Thursday features a small four-game slate starting at 7:30 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
This small four-game slate is absolutely loaded at the point guard position. Six of the top eight salaries on DraftKings are point guard-only eligible players, making for an interesting lineup build. Luka Doncic headlines the position with a ridiculous $12,000 price tag on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Doncic has increased his production in all three games this season, culminating with 68.25 DraftKings points in his last outing.
After leading the league in usage rate last season, Doncic has picked up right where he left off, leading the league again with a 41.1% usage rate through three games. He had 30 field goal attempts in the Mavericks’ last game. Averaging 34.7 points per game, Doncic has stepped his game up despite the Mavericks’ struggles. He is very expensive, but it is tough to deny his upside with such a high usage rate and skill set.
In a repeat matchup against the Clippers, Thunder point guard Tre Mann will get plenty of attention after scoring 25 points on a career-high 24 field goal attempts. With teammate Josh Giddey out, Mann lit up the scoreboard last game while posting a 27.6% usage rate. Giddey is out again tonight, so we are going right back to the well, as Mann’s salary barely moved on either site. He is an excellent salary-saver to fit in the expensive guards.
Mann has the highest projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel for the point guard position. Last game Mann played 36 minutes, which tied for the second-most he has ever played in a game. We have him projected for the same number of minutes tonight in the same matchup. Playing a value guard will be tough on this short slate with all the expensive options, but Mann is the best choice.
Using our On/Off Tool, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a +4.1% usage bump with Giddey off the floor last season. He put up over 63 DraftKings points last game without Giddey and has the second-highest projected ceiling behind Doncic on both sites at point guard tonight. Prioritize Gilgeous-Alexander on DraftKings, where he has a 94% Bargain Rating at a cheap $9,300 salary.
Ja Morant, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and De’Aaron Fox round out the loaded point guard position. It is tough to cover them all, but they come in that order when looking at the ceiling projections tonight. Morant, Curry, and Fox are all averaging over 30 points per game, while Curry leads the league with five 3-pointers made per game. Irving has also shown a ceiling game already this season, so choose wisely!
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
After missing the last game due to an illness, I am banking on Paul George playing tonight. If he is out, we can go back to the Clippers’ value players, as Kawhi Leonard is out for the next few games due to injury management. Last year without Leonard, George averaged 24.7 points and a career-high 5.7 assists per game, and he leads the Clippers in both categories to start this season.
The Clippers lost to the Thunder by 14 points on the road on Tuesday night and get a chance at redemption tonight as seven-point road favorites. This game has the lowest total on the slate at 217 points, but George is still popping in our Tournament Model, trailing only Doncic in projected ceiling. Make sure George is good to go, but if he is, this is an incredible spot for him and the rest of the healthy Clippers.
After missing the first few games due to injury, Dillon Brooks picked up right where he left off in terms of volume. Brooks is the biggest problem for Morant and Desmond Bane moving forward since he’s never met a shot he didn’t like. Despite early foul trouble and only playing 24 minutes last game, Brooks got up 13 field goal attempts. The worst part is he only made two of those 13 and failed to make any 3-pointers on five attempts.
Brooks is a solid shooting guard value simply because of his volume. Last season Brooks posted a career-high in both points thanks to 18.4 field goal attempts per game. He only shot 43.2% from the field and 30.9% behind the arc, but that type of volume is noticeable. This game features the highest total on the slate at 236 points. Expect Brooks to let it fly, and if they start falling, he will be in the optimal lineup.
Speaking of Desmond Bane, he has the highest projected Plus/Minus at the shooting guard position on both sites tonight. After struggling to find his shot for three-straight games, Bane exploded last game for 38 points on 14-for-21 shooting from the field and 8-for-11 from behind the arc. Bane’s eight 3-pointers made was a career-high, and he enters a game environment that will be filled with fantasy scoring. Hopefully, he can keep the hot hand.
After four-straight games with a positive Plus/Minus, Tyler Herro finally came back to earth a little bit last night with only 14 points and 26 DraftKings points. His salary is rising across the industry, but Herro has been fantastic since moving into the starting lineup this season for the Heat. Not only is he scoring the ball well, but he is averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game, which helps his upside moving forward.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
The Brooklyn Nets are home underdogs after starting the season with a lousy 1-3 record. Kevin Durant continues to be a furnace scoring the ball, averaging 32.3 points per game while shooting 52.4% from the field. This Nets team feels a little discombobulated to start the season as they try and figure out the best way to play with Durant, Ben Simmons, and Kyrie Irving on the floor together. It’s something to monitor moving forward.
With Durant, we’re going to need to see more production in the peripheral categories before paying this salary. Last season Durant averaged 11.4 rebound chances and 10.8 potential assists per game. With a healthy Simmons and Irving thus far, Durant is averaging only 8.3 rebound chances and 8.3 potential assists per game. He is one of the best scorers in the history of the game, so keep him for tournaments only until we see more peripherals.
Keegan Murray is projected to be in the starting lineup for the Kings moving forward. Not sure what took so long, but glad he is finally in the starting lineup over KZ Okpala. The rookie of the year race will be fun to watch as there are some incredible options. In his two games, Murray is averaging 17.5 points per game while shooting 54.2% from the field and 43.8% from downtown.
