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FanDuel NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (5/13)

by Skyler Carlin | Featured Writer
May 13, 2021

Less than a week remains before the NBA’s play-in tournament, and we continue to see competitive games taking place across the league every night. As teams fight for playoff seeding, most teams continue to play their starters for regular minutes down the final stretch.

As a result, it’s helped people who play NBA DFS play most starters with confidence. Even the teams who have clinched a spot are playing their starters for regular minutes to ensure that their players are prepared for the grueling journey that will inevitably take shape in the postseason.

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Most Value Per Dollar

For the final Thursday of the regular season, we have been rewarded with a nice nine-game slate. Of the nine games on the docket, four of them feature expected totals of over 230 points. That includes a game that pits the Milwaukee Bucks against the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers haven’t been playing much defense recently, which should make players in that game popular. Elsewhere, the Kings and Grizzlies could get overlooked, especially if certain players are ruled out. That could create a few nice value options.

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.

Facundo Campazzo (DEN) $5,600 at MIN
Amid the injuries to Jamal Murray, Will Barton, and Monte Morris, the Denver Nuggets have leaned on Facundo Campazzo to be their starting point guard. Campazzo has done well in relief of the ailing members of the Nuggets, and he’ll need to continue playing at a high level due to Murray’s injury. The 30-year-old rookie has hit 5x value at his current price in four out of his last five games, and he draws the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, who play at the league’s fourth-fastest pace.

Gary Trent Jr. (TOR) $4,900 at CHI
Toronto’s matchup with Chicago could feature quite a few value options due to players sitting out. The Raptors are sitting Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Chris Boucher on Thursday. That leaves plenty of usage to go around for guys like Gary Trent Jr., who is in a contract year. Trent will likely see 30-plus minutes at the low price of $4,900, and he saw a 25 percent usage percentage in Toronto’s previous game without Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, and Siakam.

Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) $6,000 vs. SAC
The Grizzlies have gotten Jaren Jackson back at the perfect time, as they’ll be taking part in the play-in tournament. Jackson hasn’t taken part in back-to-backs as he continues to recover from an injury, but he makes the most of his minutes when he does play. Jackson has returned 5x value in his previous three games despite logging 27 or fewer minutes in each. The former first-round pick should have no trouble being productive against a Kings squad that could be without Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley in the frontcourt.

Maurice Harkless (SAC) $5,000 at MEM
Sacramento doesn’t have anything to play for anymore, allowing them to give more minutes to other players down the stretch. One player who has made the most of his opportunities recently is Maurice Harkless. Harkless has bounced around multiple teams in his career, but he may have found a place to call home on the Kings. The veteran forward has played in 33-plus minutes in three out of his past four appearances, and he’s contributed 10 steals/blocks in that span, which has allowed him to hit 5x value in all four games.

Dillon Brooks (MEM) $5,600 vs. SAC
Along with Jackson, Dillon Brooks is starting to heat up at the perfect time. Brooks has recorded 35-plus FD points in back-to-back contests against the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans. After his two stellar outings, Brooks now gets a chance to be part of a fast-paced matchup with the Kings, which features the eighth and ninth-fastest teams in the NBA. As long as he gets his usual 30-plus minutes, Brooks should have no trouble giving us valuable production at the shooting guard position.

Jalen Harris (TOR) $4,000 at CHI
Given the Raptors’ current situation, most people will probably gravitate toward inserting Malachi Flynn into their lineups. While Flynn has been a decent value option in the past two games, Jalen Harris has compiled similar production for $1,500 less on FanDuel. Harris has played the same amount of minutes as Flynn in the last two games (54), and he’s returned 5x value in both of those games.

Brook Lopez (MIL) $5,600 at IND
Playing centers against the Pacers has been a fruitful strategy throughout the season, so why stop now? Myles Turner remains out for Indiana, forcing Domantas Sabonis and Goga Bitadze to be the main defenders in the paint for the Pacers. Aside from the damage he does in the interior, Brook Lopez can stretch the floor, which could cause problems for Indiana. It should be a high-scoring affair between the Bucks and the Pacers, and Lopez is a decent way to get exposure to the game without using much of your salary.

