Thursday features a six-game main slate starting at 7:00 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.
Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
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NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
It didn’t take long for Stephen Curry to assert himself back into elite play status as he finished with 40 points while making 10 3-pointers in his last game. That was his second game since being out for a month due to injury. Priced at $10,500 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Curry is the most expensive guard on the slate. The price tag is deserving, as Curry has the second-highest ceiling projection in our NBA Models on both sites, behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Despite having a 7-25 road record, the Warriors are 1.5-point favorites against the Grizzlies in what should be an up-tempo game environment. Both the Warriors and Grizzlies rank inside the top six in Pace this season, and this game has a total of 235.5 points, which is the second-highest on the slate. The Grizzlies have lost three-straight games and are a completely different team without Ja Morant. Expect the sharp-shooting Curry to feast on the Morant-less Grizzlies backcourt.
Our PrizePicks simulations are also bullish on Curry’s rebound prospects:
Stephen’s brother Seth Curry has the highest projected Plus/Minus on the slate for DraftKings and the highest for all guards on FanDuel. The Nets are without Spencer Dinwiddie, Cameron Johnson, Royce O’Neale, and Nic Claxton, and that will open up a ton of playing time for everyone. We have Curry projected to play 28 minutes and be one of the best points-per-dollar plays on the board.
Curry has only started six games for the Nets this season, but when he starts, he’s averaged 11.3 points and just under 20 DraftKings points per game. This is the first time in his career that he isn’t shooting 40% from behind the arc, but he is very close at 39.4%. The Bucks have been one of the best interior defenses in the league, which bodes well for Curry, who does most of his damage from the perimeter. Stacking both Currys is viable.
Tyrese Haliburton isn’t too far away from Stephen Curry when it comes to salary or ceiling. Last game, he exploded with 40 points and a season-high 16 assists while finishing with 72.75 DraftKings points. This matchup against the Rockets is intriguing, as this game has the highest total at 236 points. The Rockets present the second-worst Defensive Rating (118.1) entering tonight’s games while allowing 118.2 points per game. Haliburton has recorded a double-double in four of his last five games and has a significant upside in this spot against the Rockets.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
Tyrese Haliburton has shooting guard eligibility on FanDuel, but outside of him, this position is extremely weak on both sites. The highest-priced option is Mikal Bridges, who has been fantastic with his new team. Bridges has recorded 30+ points in four of his last six games while averaging 45.9 DraftKings points per game over that stretch. Through 10 games with the Nets, Bridges is averaging 26.5 points per game while shooting 52.6% from the field and 48.1% from downtown.
The Bucks are 12.5-point home favorites against the Nets, which is by far the biggest spread on the slate. They rank second in Defensive Rating, and their opponents are shooting just 45.2% from the field. That makes them a brutal matchup, but the Nets have so much injury value available that it’s a tough situation to avoid completely. Bridges scored 31 points against the Bucks nine days ago, shooting 11 of 19 from the field. A repeat performance is on the table.
Sticking with the Nets’ value, Cameron Thomas looks like another substantial salary saver on both sites, as the second-year guard has shown significant upside throughout the season. Like Curry, Thomas is projected to play 28 minutes, but that’s enough to make him one of the best values on the slate.
Before the cavalry of players from the Mavericks and Suns came from the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades, we saw peak Thomas score 40+ points for three consecutive games. We aren’t far removed from those ceiling games, which happened just last month. If the Nets give Thomas the minutes, he can shine even in a difficult matchup against the Bucks. He looks a letter better from a value perspective on FanDuel than DraftKings.
In his first game without Ja, Desmond Bane put up 30 points on 12 of 22 shooting, accumulating 47.5 DraftKings points. He only had seven points in his last game on 3 of 14 shooting, but that stands out as an outlier. Bane is averaging a career-high 21.2 points per game this season as his production increases with Morant out of the lineup. A plethora of points figure to be scored in this matchup, making Bane a great option as the Grizzlies’ top scoring threat.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
The Jazz are on a steady decline, but Lauri Markkanen continues to play lights out. He scored 33 points last game in a four-point loss to the Mavericks. That’s nothing new for Markkanen, who is averaging a career-high 25.3 points per game while shooting 51.3% from the field and 40.9% from downtown. Collin Sexton is out, while Jordan Clarkson and Walker Kessler are both questionable. Keep an eye on their statuses because their absences would provide a nice boost for Markkanen.
Don’t forget the Jazz also traded away Mike Conley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley at the deadline. Markkanen has the keys to the franchise at this moment and is seemingly the only healthy player on the roster. The Magic have been strong defensively in the paint and on the glass, but Markkanen should handle as much usage as he can manage. Prioritize Markkanen on FanDuel, where he has a 93% Bargain Rating and 11 Pro Trends.
Franz Wagner isn’t exactly a bargain value play, but he looks great in our tools as a midrange option at the weak small forward position. Wendell Carter Jr. is out, which does provide a nice boost for Wagner. Wagner has a +1.3% usage rate differential and has played the most minutes on the team with Carter Jr. off the floor this season. He has scored over 20 points in back-to-back games and four of his last seven, providing a nice spark for the Magic.
