This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
There are just two games Thursday, severely limiting the number of possible lineup combinations. Cash game strategy shouldn't change much – target players with high floors and lean more towards stars and scrubs. However, for GPPs, we want to zero in on some low ownership plays, assuming you're going for the top prize. We're aiming for contrarian. Think the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry tells George, "If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would be right." But instead of introducing ourselves to a love interest by admitting we're unemployed and live with our parents, we're banking on Avery Bradley having his best game of the season.
My GPP lineup construction strategy for these two, or even three-game slates, is to put together the cheapest lineup possible of players who make me nervous. Inevitably, I have $10,000-plus left over. From there, I start replacing the lowest-upside players with more expensive guys, repeating the process until I have less than $1,000 left over.
As always, I'll be using FanDuel's pricing and scoring to discuss, but the general ideas should apply to most other DFS sites.
Let's dive in:
Rockets at HeatOver/Under: 209.5
Spread: HOU (-3.5)
Cash Plays: James Harden ($12,400); Clint Capela ($8,800); Chris Paul ($8,500); Josh Richardson ($7,500); Bam Adebayo ($5,800); Kelly Olynyk ($5,400); Derrick Jones Jr. ($5,200)
GPP Plays: James Harden ($12,400); Hassan Whiteside ($8,000); Bam Adebayo ($5,800); Kelly Olynyk ($5,400); Derrick Jones Jr. ($5,200); Eric Gordon ($5,100); Dwyane Wade ($4,900); P.J. Tucker ($4,600); Tyler Johnson ($4,200)
Houston: Carmelo Anthony - OUT; James Ennis (hamstring) - OUT
Miami: Goran Dragic (knee) - OUT; Justise Winslow (ankle) - Questionable; Dion Waiters (ankle) - OUT; Josh Richardson (hip) - Probable; Tyler Johnson (illness) - Probable
The high floors of Houston's Big Three make them reliable cash plays. James Harden is averaging 52.3 fantasy points, Clint Capela has been above 40 FP in each of the past four games and Chris Paul hasn't dipped below 30 FP in any of the past six contests. The previous absence of Hassan Whiteside opened up extra time for some Heat players, who have yet to cede those roles entirely. While the ceilings of Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr. aren't as high as they used to be, their floors seem cemented for the time being.
Overall, there seems to be plenty of value to be had in this contest, and a handful of names worth chasing in GPPs. Aside from Harden and Whiteside's constant relevance, Olynyk and Wade are especially enticing. Olynyk is averaging 29.2 FP over the past nine games and Wade has nearly 10x upside considering he's reached 40-plus FP three times. If you're looking for some lower-ownership plays, other users may feel Adebayo is risky given Whiteside's return; Derrick Jones Jr. is far from a household name; Eric Gordon has been unperforming lately; P.J. Tucker has a deep floor; Tyler Johnson has an injury tag. Both Wade and Johnson gets bumps if Justise Winslow (ankle) is sidelined.
Mavericks at ClippersOver/Under: 220.5
Spread: LAC (-3.5)
Cash Plays: Luka Doncic ($8,200); Danilo Gallinari ($7,200)
GPP Plays: Tobias Harris ($8,200); Luka Doncic ($8,200); Deandre Jordan ($7,200); Montrezl Harrell ($6,800); Harrison Barnes ($5,800); Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($5,600); Patrick Beverely ($5,200); J.J. Barea ($4,500); Avery Bradley ($4,200); Jalen Brunson ($4,000)
Dallas: Dennis Smith (wrist) - Questionable; Maxi Kleber (toe) - Questionable
Los Angeles: Lou Williams (hamstring) - Questionable; Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) - OUT
There are very few consistent presences on either Dallas or LA. Still, if you're looking to add some players from this matchup, Luka Doncic and Danilo Gallinari are options. Doncic has slipped below 30 FP only eight times this year and just twice this month. Gallinari has a lower floor, but has put up fewer than 25 FP only once this month while averaging 31.2 FP.
For GPPs, J.J. Barea and Jalen Brunson enter the conversation if Dennis Smith (wrist) is sidelined. Revenge narrative suggests we should play Deandre Jordan, who will be visiting his former home in LA. Despite just a $7,200 price, he's eclipsed 45 FP five times. Concerning floors plague every other GPP option except Doncic and Tobias Harris. But that might not be a bad thing on this slate, especially since slotting them in gives us increased roster flexibility for higher-priced options like Doncic and Harris. Montrezl Harrell is still priced for upside despite averaging 22.2 FP over the past eight games; Harrison Barnes has scored below 20 FP seven times; Shail Gilgeous-Alexander has put up fewer than 15 FP in four of the past nine contests; Patrick Beverley is a single-digit risk; Avery Bradley has scored zero actual points in two of the past four games.