DraftKings NBA: Thursday Picks

DraftKings NBA: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

Slate Overview

CHI (-3.5) vs. TOR, O/U: 221.5

LAL vs. MIA (-8), O/U: 204

CLE (-3) vs. OKC, O/U: 212

MIL (-1.5) vs. DAL, O/U: 228.5

DET vs SAC (-6.5), O/U: 226.5

PHX vs. LAC (-5), O/U: 223.5

POR vs. UTA (-7), O/U: 231

The MIL-DAL matchup will garner much of the focus tonight as Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) is listed as doubtful. Jrue Holiday ($8,100) and Khris Middleton ($7,800) would be popular options in his absence as their projected usage makes them significantly undervalued. Luka Doncic ($10,700) will be an important decision point tonight as he's the only player on the slate with a salary above $10K.

The CHI-TOR matchup will be another popular target as the Raptors are still without Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. A lack of spend-up options tonight has Nikola Vucevic ($9,100) looking extra appealing after 63 DK points last time out. 

The LAL-MIA matchup features a paltry 204-point total and has blowout written all over it. There is little reason to ever target these bad games unless you're entering multiple lineups in large-field tournaments, and even then, it's rarely necessary or beneficial.   

Injuries to Monitor 

Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee): DOUBTFUL

Giannis was a late scratch Tuesday after being considered probable prior to the game and is now listed as doubtful for tonight. If he's unable to go, Bobby Portis would likely get another start at power forward. 

Fred VanVleet (hip): OUT

VanVleet will miss a third consecutive game tonight as he deals with a hip injury. DeAndre' Bembry and Gary Trent have been starting in the backcourt, while Malachi Flynn has seen extended run off the bench. 

Jarrett Allen (concussion): OUT

Allen will miss his sixth consecutive game since suffering a concussion March 26. Kevin Love has been starting at center in his absence. 

Larry Nance (illness): OUT

Nance is likely to miss a few more games as he recovers from an unspecified illness that has resulted in rapid weight loss. Dean Wade should continue to start at power forward. 

Jerami Grant (knee): OUT

Grant will sit out tonight to rest his sore knee. Sekou Doumbouya will likely start at power forward in his place. 

Jusuf Nurkic (knee): QUESTIONABLE

Nurkic sat out on Tuesday to rest his sore knee and is listed as questionable for tonight. Enes Kanter will get another start at center if Nurkic sits again. 

Oklahoma City Thunder 

The Thunder have listed Aleksej Pokusevski (hip), Darius Bazley (shoulder), Isaiah Roby (concussion) and Luguentz Dort (concussion) as questionable for tonight. Pokusevski played well last night while the other three have been out for some time. Keep an eye out for news because once the Thunder get some healthy bodies back, the entire team becomes unappealing for DFS as the salaries are no longer cheap, and coach Mark Daigneault will spread the minutes around. 

Elite Players

Luka Doncic ($10,700)

Assuming Giannis is out, Doncic is the most expensive player on the slate by a considerable margin. He has failed to reach 60 DK points in eight consecutive games, and with Kristaps Porzingis back, his likelihood of hitting his ceiling is even less. Encouragingly, he's taken at least 23 shots in four straight games, and the DAL-MIL matchup is a favorable target with Giannis likely out. I'd expect him to be slightly more popular than usual, as he's the only player with a salary above $10K, but I'll likely be spending elsewhere. 

Guard:

Donovan Mitchell ($8,600)

A $2,100 difference in salary between Doncic and Mitchell is crazy. Without merit, Mitchell has seen his salary fall to its lowest point in 10 games. His game log is a bit deceiving as the Jazz have been involved in multiple blowouts that have seen his minutes limited. He's coming off 57 DK points yesterday, as he took a whopping 35 shots, and Utah has a great matchup against Portland tonight.

Center:

Nikola Vucevic ($9,100)

Vucevic put up 63 DK points Tuesday as he attempted 29 shots and grabbed 16 rebounds. I'd expect his salary to keep going up as he takes on a larger role with the Bulls. He has the upside to be the slate's highest scorer in a favorable matchup against the Raptors. 

Forward:

Kawhi Leonard ($9,400)

Leonard has topped 49 DK points in three consecutive games, as he's been seeing upper-30s minutes while taking more shots and increasing his assist rate. A competitive matchup against a tough Suns defense might not seem ideal, but safe minutes have become more valuable as blowouts have been and will be more prevalent as the season winds down. 

Expected Chalk

Jrue Holiday ($8,100) and Khris Middleton ($7,800)

Giannis is listed as doubtful, and assuming he sits, Holiday and Middleton should see a significant bump in usage. Both of their salaries would be much too cheap for their projected roles in the absence of Giannis. The Bucks are in a good spot tonight against the Mavericks, and I'd expect Holiday and Middleton to be the most popular of the mid-range options.

Killian Hayes ($3,200)

Hayes has played 20 and 25 minutes in his first games since January. He's coming off 34.25 DK points on Monday and then rested on Tuesday, so he should be ready to go tonight. I'd expect him to be popular as his salary is near the minimum.

Value Picks

Pascal Siakam ($8,500)

Siakam will continue to see all the usage he wants as the Raptors are without Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. He's attempted at least 21 shots in two of the past three games and has a ceiling comparable to any player on the slate in tonight's matchup against the Bulls.

Paul George ($8,200)

George has topped 50 DK points in two of the past four games. His salary is still too cheap as he's been battling a lingering toe injury, but it makes him more likely to hit value in what should be a competitive matchup against the Suns. 

Kevin Love ($5,800)

Love has played 20, 23 and 26 minutes in consecutive games. Going by that pattern, he should see close to 30 minutes tonight, and his salary is quite affordable for a favorable matchup against the Thunder.

Bobby Portis ($5,300)

Portis is likely to get another start at power forward in place of Giannis. He put up 33.75 DK points in 28 minutes on Tuesday, and his ceiling is higher than that tonight if he sees similar run against the Mavericks.

DeAndre' Bembry ($3,800)

Bembry has scored at least 30 DK points while playing at least 30 minutes in consecutive starts in place of the injured Fred VanVleet. He's not minimum price anymore, but $3,800 is still too cheap for his projected minutes and usage in tonight's matchup against the Bulls.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan Belongia writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
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