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 six-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Russell Westbrook is coming off a monster performance in his last game, recording 31 points and a triple double en route to 72.5 DraftKings points. Unfortunately, he’s in a tough spot against the Pacers, who rank second in defensive efficiency and 25th in pace this season — a brutal combination for fantasy purposes.
The Thunder are implied for just 108.5 points, which is significantly lower than their regular-season average (115.1). They’re also on the road for the second leg of a back-to-back. Westbrook can obviously go off against anyone, but this is one of his worst spots of the entire season.
Kyle Lowry was unable to practice on Wednesday and is officially questionable for Thursday night’s contest against the Lakers. If he’s unable to go, look for Jeremy Lin to provide some value. Lin will likely slide into the starting lineup, and he’s averaged 0.95 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s priced at the absolute minimum on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 91%.
The Magic will be without backup PG Isaiah Briscoe for the foreseeable future. His absence has resulted in a boost in playing time for D.J. Augustin, who has played at least 31 minutes in each of his past two games, including 33.2 minutes on Wednesday against the Wizards. He’s averaged 0.88 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, so he can do some damage with extra playing time.
Augustin is also in an elite spot against the Cavaliers, who rank dead last in defensive efficiency this season.
Kyrie Irving owns the best matchup at the position given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.02 on DraftKings. He’s taking on the Kings, who have played at the second-fastest pace this season. Irving has also seen a slight price decrease on DraftKings over the past month, and his current $8,900 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 93%. This is a nice opportunity to buy low on him.
Donovan Mitchell is one of the best pure values of the day on DraftKings. He’s priced at $8,300, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s seen a nice boost in production over the past month, averaging 1.26 DraftKings points per minute. He’s also in a nice spot against the Timberwolves. Utah’s implied team total of 114.75 points ranks fourth on the slate, and the Timberwolves rank just 23rd in defensive efficiency.
The Nuggets could be a nice source of value at the SG position. Gary Harris is priced at $3,900 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 93%. He’s still playing limited minutes after returning from a lengthy injury absence, but his playing time is trending in the right direction. He’s played at least 28 minutes in two of his past three games, and he’s currently projected for 27.5 minutes in our NBA Models.
Monte Morris looks like the preferred Nuggets’ option on FanDuel. He’s scored at least 31.0 FanDuel points in back-to-back games but remains affordable at $3,900. Isaiah Thomas was a DNP in the Nuggets’ last game, and Morris figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries if he’s fallen out of the rotation.
Corey Joseph has SG eligibility on DraftKings, which increases his appeal. The Pacers will be without Tyreke Evans for the third straight game, and Joseph has averaged 27.4 minutes and a +3.5 Plus/Minus in seven games without Evans and Victor Oladipo this season.
Jamal Murray is another strong value on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 97%. He’s increased his fantasy production to 1.11 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in eight of his past nine games.
The Raptors have the potential to be pretty shorthanded. Lowry and Danny Green are questionable, while Serge Ibaka will begin serving his suspension following an altercation in their last game.
Kawhi Leonard has the potential to benefit from each of their absences. He should see a few additional minutes with Ibaka out of the lineup, and he would see a bump in usage if Lowry and/or Green is unable to suit up. Leonard has averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute with both Lowry and Ibaka off the court this season, giving him big upside in a juicy matchup against the Lakers. He’s an excellent value at $8,700 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 93%.
The Celtics could be another source of value if Marcus Smart is unable to suit up. (He’s questionable as of writing.) Gordon Hayward in particular looks like a nice target at $4,900 on FanDuel. He’s been playing more minutes recently, logging at least 27.8 in each of their past three competitive games, and he’s averaged 0.91 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Dorian Finney-Smith is dirt cheap at $3,400 on DraftKings and should see a solid handful of minutes. He’s currently projected for 29 in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.07 (per our Trends tool). He’s also projected for 5-8% ownership, which increases his appeal for guaranteed prize pools.
Pascal Siakam has a chance to be a fantasy monster. He should be locked into a big workload with Ibaka out of the lineup, and he’s seen a massive bump in production with Lowry out of the lineup since the trade deadline. Siakam has seen a team-high usage bump of +7.2% over that time frame, resulting in a whopping 1.53 DraftKings points per minute. He’s a steal at $6,900 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 92%.
Maxi Kleber has seen a nice bump in playing time over his past two games, logging at 30.8 minutes in each contest. He remains affordable across the industry for Thursday night’s contest against the Nuggets and has averaged a solid 0.84 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Thaddeus Young has been a rock at the PF position recently. He’s posted a perfect 100% Consistency Rating over the past month and has averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute over that span. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +4.03 over his past 10 games and owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.61 against the Thunder. The Pacers are also in the biggest pace-up spot of the day, making Young a viable option in all formats.
Jayson Tatum is expected to suit up and he’s underpriced at $5,700 on DraftKings. It results in a Bargain Rating of 93%. Tatum has averaged 0.98 DraftKings points per minute this season and is currently projected for 31.3 minutes in our NBA Models.
Nikola Vucevic was merely average on Wednesday night against Wizards, but he’s in another elite spot against the Cavaliers. The Magic’s implied team total of 110.0 points represents a significant increase from their regular-season average (105.6), and the Cavs rank just 23rd in team rebound rate. The Cavs will also be without Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr., so their already-weak interior will be even weaker.
Vucevic has averaged 1.51 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and his 13 Pro Trends are tied for the most at the position. He’s a strong value at just $9,200, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Marc Gasol should have a chance to make a huge impact. He wont have to share the center minutes with Ibaka, and he’s currently projected for 30.5 minutes. He’s averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so he can make a big impact when on the court. He’s also in an elite spot against the Lakers, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.47.
Gasol is simply too cheap at his current salary across the industry.
Rudy Gobert is another elite value on DraftKings. He owns a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games.
Al Horford has one of the best individual matchups at the position. He’s taking on the Sacramento Kings, who have been crushed by opposing centers all season. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.56 on FanDuel, which trails only Gasol at the position.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed.
Pictured: Raptors C Marc Gasol
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports