NBA DFS Primer: Thursday (1/13)
I rarely get excited about individual slates, but this one fascinates me. We have some of the best teams in action and some of the best superstars in the league taking the floor. We have just as many on the sidelines, though, and it’s going to make things interesting on such a short card.
The injury report is usually minuscule when we have a five-game slate, but this one is crazy. It looks more like an All-Star roster than an injury report, and it’s going to lead to some chaos. It also leaves us with a ton of value, though, so let’s get started with the schedule and odds!
Schedule and Odds
- GSW at MIL (MIL -3) O/U: 223.5
- LAC at NOP (NOP -3) O/U: 215.5
- MIN at MEM (MEM -5) O/U: 230
- OKC at BKN (BKN -11) O/U: 215.5
- POR at DEN (DEN -8) O/U: 215.5
- Draymond Green (calf) OUT
- Jrue Holiday (ankle) Questionable
- Brook Lopez (back) OUT
- Paul George (elbow) OUT
- Kawhi Leonard (knee) OUT
- Luke Kennard (COVID) OUT
- Zion Williamson (foot) OUT
- Dillon Brooks (ankle) OUT
- Steven Adams (COVID) Questionable
- James Harden (ankle) Questionable
- Kyrie Irving (vaccine) OUT
- LaMarcus Aldridge (foot) Questionable
- Damian Lillard (abductor) OUT
- C.J. McCollum (baby) OUT
- Larry Nance Jr (COVID) OUT
- Norman Powell (COVID) OUT
- Will Barton (COVID) Questionable
- Jamal Murray (knee) OUT
- Michael Porter Jr (back) OUT
Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – MIL): $12,300 DraftKings, $11,300 FanDuel
Giannis is always one of the favorites for MVP, and it’s easy to see why in his fantasy production. The Greek Freak ranks second in the NBA with 57 DraftKings points per game, dropping at least 38 DK points in all but two games this season. He’s been even better recently, scoring at least 52 fantasy points in five straight fixtures, en route to a 61-point average in that span.
Ja Morant (PG – MEM): $9,200 DraftKings, $9,700 FanDuel
Morant has Memphis amid a 10-game winning streak, and it’s no surprise when looking at Ja’s jaw-dropping numbers. The feisty point guard has at least 42 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games, averaging 51 DK points per game in that span. We love all of that, with Morant posting a 38-point average in his two meetings with Minnesota this season.
Anfernee Simons (PG – POR): $7,300 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel
Simons is in full-on breakout mode, and Portland needs him to keep doing that with Lillard, McCollum, and Powell all out for this game. That has allowed ANT to score at least 31 fantasy points in five straight games, dropping 45-plus in four of those. That means his price needs a bump, and it’s just a matter of time if this form continues. Not to mention, Denver has one of the worst backcourts in the NBA.
UPDATE: Simons has been ruled out for personal reasons. This should force Dennis Smith Jr into the start, making him one of the best values out there.
Cash Game Considerations
Nikola Jokic (C – DEN): $12,500 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel
Jokic took down MVP honors with his absurd 2020-21 numbers, and his statistics look almost better this year. In fact, the big man leads the NBA with 59 DK points per game, scoring at least 41 fantasy points in all but one game this season. That makes him the clear-cut best cash game option in fantasy, especially since he faces a 29th-ranked Portland defense here.
Josh Hart (SG/SG – NOP): $6,800 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel
Hart has been a consistency monster, and it’s hard to understand why he remains below $7K. The versatile wing has scored at least 32 DK points in 12 of his last 14 games, providing a 37-point average in that stretch. Those are ridiculous numbers from such an affordable player, and it should continue with the way this guy stuffs the stat sheet. He’s crushed the Clippers this season, too, averaging 39 DraftKings points per game in their two meetings.
Patrick Beverley (PG – MIN): $5,300DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel
This is one of the most baffling prices out there. PB has been playing at a $7K level for weeks now, scoring at least 23 DK points in 11 straight outings. He’s also got a 32-point average in that span as well, posting similar averages to Hart. All of that makes this price tag mind-boggling, particularly with Memphis owning a 25th OPRK against opposing point guards.
Reggie Jackson (PG – LAC): $6,000 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
Volume shooters are always GPP options, and R-Jax is just that. What’s given him so much volume are the injuries in LA, with the Clippers missing PG13, Kawhi and Kennard. That has allowed Jackson to attempt double-digit shots in all but two games this season, averaging over 16 shots a night. That alone makes him a good value, with Reggie registering a 29-point average. We expect 29 DK points to be the floor here, with New Orleans ranked 24th in defensive efficiency while surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing ball-handlers.
Aaron Gordon (PF – DEN): $5,800 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel
AG was in my Tuesday article, and it was one of my better calls of the season. We anticipated a usage bump with Murray, Porter, and Barton all out, and he rewarded us with 46.5 DK points. That was easily his best game of the season, and it’s clear he’s going to be asked to do more with so many players missing. We adore the matchup with Portland, too, with the Trail Blazers ranked 26th in points allowed and 29th in defensive efficiency.
Kevon Looney (C – GS): $4,700 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel
I missed on Looney in Tuesday’s article, but we’re going right back to the well. The simple fact is, this guy has a 40-point upside on any given night. The absence of Draymond Green is the main reason we’re willing to take this GPP risk, with Loon dropping 42 DK points across 29 minutes in Sunday’s game without Green. If he can duplicate that at this price, you’ve stumbled into one of the best values of the day!
Amir Coffey (SF – LAC): $5,200 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel
We just mentioned how many players the Clippers are missing, making Coffey a tasty option. The wing has played 76 combined minutes over the last two games without those guys, providing 77.5 DraftKings points. Those are unbelievable numbers from such a cheap player, and it looks like LA needs him to play every minute possible with so many wings on the sidelines.
Monte Morris (PG – DEN): $4,900 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
Morris has been a slight disappointment, but this price remains too affordable. We’re still talking about a point guard playing 30 minutes a night. He’s been a $6K player in this role in the past, and it’s just a matter of time before he returns to that level. A matchup with Portland is an excellent way to get him going, with the Trail Blazers surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing point guards.
Ivica Zubac (C – LAC): $4,400 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
Zoo was a disaster in DFS on Tuesday, but foul trouble can do that to some big men. In any case, he’s too good to be sitting below $5K, averaging 24 DraftKings points per game for the season. That total is enough incentive to use him, but we love his 27-point average in the seven games before that foul-riddled dud on Tuesday. The matchup with New Orleans is the icing on the cake, though, owning a 21st OPRK against opposing centers while posting the disastrous defensive averages mentioned in the previous write-ups.
- Patrick Beverley (PG – MIN): $5,300DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel
- De’Anthony Melton (PG/SG – MEM): $4,400 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel
- Jaden McDaniels (PF – MIN): $3,700 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
- Jonas Valanciunas (C – NOP): $8,600 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
- Herert Jones (PF – NOP): $4,900 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
- Kyrie Irving (PG/SG – BKN):$9,300 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
- Darius Bazley (PF – OKC): $4,300 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
- Jeff Green (SF/PF – DEN): $3,500 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel