This Thursday there are just three games on the fantasy basketball slate after the NBA had 10 games on tap for last night with another 10-game schedule lined up for tomorrow. The six teams in action all had Wednesday off, so there won’t be the added fatigue of any squad playing on the second day of back-to-back games. The Knicks and Celtics get us started followed by a pair of Western Conference matchups as the injury-depleted Suns head to Portland and the Jazz host the Rockets.
With just six teams on the board, you’ll need to carefully consider your options as you lock in your lineup, so check out my top studs and values at each position. You also will want to make sure to check the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com for any late-breaking news that impacts the slate.
StudKyrie Irving, BOS vs. NY, $9,000 — The Celtics should be well-rested since they haven’t played since knocking off the Timberwolves in Minnesota on Saturday. Irving had 21 points, nine assists and 37.25 DKFP in that contest and has at least 35 DKFP in each of his past four games and nine of his past 10. He had 22 points, 13 assists and 58.5 DKFP against the Knicks when these two teams met Nov. 21, when the Knicks upset the C’s at home. Boston will look to get payback for that defeat as it hosts its divisional foes. Other Options — Damian Lillard ($10,100), Chris Paul ($7,700)
ValueEmmanuel Mudiay, NY at BOS, $5,700 — Trey Burke (ankle) will remain sidelined for the Knicks, which opens opportunity for Mudiay. He has played 36 minutes in each of the Knicks’ past two games and posted 44.75 DKFP against the Bucks and 29.25 DKFP against the Wizards. His production has been hit-or-miss mostly due to coach David Fizdale’s inconsistent backcourt rotation, but without Burke, Mudiay is locked into a large enough role to offer upside under $6K.
Other Options — Terry Rozier ($4,100), Elie Okobo ($4,000)
StudJames Harden, HOU at UTA, $10,800 — The Rockets haven’t been able to right the ship after a slow start and only managed nine points in the fourth quarter of their loss in Minnesota on Monday. Harden had 29 points and 51 DKFP but couldn’t keep Houston from blowing a 19-point lead. Harden has at least 50 DKFP in six straight contests and has averaged 64.5 DKFP during that run. He continues to carry most of the scoring load for the Rockets and will try to help his team bounce back on the road in Utah. The Vivint Smart Home Arena is a tough place to go into and win, but Harden usually brings his best against the Jazz, including in last season’s Western Conference semifinals. Other Options — Donovan Mitchell ($7,600), CJ McCollum ($7,400)
ValueDe’Anthony Melton, PHO at POR, $4,200 — With Isaiah Canaan released, Devin Booker (hamstring) injured and Elie Okobo ($4,000) struggling with his shot, Melton got his first expanded playing time Tuesday against the Kings. Melton had a career-high 21 points in 23 minutes and added five assists, two boards and a steal for 34.0 DKFP. Melton could move into the starting lineup in place of Okobo or continue to come off the bench, but either way, he has shown himself to have the more NBA-ready offensive game. Melton had a strong summer league with the Rockets before being traded to the Suns as part of the Ryan Anderson ($3,000)-Marquese Chriss ($3,000) trade. He has more upside than Okobo and deserves a look against Portland even though he has only gotten significant run in one NBA game.
Other Options — Joe Ingles ($5,500), Damyean Dotson ($4,800)
StudGordon Hayward, BOS vs NY, $6,100 — Hayward had his best game of the season Saturday with 58.25 DKFP on 30 points, eight assists, nine rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes against the Timberwolves. It was the second game of a back-to-back, too, which seems to show he’s getting closer to full recovery from last season’s grisly ankle injury. Hayward has been inconsistent overall this season but did have 36.75 DKFP against the Knicks in the teams’ most recent meeting. He has a high enough ceiling to definitely be worth a look at just over $6K. Other Options — Jayson Tatum ($7,100), Trevor Ariza ($5,600)
ValueEvan Turner, POR vs. PHO, $4,200 — Turner could move into the starting lineup depending on the status of CJ McCollum ($7,400; ankle, questionable), but the veteran is worth a look even if he keeps coming off the bench given his success in the second unit. Turner has more than 25 DKFP in three of his past four games and has returned to his days of chipping in solid multi-category production. He has at least four assists and at least five rebounds in each of his past four games and could end up with heavy minutes if McCollum sits or the game gets lopsided.
Other Options — Josh Jackson ($5,400), Kyle Korver ($3,400)
StudAl Horford, BOS vs. NY, $6,200 — Horford had 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three blocks for 44.25 DKFP when the Celtics faced the Knicks two weeks ago, but he hasn’t put together a complete performance like that in his three games since. He also has gotten some games off for rest and with the extended break since Saturday should be fresh and ready to dominate New York’s sketchy interior defense once again. Big Al can be boom-or-bust but is always worth a look against the Knicks, who he usually crushes.
ValueAl-Farouq Aminu, POR vs. PHO, $5,200 — Aminu has scored in double digits and produced more than 32 DKFP in each of his past three games. He had a nice 12-point, 13-rebound in his return to Dallas Tuesday and has a great matchup as the Blazers host the Suns. Aminu has been red hot over the three-game stretch, shooting a combined 19-for-24 (79.1 percent) from the field.
Other Options — Noah Vonleh ($5,100), Kevin Knox ($4,500)
StudRudy Gobert, UTA vs. HOU, $8,300 — The two top centers on the slate go head-to-head in the late game as Gobert takes on Clint Capela ($8,000). While I’m a big Capela fan, I’ll give the edge to the Stifle Tower since he is stronger defensively and held Capela in check in their earlier meeting this season, producing 37.75 DKFP compared to 33 for Capela. Gobert comes in with good form as well with at least 43 DKFP in four straight games, all of which have featured double-doubles with at least three blocked shots. Other Options — Jusuf Nurkic ($7,300), Deandre Ayton ($6,700)
ValueRichaun Holmes, PHO at POR, $4,300 — Sure, some of Holmes’ recent production has come in garbage time, but the Suns are such a mess there’s usually plenty of that to go around. He has at least 20 DKFP in seven of his past eight games and is coming off a double-double against the Kings on Tuesday, when he had 10 points, 10 boards and three assists in just 22 minutes. He didn’t have any blocks in that game but is usually good for a couple blocks and good scoring and rebounding. His role is limited behind Deandre Ayton ($6,700), but his salary is affordable enough to still make him a solid play.
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.