This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Here we go with a brief three-game NBA slate for Thursday, Dec. 6.
It appears that blowout situations will be unavoidable tonight, as two games have point spreads of 13 or greater. That leaves the Houston-Utah matchup as the best fantasy environment with a competitive spread (Utah by 2) and reasonable 216 over/under. Managing blowout concerns by leaning on this game will be a constant theme in today's article.
Per usual, we have several injuries to monitor with potential for more while moving closer to tip-off. You'll want to stay in the loop with Rotowire's NBA News Feed before setting your final lineups. As of Thursday morning, these are the situations we are looking at:
Devin Booker is out and T.J. Warren is doubtful. Both of these quality players are expected to miss more time, which leaves Phoenix shorthanded with few proven playmakers. Josh Jackson will continue to step up in their absence while Deandre Ayton and Trevor Ariza should see more opportunities as well.
C.J. McCollum is questionable. There's a decent chance Portland will play it safe with McCollum as healthy home favorites over Phoenix. If he's out, a combination of Seth Curry, Evan Turner and Nik Stauskas will pick up his minutes. Turner appears to be the most respectable DFS option of that group.
With that, I'll be breaking down the best fantasy choices on DraftKings for Thursday. The following write-ups contain a blend of cash game staples, bargain fillers, and tournament pivots.
Chris Paul, HOU at UTA ($7,700): Paul fell victim to a poor shooting performance on Monday, but there's reason to expect a bounce-back effort on Thursday. As mentioned in the introduction, this Houston-Utah matchup is the most competitive tilt of the night. Utah ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency against opposing point guards, giving Paul a clear path to find fantasy success. He posted three straight outings of 39-plus fantasy points before the mishap in Minnesota on Monday. I'm expecting him to get back to that level tonight, and this salary level is more than acceptable.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. HOU ($7,600): Gobbling up shares from this Houston-Utah draw isn't a bad idea, and Donovan Mitchell is a viable lift within that. Houston ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency against opposing shooting guards, and Mitchell is sizzling with 44-plus fantasy points in three of his past six. You'll notice a few poor outputs intertwined in there, but blowouts and exiting a game early due to injury serve as the main culprits. Mitchell is now fully healthy and ready to come up big in this primetime matchup. He went for 38-5-7 in his first meeting with Houston this season.
Emmanuel Mudiay, NYK at BOS ($5,700): The matchup doesn't look good on paper, but Mudiay is still underpriced at $5,700 on DraftKings. He is seeing more playing time with Trey Burke sidelined, which will continue to be the case on Thursday. Mudiay has seen 36 minutes in each of his past two games, hitting 45 and 29 fantasy points, respectively, as a result. I'm not expecting much in the department of fantasy upside from him, but Mudiay should be able to post a solid performance through sheer volume. That makes him a reasonable value filler in this three-game slate.
Josh Jackson, PHX at POR ($5,400): Jackson has been starting for T.J. Warren lately, finding mixed results while averaging 32 minutes and 28 fantasy points over his past three. The good news comes from healthy volume that could increase with Devin Booker sidelined as well. The bad news revolves around poor efficiency while going 14-of-45 (31.1%) from the floor over that three game span. Jackson has the ability and opportunities to be a valuable fantasy streamer with Warren and Booker out – he just needs to take advantage. The lack of other options on this three-game slate makes him an easier pick through all formats. Facing a Portland team that ranks 24th in defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourts doesn't hurt either.
Evan Turner, POR vs. PHX ($4,200): I believe Turner is a solid all-around pick regardless of the C.J. McCollum (questionable) injury situation. Of course, he would become an even higher priority if McCollum is ruled out. As things stand, Turner is seeing around 27-30 minutes per contest, which gives him enough time to post quality numbers against a bottom-five Phoenix defense. He has notched 26-plus fantasy points in three of his past four games, which is an acceptable number when considering the cheap $4,200 salary and lower-than-usual opportunity cost in Thursday's slate. Keep in mind that Turner is an offensive-minded player who isn't afraid to find his own shot. That could pay dividends in a soft matchup or if Portland leans on him more in the event that McCollum sits.
Al-Farouq Aminu, POR vs. PHX ($5,200): Yes, there is severe blowout risk in this Portland-Phoenix game, but the Blazers have a really nice matchup to take advantage of as well. Aminu has been turning things on with 32-plus fantasy points in three straight games, seeing a respectable uptick in playing time (34-plus minutes) as a result. Facing a Phoenix team that ranks 26th in defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourts and 23rd in rebound rate could be enough to keep him going. The salary is still too low when considering Aminu's recent surge.
Clint Capela, HOU at UTA ($8,000): It was a difficult decision between recommending Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert. You could realistically play either one and feel good about it while considering they are playing in the most competitive draw of the night. The matchup doesn't look great on paper for either one, but Capela looked good against Utah in the playoffs last season. Take that for what it's worth, but Utah also surprisingly ranks 19th in defensive efficiency vs. opposing centers this season. Capela has been an absolute fantasy monster as of late, roasting other defensive-minded centers in recent games. Posting 55 and 67 fantasy points against Andre Drummond a few weeks ago serves as case in point.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. PHX ($7,300): Nurkic is more of a tournament selection due to the blowout risk associated with this game. However, there's a chance Portland's big man could get going against a Phoenix team that ranks 28th vs. centers and 23rd in rebound rate. Nurkic is typically a boom-or-bust fantasy selection, and we could see him flirt with the former part of that equation as long as the minutes aren't pinched in a runaway victory.