This week’s fantasy basketball slates have been pretty balanced with no mega-slate of double-digit games and no limited slates with just a couple of contests. This Thursday, there is a handful of games on the main slate starting at 8 p.m. with the Heat and Cavaliers playing an early game that is available as a single-game Showdown competition. For the purposes of this post, we’ll skip that game and look at the five games on the main slate, highlighted by Luka Doncic ($10,000) starring alongside Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900) in his return to Madison Square Garden and Paul George ($7,900) expected to make his Clippers debut against New Orleans.
As you set up your squad for this Thursday, check out my top studs and values at each position listed below, and make sure to check out the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com for any late-breaking news that impacts the 10-team slate.
StudTrae Young, ATL at PHO, $9,600 — Young has at least 30 points, 10 assists and 60 DKFP in each of his past three games and led the Hawks to an upset over the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday. He’ll look to stay red-hot in a good matchup against the Suns. Young is averaging 28.0 points, 8.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game and carrying the workload in the Atlanta offense, especially with John Collins (suspension) out. He’ll continue to get high usage and has avoided down games so far this season except for when he left early with an injury or was playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Other Options — Jrue Holliday ($8,200), Lou Williams ($7,700)
ValueSpencer Dinwiddie, BKN at DEN, $5,700 — One of the key injured players to keep an eye on ahead of tip-off is Kyrie Irving ($8,800; shoulder), who is listed as questionable with a shoulder impingement. Apparently the injury impacted his shooting Tuesday, when he hit just 10-of-30 against the Jazz, and it could keep him out of this contest with the Nuggets. If Irving is out, Dinwiddie likely would step into the starting lineup and get an increased workload. Dinwiddie has been effective off the bench this season, averaging 17.1 points, 4.7 assists and 28.5 DKFP per contest in just 25.1 minutes per game. He can return a nice value even if Irving tries to play through the injury and also has a high ceiling, which he showcased with 34 points and 50.75 DKFP against Portland last week. If Irving is out, Dinwiddie is almost a must-play in the Mile High City.
Other Options — Jalen Brunson ($4,300), Kris Dunn ($4,200)
StudLuka Doncic, DAL at NY, $10,000 — Doncic has more than 55 DKFP in each of his past three games and five of his past six. He crushed the Knicks for 38 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 72.5 DKFP last Thursday, which is one of three triple-doubles in his past six games — all of which have netted more than 70 DKFP. He had 34 points and 56 DKFP against Boston on Monday and should be well-rested after two days off and ready to drop another big number on an injury-depleted Knicks backcourt. Other Options — Devin Booker ($8,100), RJ Barrett ($6,200)
ValueJJ Redick, NO vs. LAC, $4,500 — Redick will face one of his former teams as the Pelicans host the Clippers, and he should be lined up for an increased role again with Lonzo Ball (hip) and Josh Hart (knee/ankle) already ruled out. Redick has stepped up with Ball out the past two games, moving into the starting lineup and scoring 22 and 24 points while producing 36.75 DKFP against the Hornets and 31.5 DKFP against Houston. Redick has gone 12-for-24 on 3-pointers during those two games and should continue to have the green light from long range while also chipping in a few counting stats against his former squad.
Other Options — Coby White ($5,400), Delon Wright ($3,800)
StudMarcus Morris, NY vs. DAL, $6,400 — Morris has stepped into a key role with the Knicks and has the potential to go off for a big game on any given night. He had a big game against Dallas last week, producing 47.75 DKFP on 29 points, nine rebounds, three assists and a steal in 41 minutes. He had a down game against the Cavs after that but bounced back with 35.25 DKFP on Tuesday in Chicago in his most recent contest. He had more than 35 DKFP in four of his past six games and can bring elite upside at a mid-range price at one of your forward spots. Other Options — Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,700), Will Barton ($6,600)
ValueKenrich Williams, NO vs. LAC, $4,500 — With Hart and Ball out and Brandon Ingram ($7,500; knee) expected to be a game-time decision, Williams is another one of the Pelicans who could be set to step up against the Clippers. Williams has posted more than 25 DKFP in each of his past two games and produced eight points with 11 boards in 38 minutes against the Rockets on Monday. Williams likely will get enough time filling in for Hart to be a useful play, but his usage will go even higher if Ingram is out or limited as well.
Other Options — Taurean Prince ($5,300), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($3,900)
StudMontrezl Harrell, LAC at NO, $7,600 — With Paul George ($7,900; shoulders) likely on a minutes limit and Kawhi Leonard ($9,500) most likely resting the second game of the back-to-back after playing 41 minutes against the Rockets on Wednesday, there should be plenty of usage for Harrell, who will look to quickly bounce back after his 2-for-12 performance Wednesday. Before that letdown, Harrell had 31-plus DKFP in five straight games, including a massive 62.75 DKFP when Kawhi sat against the Bucks and Harrell dropped 34 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. He has that kind of upside against a banged-up New Orleans frontcourt if Leonard is ruled out for this contest as expected. Other Options — Jabari Parker ($7,200), Julius Randle ($7,000)
ValueDe’Andre Hunter, ATL at PHO, $4,000 — The Hawks will be shorthanded on the wings in Phoenix, which should lead to a big workload for Hunter and make him a nice value. Kevin Huerter (shoulder), Vince Carter (personal) and Evan Turner (Achilles) hall ave been ruled out for the game already, and Cam Reddish ($3,300; shoulder) is probable but probably can’t handle a huge workload. Hunter was the Hawks’ No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft and has logged 39 and 40 minutes in the two games on the Hawks’ current road trip. He had 14 points and 24.75 DKFP on Saturday in Portland and followed that with 12 points and 25.5 DKFP against the Nuggets. He should be a great way to save salary and still get solid production since Atlanta will again need him to play big minutes.
Other Options — Wendell Carter Jr. ($5,600), JaMychal Green ($4,000)
StudKristaps Porzingis, DAL at NY, $6,900 — Porzingis has had an uneven start to his first season in Dallas after being traded from the Knicks last season. He’ll return to Madison Square Garden, which is sure to be an emotional night and could motivate him to have a big game. He pounded New York when he faced them last Thursday, going off for 28 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and 50.75 DKFP in 36 minutes. He rested the following contest and struggled to just 13.75 DKFP against the Celtics on Monday, showing his continued struggle to get in a consistent groove. On a night he should be motivated, I think he’ll have a big game, but he still comes with significant boom-or-bust risk. Other Options — Nikola Jokic ($8,600), Lauri Markkanen ($6,000)
ValueAron Baynes, PHO vs. ATL, $5,900 — Baynes has been rock solid for the Suns since stepping up for the suspended DeAndre Ayton. He has at least 30 DKFP in six straight contests while averaging 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game during that run. He gets a good matchup against a Hawks front line dealing with suspensions and injuries of its own, so he should continue to provide good percentages, points and rebounds in this matchup Thursday. He doesn’t have the high ceiling of Porzingis but has been much steadier overall.
Other Options — Derrick Favors ($5,500), Alex Len ($3,600)
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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.