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 six games, scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET.
Luka Doncic rates lower on a smaller slate but is always in play. I have a hard time getting away from Terry Rozier against the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is falling apart, and unless Garrett Temple is ready to play 35-plus minutes against Rozier, Rozier will eat as the alpha Hornets scorer. Since missing Charlotte’s April 13 game, Rozier has scored at least 40 fantasy points in each game on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Rozier is a top 10 point guard on FanDuel and has PG/SG eligibility on DraftKings.
Killian Hayes should get more run for Detroit after sitting out last night’s game. Cory Joseph returned from Bronchitis and played well for the Pistons last night, but I doubt he plays as he continues to recover from the virus. Detroit has little to play for and will play their younger talent as often as possible. Hayes projects for 2-4% ownership on FanDuel and will only take $4,400 of your salary. He is cheaper on DraftKings at $4,200.
The Spurs tandem of Derrick White and Dejounte Murray are top 10 plays on both sites, a common theme when San Antonio plays. If any veteran Spurs sit against the struggling Pistons, these two could easily lead the team in fantasy points.
Cole Anthony is the top overall rated player on both sites according to the NBA Model. His play to start the second half of the season has been fantastic after dealing with injuries to start his rookie season. He leads the position in Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and has the best point guard matchup using Opponent Plus/Minus. Sorry, Lonzo Ball.
Jrue Holiday could be in for a bigger fantasy day if Ben Simmons misses his second consecutive game will a non-COVID illness.
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If DeMar DeRozan winds up sitting for the Spurs in the second of a back-to-back, the position is bereft of elite options on FanDuel and is saved by dual eligibility on DraftKings. Josh Jackson, Devonte’ Graham and Jalen Brunson all stand out.
Jackson has the minutes and usage rate that make his price tag a value. Graham’s shot has not been falling, but with the way Rozier is shooting, Graham’s assist totals have a safe floor. Brunson has been invaluable all season for the Mavericks with their bigs missing time. Maxi Kleber was injured last night and will more than likely sit in their back-to-back. Nicola Melli also stands to benefit for the Mavs against the Lakers in a situation I will explain later, but Brunson has been dependable to say the least.
Seth Curry sat out Wednesday as part of his recovery, so I expect him to suit up against Milwaukee. Ben Simmons’ status looms large on Curry being a value. He sits outside the top 10 FanDuel shooting guards on the NBA Model, but if Simmons is out again, I expect him to jump in the rankings.
Devin Booker has not been worth his price for the majority of April. His shooting percentage is down, he is not hitting threes at the rate you would want a volume shooter of his talent should, and he will see a lot of Marcus Smart against Boston.
Eric Bledsoe has an 82% Bargain Rating on FanDuel for a reason: He has been awful, and his salary is dropping as a result. Hard pass on the veteran.
Dwayne Bacon saw his minutes jump to around 30 with Terrance Ross out with back issues. Ross has been upgraded to questionable for their game against New Orleans. I would imagine the youth movement helps Bacon maintain elevated minutes even if Ross returns, but it is not a good thing if Bacon exits the Magic starting lineup.
I like paying up for Brandon Ingram against James Ennis and the Orlando Magic. The Pelicans have the second-highest projected team total, and their game against the Magic has the highest total on the slate. Ingram’s point projection is top 10 overall on both sites.
Mikal Bridges could be in for a boost in production with Jaylen Brown doubtful for the Celtics. Bridges has played at least 30 minutes in seven of 11 games in April. His is the top rated small forward on DraftKings and top five on FanDuel.
Miles Bridges against Patrick Williams is going to be fun, and I expect Bridges to get the better of the rookie. Williams is best offensively as a slasher, much like Bridges, but as we have seen, Miles has no regard for human life when he drives to the basket. Williams pops in the NBA Model because of his defense and has a 10-game steals streak.
The biggest beneficiary of Eric Bledsoe’s poor play has been Naji Marshall. He has been playing late in games over Bledsoe and gives the Pelicans more size, something they need against Orlando’s frontcourt.
Thursday is one of those nights where fading Khris Middleton is easy. He has been awful shooting the ball with and without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup. The secondary stats are maintaining his floor, but if Tobias Harris and Simmons play tonight for the 76ers, he could be in for a long night.
The big news of the day is the potential return of Anthony Davis. It is difficult to pay up for him after sitting out for over two months, but this is great news for DFS players and matters for roster construction. Markieff Morris is now no longer an option and Kyle Kuzma will lose minutes at power forward.
Give me all the Zion Williamson against Orlando. Give me Tobias Harris if he plays, especially if Jayson Tatum is out for Boston. I think these are easy pay ups and players that should be atop scoring at power forward.
Cameron Johnson stands out as a top value with Jae Crowder exiting last night’s game with an ankle injury. He topped double digit shots for the second time this month Wednesday and is going to shoot from three often. He also played 30 minutes because of the injury. He is $3,800 on FanDuel (as a small forward) and $3,500 on DraftKings.
P.J. Washington should continue his hot streak against the Bulls tonight. Nikola Vucevic and Lauri Markkanen routinely hang up the ‘Not Interested’ sign on defense, and Washington has had big days against Portland and New York this week, better teams defensively in the paint. If his projected ownership continues to stay under 10% closer to lock, he will be in all my lineups.
There is a realistic chance Mason Plumlee sits for Detroit. If he does, Isaiah Stewart to the moon!
Nikola Vucevic was shut down by the Cavaliers last night and may see a similar game plan tonight by Charlotte. It still does not keep me away from him because I also think the Cavs have a better frontcourt than Charlotte. Vucevic has 14 (!) Pro Trends on FanDuel, tops among all players, and 11 on DraftKings, tied for the most. He also boasts an 87% Bargain Rating and is going to be a popular option that is not Joel Embiid.
I do not like paying down at center for this slate. Jakob Poeltl is around the $6,000 range on both sites and has the best center matchup using Opponent Plus/Minus. If Stewart plays and Plumlee sits for Detroit, I will not play Poeltl.
Deandre Ayton should bounce back against Tristan Thompson and the Celtics. He rightfully looked bad against Joel Embiid, and Thompson is tiers below Ayton in terms of athleticism. Ayton is one of the best center plays in terms of Leverage and Bargain Rating on DraftKings.
Andre Drummond is a top play on both sites, but I have concerns with his toe injury. Even when he has been in the lineup and cleared to play, he looks slow and cautious. He also has been battling the injury while trying to get used to game speed after a lengthy layoff. Anthony Davis’ return will go a long way to relieving some pressure on both sides of the floor, but I find it difficult to play him against Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavericks.