaylen Nowell (SG – MIN) – $4,600 at PHO
Also known as ‘Father Christmas,’ Nowell has been a revelation off the bench for the young Timberwolves, contributing 25.0 FD points per game over his last three games. Fellow FantasyPros expert Alex Burns has been touting Nowell for weeks, and in a potential blowout scenario, Nowell is a strong value play. 

Moses Brown (C – OKC): $4,400 at ATL
Brown is taking full advantage of his playing time, registering 1.33 FD points per minute, and providing 5.9x value in his last five games. His per-36 minute averages are ridiculous – 19.5 points with 15.4 rebounds. He scored 53.2 FD points against Chicago on Tuesday, and if Clint Capela sits, Brown could be in for another busy night.

Ty Jerome (SG – OKC): $4,200 at ATL
Theo Maledon is questionable, and Lu Dort is out, leaving Jerome with more opportunity to shine. He’s provided at least 23 FD points in his last three games, seeing an average of 29 minutes per game. Jerome contributed 11.3 points, 4.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds over that span and has a 25-point ceiling in FanDuel tonight.

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

Stud Players Worth Their Salary

  • LeBron James (SF – LAL) $10,800 vs. CHA: The King is the most expensive player for FanDuel tonight, but it’s with good reason as James amassed a triple-double in his last two games. The Hornets come to town as 8-point dogs on the second game of a back-to-back, but James is locked in and on a mission to propel the Lakers to the West’s top seed while attempting to win a fifth MVP trophy. James is averaging 46.1 FD points in his last five games and should dominate yet again.
  • Damian Lillard (PG – POR) $10,400 vs. NOP: Fresh off a 50-point, 10 assist double-double totaling 68.2 FD points. How can you not play Lillard in a rematch with the Pelicans? Dame Dolla even added six rebounds with a 36.4% usage rate despite the return of CJ McCollum. He’s registered 50+ FD points in four of his last five games, and he’s primed for another great game tonight.
  • Nikola Vucevic (C – ORL) $10,000 at NYK: The Magic are terrible, and most of their team is either on the injured list or questionable to play in tonight’s bout versus the Knicks. Vuc has played well against the Knicks this season, averaging 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in two games. However, with the Magic so shorthanded, expect him to see north of a 30% usage rate as the Magic are 4-point dogs in this road matchup. He’s averaging 45+ FD points against the Knicks this year and will likely do it again tonight.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Russell Westbrook (PG – WAS) $10,500 vs. UTA: This one is hard to fade, but I think this is where Russ falls back to Earth. The Wizards are coming off a challenging back-to-back and loss to the Sacramento Kings. While he went off for a 26/14/10 triple-double, he’ll get a more formidable opponent in the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are top-3 in defensive efficiency, making this a tough matchup, even for Mr. Triple-Double.
  • C.J. McCollum (SG – POR) $8,500 vs. NOP: McCollum made his return to action on Tuesday night, scoring 10 points with four rebounds, two assists, one block, and four turnovers across 26 minutes. While he gets another plus matchup against the Pelicans, I’m not buying that’s he’s game-ready. He’ll probably see minutes in the mid-’20s, best case – low-’30s, which severely limits his fantasy potential. He scored 16.8 FD points last game, and at over $8K, he’s not worth the salary.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (PG – OKC) $7,900 at TOR: Gilgeous-Alexander is rather cheap for a player of his caliber going up against the Hawks.  He scored 25/5/4 in their last meeting a few weeks ago. However, Gilgeous-Alexander is playing with inferior talent that cap his upside. Over his last five games, he’s averaging only 37.7 FD points per contest, below his average of 41.2 this season. Without viable weapons around him, his scoring role reduces his ability to fill up the box score across categories.

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Beyond our daily fantasy basketball content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Tools. Our Lineup Optimizer allows you to build winning DFS lineups in seconds for Cash and GPP contests – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players. We’ve got you covered this fantasy basketball season.

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

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