Wagner is second on the Magic in scoring behind Rookie of the Year frontrunner Paolo Banchero. He is shooting a career-best 48.7% from the field and 37% from behind the arc. The Jazz rank 24th in Defensive Rating this season, allowing 117.2 points per game. They also allow 91.1 field goal attempts per game, which ranks as the third-highest in the league. Wagner will get plenty of opportunities to score, especially without Carter Jr.
One of the most intriguing games to target is this matchup between two bottom-feeders in the Eastern Conference: the Hornets and Pistons. With LaMelo Ball out for the season, Kelly Oubre Jr. has stepped up in a big way, averaging 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 38.2 DraftKings points per game over the past four games. During that time, Oubre Jr. also has a 26.8% usage rate. The Pistons have the third-worst Defensive Rating in the league, and the Hornets are favored by 3.5 points on the road. Not many eyes will be on this game, but Oubre Jr. is in a great spot.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
The ceiling projection on Giannis Antetokounmpo is nearly 10 points higher than the next closest player, as the Greek Freak is in a tier of his own. Over the last four games, Giannis has been a very consistent fantasy producer, averaging 56.9 DraftKings points per game, but he hasn’t topped 60 over that time. He has games with double-digit rebounds and assists but hasn’t quite put them together for a triple-double, even though he tried to cheat the system last game. Even though Giannis is the only true pay-up option, he is coming in just below 20% projected ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Expect that number to rise if more value opens up throughout the day, but that makes Giannis an intriguing tournament play on this six-game slate. The Nets’ have the worst Rebounding Percentage (47.2%) in the league, so a double-double is a near formality. Shot-blocker Nic Claxton is out for the Nets, so a ceiling game is on the horizon.
Editor’s Note: Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled out due to an illness. Jrue Holiday will return after missing the last game, and he and Khris Middleton should handle most of the scoring responsibilities. Make sure to check out our NBA Models for full projection updates for the Bucks and the rest of Thursday’s slate.
Xavier Tillman has been one of the better backup big men in the league since Steven Adams went down with an injury. Adams remains out, while Brandon Clarke will miss the rest of the season. That leaves the Grizzlies’ frontcourt lacking bodies. Tillman should continue to handle a sizable workload as the team’s starting center. He has recorded a double-double in three of his last five games, averaging 11.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 31.2 DraftKings points per game during that stretch.
The Warriors rank below average in points allowed in the paint and rebounding this season, so Tillman has a good chance at yet another double-double. They also play at the league’s fastest Pace (102.7), giving Tillman plenty of opportunities to thrive. Having power forward and center eligibility on both DraftKings and FanDuel is very beneficial, and at around $6,000 on both sites, Tillman fits a lot of lineup builds.
The Knicks finally fell back to Earth last game with a home loss to the Hornets. They had previously won nine-straight games, but they’ll look to bounce back on the road against the Kings tonight. Julius Randle is having another good season and may get the luxury of playing without Jalen Brunson, who is questionable once again. Randle is averaging a double-double with 25.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories. The Kings allow 54.6 points per game in the paint, which is the second-most in the league. It’s bully-ball time for Randle.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Domantas Sabonis is coming off his eighth triple-double of the season, which has him ranked third behind Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic. Sabonis finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists while shooting 8-13 from the field. De’Aaron Fox was out and is likely to play tonight, but Sabonis is still a strong option, as he can stuff the state sheet in a variety of ways. He has the highest ceiling projection of all the centers on this slate.
The Knicks’ interior defense is the best in the league, as they allow only 45.3 points per game in the paint. They also rank third in Rebounding Percentage, but Sabonis had no trouble in their first matchup, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds. He also had 11 free throw attempts, the most he has accumulated all season. The matchup may be terrible, but Sabonis is such a unique player that he will find a way to be productive.
It is time to go dumpster diving. With Nic Claxton out, backup centers Nerlens Noel and Day’Ron Sharpe are fantastic salary savers. Sharpe has the second-highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings, where he is priced at the stone minimum. However, on FanDuel, Noel looks like the better option as he is cheaper than Sharpe and has the fourth-highest projected Plus/Minus. Getting the starting lineup for the Nets team will be a crucial piece of news in determining which player to roster.
The matchup for Sharpe and Noel isn’t ideal, as the Bucks rank second in Rebounding Percentage and 12th in points allowed in the paint per game. However, both centers should play around 20-25 minutes, which is more than enough time to pay off their extremely cheap salaries. Make sure to prioritize who is in the starting lineup.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has been the biggest beneficiary of the absence of Morant, Adams, and Clarke from a usage perspective. With all three players off the floor, Jackson Jr. has a team-high +6.5% usage rate and has averaged 1.34 DraftKings points per minute. He has recorded back-to-back games with over 40 DraftKings points while averaging 25 points per game. On paper, this should be a perfect matchup for Jackson Jr. as the Warriors love to play their small-ball lineups. He deserves consideration based on the extra usage and production.