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Here’s what stands out on Thursday’s four-game slate:
Defense vs. Position
Point Guard MatchupsBEST
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (29th)
Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns (23rd)
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics (18th)
Damian Lillard ($9,100) is always worth considering in a plus-matchup, especially with a salary decrease, but yikes those last two games have been ugly. I’ll probably look for more value at PG and save salary for bigs, so Isaiah Canaan ($3,900) is left as a great option. He’s averaging over 22 DKFP over his last three games back from injury, and more importantly is firmly in the rotation with 33 minutes per game during that span.
Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (2nd)
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (5th)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets (9th)
These three down matchups actually make for some really nice plays. While I don’t think I’ll be on Stephen Curry ($10,300), he’s been an extremely consistent option thus far. As for Patrick Beverley ($3,800) and Dennis Schroder ($7,000), a lot of value pops here. Russell Westbrook is all but officially ruled out, while the Clippers seems to have handed Beverley a larger role. Both are coming off strong games and have big opportunities to continue that play.
Shooting Guard MatchupsBEST
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (25th)
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (22nd)
Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (16th)
You can slide Pat-Bev over to SG if you have a PG dilemma in your lineup, but Klay Thompson ($6,000) is a strong option in this spot. Draymond Green (toe) is out for this game, so there could be some extra usage to go around. After a shaky start, Thompson’s really caught on. Most will focus on his 67-DKFP game against the Bulls and say that’s the only good game he’s had, but for his current price point he’s been between 5-6x value in each of his last three games since he went off in Chicago.
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics (5th)
Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder (6th)
Milwaukee Bucks at Golden State Warriors (11th)
Devin Booker ($7,600) actually could make for a popular play on this slate, but I’m not seeing how this sets up as a good spot for him. The Suns are playing at a much slower pace this season than they have in the past, which has led to lower production for Booker. Having scored 35.5 or fewer DKFP in each of his last three games, entering a matchup against Boston doesn’t feel like a breakout spot — especially when you consider some of these Boston guards will want some revenge for the 70 points Booker dropped on them a couple seasons ago.
Small Forward MatchupsBEST
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (21st)
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics (15th)
Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns (14th)
There isn’t any “must target” spot for SF on this slate. Of the matchups above, I think Mikal Bridges ($3,500) is worth consideration as a GPP value. I think it boils down to paying up for one (or two) of three studs. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) is in a paced-up matchup against Golden State and won’t have Draymond to deal with. Kevin Durant ($10,200) could get more minutes without Draymond to share with. And finally, Paul George ($9,100) will act as the go-to guy without Westbrook on the floor.
Golden State Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks (3rd)
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (9th)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets (10th)
As you’ll notice, these SF matchups are actually some of the better plays on the slate. While the matchup for KD isn’t ideal, this is a close point spread by Golden State standards (-5.5). That could mean more minutes for Durant. George struggled on Wednesday against the Cavs, but on the whole has put up better fantasy numbers without Westbrook, as you’d expect.
Power Forward MatchupsBEST
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (23rd)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets (21st)
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics (16th)
You can slot any of those SF studs at PF if you’re trying to roster two of them, but Jerami Grant ($4,900) stands out as really nice value regardless of matchup. Grant’s now scored at least 21.75 DKFP in seven straight games, never playing fewer than 25 minutes during that span. He flashed 40-DKFP upside in 34 minutes against Washington, so he comes with a nice ceiling for under $5,000.
Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns (2nd)
Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder (9th)
Milwaukee Bucks at Golden State Warriors (10th)
This is one of those scenarios when all of these matchups, combined with lack of talent these teams have at this position, rounds up to a complete fade. Unless some news breaks, I don’t see a reason to roster a PF eligible player from any of the three teams here.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers (30th)
Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns (28th)
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (19th)
Center has been the position to load up on in NBA this season, but unfortunately we can only max out at two. I think all three centers in these matchups make for really good plays highlighted by Jusuf Nurkic ($6,600). Boban Marjanovic ($5,400) and Al Horford ($6,300) also make for nice targets — Horford with the luxury of PF eligibility. Nurk has been super consistent this season, and the Clippers struggles defensively at center are real. But these plays don’t even include my two favorites at center.
Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder (4th)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets (5th)
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics (10th)
Believe it or not, all three of these centers are maybe even better plays than the ones above (aside from Nurk). Deandre Ayton ($6,800) is down $700 since he last played due to the perceived poor matchup against Boston, but his consistency has generally trumped poor matchups in his brief NBA career. Clint Capela’s ($6,900) been rock solid of late, and while I prefer Ayton, he’s definitely an option if you’re going with multiple lineups. All this, and we still haven’t mentioned the top play at center on this slate. Stay tuned in quick hits below.
Lineup Quick Hits
Superstar Worth Paying ForGiannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at GS ($11,000) — Giannis is coming off a poor outing by his standards against the Blazers, but we almost needed that to get his salary back in check — he got up to an unrosterable $12,600, so we’re seeing a wild $1,600 drop off here. This is a big game for the Bucks to prove they’ve arrived as one of the league’s top teams, expect Giannis to go all out to keep pace with the dubs.
Save The Big Bucks By Drafting …Steven Adams, OKC vs. HOU ($5,800) — Not that Adams does the things Westbrook does when he’s on the court, but his rebounding numbers get a huge boost when Russ doesn’t play. In four games sans Westbrook this season, Adams is averaging 39.8 DKFP — largely thanks to 14 boards per game versus just 8.8 in games Russ plays. He should be in beast mode again versus Houston.
Next Man UpGolden State Warriors — No Draymond leaves some wiggle room when rostering Warriors. Thompson, Durant, Curry make sense to me in that order, while Kevon Looney ($3,500) and Alfonso McKinnie ($3,800) make for the logical value plays.
*DKFP DraftKings Fantasy Points
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.