The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Thursday features a five-game slate starting at 4 p.m. ET.
Damian Lillard continues to produce at an elite fantasy level in Orlando. The Blazers have been playing for their playoff lives, so Lillard has unsurprisingly carried a monster workload. He’s logged at least 39.1 minutes in each of his first seven games, and he’s eclipsed the 40-minute mark in five of those contests. He’s also dropped at least 60.0 DraftKings points in four of his past six games.
Expect him to command another monster workload today vs. the Nets. It’s also an excellent matchup: The Nets rank 16th in defensive efficiency during the restart, and they’ve played at the eighth-fastest pace this season.
The Mavericks could be an interesting team on today’s slate. They’re locked into the No. 7 seed in the West, and they’re coming off a grueling loss vs. the Blazers. They are definitely candidates to rest some players today, and they’ve already listed Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry as questionable.
Trey Burke entered the starting lineup in place of Curry in their last game and he responded with 34.5 DraftKings points over 31.4 minutes. He remains affordable across the industry and he could be looking at another expanded workload today.
Ricky Rubio is one of the best pure values at the position at just $6,500 on FanDuel. He’s been a bit up and down in the bubble, but he’s coming off 38.0 FanDuel points in his last game. He has an excellent matchup vs. the Mavericks, who rank 20th in defensive efficiency during the restart.
Donte DiVincenzo got the night off for the Bucks in their last game, but he should be back in the lineup today. Giannis Antetokounmpo will be suspended after headbutting Mo Wagner in his last game, and DiVencenzo has seen a usage bump of +3.6% with Giannis off the court this season. He’s increased his fantasy production to 1.08 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to potentially pay off his current price tag.
Devin Booker is very similar to Lillard on today’s slate. Both players have been priced up aggressively, but both players have producing at an extremely high level. He’s coming off nearly 41 minutes of playing time in his last game, and he’s scored at least 49.25 DraftKings points in each of his past three contests.
Overall, he provides nice safety at his current price tag, but his ceiling is severely diminished. I have no problem with fading him at what should be moderate ownership.
Lillard hasn’t been the only reason for the Blazers’ success in the bubble. Gary Trent Jr. has elevated his level of play, averaging 17.0 points per game while shooting 52.6% from 3-point range. He shot 38.8% from 3-point range prior to the restart, so he seen a nice spike in Orlando.
He has disappointed slightly from a fantasy perspective over his past two games, but he scored at least 24.2 FanDuel points in four of his previous five contests.
Donovan Mitchell is a wild card on today’s slate. The Jazz have already ruled out Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert, so Mitchell should see a spike in usage vs. the Spurs. He’s posted a usage rate of 32.9% with Conley, Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.12 FanDuel points per minute. That said, it’s anyone’s guess as to how many minutes he’ll actually play in a meaningless game.
The Pelicans have decided to mail in their final two games of the season, so Zion Williamson, Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram will be out of the lineup today vs. the Magic. They played a pretty balanced lineup with all three guys out in their previous game – no one played more than 29.7 minutes – but Josh Hart could be an interesting option at his current price tag. He’s one of the better rebounding guards in the league, which gives him higher upside than most guards with a comparable salary.
Luka Doncic is not currently listed on the injury report for the Mavericks, so the early indications are that he’s going play. That may not be for very long, but Doncic obviously has elite upside if he does play more than expected. He’s averaged 1.65 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he could theoretically even pay off his salary if he plays just 30 minutes.
Doncic will likely command lower ownership than usual, which could make him an interesting target for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Cameron Johnson has been playing extremely well for the Suns in Orlando. He’s an excellent 3-point shooter and the spacing that he provides has allowed the rest of the roster to flourish. He’s coming off just 7.25 DraftKings points in his last game, but he scored at least 33.0 DraftKings points in three of his prior five contests.
Rudy Gay has been balling for the Spurs. He’s been spending a lot of time operating as a small-ball center and he’s averaged 32.2 DraftKings points per game over his past seven games. He was also limited to just 18.1 minutes in his last game, so he should be ready to command a large workload if needed.
Carmelo Anthony stands out as an excellent value on FanDuel at just $5,400. He has been shooting the lights out in Orlando and he’s scored at least 31.4 FanDuel points in four of his past five games.
The PF position is extremely thin on today’s slate. Porzingis is the only PF priced above $5,800 on FanDuel, and he’s not even a lock to play.
If he’s ruled out, Maxi Kleber could be the closest thing to a stud at the position. He’s averaged 26.5 FanDuel points per game in 16 games without Porzingis this season, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +4.3.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a ton of great value options at the position, either. It’s difficult to find a player who figures to play a ton of minutes while providing decent per-minute production, so you’ll likely have to choose between the two.
With that in mind, I’m leaning toward Dario Saric at just $4,500 on FanDuel. He’s averaged a stout 1.12 FanDuel points per minute in the bubble and he’s currently projected for 23 minutes in our NBA Models.
Nicolo Melli is another potential value option. He’s coming off a disappointing 9.3 FanDuel points in his last game, but definitely has more upside in today’s contest. He posted a very respectable 24% usage rate in his last game but was plagued by shooting just 1-10 from the field. Hopefully he can actually put the ball in the hoop vs. the Magic.
The Celtics are going to be without virtually their entire roster today. Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis have all been given the day off, which opens up a tremendous amount of playing time for the rest of the roster.
Grant Williams could be one of the players who steps up in their absence. He hasn’t exactly crushed when on the court this season – he’s averaged 0.73 FanDuel points per minute – but he is projected for 26.5 minutes at the absolute minimum.
There are a bunch of solid options to choose from at the center position, but Deandre Ayton looks like the best value at $7,300 on FanDuel. It results in a Bargain Rating of 96% and Ayton has averaged 1.26 FanDuel points per minute this season. He has struggled recently, posting a negative Plus/Minus in each of his past three games, but he’s displayed a ceiling of more than 50 FanDuel points inside the bubble.
Tony Bradley will likely enter the starting lineup in place of Gobert, which makes him a very appealing option at $3,400 on DraftKings. He’s averaged 1.20 DraftKings points per minute this season and he scored more than 40 DraftKings points the last time he entered the starting lineup. The game was also against the Spurs, so he can clearly find success in this matchup.
Jahlil Okafor is another nice value center to target. He’s averaged a stout 1.27 DraftKings points per minute this season, including 1.21 DraftKings points per minute in the bubble. He played 25.7 minutes for the shorthanded Pelicans in his last game and it’s hard to envision a scenario where he busts if he plays that much again today.
Ayton is probably the best value if you’re paying up at center, but Jusuf Nurkic has arguably the higher ceiling. Nurkic has had three games with at least 50 DraftKings points inside the bubble and he has an excellent matchup vs. the Nets.