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DraftKings NBA: Thursday-Friday 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

Houston Rockets, vs. San Antonio Spurs: The Rockets have held the Spurs to an average of 103.5 points during the two previous games of the series at Toyota Center, and a respectable 107.4 overall in the series. Kawhi Leonard is also likely to be playing at less than 100 percent after sustaining an ankle injury in Game 5, and Houston will be playing in front of what should be a raucous home crowd while attempting to stave off elimination.

Offense To Use

Houston Rockets, vs. San Antonio Spurs: As mentioned above, there appears to be a strong chance that Kawhi Leonard will at least be limited to a certain degree in Game 6 due to his ankle injury, and there is still a possibility he could miss the game altogether. That would naturally make the Rockets’ path to points significantly easier, and either way, Houston has shown the ability to score in this series with Leonard at full health (126 and 125 points in Games 1 and 4, respectively). They’ve also averaged a solid 111.0 points at home in the playoffs overall and will be gunning to force a Game 7. DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS

John Wall, WAS vs. BOS ($10,800): Naturally, James Harden ($10,900) will be a popular and very appealing option, but Wall is a strong alternative. Like the rest of his teammates, he played reduced minutes in the Game 5 lopsided loss, but he still managed 38.0 fantasy points in 32 minutes. Additionally, the bit of extra time off on the bench isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the high-energy Wall. Entering Friday’s must-win Game 6, he’ll have played a relatively modest 68 minutes of basketball in the prior five days, which should result in a rested superstar ready to go all out to avoid elimination. Wall averaged 51.5 fantasy points in the two previous games of the series at Verizon Center and given the stakes of Game 6, his usage should be through the roof.

Patrick Beverley, HOU vs. SA ($5,100):The mid-tier at guard is the sweet spot of this slate, as several appealing options at $5,600 and below exist. Of those choices, Beverley checks in with the most affordable price, and he’s scored between 26.5 and 28.0 fantasy points in four of the five games of the current series. He’s also averaging 11.3 shot attempts per game over the last four, a nice bump up from the 8.1 he averaged during the regular season. Given the increased usage and the 26.0 fantasy points he’s now averaging against the Spurs over seven games in the regular season and playoffs, he makes for a highly viable value play.

Jonathon Simmons, SA at HOU ($3,800): Kawhi Leonard is now officially listed as questionable for Thursday’s Game 6, despite his proclamations that he’ll play, so Simmons stands to potentially take on even greater value if the All-Star forward can’t take the court. However, even in his customary role, Simmons has seemingly earned the trust of head coach Gregg Popovich to become an important part of the second unit in this postseason. He did a good job defensively on James Harden after Leonard’s injury in Game 5 while also scoring 23.5 fantasy points over 32 minutes. That effort came on the heels of Simmons contributing 27.0 fantasy points during Game 4 in Houston. He’s averaged 13 shot attempts over the last two games, and his ability to fill in at both shooting guard and small forward coupled with his solid play seem to have him locked into a secure role in the rotation.

Kawhi Leonard, SA at HOU ($10,700): As previously mentioned, Leonard has already vowed to play in Game 6 despite his ankle injury, so as long as that holds true, he’s the choice if you’re spending at forward. Before exiting late in Tuesday’s Game 5, Leonard compiled 55.75 fantasy points over 38 minutes, making it the third game in the series in which he’s eclipsed the 50-mark. He’s also averaged 48.2 fantasy points against the Rockets in eight total games this season, shooting an excellent 49.4 percent.
Given that Leonard is questionable, LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,900), who sports a 30.0 percent usage rate and averages 1.11 DraftKings points per minute without Leonard on the floor, would get the call.

Jae Crowder, BOS at WAS ($6,100): Otto Porter, Jr. ($6,400) is another viable option at this price tier if you’ve got the few extra hundred, but Crowder has been highly impressive in his own right. Following a tally of 31.5 fantasy points in Wednesday’s Game 5, he’s now scored over 30 fantasy points in four of the series’ five contests. That’s included strong and steady work on the glass, with Crowder hauling in between six and eight rebounds in each game. His usage also saw a nice boost in Game 5, as he took 15 shot attempts in just 26 minutes. With his ability to score from anywhere on the court and a price that’s essentially held steady, he makes for a strong cash or GPP option.

Kelly Olynyk, BOS vs. WAS ($4,000): Bojan Bogdanovic ($4,200) is always a tournament option, given his considerable upside when he gets the hot hand. However, Olynyk checks in $200 cheaper and has been steady relative to his price. He’s now scored between 17.0 and 29.0 fantasy points in eight of 11 postseason games, including 21.5 in Game 4 last Sunday in Washington. His playing time in the postseason has been relatively stable as well, and he’s seen between 16 and 23 minutes in four of the five games of the current series.

Al Horford, BOS vs. WAS ($7,100): Horford was outstanding once again in Wednesday’s Game 5, exploding for 44.0 fantasy points while shooting a jaw-dropping 88.9 percent. That’s an extension of the considerable success he’s had spacing the floor against the Wizards, as he’s now shot 69.4 percent from the field overall, including a stellar 58.8 percent from three-point range. With an average of 38.3 fantasy points in eight games against the Wizards this season and no other top-tier center on the slate, he’s the clear-cut option.

Clint Capela, HOU vs. SA ($6,100): Capela continued an excellent series against the Spurs on Tuesday night, scoring 32.25 fantasy points over 34 minutes. He’s scored no less than 26.25 and as much as 46.25 fantasy points in the five games versus San Antonio, is averaging 30.9 fantasy points at Toyota Center in the regular season and postseason, and the same figure in eight overall games against the Spurs. Additionally, with Nene Hilario out for the remainder of the series with a groin injury, Capela notably saw a boost in playing time to 34 minutes in Game 5.

Ryan Anderson, HOU vs. SA ($5,200): Speaking of Hilario’s injury, that development actually moved Anderson to the bench on Tuesday as a reserve at center. He still saw 36 minutes in the overtime affair while also playing some power forward and posted 30.25 fantasy points on the strength of 64.0 percent shooting. While Anderson’s production can certainly be volatile, he brings plenty of upside if he gets hot, and there is no other affordable option below his price slated to see significant playing time.


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

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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.