Thursday features a small four-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and metrics.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.
NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
Four of the highest-priced players on DraftKings are point-guard eligible, but Luka Doncic remains in a class of his own. Priced at $12,500 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Doncic has the highest ceiling on the slate. Through 10 games, Doncic is averaging a career-high 34.8 points per game while shooting 50% from the field. He leads the lead with a 39.5% usage rate, which is an insane figure.
The main addition for the Mavericks this offseason was Christian Wood, but he isn’t playing tonight. Doncic will have the ball in his hands, directing the offense on nearly every offensive possession. This is a back-to-back, as Doncic scored a season-low 24 points last night while shooting 9 of 24 from the field. Expect a bounce-back performance for a player who has yet to score below 50 DraftKings points in any game this season.
De’Anthony Melton isn’t quite the value he used to be, but with James Harden out due to injury, Melton is still worth getting exposure to in tournaments. Melton has the highest projected Plus/Minus for all positions on FanDuel and the third-highest on DraftKings. Melton is averaging double-digit field goal attempts and over 30 DraftKings points per game in four games as a starter. His salary has risen, but Melton is still a strong play on this four-game slate.
In six of his last seven games, Melton has returned a positive Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. There are plenty of guards to play on this slate, so there is a good chance that Melton will go under the radar. However, Melton has been playing more than 30 minutes per game recently and can get it cooking from deep. Over half of Melton’s field goal attempts have come from behind the arc this season, which bodes well for this uptempo game.
One of the toughest decisions on the slate will be between Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Young is $100 more than Murray on DraftKings but -$1,100 cheaper on FanDuel. However, Young’s game better suits DraftKings as he is attempting a career-high 23.3 field goals per game this season. Despite the addition of Murray to the Hawks’ backcourt, Young is still averaging 9.4 assists and has five double-doubles in his 10 games.
Murray has been fantastic on both ends of the court, averaging a career-high in points, steals, and blocks this season. His triple-double upside is best utilized on FanDuel, especially with his defensive statistics. The Hawks are 1.5-point home favorites against the 76ers. Even though the 76ers play at the second-slowest Pace in the league, this game total is 222.5 points.
Both Young and Murray are great tournament options to differentiate from Doncic.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
Since returning from injury, Brandon Ingram has averaged 37 minutes per game over the last three games and has shot over 20 field goal attempts in back-to-back games. Despite the Pelicans being low-key loaded with talent this season, Ingram isn’t afraid of looking for his shot. Due to the small slate, Ingram’s price has shot up as he is best utilized in a balanced lineup build. He still has plenty of upside, especially in this matchup against the Trail Blazers.
The Pelicans have a slate-high 115.75 implied total as they are 6.5-point home favorites. Surprisingly, the Trail Blazers have an 8-3 record, but their only three losses are against the Suns, Heat, and Grizzlies. They play at the third-slowest Pace, but the Pelicans have hit the over in eight of their first 11 games. This is a team worth getting exposure to, and Ingram may be the best option.
Will Barton has not been great with the extra opportunity he has been given with Bradley Beal out, but he will get another chance tonight at a very reasonable salary on both sites. In his first season with the Wizards, Barton is averaging 8.8 points per game with very low peripherals. He is shooting 38.9% from the field with a career-low 19% usage rate. Barton will continue coming off the bench but is worth a flier on this small slate.
Over the last two games, Barton has taken double-digit field goal attempts with an increased usage rate. He still leads the second unit, giving the 31-year-old veteran some appeal on a slate without much value.
Since returning from injury, Terry Rozier has had three-straight games where he has attempted 20 or more field goals. With LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward out, the Hornets’ offense will run through Rozier. He leads the team in scoring, averaging a career-high 21.8 points and six assists per game. The Hornets are double-digit road underdogs, but Rozier is worth a flier mainly due to his high usage rate and upside.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
The stud options for the small forward position on this four-game slate are very weak, but Tobias Harris stands out as the best option. Harris has increased his production drastically since James Harden went down with an injury. Using our On/Off tool, Harris had a team-high +1.9% usage rate bump with Harden off the floor last season.
Over the last two games without Harden, Harris has scored over 20 points and over 40 DraftKings points in each. His field goal attempts have increased in each game, and he has narrowly missed a double-double with rebounds. Embiid is back and will likely draw plenty of attention, but Harris should remain involved offensively.
