This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Defense To Avoid:
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls: Dwyane Wade's return to Miami will be the big story, but the reality is that the Heat are likely to make it pretty difficult on him and his Bulls teammates. Miami has given up the seventh-fewest points (98.0) and held opponents to the second-lowest field-goal percentage (41.1 percent) in the league, while the Bulls come in on the second game of a back-to-back.
Offense To Use:
Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Although the Warriors are always a consideration in this spot, the Kings make for an interesting option as well, considering the Lakers have given up the fifth-most points (108.5) and second-highest field-goal percentage (47.2) on the road. The Kings present a matchup problem for the Lakers in several spots, especially down low with DeMarcus Cousins, making them a viable play.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set:
First game of a back-to-back: Kings
Second game of a back-to-back: Warriors, Bulls
DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. NO ($9,700): Even Antetokounmpo's down games provide a return in excess of 30 fantasy points, such as his most recent outing, in which he tallied 30.75 fantasy points in 26 minutes against the Mavericks. That was the first time this season he dipped below 40 fantasy points, a testament to how robust his stat lines have been. He draws a Pelicans defense Thursday that's allowing 51.1 fantasy points per game to point guards, along with the second-highest field-goal percentage (47.8 percent), most three-pointers (3.4) and sixth-most rebounds (6.4). The Greek Freak already averages 8.4 rebounds per game, highest among all NBA point guards, while the Pelicans check in tied for sixth-lowest field-goal percentage (43.3) in the league, which should provide him ample opportunity to boost his production in that category. He also boasts the highest field-goal attempts (113) and usage (29.7 percent) on the Bucks by a large margin, furthering his already formidable case.
Darren Collison, SAC vs. LAL ($6,000): There's a slight risk here with Collison despite his modest price due to the fact it's only his second game back from an eight-game suspension to open the season. He came off the bench in the first game against the Pelicans, posting 19.25 fantasy points over 28 minutes. However, that tally was enough to easily outpace starter Ty Lawson, who was scoreless in 21 minutes. While another night on the second unit could be in store for Collision on Thursday, even a slight bump in the already generous minutes he received against New Orleans should provide him an excellent opportunity against a Lakers defense that's given up the fifth-most fantasy points (57.1) to point guards.
Arron Afflalo, SAC vs. LAL ($3,300): The Lakers don't defend shooting guards particularly well either, giving up the fourth-most fantasy points (48.3) and second-most points (25.6) to the position. Afflalo has undeniably been inconsistent, but has posted over 20 fantasy points in each of the last two games while shooting 71.4 percent (10-of-14) over that span, including 75 percent (3-of-4) from three-point range. At a near-minimum price and with a fast-paced game on tap, Afflalo could be in line for a solid return.
Anthony Davis, NO at MIL ($11,300): Davis eviscerated the Bucks for a whopping 69.75 fantasy points on Nov. 1 and has gone for 53.25 and 56 fantasy points, respectively, over his last two games. The Bucks also figure to throw out Jabari Parker as Davis' main roadblock Thursday, who he owns a three-inch height advantage over, an edge he was certainly able to exploit the last time out. Davis naturally leads the Pelicans by a large margin in shot attempts (165) and usage (32.9 percent), which should certainly manifest itself again in this favorable matchup.
Danilo Gallinari, DEN vs. GS ($6,100): Gallinari makes for an interesting contrarian play at small forward for tournaments against the Warriors, who have not played particularly effective defense and are on the second game of a road back-to-back. Golden State has given up a healthy 21.3 points per game to small forwards, and Gallinari is coming off his best game of the season, having amassed 41.25 fantasy points against the Grizzlies on Tuesday. He's hoisting plenty of three-point shots and is second on the Nuggets in field-goal attempts overall (85), which should give him plenty of opportunity for a strong return in what should be a fast-paced, high-scoring contest.
Kenneth Faried, DEN vs. GS ($4,800): Faried makes for an excellent cost-conscious play in the same Nuggets-Warriors tilt, considering Golden State has been one of the most porous defenses against power forwards. The Warriors have surrendered the third-most fantasy points (53.5), second-most points (24.5), most rebounds (13.6) and highest field-goal percentage (50.8) to the position, while Faried has totaled 31.75 and 22.25 fantasy points in his last two games and has hauled in 11 boards in each contest. He's playing a solid amount of minutes despite coming off the bench, and should see enough Thursday to pay off his sub-$5K price.
Hassan Whiteside, MIA vs. CHI ($8,500): Whiteside had a down game against the Thunder his last time out (25.0 fantasy points), but that's not exactly surprising considering Steven Adams' defensive proficiency. Otherwise, he's scored 32.75 to 58.25 fantasy points in his five other games, and will face a Bulls squad that's yielded 50.4 fantasy points and 21.3 actual points to centers, including the sixth-most fantasy points (55.7) over the last five games.
Jusuf Nurkic, DEN vs. GS ($6,000): Nurkic is a highly appealing play for the very same reasons that Faried is, with the aforementioned numbers demonstrating the Warriors' considerable vulnerability to power forwards making a very strong case. Additionally, outside of an outlier 17.5-fantasy-point effort against the Celtics last Sunday, he's scored 23.25 fantasy points to 50 fantasy points in his six other contests. He's also currently second in usage (24.3 percent) on the Nuggets and should see plenty of minutes in what should be a competitive game through four quarters.
Timofey Mozgov, LAL at SAC ($3,200): Mozgov makes for an interesting near-minimum punt play, considering the Kings give up the seventh-highest field goal percentage (56.8 percent) to centers and Mozgov has scored 16.25 to 25.5 fantasy points in four of his seven games. While those totals are nothing to particularly write home about, they certainly represent a 5x-8x return that would be particularly advantageous for tournaments.
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