Usually Thursdays are a slow night in the NBA, but tonight we’re offered an interesting five-game slate. There are a couple of very close matchups, and some injuries that have opened up tons of value plays. Here are the top options for FanDuel’s NBA games this evening.
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Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs, $6,300 - Parker has finally started to play some good basketball as he has now topped 39.9 FD points in each of his last three games. His minutes are up as he has played at least 30 minutes in three straight games, and the Spurs don’t play again until Sunday, so his minutes look safe once again tonight. Tim Duncan is banged up and the Spurs’ offense has been running through Parker and Kawhi Leonard recently. He’s seen a price increase, but not to the degree of Rodney Stuckey and Alexey Shved, and this is still a very solid price for him, especially with this game having the highest Vegas total of the night at 206 points.
Beno Udrih, Memphis Grizzlies, $3,700 - Mike Conley is out for tonight’s game, so Beno should draw the start. He's started four games with Mike Conley out this year and has averaged 12.8 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists in 25.5 minutes in those games. I would expect him to top 30 minutes here, as backup point guard Nick Calathes will have to play some SG as well with Tony Allen also out.
Courtney Lee, Memphis Grizzlies, $3,500 - Lee is typically someone I avoid. However, he is sitting at the bare minimum and will play extra minutes with Tony Allen out, and pick up extra usage with Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley out. At this price, he only needs around 18 FD points to hit value, and although the matchup is tough, the increase in usage and minutes should allow him to do so and open your cap room.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $11,300 - The big question tonight is if you’re spending do you roster LeBron James or Harden. I’ve seen some favor Harden and others LeBron, and truth be told, it’s a really bad matchup for both tonight. For me, I lean toward Harden. While he has the tougher matchup in terms of opponent’s defense, he has the better individual matchup. Kawhi Leonard is arguably the best wing defender in the game, and he has done a very good job on LeBron recently. While the Jazz have been very good defensively since Rudy Gobert’s insertion into the starting lineup, they are only 14th in DVP against SGs, and just let Alexey Shved go bonkers. In the last meeting between these teams, Gobert started and played 35 minutes, and Harden still had 30 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists, and that came with Dwight Howard playing for the Rockets.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,400 – I was originally slated to fade LeBron James, due to the tough matchup with Kawhi Leonard, who has really slowed him down recently. However, with all of the value opened by the Grizzlies, and the weak SF position, LeBron is easy to fit into your cash game lineups. It’s a tough position to fill, so while LeBron may not have his typical upside tonight, you can pencil him in for 40 FD points. For GPPs, paying down for Kawhi and then upgrading elsewhere is a strategy I’ll likely be employing.
Jeff Green, Memphis Grizzlies, $5,100 - The Grizzlies will be without Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen, which will mean heavy usage for Jeff Green tonight. He’s been playing fourth-fiddle in Memphis, so his price is very cheap. However, we’ve seen his upside in Boston in the past when he has served as the primary scorer, and he will be the number one option tonight so fire him up at a reduced price.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz, $7,900 - The Jazz are two-point underdogs to the Rockets, and if Vegas is right, then that should mean Favors is in for a very solid game tonight. He’s seen a solid uptick since the trade of Enes Kanter, and could see a big boost in usage if Gordon Hayward sits again. With Hayward out last game, the offense ran through Favors and he dominated the Knicks for 29 points and 12 rebounds. With Dwight Howard out, the Rockets’ interior defense is very weak and they are 25th in DVP against opposing PFs over the last three weeks.
Andrea Bargnani, New York Knicks, $5,500 - His price is on the rise, but he’s still at a playable price given his role in the offense and matchup with the Lakers. As crazy as it sounds, he’s the go-to guy on the Knicks, and has now attempted at least 14 FGA in four straight games. He’s also topped 30 minutes in three of four games, and the only game he was under 30 minutes was due to a blowout. These are two bad teams, and Vegas doesn’t expect a blowout so penciling him in for 32 minutes seems safe. He’s scoring reliant but is in good position to do so tonight as the Knicks are 16th in DVP against PFs over the past three weeks, and 27th against centers.
Also Consider - Kevin Love
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz, $7,700 - Gobert is the top center on my board tonight as the Rockets will really struggle to keep the duo of Gobert and Favors off the boards without Dwight Howard. With the trade of Kanter, Gobert is now playing at least 35 minutes a night, and has been a monster on the boards with double-digit rebounds in six straight games. Vegas has the Jazz as only two-point underdogs with a total of only 188 points, so they are predicting the Jazz to control pace in this one, which should mean big things for Gobert as the Rockets are 24th in DVP against centers over the last three weeks.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards, $6,700 - Everyone will be focused on the value from the Grizzlies tonight, but don’t forget to bump up the Wizards, particularly John Wall and Marcin Gortat. Gortat has been really good of late and this Memphis is no longer a team to avoid with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph both out. He’s topped 30 FD points in four of his last games, and Kris Humphries has already been ruled out for tonight, which solidifies his playing time.