FanDuel NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (4/22)
It’s unfortunate how many players are getting hurt in the final stretch of the 2020-21 NBA season. There aren’t many teams operating at full strength right now, making NBA DFS extremely volatile at this time of year. Besides resting players at random moments, teams are cautious with injuries as they prepare for the playoffs.
Finding the value plays is the key to success right now, as doing so can allow you to build the ideal lineup. Despite the ongoing injury woes and other concerns, I’ll be doing my absolute best to pinpoint which players could give you the best bang for your buck on Thursday.
Most Value Per Dollar
Thursday’s main slate for the NBA consists of six games, and none of them are expected to feature lights-out scoring. The highest total on Thursday’s docket is the showdown between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks. Similar to recent weeks, it will be worth monitoring the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Note that Giannis is dealing with a leg cramp play through it.
Looking at the upcoming slate of games, the forward positions lack value, which may lead people to spend up at both spots. That said, you can find plenty of value at guard — and if certain players are ruled out, there could be even more.
If you’d like to see more information on how the betting landscape will be for this slate, 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. These are ranked in order.
Cole Anthony (ORL) $6,300 vs. NOP
The Orlando Magic don’t have much to play for besides pride in the final weeks of the regular season. With that in mind, the Magic are giving more minutes to their younger players, including Cole Anthony. Anthony has started the past three games for Orlando due to an injury to Michael Carter-Williams and has played well in his absence. The rookie point guard — as long as Carter-Williams is out again — will get a chance to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, who have been the worst defense against point guards all season, allowing 51.02 FD points per game to the position.
Miles Bridges (CHA) $6,400 at CHI
Gordon Hayward remains sidelined for the Charlotte Hornets due to a foot ailment. Amid Hayward’s absence from the lineup, Miles Bridges has been flashing signs of potential as a starter. Bridges has garnered 35-plus minutes in eight consecutive games, and he has hit 5x value at his current price six times in that span. While the Hornets remain without Hayward, LaMelo Ball, and Malik Monk, Bridges should remain a focal point of the offense on Thursday versus the Chicago Bulls.
Terrence Ross (ORL) $4,700 vs. NOP
Terrence Ross has missed the past two games for the Magic because of a back injury, but he’s questionable to return on Thursday. If Ross can return, the veteran guard brings some value to the shooting guard position. Orlando can use all of the scoring help they can get, which is exactly what Ross brings to the table. The game between the Pelicans and the Magic is expected to be the second highest-scoring contest on Thursday. In the chance that Ross doesn’t suit up, Dwayne Bacon could be worth a dart throw.
Coby White (CHI) $5,800 vs. CHA
The Bulls will be sans Zach LaVine again on Thursday, leaving plenty of usage to go around. One player who has seen an uptick in recent games is Coby White. White has notched a 24 percent usage rate or greater in four out of his past five games. The second-year guard out of North Carolina has reached 5x value in three out of his past four games and should do so again against the Hornets. If you aren’t comfortable inserting White into your lineup, then the other White in Derrick White could be a viable alternative at the point guard spot.
Jakob Poeltl (SAS) $6,200 vs. DET
Along with White, another member of the San Antonio Spurs who has been getting consistent minutes is Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl has operated as the starting center for the Spurs since the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge. The Austrian big man has proven to be a decent piece for San Antonio — he has hit 5x value in his last three appearances. Poeltl should have no issues doing the same against the lowly Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
Patrick Williams (CHI) $4,000 vs. CHA
If you’ve read some of my previous pieces, you know that I just can’t seem to refrain from listing Patrick Williams. Williams is a perfect value play at small forward since he contributes steals and blocks worth three points apiece on FanDuel. With LaVine out again on Thursday, Williams could see more production on offense, making him a player worth taking a chance on at a cheap price of $4,000.
