DraftKings NBA: Thursday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Thursday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defense To Avoid

Washington Wizards, at New York Knicks: There's no clear-cut standout defense on Thursday's slate, but the Wizards may best fit the bill. They'll be playing with plenty of motivation, as they'll be able to move into a tie with the Toronto Raptors for the third seed with a victory. They'll also be facing a Knicks team that's playing out the string and no longer has Derrick Rose (knee), who had averaged 33.4 fantasy points against them over two previous games. New York has also been struggling to score recently, as they've scored 100 points or less in their last four contests.

Offense To Use

Portland Trail Blazers, vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: The Bucks have also enjoyed offensive success against the Pacers this season, but the Blazers are in a favorable spot at home against a Timberwolves team that's surrendering 106.4 points per game and a 46.7 percent success rate from the field. The Blazers are scoring 108.3 points per contest (seventh-most in the league), have averaged 118.2 points over their last five games at home and will be playing with the motivation of trying to hang on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set

First game of a back-to-back: Knicks, Hawks, Timberwolves
Second game of a back-to-back: Celtics

DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

Damian Lillard, POR vs. MIN ($8,800): Giannis Antetokounmpo ($9,800) is an excellent pivot for those who can spend up, as he's averaged 51.6 fantasy points against the Pacers in three prior games this season. However, Lillard is available for $1K less and has also been successful in his Thursday matchup, as he's averaged 44.5 fantasy points over two previous games against the T-Wolves this season. He'd scored no less than that figure and as much as 62.75 fantasy points in the nine prior games before a 5-for-20 shooting performance against the stingy Jazz defense on Tuesday, and Minnesota has given up 51.9 fantasy points to point guards over the last five games, along with 22.0 points, 8.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.2 made three-pointers per contest on the season.

Jeremy Lin, BKN at ORL ($6,500): Lin has averaged an efficient 28.1 fantasy points over 23.5 minutes in two previous games against the Magic this season, and he's averaged 33.5 fantasy points over the last six contests (along with 1.01 DraftKings points per minute), including three straight games in which he's eclipsed 30. The Magic check in giving up the fifth-most fantasy points (54.0) to point guards on the season, and the third-most (64.8) over the last five contests. They also rank in the bottom five or 10 in multiple other categories against the position, furthering Lin's already strong case.

For those needing to save some cash at this level, the emerging Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot ($5,600) makes for an excellent pivot, having scored between 24.75 and 37.25 fantasy points over the last five games.

C.J. Miles, IND vs. MIL ($3,600): Ron Baker ($4,000) and Lance Stephenson ($3,800) are also GPP options at this price level, but Miles checks in as the quintessential tournament play at a lower cost than both. While it's true you're just as liable to get a single-digit fantasy-point performance out of Miles as you are a 30-spot, he checks in with a solid track record against the Bucks this season. Miles has averaged 24.9 fantasy points, 16.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals in three games against Milwaukee, posting a 51.5 percent success rate from the field and 45 percent from three-point range. Miles has also scored 22.25 to 42.0 fantasy points in three of his last four games, while the Bucks give up the seventh-most fantasy points (45.4) to small forwards, along with the second-most three-pointers (2.4).

Paul George, IND vs. MIL ($8,900): Speaking of the Bucks' struggles against small forwards, George presents as an outstanding option Thursday. He's been on a jaw-dropping tear over the last nine games, a stretch in which he's eclipsed 40 fantasy points twice, 50 thrice and both 60 and 70 on one occasion apiece. He's sporting a 32.7 percent usage rate and averaging a whopping 1.32 DraftKings points per minute over that span, making his price extremely reasonable relative to his recent ceiling.

Aaron Gordon, ORL vs. BKN ($6,500): Gordon has averaged 40 fantasy points over two previous meetings against the Nets this season (including 55.25 fantasy points two games ago), and Brooklyn gives up the second-most fantasy points (50.6) to power forwards, along with the third-most points (21.4) and rebounds (12.3), and the most blocks (1.6). Gordon has really taken to his move to power forward following the acquisition of Terrence Ross to play at the three, and he's averaging 1.02 DraftKings points per minute and 37.5 fantasy points over the last five games.

Gorgui Dieng ($6,100) also makes for a solid cost-savings pivot at this price level Thursday, given his matchup versus a Blazers squad that surrenders the fourth-most fantasy points (49.8) to power forwards and that he's averaged 31.0 fantasy points against over three games this season.

K.J. McDaniels, BKN at ORL ($3,100): McDaniels has scored between 16.0 and 33.5 fantasy points in seven of the last 10 games, making him a nice tournament dart throw at just $100 away from minimum. The third-year forward is seeing at least 15 minutes and as many as 26 in recent games as a consistent part of the rotation, and the Magic checks in giving up the seventh-most fantasy points (45.4) to small forwards on the season.

Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN at POR ($10,200): Towns could be primed for some handsome returns Thursday against a Blazers defense that's struggled to defend centers since Jusuf Nurkic's leg injury. Portland has given up the seventh-most fantasy points (55.3) over the last five games, and Towns has scored between 41.5 and 60.0 fantasy points in nine of the last 10 contests. He's also averaged 49.5 fantasy points over the last five games, along with 1.02 DraftKings points per minute over that span.

Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. BKN ($7,400): Both Vucevic and Brook Lopez ($7,000) should find success against the other Thursday, but the Magic's big man gets the slightly better matchup, one that he's already exploited to the tune of an average of 48.6 fantasy points in two prior games. That production has come on the strength of 24.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals, as Vucevic has thoroughly dominated across the stat sheet. He's also scored over 40 fantasy points thrice and 50 or more on another two occasions over the last 10 games, and the Nets have given up the fourth-most fantasy points (53.0) to centers on the season.

Shawn Long, PHI vs. CHI ($4,200): The Blazers' duo of Noah Vonleh ($4,000) and Maurice Harkless ($3,900) can also be deployed at this price level after having thrived against the T-Wolves two games ago, but Long has scored between 23.25 and 28.0 fantasy points in the last three games despite averaging just 19.0 minutes per contest, and he's also eclipsed 30 fantasy points on two other occasions over the last seven. The 24-year-old power forward appears to have a steady role in the frontcourt rotation, playing 15 or more minutes in seven of the last eight, and the Bulls check in giving up the fourth-most fantasy points (50.9) to power forwards over the last 10 games.

INJURY REPORT
For the latest news on injured players heading into the games, check out our Injury Updates page.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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