FanDuel NBA: Thursday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Thursday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

A multitude of back-to-backs and the return of an All-Star are the headlines for Thursday's six-game slate, which tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET. Let's dive right in.

SLATE OVERVIEW

PHO @ BOS (+6.5) O/U: 220.5

NOR @ ORL (+7.5) O/U: 224.5

PHI @ MIL (-5.5) O/U: 226.5

DET @ SAS (-7.5) O/U: 217

CHA @ CHI (-2) O/U: 211

LAL @ DAL (-1.5) O/U: 217.5

Odds and lines are best available US numbers and are subject to change

Games to Target in BOLD

Games to Fade in ITALICS

INJURIES

PHO Jae Crowder (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE

Crowder picked up this ankle injury in the first half last night. Cameron Johnson ($3,800) took over in the second half and put 24 FP. Johnson is a worthwhile place to go if Crowder is out.

BOS Jayson Tatum (ankle) - WILL PLAY

BOS Jaylen Brown (shoulder) - DOUBTFUL

BOS Kemba Walker (illness) - WILL PLAY

BOS Robert Williams (knee) - OUT

It seems unlikely that we'll see Brown tonight, so Tatum should take on most of the scoring burden. With Williams still out, Tristan Thompson ($4,100) will continue to hold down the fort at center, and it looks like a night where we could play Kemba Walker ($6,900) for once. 

NOR Josh Hart (thumb) - OUT

NOR Nickeil Alexander-Walker (ankle) - OUT

NOR James Johnson (groin) - DOUBTFUL

Not much has changed in this rotation, as these injuries have been around for a bit. The usual cast is starting, but Naji Marshall ($4,800) is a decent rotational player who could reap some value.

ORL Terrence Ross (back) - QUESTIONABLE

ORL James Ennis (calf) - QUESTIONABLE

Ross would have a significant impact if he can return tonight. We would need to analyze the starting lineup when these games lock, but if Ross doesn't play, I like R.J. Hampton ($3,500) as an upside tournament punt and Dwayne Bacon ($3,800) as a possible low-cost cash play.

PHI Ben Simmons (illness) - QUESTIONABLE

PHI Tobias Harris (knee) - QUESTIONABLE

PHI Seth Curry (rest) - QUESTIONABLE

The small slate is frustrating when one of your marquee teams has this many question marks. Curry should be back, but we don't know enough about the other two players. Furkan Korkmaz ($4,200) will be in play if Simmons is out, while Danny Green ($5,300) would be your most solid option in a Harris absence. You don't need to look for a lot of value on small slates like this, but Tyrese Maxey ($3,500) had 30 FP Monday night and would be a good tournament punt if Harris misses. We'll also need to keep an eye on Joel Embiid's status on the second half of a back-to-back.

MIL Giannis Antetokounmpo (leg) - QUESTIONABLE

A leg cramp kept Giannis from returning in Wednesday's overtime loss, and it's widely expected that he'll play. The best recommendation is to wait and see on his status, and if he misses, consider all remaining Milwaukee starters.

LAL Anthony Davis (calf) - PROBABLE

LAL Andre Drummond (toe) - PROBABLE

LAL Dennis Schroder foot) - PROBABLE

LAL Markieff Morris (ankle) - PROBABLE

The excitement around Davis' return is understandable, but I advise against playing him tonight.  He will almost certainly be limited to around 15 minutes, per Frank Vogel. While the backcourt won't be affected much, downticks for Morris and Kyle Kuzma may be in order against Dallas.

ELITE PLAYERS

Due to the small slate, we will extend our elite section down into the 8k range.

The slate has only three players above 10k tonight. All three have some merit, although Luka Doncic ($11,400) will be stuck in a pace-down match that doesn't offer much upside. Assuming Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) plays, he faces a far more reasonable spot against Joel Embiid ($10,700) and the Sixers. This game should be competitive and result in massive production for both players. 

For the money, I'm much more inclined to build a core around Zion Williamson ($9,800) tonight. The game total is higher than one would expect against an Orlando team that likes to slow things down, and Zion needs to help his team notch some wins before they fall out of playoff contention. 

Aside from a down game against the Wizards, Zion's delivered in every game since his brief two-game absence. Thanks to the lower Washington total, he's back below 10k and is as chalk as you'll get tonight. The questionable tags for several top players puts a lot of the elite range in flux, which leaves us targets like Jrue Holiday ($8,000), who should deliver with enough assists to get him into the 40 FP range against Philly.