Mostly on the floor for his tenacious defense, De’Andre Hunter has been the third leading scorer for the Hawks this season, averaging a career-high 15.1 points per game. Opportunities are tough to come by playing alongside Young and Murray, but Hunter has scored double-digit points in every game this season. He has also seen an uptick in playing time, so if Hunter is going to play over 30 minutes like our Tournament Model suggests, he will be a great value.
Being priced under $5,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Hunter is popping as one of the best values on this small slate. Hunter is scoring the ball well and has shot a career-high 48.5% from the field while attempting over four 3-pointers per game. Hunter is a cheap way to get exposure to this Hawks’ offense.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is another strong mid-range value option at the forward position, as he will also benefit from playing without Ball and Hayward. Rozier has a 30.9% usage rate this season, but Oubre Jr. isn’t too far behind with a career-high 25.9% rate while attempting 15.8 field goal attempts per game. There isn’t much to like from this Hornets team with a 102.5 implied total, but Rozier and Oubre Jr. are players worth considering.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
After missing back-to-back games, Jimmy Butler returned to action on Monday, playing 33 minutes and scoring nearly 50 DraftKings points. Tyler Herro is questionable after missing the last game, which will boost the ceiling for Butler if he can’t play. Butler increased his usage and rebounding in 11 games without Herro last season. With or without Herro tonight, Butler still has the highest ceiling at the power forward position.
The Heat are double-digit home favorites implied for 113 points, the second-highest on the slate. Last season the Hornets tied for fifth in Pace and were 22nd in Defensive Rating. Those numbers are a little different without Ball running the point, but they still like to push the tempo and allow 113.1 points per game.
The cheapest player in this article worth getting exposure to is Maxi Kleber. With Wood out, Kleber will get a bump in usage with the Mavericks’ second unit. Kleber is coming off a season-high 33 minutes last game as he has back-to-back games with a positive FanDuel Plus/Minus. It may not be pretty, but at $3,400 on DraftKings and $3,700 on FanDuel, Kleber is a great salary saver, especially when pairing him with Doncic.
Where Kleber can excel in this matchup is from the perimeter. With 65% of his field goal attempts coming from behind the arc, Kleber only has to make a few and grab a couple of rebounds to return value at his cheap salary. The Wizards are allowing opponents to shoot 38.2% from behind the arc, which ranks as the fourth-highest in the league this season.
Zion Williamson was right behind Butler in ceiling projection. Given how boom or bust he has been this season, he makes for a very strong tournament play. Williamson has a few games where he is heavily involved in the offense shooting 20+ times and being a monster on the glass. However, he also has games where he defers to Ingram and McCollum, so it is tough to know what to expect tonight. The fact that he only has one double-double this season is a little concerning, but we all know the upside is there on any given night.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Outside of Doncic, Joel Embiid is the obvious pay-up option on this four-game slate. After missing three-straight games, Embiid returned and poured in his fourth double-double of the season against the Suns, scoring 33 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He made all 16 of his free throws on his way to a 55-point DraftKings performance. With no Harden, it will likely be the Embiid show once again, as he’ll get fed early and often against this Hawks defense.
Injuries have been a concern for Embiid this season, but as long as he’s in the lineup, Embiid should have no trouble with this Hawks frontcourt that has allowed 52.4 points per game in the paint this season. Clint Capela has caused problems for Embiid throughout his career, but with such a small slate, fading Embiid sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Despite a few good games from Capela recently, Onyeka Okongwu is a strong value play, as he has been scoring and cleaning up the glass at a great rate in limited playing time. Okongwu is averaging nearly one DraftKings point per minute, and at $3,600 on DraftKings and $4,400 on FanDuel, he will be another strong source of value.
The biggest issue thus far for Okongwu has been foul trouble. He had five in his only game where he returned single-digit DraftKings points. However, if he can avoid fouls, he should easily be able to return value on this slate.
With Bradley Beal out, the Wizards have yet to see a true breakout game for Kristaps Porzingis. Maybe playing against his old team will light that fire in his belly, and he remains affordable on both sites. In his lone game against the Mavericks last season, Porzingis had 28 points, nine rebounds, and 48.3 DraftKings points. With Christian Wood out, this Mavericks frontcourt loses a versatile defender, which can only benefit Porzingis.
One of these days, Bam Adebayo will break out and show his upside, and he would have some added appeal if Herro sits. Despite playing a career-high 34.8 minutes per game, Adebayo has seen a decrease in his production this season. The Hornets allow 52 points per game in the paint, so Abebayo could feast in this matchup.
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