DraftKings NBA: Thursday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Thursday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

Here we go with a quality four-game NBA slate on Thursday, Dec. 13.

This Lakers-Rockets matchup has the highest over/under of the evening at 223 total points. It's a showcase game on national TV, so you know the stars will be shining bright on that platform. However, don't forget about the complimentary players from each side either. I'm talking about the likes of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Clint Capela and others. Be sure to check the write-ups below for more details.

Per usual, we have several injuries to monitor with potential for more while moving closer to tip-off. You'll want to stay in the loop with Rotowire's NBA News Feed before setting your final lineups. As of Thursday morning, these are the situations we are looking at:

Lou Williams is out. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could see more stabilized playing time, while Tyrone Wallace turned in 31 fantasy points in 24 minutes last game.

Dennis Smith Jr and J.J. Barea are questionable. Jalen Brunson has been seeing more playing time with Smith Jr. out lately. That would obviously stabilize if both point guards missed this game. Devin Harris could pick up some minutes too if both Smith and Barea are out.

These notable players will continue to miss time: Devin Booker, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram, Pau Gasol
With that, I'll be breaking down the best fantasy choices on DraftKings for Thursday. The following write-ups contain a blend of cash game staples, bargain fillers, and tournament pivots.

GUARDS
If Dennis Smith Jr is out, Jalen Brunson ($4,300) is a solid bargain pick in a nice matchup at Phoenix.

Chris Paul, HOU vs. LAL ($8,600): Let's face it, James Harden is the guy you really want from Houston. However, unless more value opens up on this slate, his $10.9k salary will compromise the rest of your lineup. That's why I'm looking towards Harden's teammate as a better "per-dollar" selection on DraftKings. Chris Paul is coming off his first triple-double of the season while heading into a fantastic matchup against a Lakers team that ranks sixth in pace and below average in defensive efficiency vs. opposing backcourts.

Lonzo Ball, LAL at HOU ($5,600): This isn't a great matchup for Lonzo Ball. However, his current role combined with this fantasy-friendly game atmosphere pushes him into DFS consideration. The lower-than-usual opportunity cost with only four games on tonight's slate pushes more attention his way. That bargain $5,600 salary doesn't hurt either. Circling back to Ball's current role, he'll continue to see more offensive responsibility with Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram still sidelined. He has notched 37-plus minutes and 35-plus fantasy points in three games since Ingram's injury. I'm not expecting a ton of upside from Ball, but he should be able to bring forth a respectable fantasy outing with all those minutes.

De'Anthony Melton, PHX vs. DAL ($4,900): The Suns have had a rough time lately while losing eight straight games. De'Anthony Melton has been one of the few bright spots in that span, seeing more playing time with 33-plus minutes and 33-plus fantasy points in each of his past two games. It appears that Melton will have a longer leash moving forward, at least until Devin Booker returns. This is actually expected to be a competitive game for the Suns, as they'll catch the Mavericks in Phoenix on a back-to-back situation. On top of that, Dallas ranks 26th in defensive efficiency against opposing backcourt members. Melton could take advantage with his third straight solid fantasy performance.

Other guards to consider: DeMar DeRozan, SA vs. LAC ($8,500), Luka Doncic, DAL at PHX ($7,700), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LAC at SA ($4,700)

FORWARDS
Kyle Kuzma, LAL at HOU ($7,600): This situation is similar to the write-up of Chris Paul earlier. LeBron James is the guy you really want from the Lakers, but that inflated $11k salary makes it difficult to blend him within a quality cash game lineup. The red-hot Kyle Kuzma represents a more attainable pivot that could work out better on a "per-dollar" basis. Kuzma has been amazing with 41+ fantasy points in six straight games. In that span, his minutes never dipped below 37 aside from blowout situations. He should be able to keep things going in this competitive game environment at Houston.

T.J. Warren, PHX vs. DAL ($5,800): As mentioned earlier, the Suns should hang around while hosting Dallas tonight. That's good news for a starter like T.J. Warren, who could see a full complement of minutes if this one stays tight down the stretch. Warren returned with an efficient 34 FP performance in 25 minutes at San Antonio on Tuesday, and he'll be asked to do some heavy lifting for Phoenix with Devin Booker still sidelined. I like Warren as a nice mid-range commodity on this slate.

Rudy Gay, SA vs. LAC ($6,200): Gay has been seeing full 35-plus minute workloads in games that aren't part of back-to-back sets or blowout situations. Neither of those should be a problem tonight while hosting the Clippers. Gay has notched 46-plus fantasy points in his past two games where the minutes weren't pinched due to a blowout. On the other side of that situation, his salary is still low due to those moderate fantasy totals in fewer minutes. I'm expecting Gay to resume his 40-plus FP ways in a tight draw against a Clippers team that ranks 21t against small forwards and ninth in pace.

Other forwards to consider:LeBron James, LAL at HOU ($11,000), Aaron Gordon, ORL vs. CHI ($7,800), Trevor Ariza, PHX vs. DAL ($5,000)

CENTERS

Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. CHI ($8,900): First off, it should be noted that this game will be played on a neutral court in Mexico City. Vucevic could put on a show there against a Bulls team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency vs. opposing centers. The Orlando big man was dealing with an ankle injury earlier this week, but he has been productive with 77 total fantasy points over 52 minutes through two games since the reported injury. The minute totals were pinched with two blowouts, but tonight's draw against Chicago should be a competitive battle that could translate to massive upside for Vucevic. There's reason to believe that he can post a fantasy score along the same lines as Harden and James for a fraction of the cost.

Richaun Holmes, PHX vs. DAL ($3,800): Holmes is more of a GPP filler than a cash game option if you are willing to tolerate that risk. He has been efficient off the bench for Phoenix, averaging 24 fantasy points in 20 minutes over his past five games. There's somewhat of an opening for Holmes while facing a Dallas team that ranks dead last in rebound rate. I'm not actively building a lineup around him, but I don't mind Holmes as the final piece as a utility play if you need a cheapie to make the rest of your squad work.

Other centers to consider: Clint Capela, HOU vs. LAL ($8,200), DeAndre Jordan, DAL at PHX ($7,000)

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Spencer Limbach
Spencer Limbach writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
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