Despite some sub-par games, you could embrace recency bias and stack Brandon Ingram ($8,400) with Zion, although loading up on this game does carry some risk. Recency bias is also in play for Nikola Vucevic ($8,800), who saw his numbers plummet in an abysmal game against the Cavaliers Monday night. He has a lot of experience against the Hornets, so one could take a stab at Vucevic with lower popularity as the motivating factor.

Finally, both Devin Booker ($8,600) and Chris Paul ($8,300) are on a back-to-back against the potentially short-handed Celtics. Right now, Paul is simply hitting more shots than his younger counterpart. Taking Paul for cash and Booker for tournaments is a sensible way to go. 

Also consider: Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($8,300) vs. LAL

EXPECTED CHALK

Terry Rozier, CHA ($7,800) @ CHI

Scary Terry better get in his licks now because LaMelo Ball's impending return will upend the current Charlotte backcourt scheme. If anyone deserves to keep his minutes, it's Rozier, who's averaged 22.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 15 games since Ball's injury. Charlotte is one of the teams not suffering from a back-to-back tonight, and Rozier is the midst of a great four-game run in which he's averaging close to triple-double numbers.

Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,800) @ PHI

Middleton makes a lot of sense tonight at home against the Sixers. Giannis will need to test his leg, and even if he plays, the defensive matchups work well. Middleton is an even better play if Tobias Harris is out because his absence lowers Philly's overall defensive efficacy and gives Middleton one more open lane. The focus of this game will be Embiid and Giannis, but the Sixers will get burned if they lose sight of Middleton.

Marcus Smart, BOS ($6,900) vs. PHO

I did say that this was a good night for Walker, but you have to consider slotting in Smart, who can play three positions and should come in handy with Brown out. He might be a bit rusty as he returns from an illness, but Smart is definitely worth a look.

Lonzo Ball, NOR ($6,800) @ ORL

Ball made a decisive public statement about his minute limit, saying that Tuesday would be the last game with a restriction. Considering he's played fairly well with the tag, it stands to reason that we'll see a significant increase in his production. His salary has yet to catch up with this news on FanDuel, which is great news for DFS players. I don't think the Pelicans are a team you should stack with abandon, but going with Ball and Williamson should work out just fine.

VALUE PLAYS

As usual, we have plenty of value spots to consider in the injury section, and tonight's wealth of back-to-back situations should open up more value throughout the day. Here are some additional budget options to consider.

Bulls-Hornets

Even though the Bulls are struggling, some of their salaries are very low relative to their potential production. Both Patrick Williams ($4,000) and Lauri Markkanen ($4,000) are both cheap options who can reach 5x value without much effort, and Coby White ($5,800), while more expensive, has benefited in Zach LaVine's extended absence.

The Hornets are also awash in value, from the more-expensive Miles Bridges ($6,400) and P.J. Washington ($6,500) to budget options like Jalen McDaniels ($5,300). This game should be a great spot to fill out your lineups tonight, despite what seems like a prohibitively-low game total projection.

Cole Anthony, ORL ($6,300) vs. NOR

One can't help but be happy for Anthony, who had his starting role handed to him, then abruptly taken away with what seemed to be a season-ending injury. Lo and behold, the rookie is back and performing at a high level, although some may find his salary a bit too high. My models continue to come back to this game, and upon looking at Orlando's rotation, the minute discrepancy due to potential absences seems to help out Anthony more than anyone else. The Magic will be outmatched inside in this game, so Anthony will be called upon to find the right spots to dish the ball and create his own shots often.

Keldon Johnson, SAS ($4,200) vs. DET

With so many back-to-back games, it's hard to be confident about usage, but Johnson only played 28 minutes last night and has a lot of upside relative to his inexpensive salary number. He's a guy who can burn the candle at both ends – either burning you with a sub-20 FP total or burning your opponents with 50-plus FP contests. The Pistons don't have a lot to offer defensively at the wing, and despite a tepid game in their first matchup of the season, Johnson is a good candidate to deliver at this price.

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
Jeff Edgerton
Jeff has provided sports content for numerous sports outlets and has played fantasy sports since scores had to be tabulated via newspaper. He started working with RotoWire in 2017. Originally from South Carolina, he's a lifelong Clemson fan now enjoying the sun in Los Angeles.
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