P.J. Washington (CHA) $6,500 at CHI
P.J. Washington has seen his role on the Hornets fluctuate throughout the regular season. With Hayward out, Charlotte has elected to insert Bridges and Jalen McDaniels into the starting lineup, making Washington the sixth man on the team. Washington has done well with his new role in the past two games, combining for 77.2 FD points. If Washington can record a few blocks or steals, he should have no trouble dominating the frontcourt of the Bulls on Thursday.
Brook Lopez (MIL) $4,700 vs. PHI
You’re undoubtedly going to want pieces from the clash between two of the best Eastern Conference squads in the 76ers and Bucks on Thursday night. While the expensive options will be popular, Brook Lopez could be a cheaper piece worth taking a flier on. Lopez is capable of contributing in multiple areas, which makes him valuable at $4,700 on FanDuel. However, if Lopez gets in foul trouble trying to guard Joel Embiid, you may have a problem.
Eric Bledsoe (NOP) $4,700 at ORL
The Pelicans are leaning on Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram more than ever with the injuries to Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Lonzo Ball has also dealt with injuries, forcing other guys into larger roles. While Eric Bledsoe doesn’t have a consistent role on the team, it’s hard not to take a stab at him for $4,700. The Magic have been the second-worst team to shooting guards this season, surrendering 44.49 FD points per game to the position.
Lauri Markkanen (CHI) $4,000 vs. CHA
It feels disgusting to list this many members of the Bulls, but with LaVine sidelined, multiple players have to pick up the slack. Aside from Nikola Vucevic, it’s hard to rely on anyone in Chicago’s frontcourt right now. But with the Bulls needing scoring from everyone, Lauri Markkanen could bring value to the power forward position. He is priced cheap at $4,000 and will face a Hornets squad that has given up the fifth-most points to power forwards in their past 30 outings.
Studs Worth Their Salary
Joel Embiid (PHI) $10,700 at MIL: Joel Embiid could easily end up being the most popular player to have on Thursday, and there isn’t much to argue on why he should be. There’s a chance that Ben Simmons is out for a third straight game, which would leave the majority of the offensive workload to funnel through Embiid. Even if Simmons is active, Embiid is rolling right now, posting 55-plus FD points in four consecutive games. On top of that, the Bucks have allowed 61.25 FD points per game to opposing centers in their past seven games, fourth-worst in the NBA in that span.
Zion Williamson (NOP) $9,800 at ORL: Stan Van Gundy has finally come to his senses and turned over the reins of the offense to Williamson. The second-year star has responded by averaging 29.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game since the All-Star break. Williamson does most of his damage in the paint, and the Magic don’t have anyone that can slow him down there. Williamson could score 50-plus FD points on Thursday.
Nikola Vucevic (CHI) $8,800 vs. CHA: If you’re someone who wants to avoid spending up for Embiid or don’t have the salary to get him, you can target Nikola Vucevic. In the four games that LaVine has missed for the Bulls, Vucevic has seen a whopping 31.4 percent usage percentage. Following a quiet outing against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday where he scored only 16 FD points, expect Vucevic to bounce back in a massive way against the Hornets.
Notable Players to Fade
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) $11,000 vs. PHI: Typically, I would say to insert Antetokounmpo into your lineups in marquee matchups. However, the do-it-all forward has been dealing with various injuries recently, and the Bucks have been cautious with his usage in recent games. Giannis has failed to hit 5x value at his current price in seven out of his last eight appearances. It’s hard to justify spending nearly 20 percent of my salary on a player who could be slightly limited on Thursday.
Devin Booker (PHO) $8,600 at BOS: Devin Booker is one of my favorite players to watch, and he’s historically fared well against the Boston Celtics in his career. But with the Phoenix Suns evolving into a playoff team with the arrival of Chris Paul, Booker isn’t relied on as much to do everything for the team. Booker has managed to achieve 5x value at his current salary just twice in his last nine outings. I don’t expect an explosive game from Booker in what is expected to be a slow-paced game versus the Celtics.
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