This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The dramatic events that rippled through the NBA DFS landscape on Wednesday is a perfect example of how an entire slate can transform in a matter of minutes. Here at RotoWire, we strive to get you information as early as possible, but we are saddled with some liability when we publish our site-specific advice columns early in the day.
There's no way to overstate the importance of monitoring the day's news and concurrently using these articles as a guide. We had no way of predicting the Harden trade and all of the ramifications it presented, but in the age of COVID-19, things can, have, and will change on a dime. So, forgive us of our limitations as we dive into the daily slates. We'll do the best we can!
The five-game slate on Thursday allows us to breathe a bit, and we can begin to see the new landscape in Houston and Indianapolis.
MIA @ PHI (-11) O/U: TBA
CHA @ TOR (-8) O/U: 221.5
HOU @ SA (-6) O/U: TBA
IND @ POR (-2.5) O/U: 229.5
GSW @ DEN (-5) O/U: 228.5
Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change
Games/Teams to Target: BOLD
Games/Teams to Target: ITALICS
Bam Adebayo (COVID-19) OUT
Jimmy Butler (COVID-19) OUT
Goran Dragic (COVID-19) OUT
Avery Bradley (COVID-19) OUT
The cornucopia of value is with the Heat today. There's one exciting guy I will save for later in the article, but the popular pivot in this spot has to be Gabe Vincent ($4,500). He netted 39 FDFP in his first attempt inside this game script, and although he's listed as probable, he should be in line for a similar load. Tyler Herro ($7,300), Duncan Robinson ($5,500), and Kelly Olynyk ($6,400) will likely start again, and we should expect a significant run from Andre Iguodala ($4,000) as well. When building lineups this week, begin with Miami. Again, see below for the most intriguing play in this game.
Gordon Hayward (hip) QUESTIONABLE
Hayward is traveling with the team to Tampa but is considered day-to-day at this point. His absence would be great news for the Toronto backcourt because if there's one place where the Hornets excel, it's in defending the pick-and-roll. Their ability to swarm that play has stifled Trae Young and Elfrid Payton in recent days, and Hayward's defensive presence would be missed. Miles Bridges ($4,300) would start in his place and will probably see more minutes regardless.
John Wall (knee) OUT
Eric Gordon (leg) OUT
Danuel House (COVID-19) OUT
After starting with Miami, move to Houston in search of value. The above injuries AND the temporary hole left by Harden should yield a lot of value. I'll mention my top play from here in the chalk section. A green light from Gordon would change a lot here, but at first glance, you have to assume that Ben McLemore ($3,700) and Sterling Brown ($3,800) will see more time, and it looks like Jae'Sean Tate ($3,300) could be an essential building block in this rebuilding effort. Although David Nwaba ($4,800) will also be popular, he has a slimmer chance of hitting value at the slightly inflated salary.
It's no surprise to see Nikola Jokic ($11,200) atop the slate. He's producing MVP numbers night after night, and his elevated price will cap his popularity to a degree. Although you should probably consider a stars-and-scrubs lineup with Jokic included, I think we can yield competitive numbers with Joel Embiid ($10,200) for $1,000 less.
While the entire cast returns tonight for Philly, and we won't see the 84 FDFP explosion Embiid had when he was alone, this is an excellent spot for the big man against Miami, who won't have Adebayo to defend him. Kelly Olynyk is a decent defender, but as we saw in the first game of this series, Embiid had no problem getting inside early and often. The addition of the rest of the usual starting five should overwhelm the Heat, and I don't see how Embiid doesn't put up a high number tonight.
Stephen Curry ($9,600) will be a top-five scorer by season's end, and I believe you can count on another sky-high number from him against the Nuggets. To round out the elites, Damian Lillard ($9,200) and Domantas Sabonis ($9,000) are solid selections, although I like Embiid and Curry as the favorites up top.
Christian Wood, HOU ($8,100) @ SAS
Prepare for the Christian Wood show. Houston's motley crew of backups will keep dishing to Wood, who will pose a daunting task for the Spurs with DeMarcus Cousins ($4,600) alongside him. When Cousins is playing his best, he and Woods provoke echoes of Davis and Cousins' twin-tower setup that worked so well in New Orleans, once upon a time. Wood is no Anthony Davis, but he's a winner in the opportunity department on a temporarily depleted lineup. Without Wall and Harden, and no Victor Oladipo until the end of the week, the production has to come from somewhere.
Fred VanVleet, TOR ($8,200) vs. CHA
The Raptors played the Hornets twice in a row during the abbreviated preseason, and VanVleet went off on Charlotte both times. Since then, his production has fluctuated a bit, but he finds himself in an exploitable spot if Gordon Hayward is out. I also think Kyle Lowry will have a bit more difficulty tonight, as any point guard not named Luka Doncic has had trouble against the Hornets. If VanVleet can get his shot going, he'll find a way to get open.
Myles Turner, ($7,800) @ POR
You rarely hear 'chalk,' and Myles Turner uttered in the same breath, but take a look at his recent production. Although he had a clunker against Sacramento, he salvaged a poor scoring night with eight blocked shots against Houston and dominated Golden State Tuesday night. He'll be in constant competition for production with Sabonis, but it seems that they've developed a good working relationship now. Both players are using their strengths, and for Turner, it's an underrated ability to use his size and athleticism underneath the basket.
Andrew Wiggins, GSW ($6,800) @ DEN
Wiggins is reminding us of his defensive prowess, as he's killing it in the peripheral categories. He's blocked nine shots over the past two games and delivers a good number of rebounds and assists. Finding the bottom of the net has been a slightly more significant issue, but he's averaged almost 20 points over the past two games, which is a step in the right direction. His combined stat line should get him over 5x value against Denver.
Precious Achiuwa, MIA ($4,100) @ PHI
If someone can provide me proof of Achiuwa playing small forward, please let me know. Confoundingly, that's where FanDuel has him tonight, which frees him up at a much thinner position. After a 37 FDFP performance in Miami's first short-handed game, I expect another great number from the rookie, and he's that special endorsement I mentioned earlier. On another team, the Memphis product would be in the ROY conversation, but you can bet he'll take advantage of this opportunity while he can.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR ($6,400) vs. IND
Nurkic is off the injury report and appears to be active tonight. If you're a fan of tracking historical pricing, Nurkic was an 8K guy in last season's Orlando bubble. He was virtually unstoppable and easily one of the three best centers in the league during that period. Foul trouble and poor shot selection have plagued him, but we've seen glimpses of his potential. It just hasn't happened very often, which is why we see him at this salary point. Most players who disappoint early in a given season have an inflection point, and I think that point is coming for Nurkic. He'll remain an upside GPP play until he gets there, but it's a matter of time before his meager double-doubles become monstrous ones.
Justin Holiday, IND ($4,500) @ POR
With Victor Oladipo on his way to Houston, the door is wide open for Holiday to make an impact. On nights where he sees 30 or more minutes, he crushes value at this salary level. He's almost certainly a candidate for increased usage now, and if he isn't starting, he'll be one of the first players off the bench.
The true values on this slate have already been mentioned. Mine the Miami and Houston rosters for the premium budget candidates and keep an eye on those squads' starting lineups before tip-off.