FanDuel NBA DFS Strategy Advice: Thursday (5/6)
It’s Thursday again, which means it’s time for me to do my best to find the best value plays on FanDuel’s NBA DFS slate. Until the end of the season, I’ll continue to preach that being able to find the popular value plays is vital in having success at this point in the season.
Injury news that gets released throughout the day can alter our way of thinking for a certain slate, so keep that in mind as you do research earlier in the day. If you have any questions or you are having trouble putting together a lineup, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter @skyler_carlin, and I’ll attempt to help you as much as I possibly can.
Most Value Per Dollar
As we embark on Thursday’s schedule of NBA games, we are treated with a seven-game slate that features teams who are still trying to vie for a playoff spot. That means we should get some close, high-scoring contests that could result in high-scoring lineups on FanDuel.
There is plenty of star talent on Thursday’s slate, with guys like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Luka Doncic likely being popular choices in their matchup against one another. Given how unstoppable he’s been in the past month, Stephen Curry will also be a popular pick as he squares off with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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.
LaMelo Ball (CHA) $7,500 vs. CHI
I usually refrain from naming players above $7,000 in salary as so-called “value plays,” but LaMelo Ball seems slightly underpriced given the situation of the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are without Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges, leaving the majority of the ball-handling duties to Ball and Terry Rozier. Ball gets to take part in a pace-up game versus the Chicago Bulls as the Hornets hope to hold onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Caleb Martin (CHA) $5,000 vs. CHI
Yes, P.J. Washington is set to return to the lineup for Charlotte on Thursday. But that doesn’t mean that Caleb Martin didn’t earn himself some minutes at small forward in his last outing. With Bridges and Washington out, Martin posted 34 FD points at minimum price. FanDuel has raised his price to $5,000, but that shouldn’t prevent him from hitting 5x value as he should get a decent number of minutes against the Bulls.
Isaiah Stewart (DET) $5,800 vs. MEM
In recent weeks, I’ve had tons of success in NBA DFS by targeting value players on the Detroit Pistons. Detroit is resting a ton of players due to them having nothing to play for, leaving us with a few players to use at their current prices. Isaiah Stewart has been a popular pick recently, and the Pistons are going to be without Mason Plumlee again on Thursday. While the Memphis Grizzlies aren’t awful against power forwards, Stewart has been playing the center position, which is a position that the Grizzlies have surrendered 56.5 FD points per game to (fourth-most in the NBA).
Dwight Powell (DAL) $4,900 vs. BKN
As previously mentioned, I think grabbing pieces from the showdown between the Nets and the Mavericks is going to be commonplace on Thursday. One way to get exposure to the game, and for cheap, is to insert Dwight Powell at the center position. The Mavericks are going to be without Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber for the second straight game. Powell has combined for 71.9 FD points in his past two games as he has seen his minutes increased.
Darius Bazley (OKC) $6,500 at GSW
There haven’t been many positives for Oklahoma City this season, besides the emergence of Darius Bazley. The Thunder could be down a few of their starters on Thursday, and Bazley has been one of their go-to scorers in recent games. Bazley also gets a major pace-up game against the Golden State Warriors, who he scored 22 points against less than a month ago. If you have the salary, you could go up from Bazley to Draymond Green in the same game.
Saddiq Bey (DET) $6,400 vs. MEM
When the Pistons faced the Hornets on Tuesday, we witnessed Hamidou Diallo take over as the primary scorer for Detroit. Like other roster members, Diallo is expected to be absent on Thursday, which sets up multiple players for larger workloads on the court. Saddiq Bey struggled with his shot on Tuesday, making just two of his 12 shot attempts, which could cause people to avoid him. While he’s nearly priced at his ceiling, Bey shouldn’t have much trouble against a Grizzlies squad that struggles against small forwards.
Terry Rozier (CHA) $6,200 vs. CHI
It felt extremely disgusting listing three members of the Hornets on this list, but someone has to score for them, right? Charlotte is fighting for a playoff spot, and they are experiencing injuries to marquee players on their roster. The Hornets haven’t gotten many contributions from their bench recently, which puts the honus on guys like Terry Rozier to perform. Rozier has scored fewer than 30 FD points in back-to-back games. However, his scoring will be desperately needed versus a Bulls team that is expected to get Zach LaVine back.