Murray has carried over his sharp shooting from the preseason into the regular season. Even with a mid-teens usage rate, Murray has had a positive Plus/Minus in both games averaging over 25 DraftKings points per game. Murray seems way too cheap playing a game with a 236-point projected total. If he is going to see 36 minutes of action like we have him projected to play, getting exposure to Murray feels like a necessity on this small slate.
Since being paid an extension and having a great NBA Finals, Andrew Wiggins has been fantastic for the Warriors this season. He is no longer shy about shooting the ball on this team, as he has 16.8 field goal attempts per game through four games. Wiggins also leads the Warriors in rebounding, steals, and blocks, so there are plenty of ways for Wiggins to contribute this season outside of scoring.
Do we dare go back to the Norman Powell experience tonight? If George joins Leonard and Marcus Morris on the sidelines, it is hard not to test our luck again. Powell played 30 minutes last game but only finished with 10.5 DraftKings points as he shot 3-for-10 from the field and failed to make a 3-pointer. His percentages have been awful to start the season, but we know the upside is there for a big game as long as he gets the minutes.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
Jimmy Butler has power forward eligible on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and quite frankly, there is not a better pay-up stud option on this short slate. Butler continues to lead the Heat in scoring with 21.8 points per game. Like Durant, his peripherals have been a little down this season, and that may be because Herro is in the lineup playing so well. Still, expect Butler’s numbers to rise as he still fills up the scoreboard.
This is a back-to-back for the Heat, but Butler only played 28 minutes last game as the Heat routed the Trail Blazers by 21 points. They are 7.5-point road underdogs in Golden State, but Butler has played well in this matchup. Over the past two seasons, Butler is averaging 19.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game vs. the Warriors. He has one triple-double in his last four games and always seems to step it up in this matchup.
Ben Simmons has power forward eligibility on FanDuel, where he also has the highest projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate. He did tweak his back last night but said he is playing today, but make sure to monitor the injury reports. Simmons leads the Nets in assists with 7.5 per game, but he has struggled to score the ball. Taking only five field goal attempts a night is not going to get it done.
Even scoring 5.3 points per game, Simmons is still finding a way to be relevant in fantasy due to his peripherals. He should take a few more shots moving forward, as he had double-digit field goal attempts in each of his four seasons with the 76ers. An explosion game with a potential triple-double is coming at some point. Prioritize Simmons on FanDuel, where he has a 91% Bargain Rating and peripherals are worth more.
Christian Wood is the second-best player on the Mavericks and has scored a career-high 24.3 points per game while shooting 62.2% from the field. He has a 32.0% usage rate so far, even while playing alongside Doncic for most of his playing time. Wood is the perfect center for Doncic as he can finish at the rim and stretch the floor and handle the ball. He seems a little too cheap across the industry.
Draymond Green has been very boom or bust to start the season. He has two games where he scored 35 or more DraftKings points and two where he scored less than 18. Green has yet to play 30 minutes, but that is bound to happen sooner rather than later. The Warriors are one of the deepest teams in the league, but Green does so much on both sides of the floor that his ceiling remains high.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Another lackluster stud option comes at the center position with Domantas Sabonis. He is the highest-priced center on both DraftKings and FanDuel and has delivered back-to-back double-doubles after a mediocre season opener. Sabonis has averaged a double-double for four-straight seasons, all having over 12 rebounds per game. Expect his rebound numbers to rise, as he is averaging a team-high 19 rebound chances per game.
The Grizzlies are tied for sixth in most points allowed in the paint with 54 per game. Steven Adams is a great defender, but he is playing less than 30 minutes per game for the fourth-straight season. Sabonis should have his way with the rest of the Grizzlies’ frontcourt and will likely have another double-double against a Grizzlies’ squad that is below-average on the glass. He doesn’t compare to the slate’s top guards, but Sabonis is the center with the highest ceiling.
Speaking of Steven Adams, he may be asked to play a little more guarding Sabonis tonight, so he is our value center option at the low mid-range salary range. He’s currently projected for 29.99 minutes, but Adams has the highest projected Plus/Minus on the slate for centers on both sites. Most of Adams’ production comes from his rebounding, as he leads the team with 10 per game.
The Kings rank fourth in Pace and 21st in Defensive Rating, so this is a spot where targeting the Grizzlies and their slate-high 119.5 implied points total can pay dividends. Adams has one of the lowest usage rates on the team, but if he can sneak in five layups during this high total game, he has a chance for a double-double and to be one of the best value plays on the night.
Ivica Zubac has had two games where he had over 45 DraftKings points this season. With Morris and Leonard out, his chances to stay on the floor are very high, despite the Thunder playing an undersized frontcourt. These situations are tricky because if Zubac plays 35 minutes, he will destroy the Thunder. However, if George plays and the Clippers go to a small-ball lineup, Zubac may only play in the mid-20s. Overall, it’s a feast or famine spot.
Bam Adebayo has been a little disappointing to start the season, averaging only 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He is also shooting a career-low 47.4% from the field, the first time he has been under 50% in his career. However, he is still averaging over 30 DraftKings points per game, and we all know he has the upside to pop off any given night. Adebayo has a 22.4% usage rate and can have his way against a Warriors team that likes to play small.