What a difference one night can make in the NBA. After being treated to a 12-game extravaganza on Wednesday night, we have only two games taking place in the association on Thursday night. At the very least, the league did do a fantastic job scheduling two intriguing matchups with Andre Drummond taking part in a revenge game with the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers squaring off. I’m pretty sure Drummond is the most notable player facing his former team on Thursday, right?
Two-game slates are tough to maneuver in NBA DFS. But don’t fret, I’ll do my best to guide you on Thursday’s main slate. Getting different can be difficult on slates like these, so taking risks is almost necessary if you want to separate yourself from the field. Taking that into consideration, let’s take a look at who I’m liking on Thursday’s main slate on DraftKings.
Pay-up option: James Harden ($10.400)
Even on a two-game slate where DraftKings is trying to make sure it’s possible to get the studs into your lineups, James Harden still seems a bit underpriced. The Nets are abysmal on the defensive end and they’re even worse when Kyrie Irving is on the floor. While Harden has scored 50 or fewer DraftKings points in three straight games, I expect him to be extra motivated against his former team. Brooklyn is allowing the sixth-most DraftKings points per game (49.50) to point guards this season, with a triple-double being a legitimate possibility for Harden.
Value option: Monte Morris ($4,700)
I imagine most people are going to want to force in the superstar players from the Nets and 76ers game, so using pieces from the Golden State Warriors and the Denver Nuggets will be somewhat contrarian. Monte Morris is a viable value option at point guard as he’s posted 26+ DraftKings points in three straight games and he’s averaged 32.6 DraftKings points in his first two meetings with the Warriors this season. If you need to save even more salary at the point guard spot, you can go down to Goran Dragic.
Pay-up option: Kyrie Irving ($9,900)
Irving put together a stellar performance in Brooklyn’s last game versus the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night. The dynamic point guard scored 50 points on an efficient 15-19 shooting while making nine of his 12 three-point attempts, resulting in 69.75 DraftKings points. Even though I wouldn’t expect another 50-point outing from Irving, he’s capable of scoring in bunches on any given night. Irving has supplied 48+ DraftKings points in five of his last six games and I’d expect him to be extremely active in an anticipated matchup versus the 76ers. Klay Thompson is also a solid option at shooting guard at $6,600.
Value option: Moses Moody ($3,500)
The Warriors rested a majority of their starters the other night against the Nuggets, allowing some of their younger players to get some playing time. Moses Moody benefited from increased minutes as he scored 38.25 DraftKings points in 36 minutes of action against Denver. While he was expected to see his playing time decrease with the starters returning, Golden State kept Moody in the starting lineup in Tuesday’s contest against the Los Angeles Clippers. The rookie wing would finish with 26.5 DraftKings points on Tuesday in 30 minutes. I’d be surprised if Moody doesn’t remain in the starting lineup, making him a massive value on Thursday night.
Pay-up option: Bruce Brown ($5,100)
The small forward position doesn’t have anyone I’d go out of my way to pay up for unless you’re using Kevin Durant. To save some salary at the position, you can go down to Bruce Brown, who’s been seeing more playing team as of late. Brown has received 28+ minutes in eight of his last 10 games while posting 26+ DraftKings points in eight of his last 10 games. I have a feeling that paying down at small forward is what a lot of people are going to do on Thursday night.
Value option: Jeff Green ($4,000)
Below Brown, there are limited options at the small forward position. Despite the lack of guys to choose from, Jeff Green is a solid option. Green has garnered 28+ minutes for the Nuggets in three consecutive games and has recorded 24+ DraftKings points in two of those games. While the ceiling isn’t super high for Green, I don’t think he’ll kill your lineup at only $4,000. For those that like to take risks, Austin Rivers is $3,600, though his minutes are inconsistent for the Nuggets.
Pay-up option: Kevin Durant ($10,300)
When I saw the Nets took down the Hornets 132-121 on Tuesday, I was shocked to see that Kevin Durant only had 14 points scored. Following his quiet outing, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Durant be ultra-aggressive against the 76ers. Durant seemingly has bad blood with Harden due to how Harden’s trade went down, so the All-Star forward could take this game personally. Regardless of whether or not the 76ers throw Matisse Thybulle at Durant, I believe he’s in store for a massive outing on Thursday night. I won’t have much of Andrew Wiggins or Tobias Harris on Thursday as I’ll mainly be paying up for Durant at one of the forward spots.
Value option: Jonathan Kuminga ($4,300)
Alongside Moody, another rookie that has carved out a key role for the Warriors is Jonathan Kuminga. Kuminga has become a crucial player for Golden State off of the bench, helping replace the production of Draymond Green. While he’s not the leader, defensive player, or facilitator that Green is, Kuminga has shown the capability to contribute on both ends of the floor. The rookie forward has a favorable matchup versus a Nuggets squad that surrenders the sixth-most DraftKings points per game (47.79) to power forwards this season. In the event that you need to save more salary to fit more studs, Georges Niang at $3,300 is someone to consider.
Pay-up option: Nikola Jokic ($11,200)
One of the interesting decisions we’ll need to make on Thursday is whether we should use Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid. If you’re an absolute maniac, you could fade both of them on a two-game slate and hope for the best. Or you could take the opposite route and use both in the same lineup. Both of those strategies would definitely be contrarian. Between the two, I’ll side with Jokic as I believe his ceiling is higher than Embiid’s with Harden also demanding a high usage on the 76ers. Jokic has scored at least 60 DraftKings points in his previous three meetings with the Warriors this season and he just produced 75.25 DraftKings in Monday’s matchup with Golden State. Also, Jokic hasn’t had a salary below $11,400 since November 8th, so I’ll be taking advantage of his cheaper salary on Thursday.
Value option: Kevon Looney ($4,100)
On paper, Kevon Looney doesn’t have a plus matchup against Jokic and the Nuggets. But in his three matchups with Denver this season, Looney has posted 30+ DraftKings in each of them. Even though I’d be wary of expecting 30+ DraftKings points from Looney on Thursday, he’s Golden State’s best rebounder right now and they’ll need someone to box out Jokic. The only thing that could cause concern with Looney is if he gets into foul trouble guarding Jokic. There aren’t any other value centers I like on Thursday, so Looney might be the only choice if you’re saving salary at the center position.