NBA DFS Bargains: Thursday
Every NBA DFS lineup needs to draw from the bottom of the player well to balance those stars who spend through the DraftKings or FanDuel salary cap with such ease. Bargain players are ideally those with low salaries, but plenty of upside. Opportunity is often the key to success for our low-cost lineup fillers. Depending on the size of your DRAFT league, you may not need to dig into the Bargain Bin, but we’ll also highlight a couple guys whose projections seem lower than they should be—potential game changers that your opponents may overlook.
I’m not going to lie, Thursday’s three-game NBA slate is not all that exciting. Key injuries make fun matchups like Golden State at Toronto less fun. Both LA teams take the court tonight, with the best values arising from the Clippers at Kings game. Both teams play at a quick pace and offer top 10 fantasy matchups across the court. Forward is the deepest position tonight, while center might pose a problem if you pass on Willie Caulie-Stein.
DRAFT bargains (also qualify on FD/DK)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – G – LA Clippers (DRAFT projection 23.1)
I see this projection as closer to Gilgeous-Alexander’s floor tonight. It’s a great matchup with the Kings, who allow the sixth-most fantasy points to point guards this season, and the game total is set at 235. The Clippers are small favorites on the road, but although Shai has had some ups and downs, his peripheral stat lines allow you to survive poor shooting nights.
Jonas Valanciunas – C – Toronto (DRAFT projection 21.4)
Valanciunas has recently had some very efficient double-doubles when he gets at least 24 minutes (e.g. 17/10 and 24/13 vs. Miami and Atlanta). The problem is that he doesn’t always get those minutes, making him a risky DFS play. However, center is so barren tonight that I think his upside makes him the No. 3 option after Cauley-Stein and Myles Turner. DRAFT has Serge Ibaka projected for 30.4, the high end of his range.
Buddy Hield – G – Sacramento (FD: $6000, DK: $5700)
Hield barely meets the bargain criteria, but there are a lot of reasons to like him tonight. He’s been his team’s leading point scorer (18.8) over the last five games – a span that includes two games with Utah – and this game’s point total is off the charts at 235. Hield is averaging over 30 MPG, taking double-digit shot attempts and is making around 50 percent of his ample three point attempts over the past couple weeks. He’s a solid play in any contest tonight, because despite the overwhelming positives, he is coming off a poor game and that will affect his ownership.
Marvin Bagley III – F – Sacramento (DK: $5300)
Bagley is expensive on FD, but very reasonable on DK, and is in a great spot as already noted. Bagley’s playing time is trending up (30 and 34 minutes in his last two games), and he has five consecutive games with double-digit points (two double-doubles in that span) with eight blocks. On both sites, Bogan Bogdanovicand Iman Shumpertmake for decent tournament plays in the $4-5K range, but on DK, Bagley is the best value and safest King.
Bojan Bogdanovic – G/F – Indiana (FD: $5300, DK: $5300)
It’s a rare night when I can feel good about both Bogdanovics in the NBA, but Bojan is one of those players that I’m happy when I realize I have the right amount of salary to fit in my last slot. In other words, he’s not a guy I’m going out of my way to roster, but his solid 15-20 points and a few peripherals stat line is a good fit in any lineup on this short slate.
Quinn Cook – G – Golden State (FD: $5400, DK: $4800)
Cook can be expected to be quite low owned on the road vs. a good defensive team in Toronto. He’s been decent as a fill-in for Steph Curry over the last few weeks, returning anywhere from 3-7X value. His low salary allows you to pay up for the top forwards while still offering something of a safety net at G.
Tyreke Evans – G – Indiana (FD: $5100, DK: $5000)
It’s easy to like any 2-guard facing the Lakers, as they have been an absolute gift of a matchup in terms of fantasy points (second-most). Evans has been frustratingly bad so far, outside of one effort reminiscent of better times vs. Miami a couple weeks ago. This is probably the Evans we get this season, but I do think tonight could be one of his better games. The matchup, the pace bump, and the fact that he’s not just reliant on scoring to make his fantasy points all lead me to some Evans exposure tonight.
Boban Marjanovic – C – LA Clippers (FD: $4700, DK: $3500)
If Marcin Gortat is out again with his sore back, a big question at the time I’m writing, it would be again time to free Boban. His efficiency is legendary at this point, as evidenced by a 12/12 double-double in just 19 minutes last night. He’d be in for a solid top-six center matchup with the Kings if he gets the nod tonight. Given the salary discrepancy, I’d use him over Valanciunas on both traditional DFS sites if Gortat is out.