This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
With only one game on Thursday's NBA slate, DraftKings is only offering one Thursday format – the Showdown. They introduced Showdown last fall, and if you haven't tried it yet, then Thursday is a great time to give it a go.
Scoring is exactly the same in Showdown, but some of the other rules and formats are tweaked. In Showdown, managers are not position limited – you choose any six players from a single game. The salary cap is still $50,000, but the price scale is different from Classic. In Classic, the top players usually max out around $11,000, in Showdown they top out near $16,000; the minimum salary is lowered from $3,000 to $1,000.
Khris Middleton, MIL ($12,200):Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Buck's star and key contributor, but Middleton costs $4,000 less, and has produced roughly 10 fewer DKFP in each of the first five games. Middleton only barely trails Antetokounmpo in minutes and points, with the former averaging 39.0 and 25.0 compared to the latter's 39.4 and 25.4. Finally, Middleton's game involves a lot of feasting on mid-range jumpers – and through the first three quarters, those are the types of shots the Celtics' defense is built to encourage.
Al Horford, BOS ($11,400):Jaylen Brown is similarly priced, and has arguably been the Celtics' best player through the first five games. But Al Horford was their best player this season, and this is a potential close-out game. In that setting, I want the veteran who is in his 10th playoff appearance. And while my real reasons for preferring Horford to Brown Thursday have nothing to do with numbers, Horford is averaging more DKFP per game than Brown this series.
Eric Bledsoe, MIL ($9,600): Since his underwhelming Game 1, Bledsoe has been pretty consistent, averaging 29.9 DKFP in 31.3 minutes. There are some very good discount options below, so as long as Bledsoe can maintain that production, he's a fairly-priced building block to add to those bargains. His shooting in this series has mostly been poor, but he's third on the team in field goal attempts and second in assists. He's a critical piece of their offensive infrastructure.
Marcus Smart, BOS ($5,600): Smart is very fairly priced, there is no discount to be had here. But, similar to my reasoning with Horford, the situation of a potential close-out game demands consideration. Smart's energetic bully-ball style seems perfectly fitted to the moment, and he is exactly the type of player who I expect will rise to the situation. As with Horford, I'm more interested in the non-numbers argument here, but there is still a data-driven argument in favor of Smart – he played only 25 minutes in Game 5, below his season average of 29.5. Despite that, and despite the fact that he usually played even more minutes in games without Kyrie Irving (knee), Smart still managed a profitable 26.8 DKFP in his first game back from a thumb injury.
Thon Maker, MIL ($4,500):John Henson (back) is doubtful, leaving the Bucks once again shorthanded at center. Maker is coming off a very poor Game 5 showing, but the Bucks don't have enough other big men available for that performance to have much impact on Maker's Game 6 workload. Maker's poor Game 5 also helps his DFS appeal from a strategic standpoint – it's likely to turn off a lot of other managers, lowering his ownership. If Maker is on your roster and has a good game, very few lineups are likely to benefit from it.
Semi Ojeleye, BOS ($1,300): Not only did Ojeleye start Game 5, but he was on the floor late in the fourth quarter when the result was still very much in question. It's not safe to assume he plays 31 minutes again, and many of his contributions don't translate well to Fantasy. Nonetheless, after making such a large impact on Game 5, he's likely to again see a lot of minutes in Game 6, and at this near-minimum price, that makes him a worthy addition to a roster.