Thursday’s four-game fantasy basketball slate brings us one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, as the Bucks and Lakers face off in a potential NBA Finals preview. The two teams have clearly been the best in their respective conferences to this point in the season and have each posted an extremely impressive 24-4 record. Ironically, both teams are coming off surprise losses in their most recent contest, but both should be fired up and looking to make a statement with a big win.The other three games on the slate also have some interesting fantasy options as the Jazz visit the Hawks, the Spurs host the Nets and the Rockets take on the Clippers in the second game of the nationally televised doubleheader. As you look through those eight teams in action and lock in your lineup, check out my top studs and values at each position. Leading up to tip time, make sure to check out the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com for any late-breaking news that will impact your lineup.
StudRussell Westbrook, HOU at LAC, $9,300 — Westbrook will get to continue his feud with Patrick Beverley ($4,400) since Beverley is back from a concussion as the Rockets visit the Clippers in the late game. Westbrook is actually pretty affordable compared to the other high-ceiling guards on the slate and comes in with some great momentum. He has at least 48 DKFP in six of his past seven games and over that span has averaged 24.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 53.6 DKFP per contest. He has been a little under the radar since James Harden ($12,400) gets headlines, but he has been quietly productive and makes sense at just over $9K. Other Options — Trae Young ($9,800), Spencer Dinwiddie ($7,900)
ValueDonte DiVincenzo, MIL vs. LAL, $5,200 — The Bucks won’t be at full strength with Eric Bledsoe (shin) out for a few weeks, so DiVincenzo will keep getting good playing time. He has started each of the past two games while Bledsoe has been out and shown off his ability to fill up the entire stat sheet. The Big Ragu had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and 33.25 DKFP in 25 minutes against the Cavs on Saturday followed by five points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and 38.5 DKFP against the Mavs on Monday. Even when he’s not scoring, he can pile up enough stats to be a great asset, and when he gets his shot going, he has an even higher ceiling. He’s a great mid-range play with a high ceiling.
Other Options — Rajon Rondo ($4,800), Patrick Beverley ($4,400)
StudDonovan Mitchell, UTA at ATL, $8,000 — Mitchell will go head-to-head with Trae Young in a fun matchup that tips off just before the Lakers-Bucks game. With Mike Conley (hamstring) suffering a setback and out a few more weeks, Mitchell will continue to get extra usage as the team’s primary PG. He has at least 22 points in each of his past six games, averaging 27.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 39.5 DKFP per contest. He has over 40 DKFP in each of his past three contests and in four of those previous six. Against the up-tempo Hawks, Mitchell should be able to fill it up. Last season in his trip to Atlanta, he dropped 34 points and 47.5 DKFP, and he’ll be a great play at this price if he can come close to duplicating that performance. Other Options — James Harden ($12,400), DeMar DeRozan ($7,000)
ValueRodney McGruder, LAC vs. HOU, $3,200 — McGruder missed seven straight games with a hamstring strain but has returned to a pretty significant role in the Clippers’ ever-changing rotation. He eased back in last Friday but played 24 minutes Saturday against the Bulls and 21 minutes Tuesday in Phoenix. He made a big impact against the Suns, producing 26.75 DKFP on seven points, 11 rebounds and three steals. The Clippers are starting to get more healthy bodies back in the rotation, but JaMychal Green ($3,100; back) is still questionable. McGruder’s defense and hustle stats make him a nice fit next to the high-scoring duo of Kawhi Leonard ($9,200) and Paul George ($8,500), and his extremely affordable salary can allow you to pay up in other spots while still getting good return on minimal investment in what should be a high-scoring game against Houston.
Other Options — Joe Harris ($5,400), Austin Rivers ($3,500)
StudGiannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. LAL, $11,300 — Both Giannis and LeBron James ($10,000) make great plays at SF but also do come with other eligibility if you want to try and squeeze both under your salary cap. I’ll give the Greek Freak the slight edge since I think Anthony Davis ($10,100; ankle) will play and could help shoulder some of the load while Antetokounmpo won’t have as much help from his supporting cast, especially with Bledsoe out. Without Bledsoe against the Mavs, Antetokounmpo finished with 48 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and a massive 76.0 DKFP. He has over 55 DKFP in three of his past four games and has scored at over 25 points in 12 straight contests. He typically rises to the challenge of facing LeBron and puts up good games, so I think he’s a slightly better play than The King in this matchup in Milwaukee. Other Options — LeBron James ($10,000), Joe Ingles ($6,000)
ValueBen McLemore, HOU at LAC, $4,500 — With Eric Gordon (knee) out for an extended time, McLemore has filled his role as the main offensive spark off the bench for Houston. He has scored 11 or more points in seven of his past eight games including three games of at least 24 points. He had 17 points, three boards and 26.25 DKFP against the Spurs on Monday in his most recent game and has over 24 DKFP in five of his last seven. He’s a solid mid-range option, and the Rockets will need him to get it going if they want to knock off the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Other Options — Kevin Huerter ($4,900), Wilson Chandler ($3,500)
StudKawhi Leonard, LAC vs. HOU, $9,200 — Kawhi only played 27 minutes as the Clippers cruised past the Suns on Tuesday, so he only finished with 32.5 DKFP. In his 10 previous games before that, though, he had over 40 DKFP eight times, averaging 25.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.4 steals and 44.7 DKFP per contest. He had 56.5 DKFP the first time the Clippers played Houston and 42 DKFP in their second meeting of the season. Since this game should be close, Leonard should be poised to deliver a solid return on investment and brings elite upside as well. Other Options — Anthony Davis ($10,100), Montrezl Harrell ($6,100)
ValueDe’Andre Hunter, ATL vs. UTA, $5,100 — Hunter returned to the lineup five games ago and has continued a promising rookie season. He has struggled with consistency but shown great upside with at least 19 points in three of those five games and double-digit points in seven of his past 10 overall. In those 10 games, he has averaged 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 24.7 DKFP. He doesn’t usually produce that average though, either going big for over 30 DKFP, as he has in three of his past five or struggling in a more limited role. Still, the rookie’s upside makes him a boom-or-bust midrange option and gives him a high ceiling on any given night, making him ideally suited for GPP lineups.
Other Options — Rudy Gay ($4,700), Ersan Ilyasova ($3,600)
StudClint Capela, HOU at LAC, $7,600 — Capela is my favorite of the group of three strong center plays between $7K and $8K. He has been remarkably consistent all season and has double-doubles in seven of his past eight games since returning from a two-game absence due to illness. In those eight games, he has averaged 12.5 points, 14.9 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 39.0 DKFP per contest. He has really filled it up in his past two games with 48.75 DKFP against the Spurs and 46.75 DKFP against the Pistons. He also had over 40 DKFP in each of his two meetings earlier this season with the Clippers. Other Options — Rudy Gobert ($7,800), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,300)
ValueDwight Howard, LAL at MIL, $5,000 — Howard flourished while Davis was out against the Pacers, scoring a season-high 20 points on a perfect 10-for-10 shooting from the field and adding six boards and two blocks for 30 DKFP. Howard has been playing well when given the chance and could earn his way to more time even once Davis returns since Davis can comfortably slide to PF. As a result, Howard could get some minutes from Kyle Kuzma (ankle), who will be sidelined for a fifth straight game. If Davis is out, Howard has a much higher ceiling, but he still has solid potential in a favorable matchup. He’s one of the few options at $5K or less that offers consistent production.
Other Options — DeAndre Jordan ($4,800), Alex Len ($4,500)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.