Thursday features a small two-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
Stephen Curry is coming off his best game of the season, posting a triple-double with 23 points, 13 assists, and 13 rebounds. Despite the big game from Curry, the Warriors lost for the third-straight game. Their five-game road trip hasn’t been too pleasant, as they’ll look for their first win of the trip tonight against the Magic. Even though the Warriors are 3-5 this season, they are 9.0-point road favorites, implied for 117.25 points.
The Magic have the fifth-worst Net Rating and allow the fifth-most attempted 3-pointers. That’s an excellent sign for Curry, who leads the league in 3-pointers made with 4.8 a game. He has above a 30% usage rate for the eighth-straight season and is shooting much better than last season. Expect a big game from Curry as the Warriors try to bounce back and get a win on the board.
With his minutes starting to rise, it may be time to buy into Jamal Murray. He is coming off a season-high 32 minutes last game, pouring in 21 points on 21 field goal attempts. Murray is currently projected for a modest 29 minutes and is still grading out as the best value point guard option on both DraftKings and FanDuel. If we get that kind of shooting volume tonight, Murray has a good chance be in the optimal lineup.
The Nuggets are six-point road favorites implied for a slate-high 117.5 points. It shouldn’t be a surprise this total sits at 229 points when the Thunder rank fifth in Pace to start the season. Being priced in the low midrange, Murray is one of the best value plays on the slate. It is tough to expect 20+ field goal attempts again, but the minutes should be there.
Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander grades out close to Curry, but with Josh Giddey back in the lineup, the nod went to the former MVP. Gilgeous-Alexander has been phenomenal when he has played this season, averaging a career-high 31.5 points per game while shooting an absurd 51.8% from the field. Gilgeous-Alexander is poised for another big night against the Nuggets, who rank 25th in Defensive Rating this season.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
Sticking with the Thunder backcourt, Josh Giddey is the highest-priced shooting guard on the slate at $7,000 on DraftKings and $7,300 on FanDuel. This position lacks star power on a small two-game slate, but Giddey has been solid through four games to start the season. In two of those four games, Giddey has produced a double-double while averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game.
Giddey only played 25 minutes in his first game back from injury but is projected for over 30 minutes tonight. In the two games this season where Giddey has played over 30 minutes, he has averaged 43.6 DraftKings points per game. It feels like on this two-game slate, picking one of Gilgeous-Alexander or Giddey is the way to go. Even as home underdogs, getting exposure to every team on this small slate is necessary.
Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has the highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings. We have yet to see that explosion game from Thompson this season, as he is shooting the ball very poorly out of the gates. Thompson is averaging 13.3 points per game while shooting a career-low 35.1% from the field and 29.5% from behind the arc. That is not the Thompson we know and love.
Through seven games, Thompson’s poor shooting has found himself on the bench more often than usual on this deep Warriors roster. He is only averaging 25.7 minutes per game, and his peripherals remain low at 2.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists a night. So why roster Thompson? The upside. Once a few shots start to fall, the basket will feel like an ocean again. Thompson is a high-risk, high-reward tournament play.
Like Thompson, Jordan Poole has had a similar boom/bust journey. Poole has been very inconsistent as a shooter this season. He’s scored 24 or more points three times, but he has also finished in the single digits twice. Not knowing which Poole will show up makes him a tournament play. He is shooting better than Thompson and is averaging a career-high five assists per game, but he is priced significantly higher.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
With Thompson and Poole struggling, Andrew Wiggins has slowly taken off in this Warriors offense. After a great NBA Finals run, Wiggins has picked up right where he left off. He is averaging a career-high six rebounds per game paired with 17.8 points, which ranks second on the team. Wiggins is also second behind Curry in terms of minutes per game for the Warriors this season.
Wiggins is feeling more comfortable shooting from distance, averaging a career-high 6.1 3-pointers attempted per game. He is a unique fit in this Warriors offense as he can do a little bit of everything. Wiggins is undoubtedly worth a flier at this midrange salary, seeing how consistent his playing time and production have been this season.
Value for the small forward position is basically non-existent on Thursday. Thunder forward Ousmane Dieng is priced near the stone minimum on both sites and is by far the cheapest player on this slate worth getting exposure to. He played 17 minutes last game and is projected for the same amount of minutes tonight, which could be enough for his salary.
