Thursday’s NBA slate features four games. All four games feature teams that rank in the top half of the league in pace, but we have a wide range of offensive and defensive ability on display tonight. The game of the night (of the week?) is the LA Lakers at Milwaukee. Both teams rank in the Top 5 in offensive efficiency and Top 3 in defensive efficiency. The highest point total game (233 points) is Houston at the LA Clippers, featuring the fastest average pace and slightly less effective defense. Every game has a point spread of six points or fewer, so blowout risk is minimal tonight. In this column, I generally set $6000 FD/$5000 DK as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate. DraftKings’ pricing is notably sharper than FanDuel’s tonight, so I tried to provide a couple extra options to consider where it was feasible. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:30 pm EST.
George Hill, Milwaukee Bucks vs. LA ($4000 FD, $4300 DK)
Hill is the cheap answer to a solid floor with upside tonight. There are a lot of expensive options in this game, but I always like to save in a great environment and Hill is going to have to play 25-ish minutes again, giving him the chance to modestly fill the stat sheet as he has been doing to the tune of 20-25 fantasy points.
Rajon Rondo, LA Lakers at Milwaukee ($4600 FD, $4800 DK)
Rondo is a wild card, capable of single digit fantasy output or 45 fantasy points. He’s had a couple nice games in a row, one of them with Anthony Davis out (he plans to play tonight), but with Rondo, you have to just go for it. I like him in a competitive game like this should be, and, the Bucks quality defense should be focused elsewhere.
Lou Williams, LA Clippers vs. Houston ($5500 FD, $5900 DK)
Williams returned from a short absence with 20 points, eight assists and two rebounds, no big deal, against the Suns Tuesday night. He gets the fifth-best SG matchup with James Harden and Houston tonight, and it’s going to be near impossible not to use him at this price in this great scoring environment.
Garrett Temple, Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio ($4700 both)
Temple has been steady as a rock around 20 fantasy points per game one way or another. At times, he’s played as little as 21 minutes, but he’s typically going to be closer to 30 MPG, and he has shown the ability to take advantage of good matchups. The Spurs rank 22nd overall in defensive efficiency and ninth in fantasy points allowed to opposing two-guards. Temple makes for a relatively safe salary-saver with upside tonight (I’m assuming Caris LaVert does not return).
Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz at Atlanta ($5500 FD, $6000 DK)
It took Mike Conley all of about 20 minutes to re-injure himself Tuesday night and now that he’s facing another prolonged absence, we can expect a bit more usage from Ingles. He’s a frustrating player for DFS, because there are a lot of nights that he gets a ton of minutes and produces very little with them, but he’s been on a bit of a run lately. Putting me more at ease, tonight it’s the Hawks. They play at a faster pace, rank 28th in defensive efficiency, and allow the most fantasy points to forwards. Ingles has to reach value here.
Jabari Parker, Atlanta Hawks vs. Utah ($5300 FD, $5500 DK)
Look to Parker for a reasonable floor despite the tough matchup. This game carries a point total of 224, which bodes well for fantasy. Parker boasts a seven-game stretch with double-digit points and six in a row with at least one steal. He’s picking up about six rebounds per game with the occasional assist or block as well. It’s not a super exciting play, but Parker can certainly be that last piece you feel good about tonight.
Royce O’Neale, Utah Jazz at Atlanta ($4300 FD, $4100 DK(SF))
O’Neale may or may not return to the starting lineup tonight, but he should be in line for a bit more work either way. As noted above, no team in the league allows more fantasy points to forwards than Atlanta. What’s nice about O’Neale is that he isn’t a bad three-point shooter (seven in the last three games), he steals the ball regularly, and kicks out 2-3 assists per game.
DeAndre Jordan, Brooklyn Nets at San Antonio ($4700 FD, $4800 DK)
Jordan and Jarrett Allen have been effectively sharing center duties for the Nets, and sometimes it feels like they’re taking turns at being fantasy-relevant. However, Jordan has strung together a series of performances that suggest he’s found a rhythm in his role. Always a double-double threat, Jordan has performed significantly better on the road this season (eight fantasy points per game better). While Allen is playing about five more MPG, and has higher upside, he has a similarly low floor to Jordan. Depending on the rest of your roster, you could go with cheaper Jordan for a solid 25 fantasy points or a slightly more expensive Allen ($6100 FD(PF), $6500 DK(C)) for more risk/reward upside.