The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Thursday’s slate features a small, 5-game card that’s scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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Luka Dončić, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard are the most expensive option on FanDuel and top-five options, according to our FantasyLabs NBA Model. Dončić stands out as a triple-double threat; Irving as the alpha dog; while, Kevin Durant is out, while Lillard is the top option based on price. The $1,900 price difference between Dame and Dončić is significant since Lillard is only averaging six less FanDuel points per game. Portland is also projected to score the most points in Thursday’s game.
Tyus Jones has scored at least 26 FanDuel points in five of his last six games, and will continue to see around 30 minutes per game with Ja Morant sidelined. His Projected Plus/Minus is at 2.0 against the Cavaliers point guard position, but could be rise if Collin Sexton misses the second of a back-to-back with an ankle injury.
Dejounte Murray remains in my player pool with Derrick White out. He leads the point-guard position, with an 86% Leverage Score and is projected to play 30 minutes once again. The Los Angeles Lakers are 7.5-point favorites over the Spurs, so there is the risk that the Lakers pull away and Murray sits to limit his minutes in a potential blowout.
The other easy exposure to the Trail Blazers-Timberwolves game is CJ McCollum. He is second among shooting guards with 10 Pro Trends, trailing opponent Malik Beasley for the title this evening. I would rather be caught playing McCollum when he flops than not see around 40-plus fantasy points next to his name.
Seth Curry is underpriced at $5,000 in my opinion. He is nowhere near the household name on the 76ers roster, but his field-goal attempt floor is seven. Curry has attempted 11 or more shots in four of the past five games.
Dennis Schroder and Dillon Brooks continue to see their Usage Rates and time on the floor at more than 25 minutes. Schroder is the top-rated shooting guard, while Brooks gets the Cavaliers and their battered guard depth.
LeBron James remains the most expensive option despite being day-to-day with a sore ankle. It has not slowed him down, because he has 50 or more FanDuel points in four of his past five games; he had 48 in his lone game under 50 fantasy points. His price tag also makes him the highest projected owned small forward on the slate.
Danny Green has three consecutive games with double-digit points and saw his Usage Rate reach 20% for the first time this season over that stretch. The 76ers have the scoring depth to competes with the Brooklyn Nets and should see an uptick in possessions; the Nets allow a 1.6 Pace Differential. Green is on a heater and could represent a value if you choose to not play teammate Tobias Harris.
Cedi Osman is as hot and cold as they come from a scoring aspect, but he has been filling the stat sheet. He will need to have around four rebounds and assists to go with double-digit points to return value at $5,200 because I cannot expect Osman to get 2-3 steals per game. I think if Sexton misses tonight Osman’s ownership will jump.
Anthony Davis will be a game-time decision, making Larry Nance Jr. and LaMarcus Aldridge the “studs” at the position. Aldridge played well in his return to action after a three-game absence, but it is unknown if his minutes will move closer to 30 in the second of a back-to-back. Nance has at least one steal in each game this year, adding to a safe floor with his rebounds and assists fluctuating.
After nearly matching Naz Reid in minutes and FanDuel points per game, Juan Hernangomez blew him out of the water, dominating the power forward minutes for Minnesota Tuesday night. Hernangomez may not put up another 40-point effort against Robert Covington and the defensive-minded fours of Portland, but 30 points at $4,200 sounds great at a weak position tonight. Reid is not out of the picture yet for the Wolves and could sneak in more playing time tonight if Hernangomez struggles.
If Davis is out tonight, Kyle Kuzma would be a lock for another 30-minute game. His streaky three-point shooting will make or break his value if given a chance without Davis.
Nikola Jokic did not post a triple double in his latest game against Minnesota, instead settling for a 35-15 double-double. Needless to say, He is locked and loaded.
Joel Embiid’s recent uptick in assists has buoyed a couple of lower scoring totals but is a clear offensive focal point for the 76ers. Of the three expensive options at center Embiid rates the highest, followed by Andre Drummond and Jokic. We project all three to have around 9-12% ownership.
Jonas Valanciunas and Jusuf Nurkic continue to be priced well under the star centers because of the competition they face on their own team. Valanciunas has been seeing time go to Gorgui Dieng, while Nurkuc has been seceding time to Enes Kanter when Portland needs a consistent offensive presence. Both are coming off productive games and if you want to fade the expensive options, these two can be serviceable. I would lean Valanciunas because of his consistency (28.5 FanDuel PPG floor).
Montrezl Harrell is another Laker who would benefit from AD missing Thursday’s game and would easily carry less ownership than the five players mentioned above.
Ed Davis of Minnesota has a disastrous floor and is priced as such but gets a matchup against a Portland defense allowing a 2.32 Plus/Minus to opposing centers. That rates above Harrell and Jokic.
Jarrett Allen has officially surpassed DeAndre Jordan in playing time and production. His salary has jumped $600 on FanDuel over the past week.