Dieng is an option in an aggressive stars-and-scrubs lineup build. The No. 11 pick in this year’s draft is starting to find the floor more, and the Thunder are winning in that process. With such a young team, the playing time may fluctuate, which can be a blessing and a curse. Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey will get their 30+ minutes, but the rest is basically up for grabs depending on who is playing well. Dieng is worth the risk in large tournaments.
Our first Magic player to recommend is forward Franz Wagner. He started two games at point guard when Jalen Suggs was out with an injury, but he disappointed for fantasy purposes. Wagner is better off the ball, as he had 20 points on 18 field goal attempts last game. With Suggs or Cole Anthony playing point guard, Wagner has posted a positive DraftKings Plus/Minus in every game this season, as he is shooting much more and still getting peripherals.
Despite a 1-7 record, the Magic can take advantage of the Warriors in this matchup. The Warriors rank third in Pace and 24th in Defensive Rating this season through seven games. They are allowing 121.3 points per game, which ranks as the second-most in the league. The Magic may have a slate-low 108.75 implied total, but they are worth targeting on this small slate. Wagner may seem expensive, but he is consistent as they come in the midrange.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
Another Magic forward worth a look is rookie Paolo Banchero. Banchero has had an excellent start to his career, averaging a team-high 21.6 points per game with a 29.2% usage rate. The last two games have been a little disappointing, but Banchero has scored 20 or more points in his first six games to start the season. The Magic may not be very good, but their No. 1 overall pick is living up to the hype.
His matchup against Draymond Green is a concern since Green feels like the perfect matchup to frustrate Banchero. However, this young star has shown no fear and will do whatever he can to make this game competitive. He is the third-rated player in our NBA Models on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Banchero is priced in his own tier at the position and will likely be one of the highest-owned players on the slate.
The player with the highest projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel is Warriors power forward Draymond Green. He is averaging single-digit points per game for the fifth-straight season but at least is shooting a career-high 59.6% from the field. Playing with so many spectacular guards, Green receives many easy looks on offense. His peripherals have come down this year, but that is mainly due to the lack of minutes, as he is averaging 29 per game.
Prioritize Green on FanDuel, where his defensive stats get magnified, and he is priced a little cheaper. At $5,700, Green has an 85% Bargain Rating and will be a very popular forward option on this small slate. Green can still stuff the stat sheet, and after losing three-straight games, the Warriors need Green to get it done on both ends of the floor. Green’s salary is very inviting on this slate.
There are a lot of players on this slate in the midrange that look very similar, and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon is one of them. Playing on the Nuggets, Gordon has shot over 50% in every season and is averaging a career-high 1.3 blocks per game. He was rebounding like crazy to start the year, but that has diminished now that Michael Porter Jr. is back in the lineup. In his last two games against the Thunder, Gordon is averaging nearly a double-double with 15.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Nikola Jokic has the highest ceiling on the slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel by a wide margin. He is also priced higher than anyone else and isn’t very close. The primary decision for a lineup build will be whether you pay up for Jokic. Jokic has seen a decrease in production playing alongside a healthy Murray and Porter Jr. this season, down to 1.59 DraftKings points per minute. However, Jokic has so much raw points upside, which is essential on a two-game slate.
Not only do the Nuggets have the highest implied total on the slate, but Jokic is the best player on the slate and has by far the highest upside. He is a walking triple-double and could easily have another one in this game. In cash games, Jokic is a must-play. However, in tournaments, I don’t blame you if you want to get different. His dip in production is real, but he is a tough fade.
One of the best value plays on the slate is Warriors center Kevon Looney. He is another veteran player on this team that may need more playing time to get this Warriors team back on track. Looney is shooting a career-high 62.5% from the field and is playing 23 minutes per game. That may not seem like a lot of playing time, but it is the most Looney has seen in his career. This salary is too cheap on both sites for the upside Looney provides.
The Magic allowed 58 points in the paint in their last game, and if Looney is going to stay this cheap, he is worth a flier on the chance he gets a double-double and breaks the slate. Over the last four games, Looney is averaging 25.8 minutes per game and has one near double-double. He is a great salary saver and a cheap way to get exposure to one of the best offenses on the slate.
Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. is coming off his best game of the season. He had a huge double-double with 30 points and 12 rebounds, shooting 10-for-15 from the field, 2-for-2 from behind the arc, and 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. He now gets a matchup against a Warriors squad that loves to play small, so he could be poised for another big performance.
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