Denver Nuggets v Milwaukee Bucks

We have more games than usual on a Thursday with a late-lock seven-game slate. A lot of big names have unclear roles on this slate, so following the news will be crucial.

Point Guard

Target worth paying up for: Trae Young ($9,600) at PHX (9th)

Young’s all the way back from his ankle injury, ripping off 60-plus DKFP in three straight outings. Over that three-game span, he’s played at least 40 minutes in each outing, attempted almost 25 field goals per and recorded a double-double with assists. He’s one of the safest overall plays on the slate and brings a huge ceiling.

Best value: Frank Ntilikina ($4,600) vs. DAL (11th)

Knicks fans finally are getting what they want at PG with Frank averaging 35 minutes over the past four games. He’s attempted only eight shots over his past two contests combined, which can limit his ceiling, but his ability to stuff the stat sheet does help his floor. We welcome the $600 price slash.

Positional Strategy 

There’s a chance Young is the highest owned player on the slate, so differentiating yourself at PG could be a good strategy in tournaments. Kyrie Irving’s ($8,800) status will be key. If he joins Caris LeVert (thumb) on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, Spencer Dinwiddie ($5,700) becomes one of the most intriguing plays on the slate, but it looks like Irving’s trending in the right direction.


Shooting Guard

Target worth paying up for: Luka Doncic ($10,000) at NYK (6th)

Doncic is so well-rounded and in such a good groove you can trust paying up for him. There isn’t really a pure SG play to pay up for, so doubling down on Young and Doncic makes sense if you play the right values. The only hesitation here is Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900) could wind up putting on a show in his return to MSG, limiting Doncic’s upside.

Best value: J.J. Redick ($4,500) vs. LAC (25th)

Lonzo Ball (hip) and Josh Hart (knee/ankle) have been ruled out, which opens extra minutes for Redick in the backcourt. Redick’s scored more than 30 DKFP in two straight games and would benefit even more if Brandon Ingram ($7,500; knee) is unable to play through a questionable tag.

Positional Strategy

SG is likely a value position for me. Irving’s status could make Dinwiddie the best SG play on the slate, and the Pelicans’ injury report will be crucial to this position. Cam Reddish ($3,300) is another option, entering the starting lineup for the Hawks.


Small Forward

Target worth paying up for: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,700) vs. CHI (30th)

Giannis has gone for 60 or more DKFP in five straight, scoring 77 and 81 DKFP in games along the way. He has played 36 minutes in three straight games, which is rare for him. They all have been close games, and now the Bucks are double-digit favorites against the Bulls. Blowout potential is the only downside here, but Khris Middleton’s (leg) absence has meant big games for Giannis so far.

Best value: Kenrich Williams ($4,500) vs. LAC (3rd)

Williams makes for a solid play as things stand on the slate, but if Ingram is ruled out, Williams becomes a lock along with Redick. Williams played 38 minutes with Ingram out Monday and still had a better game in 28 minutes when Ingram played Friday.

Positional Strategy 

At SF you’re either paying up for Giannis or taking value plays. You likely will spend up on one of the two guards and then potentially a forward or center. Paul George ($7,900) is at least worth considering in his Clippers debut — he faces a soft New Orleans’ defense with Kawhi Leonard on the bench.


Power Forward

Target worth paying up for: Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900) at NYK (18th)

Porzingis has been a hit-or-miss play all season, and he was a huge miss in Boston on Monday. KP shot 1-for-11, scoring 13.75 DKFP in 20 minutes, piling up five fouls. At his cheapest price of the season for his revenge game at MSG, it’s time to start considering a big game from him.

Best value: JaMychal Green ($4,000) at NOP (26th)

Green had a spectacular game Wednesday, going for 40 DKFP in 32 minutes with Leonard on the floor. Even with George in for Leonard, Green should play a similar, if not larger, role against a much easier opponent. Green’s one of the best values on the slate.

Positional Strategy 

You can slot Giannis at PF as well if you prefer a SF value to a PF value. But it’s a pretty flexible position on this slate and offers the most value when you factor in the SF or C plays that are PF-eligible. You shouldn’t have any issue finding plays at all price points here.


Center

Target worth paying up for: Nikola Jokic ($8,600) vs. BKN (24th)

Jokic is having a down year by his standards, but this is an interesting spot to target him in tournaments. Most lineups should pay up for a guard and then have Giannis or a Porzings revenge narrative in there. That leaves Jokic to potentially go overlooked at home against a horrible Brooklyn defense. With 42 or more DKFP in three consecutive games, maybe the Joker finally is coming around.

Best value: Alex Len ($3,600) at PHX (29th)

The John Collins suspension leaves an obvious hole at center for the Hawks. Len racked up 29 DKFP in 22 minutes against Denver on Tuesday and gets a better matchup against his former team. DeAndre Ayton’s suspension leaves Phoenix soft in the middle, allowing the second-most DKFP to centers.

Positional Strategy 

Len’s my top overall center play for points-per-dollar, and it’s likely a slate to play value. I’d expect most center slots to be filled with Len or Jokic (to a smaller extent), so if you fade that duo for PF/C plays, you could be even more contrarian.


Key news to monitor on DK Live:

QUESTIONABLE

Brandon Ingram (knee)
Mitchell Robinson (concussion)
Jahlil Okafor (ankle)

PROBABLE

Kyrie Irving (shoulder)
Jerami Grant (finger)
Alex Len (ankle)

OUT

Kawhi Leonard (knee)
Lonzo Ball (hip)
Patrick Beverley (calf)
Josh Hart (knee/ankle)
Caris LeVert (thumb)
Otto Porter Jr. (foot)
Kevin Huerter (shoulder)
Landry Shamet (ankle)
Kyle Korver (head)

Get all the news and analysis up to the minute on DK Live.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.