Defense To Avoid
Charlotte Hornets, vs. Dallas Mavericks: The Mavs faltered once again on offense Wednesday, posting just 87 points. They’re dead last in scoring (91.2) and field-goal percentage (41.1), while the Hornets rank in the top half of the league in points allowed (102.8). The Mavs are also traveling and on the second game of a back-to-back, furthering the Hornets’ case.
Offense To Use
Golden State Warriors, vs. Houston Rockets: While the Bucks are primed to enjoy a solid offensive night against the Nets as well, the Warriors and Rockets are likely to engage in the highest-scoring and fastest-paced game of the night. Golden State unsurprisingly leads the league in points per game (117.6) and field-goal percentage (50.2) and has scored 124, 120, 149 and 115 points, respectively, in four of its last five home games. Although the Rockets have Patrick Beverley back in the fold, the Warriors should still light up the scoreboard Thursday.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Magic, Clippers, Cavs, Rockets
Second game of a back-to-back: Heat, Grizzlies, Mavs
DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at BKN ($9,900): Antetokounmpo has tallied 67 and 69.5 fantasy points, respectively, in two of his last four games, with the latter tally having come against the Cavs on Tuesday in a surprising win. He’s been over the 60-point mark on another occasion, as well, and over 50 fantasy points in a pair of other contests. In other words, the Greek Freak has a ton of upside for both cash and tournaments, and he’ll face off against a Nets defense that’s given up the most fantasy points (61.7) on the season to point guards, as well as the most over the last 10 games (65.7). Tellingly, Brooklyn also ranks last in rebounds surrendered to the position, and Antetokounmpo has averaged 9.3 boards over the last four games.
Sean Kilpatrick, BKN vs. MIL ($5,800): Kilpatrick was the talk of the NBA on Tuesday with a career night that featured 38 points and 14 rebounds. He scored 31 of those in the fourth quarter and overtime and took a whopping 34 shots overall. While he’s clearly not expected to replicate those gaudy numbers on a regular basis, Kilpatrick had already been playing very well before Tuesday’s breakout. He’d posted 29.5 to 36.75 fantasy points in the three games prior, and is averaging a solid 33.5 minutes over the last four games. The Bucks also give up the eighth-most fantasy points (42.3) and actual points (22.3) to shooting guards, furthering Kilpatrick’s case as a strong play Thursday.
Wayne Ellington, MIA at UTA ($3,000): Deron Williams ($4,000) is also intriguing in this spot, but Ellington presents as a potential steal at minimum price. Forced into extended action due to injuries despite making his season debut just two games ago, Ellington has had the hot hand over his first pair of contests, shooting 52 percent from the field and draining 42 percent of his 14 three-point attempts. With Josh Richardson out Wednesday, Ellington went off for 37.5 fantasy points over 32 minutes, and he stands to get another solid run of playing time Thursday. Richardson is already confirmed out for Thursday as well, making Ellington’s price particularly out of whack relative to his expected opportunity, despite a tough matchup against the Jazz.
Kevin Durant, GS vs. HOU ($10,200): Despite a five-figure price tag, Durant is an elite option in what should be the highest scoring game of the night. He’s scored 53.5 to 61.5 fantasy points over the last three games, and the Rockets, despite Trevor Ariza’s defensive reputation, have been vulnerable to small forwards this season. They’ve surrendered the fourth-most points (22.3), fifth-most three pointers (2.2) and fourth-highest field-goal percentage (46.8) to the position, making Durant, who has the second-highest usage (28.1 percent) on the Warriors, a particularly appealing play.
Jabari Parker, MIL at BKN ($6,100): The player that Parker will be frequently matched up with Thursday, Trevor Booker ($6,000), is also an option here, but I’m giving the Bucks’ forward the nod. Parker posted 33.0 fantasy points against the Nets in the second game of the season, and is primed for another productive outing Thursday. Booker has been somewhat of a defensive liability to say the least, as the Nets give up the second-most fantasy points (52.8), fourth-most points (22.3), sixth-most assists (3.2), second-most steals (2.3), second-most three-pointers (2.1) and third-highest field-goal percentage (50.8) to power forwards. Meanwhile, Parker has scored no fewer than 23.0 fantasy points in his last 10 games, and he’s eclipsed 40 fantasy points twice and 50 once during that span.
Michael Beasley, MIL at BKN ($3,500): Sam Dekker ($3,000) and the returning Channing Frye ($3,400) also make for sneaky punt plays in this spot, and James Johnson ($4,200) is certainly also an option for those who have the extra cash to insert him into their lineups. However, Beasley may well provide the most bang for the buck, considering he’s gone over 20 fantasy points in his last two games, and has averaged nearly 20 minutes per contest over the last four. He’s had the hot hand, shooting 52.5 percent from the field over that span, and the Nets give up the second-most fantasy points (42.1), most points (23.6), second-most three pointers (2.5) and second-highest field-goal percentage (47.7) to small forwards on the season.
Hassan Whiteside, MIA at UTA ($8,200): Whiteside played an even bigger role than usual in Wednesday night’s victory over the Nuggets, and with Josh Richardson, Dion Waters and Justise Winslow all out again on Thursday, it should be more of the same. He’s tallied 53.75 and 57.5 fantasy points, respectively, over the last two contests and has double-digit rebounds in four straight. He also fared well in his one previous matchup against Rudy Gobert this season, posting 39.0 fantasy points back on Nov. 12 on the strength of a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Rudy Gobert, UTA vs. MIA ($6,500): On the flip side, Gobert makes for a viable mid-tier play as well, despite the fact that he’s up against Whiteside. The Heat are tied with the Sixers for the most fantasy points (49.6) surrendered per game to centers, along with the fourth-most points (21.8) and tenth-most rebounds (15.1). Gobert has also scored 35.0 to 45.25 fantasy points over the last four games and has been over 40 fantasy points in two other contests over the last 10. Gobert also fared well against the Heat in the aforementioned Nov. 12 meeting, totaling 36.0 fantasy points while managing a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double despite Whiteside’s own productive performance in that game.
Greg Monroe, MIL at BKN ($3,900): It’s an eye-opener to see Monroe priced under $4K, particularly in a favorable matchup. Monroe has scored 21.5, 23.25 and 32.0 fantasy points in his last three games, respectively, and received 26 minutes off the bench in Tuesday’s defeat of the Cavs. He also rattled off 26.3 fantasy points against the Nets over just 18 minutes back in the second game of the season. Plus, Brooklyn alows the fifth-most fantasy points (48.3), fourth-most points (21.8), second-most assists (3.8) and third-most blocks (2.8) to centers.
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