This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
MIA vs. PHI (-10.5), O/U: 223
CHA vs. TOR (-9), O/U: 219.5
HOU vs. SA (-7), O/U: 218.5
GS vs. DEN (-5), O/U: 225.5
IND vs. POR (-3), O/U: 229
Thursday's DraftKings NBA slate tips off at 7:00 p.m. EST and includes five games. In a season that has been filled with chaos, last night may have taken the cake. James Harden was traded to the Nets just before lock and a slew of other late injury news opened up multiple value options at just about every position. If NBA DFS has taught me anything this season, it's to expect nothing and plan for everything. There will be no shortage of value options again tonight so I would expect a stars and scrubs style build to be popular.
Miami and Houston are shorthanded tonight and each team has multiple value options. Both games will be popular targets. I prefer the HOU-SA matchup because the value pieces are cheaper and I think it has a better chance of staying competitive. Between the two late games, I prefer targeting GS-DEN. I plan on building for stars and scrubs and in that case, Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry are slightly preferable to Domantas Sabonis and Damian Lillard. The CHA-TOR matchup seems reasonable to fade.
Injuries to Monitor
Joel Embiid (back): PROBABLE
Embiid is still dealing with back soreness. He's coming off of his best game of the season and is expected to play again tonight.
Ben Simmons (knee): PROBABLE
Simmons played 32 minutes on Tuesday but is still dealing with knee soreness. He's expected to play again tonight.
DeMar DeRozan (personal): QUESTIONABLE
Tobias Harris (COVID-19 protocols): PROBABLE
Harris is expected to return tonight after a three-game absence.
Gordon Hayward (hip): PROBABLE
Hayward is likely to play after exiting last night's game with a hip injury.
John Wall (knee): OUT
Eric Gordon (lower leg): QUESTIONABLE
Miami is still without Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Avery Bradley and Kendrick Nunn due to the league's health and safety protocols. Kelly Olynyk ($6,400), Precious Achiuwa ($4,400) and Gabe Vincent ($4,200) started last game while Andre Iguodala ($4,000) saw increased run off the bench.
Nikola Jokic ($11,000) and Joel Embiid ($10,000) are the only players with five-figure salaries on tonight's slate. Jokic is projected for the most raw points tonight and the $11,000 salary is affordable considering all the cheap value elsewhere. Embiid is coming off a whopping 82.5 DK points in Tuesday's overtime win against the Heat. The two teams will run it back tonight but the return of Tobias Harris could eat into some of Embiid's usage. I wouldn't be overly concerned about it but if choosing between the two, Jokic is my pick. Domantas Sabonis can be rostered for $9,500 and he makes sense in tournaments if you're targeting that game.
Stephen Curry ($9,700) and Damian Lillard ($9,300) are the elite point guards in play tonight. Curry has been boom or bust so far this season but I prefer him in a lineup that has Jokic. Likewise, if you're planning on fading Jokic and playing a Pacer, choose Lillard.
Ben Simmons ($8,700) and Pascal Siakam ($8,500) are the spend-up options at forward. Siakam has really started to find his groove recently and is coming off a big triple-double on Monday. It's hard for me to trust Simmons, who is still dealing with knee swelling. The return of Tobias Harris and a healthy Joel Embiid don't help his case. Siakam is the pick.
CJ McCollum ($8,400) and Malcolm Brogdon ($8,300) can be rostered for a bit of a discount compared to the other studs on tonight's slate. Both guys have safe floors and big upside. I would give Brogdon the slight edge after Victor Oladipo was traded yesterday.
James Harden is gone, John Wall is out injured and Eric Gordon is questionable. The Rockets are extremely depleted at guard tonight. McLemore, Nwaba and Brown should see big minutes and increased usage. I expect whoever is starting to be very popular in all formats.
Precious Achiuwa ($4,400)
Achiuwa played 36 minutes and recorded a double-double while putting up 39.75 DK points on Tuesday. Nothing has changed for Miami as they are still without five key players due to the league's health and safety protocols. Achiuwa received a $1,300 salary increase but he's still good value tonight in a rematch against the Sixers.
Christian Wood ($7,700)
Wood is the Rockets' best remaining player and should see all the usage he can handle against a weak Spurs defense. We've seen big ceiling games from him in the past and he won't have many better opportunities than tonight.
Nikola Jokic ($11,000)
I've highlighted Jokic because he's the most expensive player and he projects for the most raw points tonight. On a slate with multiple cheap value options, I expect a stars and scrubs style build to very popular. Most of the elite players will be significantly rostered tonight.
Tyler Herro ($7,300)
Herro has taken at least 20 shots and put up over 44 DK points in the two games since Miami lost five key players to the league's health and safety protocols. He should run the show again tonight.
Duncan Robinson ($5,500)
Robinson is likely to be somewhat forgotten on a slate with so much cheap value. His three point shooting ability gives him great upside for tournaments. He attempted 14 of them on Tuesday and has now shot at least 10 in three of the past four games.
Jusuf Nurkic ($5,300)
The low salary really jumps off the page here. Nurkic was consistently priced in the 8K range during the bubble but has really struggled so far this season. He put up 43 DK points yesterday but has only been seeing minutes in the low 20s on most nights.
Eric Gordon ($5,100)
Gordon is listed as questionable tonight but if he plays, he will be the primary scorer for a depleted Rockets team.
Gabe Vincent ($4,200)
Vincent got the start on Tuesday and played 36 minutes while scoring 36 DK points. Miami are still without five key players so look for Vincent to see significant playing time again.