Just your run-of-the-mill four-game Thursday slate with three of our teams on the second of back-to-backs (Celtics, Spurs, Pistons).
UPDATE: Adding Marcus Morris ($4700 FD) and Justin Jackson ($3900 FD). Luke Kennard ($3700 FD) as a punt play.
Just your run-of-the-mill four-game Thursday slate with three of our teams on the second of back-to-backs (Celtics, Spurs, Pistons). The Celtics-Heat matchup is our only game with an implied total under 220 featuring two defensive-minded teams and the two lowest implied team totals (Boston – 107, Miami – 105). The Pistons looked sluggish in their first of two west coast games against the Lakers last night and now head north to California’s capital to face the league’s second fastest pace team (the Kings). Most of today’s decision’s amongst the pricey options will lie within specific teams (to Westbrook or to PG13, to Griffin or to Drummond). And we’ll certainly see a bit of chalk on the red-hot Nikola Jokic against a Clippers’ squad who struggles against big men. I’m here to help you decipher and identify the best plays on a slate where there is little to no margin for error. Prices below listed for DK, FD and Y!.
Jamal Murray, Nuggets ($7,200, $7,300, $26) – Kicking things off with a guy who will fall under the radar today with many attempting to build with a stars-and-scrubs approach. Some positive regression due for a guy averaging just 31 minutes and shooting just .333 over his last three games. Murray sees closer to 40 minutes in competitive games and shoots much better at home this year (.460 home, .394 road). The defense of rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a spot I like attacking and we know Murray occasionally drops those high-ceiling games on us. He did so with 56.75 DKP against the Kings last week and almost 70 against the Suns the week prior. Keep him in mind for one of your sneaky Q builds.
Reggie Jackson, Pistons ($5,200, $5,500, $17) – A guy who barely whets the whistle or offers much excitement. But price does matter and we know you’ll get at least 20 FP from the guy. The Kings rank 26th in defensive efficiency against opposing point guards and backup Ish Smith is still not back yet. Not a play I’m super excited about, but any matchup against the fast-paced Kings is something we need to consider.
FADE?: Russell Westbrook, Thunder ($11,300, $12,100, $52) – We need to spend our money somewhere and one of the tougher calls today is Westy vs. his teammate Paul George. On FanDuel, a higher percentage of folks should lean George’s way since there are much fewer viable SF options there and he is a whopping $2,400 cheaper. George is also significantly cheaper on DK. Westbrook certainly won’t be low percentage on name brand alone, but he will be a bit more contrarian where most lineups will look to fit in George, Jokic and perhaps a Pistons’ big man where they can. You’re paying top dollar for Westbrook in an average matchup, but the man is averaging a triple-double per game and can drop a 70-spot in the blink of an eye.
YAHOO SPECIAL: Lou Williams, Clippers ($24) – If there’s one thing you may have noticed in my hoops game is that I usually time ceiling Sweet Lou and Harrell games very well. Williams is listed on Yahoo only because his price soared greatly on DK and FD following his big game the other day and because I never, ever go out of my way to play shooting guards against the defense of Gary Harris. Thing is, Harris isn’t at full strength and sat out the last game, but it may still be a maintenance thing as they’ve eased him back after injury. Harris will likely play, and Williams won’t always be on the court when Harris is, but it’s still something that keeps his ceiling in check. Williams is the priciest SG on Yahoo! and should see a good chunk of ownership there, but I’m not bending over backwards to play him today.
Jaylen Brown, Celtics ($4,200, $4,500) – Something tells me today’s GPP winners will be decided by random Celtics or Heat players. The Celtics are not a fun team to target in DFS as their rotation is less tight than other teams and they have a ton of guys who play between 20 and 30 minutes per game. Brown is still cheap on DK and FD and has topped 30 FP in three of his last four games, seeing the nearly 30 minutes in most of those games. Brown has a near 20 percent usage rate and comes off the bench against back-up defenders. Very volatile indeed, but if we can nail down the overperformers in this game, we’ll be counting oodles of dough at the end of the night. Not listed on Yahoo! since he’s $17 there and we have better options that in his price range.