Desmond Bane (MEM) $4,800 at DET
If the season were to end today, the Grizzlies would edge out the Warriors as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, giving them a chance to play in the play-in tournament. In the past two games, Desmond Bane has stepped up for Memphis, notching two consecutive games of 30+ FD points. At the cheap price of $4,800, Bane could see 30+ minutes against the Pistons, especially if Grayson Allen is forced to miss the contest due to an abdomen injury he suffered on Wednesday.
Khem Birch (TOR) $5,800 vs. WAS
Khem Birch made some noise early in his tenure with the Toronto Raptors as he became a popular player in lineups due to his ability to contribute in multiple areas. But with the Raptors getting Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam back healthy in recent weeks, Birch’s role has declined a bit. Luckily for Birch, if there’s going to be a game he explodes again, it will be Thursday against a Washington Wizards team that is on a back-to-back, and that has failed to slow down centers this season.
Alex Caruso (LAL) $3,900 at LAC
Things have certainly gone awry for the Los Angeles Lakers this season after it appeared they had a clear shot at repeating as champions. LeBron James and Dennis Schroder will remain sidelined for the Lakers, and Talen Horton-Tucker could possibly be ruled out versus the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night. With the Lakers needing someone to operate the offense, Alex Caruso could see a massive uptick in usage at the cheap price of $3,900. Caruso is a nice salary relief option that allows you to fit in some of the high-priced studs.
Studs Worth Their Salary
Russell Westbrook (WAS) $11,600 at TOR: Speaking of studs, there haven’t been many players playing at the level that Russell Westbrook has in the past month or so. Westbrook is producing triple-double after triple-double as the Wizards have made an improbable playoff run in recent weeks. While Washington still needs to win more games to sneak into the postseason, Westbrook will need to continue playing at an elite level versus the Raptors. Westbrook has totaled 70+ FD points in three straight games for Washington.
Kevin Durant (BKN) $10,600 at DAL: Kevin Durant has shown that he’s still one of the best players in the league while the Nets continue to deal with life without James Harden. Both Durant and Kyrie Irving have shouldered the offensive workload, with Durant scoring 32+ points in four out of his last five outings. Even with Porzingis out for the Mavericks, which could lead to a blowout for Brooklyn, Durant should continue his dominant tear for the Nets.
Stephen Curry (GSW) $9,900 vs. OKC: It is mind-boggling as to how Curry isn’t priced over $10,000 on FanDuel right now. The three-point sniper has been unstoppable for the Warriors, and he draws the lowly Thunder on Thursday. Some may believe that Golden State could defeat Oklahoma City in a lopsided manner, but that would happen only if Curry scores in bunches. Just last month, Curry recorded 42 points, six rebounds, and eight assists for 61.2 FD points versus the Thunder in only 29 minutes played. He won’t need much time to hit 5x value on Thursday.
Notable Players To Fade
Paul George (LAC) $8,800 vs. LAL: The matchup between the Clippers and the Lakers would have been an exciting one to watch if the Lakers were at full strength. But without James and Schroder, the Lakers are leaning on Anthony Davis on the offensive end. As for the Clippers, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are the catalysts on the offensive end. But in what is expected to be a low-scoring, defensive game versus the Lakers, neither George nor Leonard are very enticing options at $8,800 on FanDuel. If I was forced to choose between the two, I’d side with Leonard.
Jonas Valanciunas (MEM) $8,100 at DET: The center position is going to be an interesting position on Thursday as it could be contrarian to spend up at the lone center spot. If someone spends up, it could be for Jonas Valanciunas against the shorthanded Pistons. While Valuncianas should have success down low, it’s hard to pay over $8,000 for the Lithuanian big man. While he has the birthday narrative going for him, Valuncianas has failed to hit 5x value at his current price in six out of his last nine appearances. There are much better ways to spend your salary 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.