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 three-game slate starting at 7:30 pm ET.
Russell Westbrook stands in his own tier on today’s slate: He’s the only player priced above $9,400 on DraftKings and $9,100 on FanDuel. That alone should result in astronomical ownership for Westbrook, but the fact that he’s played well recently won’t hurt matters, either. Westbrook has posted an average usage rate of 34.9 percent over his past 10 games, which he’s parlayed into an average Plus/Minus of +5.52 on FanDuel:
With that said, Westbrook doesn’t have an easy matchup today against Utah. PGs have averaged a -1.42 Plus/Minus of against the Jazz this season, and the Thunder’s implied team total of 102 points ranks third-lowest on today’s slate. Westbrook did manage to crush in this matchup last season, averaging 62.78 FanDuel points and a +8.21 Plus/Minus over four matchups; he’s as close to matchup proof as it gets. He leads all PGs with 14 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where he has a Bargain Rating of 90 percent.
Fred VanVleet has taken advantage of the absence of Delon Wright, averaging 22 minutes and 25.38 DraftKings points per game over his past four games. VanVleet has been a productive player all season (0.92 fantasy points per minute), so his recent output hasn’t exactly been a surprise given the increase in playing time. He has an excellent matchup today against the Phoenix Suns, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +6.82, and the current 13-point spread means that VanVleet could get some additional run in garbage time. He’s very affordable on DraftKings, where his $3,400 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93 percent.
Kyle Lowry benefits from the same matchup as VanVleet, with only the Orlando Magic allowing a higher Plus/Minus to PGs this season:
The Raptors are implied for a slate-high 118.5 points today, and the Suns currently rank second in pace and 28th in defensive efficiency. Lowry’s 11 Pro Trends trail only Westbrook’s at the position, and his $8,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 86 percent.
Tyler Ulis played 32 more minutes than Mike James on Monday, which could signify a changing of the guard at the PG position for the Suns. If Ulis starts handling the majority of the minutes on a consistent basis, he’s almost undoubtedly underpriced at $4,000 on FanDuel and $3,900 on DraftKings. Last season, he was a major value when projected for at least 25 minutes of playing time:
Devin Booker is coming off one of his best games of the season on Monday, scoring 63.1 FanDuel points against the Philadelphia 76ers. He’s ramped up his usage rate since the Eric Bledsoe trade, with a current mark of 29.8 percent (15th in the league). The switch from James to Ulis at the PG position could also give Booker a boost: He’s seen a usage increase of 2.1 percent and averaged 37.78 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with James off and Ulis on the court this season:
This is a road game for Booker on the second leg of a back-to-back, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from rostering him. Booker has actually averaged a higher Plus/Minus in those situations than coming off a day of rest throughout his career:
The bigger concern is the 13-point spread. Booker could wind up playing fewer minutes than usual if the Suns can’t keep the game close.
Tomas Satoransky has SG eligibility on DraftKings, in addition to PG eligibility across the DFS industry, and he’s played at least 21.5 minutes in each of his past four games. He’s played more than starting PG Tim Frazier in each of those contests, averaging 23.94 DraftKings points per game over that time frame. Satoransky is underpriced on DraftKings, where his $4,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 99 percent.
SG is actually pretty deep on today’s slate, with five players owning a salary of at least $7,000 on DraftKings. One of those players is Bradley Beal, who has been a major disappointment recently, but still figures to be a huge part of the offense with John Wall sidelined. He’s averaged a usage rate of over 32 percent and 35.19 DraftKings points per 36 minutes with Wall off the court this season:
His ownership has decreased substantially since Wall was first injured, coming in at just 3.3 percent on Monday, which could make him appealing buy-low option for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
No one at the position has a higher minute projection than CJ McCollum, who remains underpriced on FanDuel with a Bargain Rating of 90 percent. He has a strong matchup against the Wizards, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.01.
His recent clunker outing vs. the Spurs notwithstanding, Paul George has been one of the best SF options over the past month, averaging a Consistency Rating of 84 percent and Upside Rating of 53 percent on FanDuel. That said, he has a brutal matchup today against the Utah Jazz, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -1.24. The Jazz held the Wizards to a paltry 69 points yesterday, which just so happened to coincide with the return of elite defensive big man Rudy Gobert.
