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.
This week brings only two NBA games to the Thursday slate, but they provide a nice mix of stars and bargains. Houston travels to Miami tonight in a slower-paced and lower scoring, but potentially close game (Rockets -3.5). Dallas meets the Clippers in LA in a game with a 221.5 point total, also expected to stay within 3.5 points (Clippers favored). Injuries to keep an eye on include Justise Winslow and Dennis Smith Jr. as well as Lou Williams, who has a chance to return tonight.
You’re only going to enter 2- or 3-person DRAFTs on this short slate, and there are plenty of players to go around. The three centers, Clint Capela, DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whitesideare in the correct draft order; no need to overthink that position or reach for it—take C in the last round. At forward, you probably want to get yours earlier, especially if you miss on first overall pick James Harden. There are five top forwards, then it kind of falls off (see below). After Harden, the guards should come off the board in the order you see them, but make sure to get one of the top three tonight.
P.J. Tucker – F – Houston (DRAFT Projection 19.2)
In the event you are left with a bottom F pick, and I think it should be unlikely, I’d reach all the way down for Tucker over guys like Kelly Olynyk or Justise Winslow. Tucker is playing over 30 MPG, and scoring double-digit points with some variable peripherals. It is the lower scoring game, but I like the competitive environment for Tucker tonight.
Wes Matthews – F – Dallas (FD: $5100, DK: $4800)
The LA Clippers offer up a number of great positional matchups for fantasy, and SF is no exception. They give up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wings, and Matthews is in good form to take advantage. He is shooting well from 3-point range and posted a 29-fantasy point line the first time these teams met.
Tyler Johnson – G – Miami (FD: $4200, DK: $5100)
Johnson missed practice with a migraine but is fully expected to play tonight. Houston is ranked 24th in defensive efficiency and Miami holds a small rebounding advantage over them. Johnson has scored 14 and 15 points in his last two games, along with some light peripherals. As long as Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters are out, there is room for Tyler to produce.
Derrick Jones Jr.– F – Miami (FD: $5200, DK: $4400)
In addition to Houston’s overall poor defensive rank, the best positional matchup they offer for fantasy is to the F position. Jones has been playing around 25 PG over his last five, out-playing James Johnson throughout that span. He’s been averaging around 9 points and 9 rebounds in those games, with 11 steals and 7 blocks! He’s a strong value in any format tonight.
Bam Adebayo – F – Miami (FD: $5800, DK: $5000)
Though Whiteside is back, he’s not playing a full complement of minutes and the Heat are still finding room for Adebayo in the rotation. He’s got at least one block in each of his last nine games – usually two – and is putting up some impressive assists numbers for a big man. Again, this is a matchup to attack vs. Houston.
JJ Barea – PG – Dallas (FD: $4500, DK: $4500)
Barea returned to the court with his usual across the board production (10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) Tuesday night and it seemed to dampen Jalen Brunson’s output. There is a chance that Smith Jr. returns tonight but I don’t think it super-likely based on not hearing anything positive from the Mavericks yet (he’s still questionable). In any event, the Clippers are the best PG matchup on this tiny slate (sixth-most fantasy points allowed to PGs), so it makes sense to save with Barea in your utility spot tonight if Smith is indeed sidelined once more.