Mikal Bridges (PHO) $5,600 vs. POR
Looking at who I’ve chosen as my favorite value plays on Thursday, it appears that I was a fan of players priced at $5,600 on FanDuel. Mikal Bridges is my fourth player priced at $5,600, and he gets an opportunity to face the Portland Trail Blazers, who are on the second leg of a back-to-back. Bridges has scored 15-plus points in six out of his last eight appearances, and he has accrued 26 steals/blocks in that same span, making him a worthy selection.

Chimezie Metu (SAC) $4,200 at MEM
In Sacramento’s last game, Chimezie Metu replaced Bagley in the starting lineup, and the USC product made the most of his start by logging 28 FD points in 29 minutes of action. At the time of writing, Bagley has been deemed doubtful to play on Thursday, which could set Metu up for another starter for the Kings. Metu could also benefit from Jonas Valuncianas sitting out for the Grizzlies. The center is currently questionable with a back ailment.

Aaron Gordon (DEN) $3,900 at MIN
There’s no doubt that Aaron Gordon has been a fine addition for the Nuggets this season, especially on the defensive end. While Gordon has given Denver a boost on defense, he contributes in areas that don’t always show up in the box score, which doesn’t bode well for NBA DFS gamers. However, Gordon will be in a pace-up game on Thursday against the Timberwolves, who are tied for fourth-worst in defensive efficiency this year. If you don’t trust Gordon, Freddie Gillespie and Xavier Tillman (if Valuncianas is ruled out) are other value plays at the power forward position.

Studs Worth Their Salary

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) $10,900 at IND: In recent weeks, Giannis Antetokounmpo has dealt with multiple injuries, causing him to miss a few games for the Bucks. But since his return six games ago, he has been his usual productive self. Giannis has notched 54-plus FD points in three out of his last six outings, but he should have no trouble getting that against a fast-paced Indiana team — even if he doesn’t get his usual allotment of minutes.
  2. Domantas Sabonis (IND) $10,500 vs. MIL: On the other side of the court, while the Bucks are positioned for a top-three finish in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers seem set for an appearance in the play-in tournament. Amid Malcolm Brogdon’s recent absence, Domantas Sabonis has taken his game to another level. Despite being priced at $10,500 on FanDuel, Sabonis has returned 5x value in four out of his last seven games. With Brogdon ruled out on Thursday, Sabonis is poised for a productive performance for Indiana.
  3. Chris Paul (PHO) $8,100 vs. POR: After listing two players above $10,000 in salary, Chris Paul is a nice option under $9,000 at the point guard position. Paul has been a relatively safe choice all season, and he has dished out double-digit assists in six out of his last eight contests. He has also accumulated 19 steals/blocks in those eight games as the Suns hope to keep their spot as the second seed in the Western Conference ahead of their matchup with the Trail Blazers.

Notable Players To Fade

  1. Zach LaVine (CHI) $8,600 vs. TOR: Zach LaVine has been remarkable for the Bulls this season, but Chicago could very well fall short of even reaching the play-in tournament. As he’s done his best to help the Bulls win, LaVine has eclipsed 40-plus FD points in his last three games. But on Thursday, he faces an extremely shorthanded Raptors team, and LaVine doesn’t contribute much to the box score other than points. While LaVine could have a decent game, other shooting guards can return better value for less salary.
  2. Kawhi Leonard (LAC) $8,200 at CHA: The Los Angeles Clippers are positioned for a possible deep run in the playoffs as they currently hold the three seed in the Western Conference. Even though the Nuggets are on their heels, the Clippers seem to be on cruise control right now, with Kawhi Leonard failing to reach 5x value at his current price in three out of his last five games. I’d much rather spend down for guys like Khris Middleton, Michael Porter Jr., or Bogdan Bogdanovic on Thursday.

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Skyler Carlin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Skyler, check out his archive and follow him @skyler_carlin.