Like most of the Raptors, CJ Miles has one of the best matchups at his position on today’s slate. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.12 on FanDuel, where he’s posted a Consistency Rating of 90 percent over the past month. Only George and TJ Warren have averaged more fantasy points per minute than Miles over that time frame.
SF might be the thinnest position on today’s slate. TJ Warren stands out given his role in the Phoenix offense: He has scored at least 38.9 FanDuel points in three of his last four games and has averaged 1.00 fantasy points per minute over the past month. One concern? He has an Opponent Plus/Minus of -1.10 against the Toronto Raptors.
Otto Porter has seen a usage bump of 4.3 percent with Wall off the court this season, averaging more than 37.25 DraftKings points per 36 minutes. He has the best matchup of the top SFs on today’s slate against the Portland Trail Blazers, but it’s still a tough matchup overall, with Porter owning an Opponent Plus/Minus of +0.93 on FanDuel. Still, Porter went for more than 50 fantasy points against these same Blazers two weeks ago and is projected to be owned at a lower rate than both George and Warren.
Derrick Favors is the highest priced PF on FanDuel. He had exceeded salary-based expectations in five straight games before playing just 24 minutes in yesterday’s blowout win. Even though Gobert has returned to the lineup, he should be on a minute restriction for at least a few games going forward. Today’s game is also the second leg of a back-to-back for the Jazz, so it’s possible that Gobert doesn’t play at all despite playing just 21 minutes on Monday. If he does sit, Favors would likely step back into the role that he’s thrived in over the past few weeks, averaging more 41 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in games without Gobert:
He’s averaged a stout 1.13 fantasy points per minute over the past month – the highest mark among PF-eligible players on the slate – and he owns a solid Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.90 against the Thunder.
Markieff Morris has ramped up his minutes recently and is coming of a season-high FanDuel performance of 41.9 points two games ago. Still, he remains affordable on both sites, and is currently projected to be one of the best sources of value at the position: He’s one of only three PFs on FanDuel with a positive projected Plus/Minus on today’s slate.
Al-Farouq Aminu has been cleared to play “30-something” minutes for today’s game per head coach Terry Stotts. Historically, Aminu has been a solid value at his current salary when projected for a comparable amount of minutes:
Jacob Poeltl is currently questionable for today’s game, and if he were unable to go, it would leave the Raptors pretty shorthanded in their frontcourt. Lucas Nogueira is already sidelined, which would leave Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, and Jonas Valanciunas to soak up virtually all of the big man minutes for the Raptors. Ibaka has been a solid source of value as is recently, exceeding salary-based expectations in each of his past five games. If Poeltl is active, he’s in play too: He’s scored at least 22.25 fantasy points in two of his past three games on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 95 percent.
Jusuf Nurkic had a string of four straight games with at least 30 minutes of playing time snapped against the Pelicans on Saturday, thanks mostly picking up five fouls against DeMarcus Cousins. He should return to 30+ minutes today against the Wizards barring foul trouble. Nurkic’s average of 1.08 fantasy points per minute is the top mark among centers on today’s slate.
Marcin Gortat has a Bargain Rating of 95 percent on FanDuel, but his production has been a bit up and down recently. That said, he did play 31.5 minutes two games ago, and parlayed those minutes into a Plus/Minus of +21.62. Unfortunately, yesterday’s game turned into a blowout, so we don’t know how many minutes Gortat would’ve played if it stayed close, but he’s likely underpriced if he’s going to return to playing 30+ minutes. His Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.72 is one of the top marks at the position.
Steven Adams has posted a Plus/Minus of at least +10.0 in each of his past two games on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 98 percent. He has a brutal matchup against the Jazz, but their size on the interior could result in a few extra minutes for Adams in today’s contest.
Greg Monroe leads the position with 9 Pro Trends on FanDuel. He has shown the capability of putting up big games in limited minutes, posting an Upside Rating of 50 percent over the past month. Despite his upside, he should still be owned at a low rate, which increases his appeal for GPPs.
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: