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DraftKings NBA: Thursday Cheat Sheet

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.


Defense To Avoid

Memphis Grizzlies, vs. San Antonio Spurs: The Grizzlies are down 2-0 and therefore desperate, but a return home should produce a better overall performance, especially on the defensive end. Notably, they held the Spurs under 100 points in all four regular-season meetings (and in one postseason game thus far) and surrendered only 85.5 points to them over the two contests at FedEx Forum. This should be grind-it-out game with low scoring from both teams, but Memphis gets the call here due to home-court advantage.

Offense To Use

Indiana Pacers, vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: The Pacers may be down 2-0 but they havenít had trouble scoring in the series, averaging 109.5 points per contest. They also scored 117 and 130 points, respectively, in two of the four regular-season meetings against Cleveland and shot 47.3 percent at home overall this season, averaging just under 107.0 points per game in the process. This could well be the highest-scoring game of the night, with the slight nod going once again to the team thatís in desperate need of a win and on their home court.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None
Second game of a back-to-back: None DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. TOR ($10,100): Antetokounmpo hasnít been slowed by the Raptors yet, whether in four regular-season contests or the first two games of the current series. Heís averaged 50.3 fantasy points over 37.1 minutes in six contests against Toronto and has scored 48.0 and 57.25 fantasy points, respectively, in Games 1 and 2, posting a 31.1 percent usage rate and averaging 1.29 DraftKings points per minute. The Raptors also gave up the fourth-most fantasy points to power forwards (51.4) over the final five games of the regular season, furthering the Greek Freakís already strong case.

Mike Conley, MEM vs. SA ($7,500): Conley hasnít had much trouble with the Spurs vaunted defense this season, averaging 37.0 fantasy points over 34.4 minutes in six games, including the first two of the current series. The veteran point guard scored 37.75 and 42.75 fantasy points, respectively, in Games 1 and 2, and he could be even better at home in a Game 3 that the Grizzlies desperately need. Conley is sporting a 27.9 percent usage rate and averaging 1.19 DraftKings points per minute in the first two games, and notably, the Spurs also started showing some cracks against point guards toward the end of the regular season, surrendering 53.3 fantasy points to the position over the final 10 games.

C.J. Miles, IND vs. CLE ($3,500): No guard under $4K is anything close to a sure thing, but Miles is always the quintessential tournament play. The one concern thus far in this series is minutes, as Miles has only seen 16 in each of the first two contests. However, even with modest totals of 6.75 and 16.5 fantasy points in the first two games, heís still averaging a solid 20.2 over the six total games heís played against the Cavs this season, shooting 57.4 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from three-point range. Cleveland was susceptible to small forwards all season as well, giving up the eighth-most fantasy points (45.4) on the season to the position.

Paul George, IND vs. CLE ($10,500): Speaking of the Cavsí susceptibility to threes, George makes for a highly appealing cost-saving pivot from LeBron James ($11,600), who is naturally a strong play in his own right. George has scored 48.75 and 54.5 fantasy points over the first two games of the series and is now averaging 50.7 fantasy points in six games overall against Cleveland. George was also a markedly better fantasy performer at home this season, with the 42.2 fantasy points per game he managed at Bankers Life Fieldhouse representing a nearly three-point improvement over his 39.8 road figure.

Serge Ibaka, TOR at MIL ($6,300): Following a 39.25-fantasy point performance in Game 2, Ibaka has now averaged 35.4 fantasy points in six games versus the Bucks this season. Heís shown a penchant for supplementing his fantasy production with some blocks against Milwaukee, as heís now totaled five over Games 1 and 2 of the series. His numbers against the Bucks considerably outpace his very reasonable price, and with a 36-minute allotment in each of the first two games of the series, the Raptors forward looks like a bargain at his cost.
For those looking for some savings, Lance Stephenson ($5,100) appears to have a secure role in the Pacersí rotation and has scored 29.25 and 25.5 fantasy points, respectively, over the first two games of the series.

Patrick Patterson, TOR at MIL ($2,800): With Tony Allen out again, Vince Carter ($3,600) and James Ennis III ($3,500) might catch your eye, but Patterson potentially offers the same type of return at several hundred cheaper. Patterson totaled 22.75 fantasy points over 30 minutes in Game 2, and heís now averaging 17.8 fantasy points over six games against the Bucks this season. While thatís a relatively modest total, it represents nearly a 7x return on his special sub-$3K playoff price. The Bucks also surrendered a 47.4 percent field-goal percentage to power forwards this season, a number that works in the floor-stretching Pattersonís favor.

Kevin Love, CLE at IND ($7,900): Love exploded for 49.25 fantasy points in Game 2 of the series and is now averaging 40.0 fantasy points over five games against the Pacers this season. Indiana also surrendered 47.6 fantasy points per game to power forwards on the season, along with the third-most three-pointers (1.9). With the Pacers desperate for a victory in Game 3 and at home, Love should play a major role in what projects to be another highly competitive matchup.

Greg Monroe, MIL vs. TOR ($5,200): Monroe excels in making the most of his minutes off the bench, as most recently evidenced by the 38.75 and 26.0 fantasy points heís scored over an average 24.0 minutes in the first two games of the current series. Heís seen over 20 minutes in both games and has posted a 27.6 percent usage rate during that span while averaging 1.33 DraftKings points per minute.

Thon Maker, MIL vs. TOR ($2,900): Maker scored 25.5 fantasy points in the last game of the regular season and has contributed 15.25 and 20.75 fantasy points, respectively, in Games 1 and 2 of the series. While those totals arenít necessarily remarkable, they represent solid-to-excellent returns on his current price. The young big manís minutes and offensive involvement (a modest 10 shot attempts over the seriesí first two games) make him a risky play, but at a sub-$3K price, there isnít much he needs to do to provide a 4x-5x value and make the selection worth your while.

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.