Defense To Avoid
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: The Jazz give up the least amount of points (95.5) per game, while the Lakers turn the ball over at the sixth-highest clip (14.6) in the league. Los Angeles has also scored under 100 points in their last four road games and will be on the second night of a back-to-back, furthering Utah’s case.
Offense To Use
Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns: A case could likely be made for either team in this spot considering the quality of the defenses, but the Nuggets get the nod as the home team. Phoenix has also been slightly worse than Denver, giving up the second-most points (111.5) per game, along with the fourth-highest field-goal percentage (46.8). The Nuggets have also scored 120 points in each of the two previous meetings between the teams this season and have been particularly prolific at home, averaging 113.9 points per contest.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Pacers
Second game of a back-to-back: Mavericks, Thunder, Lakers
DraftKings.com DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Eric Bledsoe, PHO at DEN ($9,300): Bledsoe disappointed on Tuesday in a solid matchup against the Timberwolves by going just 5-of-18 from the field and scoring a rather underwhelming 29.75 fantasy points. However, given that he’d scored between 42.0 and 68.5 fantasy points in the four games prior, Tuesday’s outing can essentially be chalked up as an outlier. He’ll be in a solid bounce-back spot Thursday in what should be an uptempo contest, as the Nuggets give up the second-most fantasy points (58.9), the fourth-most points (24.5), second-most steals (2.2) and seventh-highest field-goal percentage (44.7) on the season to point guards.
George Hill, UTA vs. LAL ($6,700): Hill tallied 30.25 fantasy points against the Nuggets on Tuesday and now draws a matchup almost as appealing. The Lakers give up the highest field-goal percentage (47.3) to point guards, along with the fourth-highest fantasy points (57.2), most assists (9.9) and third-most three-pointers (2.6). Hill already scored 33.8 fantasy points in his one previous encounter with the Lakers this season, and checks in at a highly affordable price considering the matchup and upside.
Jameer Nelson, DEN vs. PHO ($4,500): Devin Harris ($3,000) is likely to draw the start for Deron Williams (toe) on Thursday, making him an excellent minimum-priced value play. Meanwhile, Nelson has scored 20.0 to 30.25 fantasy points in three of his last four games, and 21.5 to 31.5 fantasy points in a separate three-game stretch over the last 10. The veteran’s minutes have been plentiful as well, as he’s seen no fewer than 27 and as much as 31 in the last four contests. The Suns also check in as a bottom-10 team in fantasy points allowed to point guards (55.1), while also giving up the most points (25.1) per game to the position.
Gordon Hayward, UTA vs. LAL ($7,300): Paul George ($7,900) is the other clear top-tier choice at forward on Thursday’s short slate, but Hayward brings as much upside and with a $600 discount. The veteran forward has averaged 46.4 fantasy points over two games against the Lakers this season, and Los Angeles gives up the third-most fantasy points (44.6), fourth-most points (21.1), most assists (3.9) and highest field-goal percentage (48.3) to small forwards. While a pair of sub-30 fantasy point games in which he’s shot a combined 8-of-27 may cool some on his prospects, Hayward’s recent struggles and the matchup make all the more of an appealing tournament play Thursday.
Danilo Gallinari, DEN vs. PHO ($5,500): Gallinari’s teammate, Wilson Chandler ($5,600), also makes for a viable play at this level, but Gallinari is likely to outpace him in minutes and checks in at one of his lower prices of the season. He’s struggled some with his shot over the last two games (7-of-20 FG) but has still scored no less than 21.25 fantasy points in any game over his last 10. The veteran forward also scored 31.3 fantasy points against the Suns in his one prior encounter with him this season, and Phoenix gives up the fourth-most fantasy points (44.3), fifth-most points (20.9), second-most assists (3.8), fourth-most steals (1.8) and fourth-highest field-goal percentage (46.5) to small forwards.
Justin Anderson, DAL at OKC ($3,000): Anderson has scored 30.25 and 23.25 fantasy points, respectively, over the last two games while seeing 16 and 20 minutes, respecitively, in those contests. He should be in line for another solid allotment of playing time Thursday, as the Mavs will be short-handed in the backcourt with Deron Williams (toe) already ruled out. Anderson has shown the ability to provide strong returns when given the minutes, and the Thunder has given up the ninth-most fantasy points (49.1) to guards over the last 10 games.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN vs. IND ($9,900): Nikola Jokic ($9,300) makes for an equally strong alternative in the top tier at center for those who can’t quite afford Towns, but the T-Wolves’ center is in a prime position Thursday. Towns has averaged a whopping 50.7 fantasy points at home this season, and the Pacers have surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points (50.5), second-most rebounds (16.2) and ninth-highest field-goal percentage (54.7) to centers. Towns has 62.5 and 66.0 fantasy points in two of his last three games, and has eclipsed the 60-mark in two other contests over the last 10, as well.
Myles Turner, IND at MIN ($6,600): On the other side of the T-Wolves-Pacers matchup , Turner makes for a strong mid-tier play in his own right. He’s scored 26.25 to 39.5 fantasy points in the last three games and has five double-doubles in the last 10 overall. The T-Wolves give up the highest field-goal percentage (59.7) to centers, and the seventh-highest fantasy points (58.5) to the position over the last five games.
Ivica Zubac, LAL at UTA ($3,000): Alex Len ($3,200), Al Jefferson ($3,200) and Boris Diaw ($3,000) also make for interesting plays at this tier Thursday, but Zubac’s upside gets him the nod. He’s scored 37.75 and 33.0 fantasy points in two of his last four games, with double-doubles in both of those contests. The 19-year-old received double the minutes of starter Timofey Mozgov on Wednesday and given his production, he could be in line for another healthy heap of playing time again Thursday.
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