De’Aaron Fox, Kings ($7,600, $8,600, $32) – If this game stays close, I’d expect Fox leads his squad in fantasy points and approaches that 50-point ceiling. Matchup with RJax is good, but it’s a pricey dollar amount on all three sites and I prefer Murray if I’m in that range.
You can also consider Derrick White and Bryn Forbes because they are cheap, but I don’t love either of them tonight.
Paul George, Thunder ($9,800, $9,700, $48) – He and Jokic should be two of the four most popular spend-ups today. Most will lean George over Westbrook because of the significant savings and because their box score results haven’t been all that different over the last few weeks. In fact, PG13 has outscored him on many occasions. Bottom line and what serves as the kicker tonight is that Rudy Gay and his tough defense appears to be out so having to deal with the defense of DeMar DeRozan and perhaps Davis Bertrans is a picnic in comparison.
Jerami Grant, Thunder ($5,400, $4,800, $19) – Very fair prices across the industry on Grant, who will likely avoid LaMarcus Aldridge as he mainly battles with Steven Adams (or so we hope). The Spurs are not the defense of old and they rank among the bottom five teams in defending power forwards. Assuming this is a close one, we may be privy to a Grant ceiling game (35-plus?) in 30-plus minutes of action with a few extra rebounds and likely some steals.
Paul Millsap, Nuggets ($6,300, $6,800, $21) – Very underpriced because he was slowly coming back from missing eight games with a broken toe. Millsap has played in six games since – mostly averaging 22 minutes in those early games but he reached 30 minutes of action (32.75 DKP) in his latest one against the Heat. Another 30 minutes and over a point-per-minute in this one if we expect the Clippers to keep it close in the high altitude.
Blake Griffin, Pistons ($9,200, $10,000, $3,900) – For the most part, I faded The Blake in his return to L.A. because I know a few folks in his inner circle (specifically, women who he’s hooked up with), and he has a TON of them back there. I assumed he’d be up all night before the Laker game and tired – nailed it, lol (as did he). Now up in Sac-town where the options to bed are slimmer, perhaps Griffin gets up for this one. He has been struggling lately, but there are very few better spots in hoops than PF’s against the Kings. Only wish his price had dropped a bit.
Josh Richardson, Heat ($6,500, $5,800, SG on Y! $21) – Holy shit, JRich is just 21 bucks on Yahoo? Well, a price reduction is what you get when you’ve been playing like crap. Matchup isn’t great but we should see a better effort here in what is expected to be a close game.
Bam Adebayo, Heat ($4,600, $4,800, C on Y! $14) – Interested in Adebayo tonight. He’s getting more run lately and averaging nearly 24 minutes over his six games, pushing Whiteside for playing time. A tough matchup indeed, but he serves as a fine punt option today to get the big boys in.
ALSO CONSIDER: Davis Bertrans, Spurs (on all three sites but primarily as SF punt/low-score drop on FD)
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets ($10,500, $11,000, $45) – This is the spot most will build around today. The Clippers rank fifth-worst in defending centers as their 58.8 FD points allowed to the position is the highest total on today’s slate. Jokic has been a machine, averaging over 60 DKP over his last 10 games. Very little more needs to be said. A tougher call on FD if you want to go with Drummond or some lower percentage options though.
Andre Drummond, Pistons ($9,100, $9,800, $34) – A solid 40.9 FDP last night and we’d expect him a higher floor than usual despite this being the second of a back-to-back as the Kings defense against centers is putrid (bottom-10; second worst on slate). My only reservation is that this is a Blake Game and it would be tough to play both. But it’s something you can do if you feel strongly about stacking this game in a Q or GPP and fading the others. His best value is on Yahoo!.
ALSO CONSIDER: Bam Adebayo ($14 on Y!), Daniel Theis ($11 on Y!), Marcin Gortat (if you think he plays at least 20 minutes)