With just five games on the schedule Thursday, there’s fewer players to sort through to figure out who will give the best value at their individual price. However, it’s still important to make the correct decision when picking between higher priced and cheaper options, so the following list should detail some of the better players to build your lineup around:
Lou Williams, LAC vs UTA ($8,000): With Blake Griffin (knee) marking the latest injury casualty, the Clippers will now be without Griffin, Danilo Gallinari (hip), Patrick Beverley (knee) and Milos Teodosic (foot). That marks some of the team’s top playmakers, meaning someone is going to have to step up and take control of the offense. Williams seems like a prime candidate to do so and after going off for 50.3 and 42.6 FanDuel points over the last two games, respectively, there shouldn’t be a huge dropoff in production. Williams is the top priced shooting guard for good reason.
Kris Dunn, CHI at DEN ($6,500): Dunn is one of the more intriguing point guards on this slate behind the obvious high-priced guys like Damian Lillard ($9,100) and Kyrie Irving ($8,200). He’s at a fairly reasonable price and he’s coming off one of his better games with the Bulls, posting 24 points, four rebounds, eight assists, and four steals against the Suns on Tuesday. That was good enough for 47.8 FanDuel points and with the Nuggets giving up the third most points to point guards on the season, Dunn is going to have every opportunity to match his numbers from a game ago.
Will Barton, DEN vs CHI ($6,300): The Nuggets are slated to be without Wilson Chandler (back) once again, leaving plenty of extra playing time for Barton to pick up at small forward. Juancho Hernangomez picked up the start for Chandler on Tuesday, but Barton outpaced him in minutes off the bench and will likely do so again against the Bulls. With three games over 40 FanDuel points and seven outings over 30 FanDuel points, this is great price for a high-upside guy who performs well when given the minutes. Oh, and Barton is going up against the Bulls defense, so there’s going to be some holes to take advantage of.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at POR ($11,800): While this will likely be one of the slower paced games of the night, Antetokounmpo is still a strong play as one of the higher-priced options on the five-game slate. He’s $200 cheaper than LeBron James, but has just as much upside and blew up for 66.6 FanDuel points against the Trail Blazers in the first meeting between these two teams earlier this season. Antetokounmpo is essentially matchup proof and if there’s any question of who to use from that top tier of players, Antetokounmpo will be an excellent candidate.
John Collins, ATL vs CLE ($5,900): The Hawks have dealt with a ton of injuries in the frontcourt and Collins has done a great job filling in despite being a rookie. The Hawks found out on Wednesday that starting center Dewayne Dedmon (leg) will be out for three-to-six weeks and coach Mike Budenholzer has already announced that he’ll be using Collins as his starting center moving forward. Whether at center or power forward, Collins is going to get as much run as possible, especially considering the Hawks aren’t in contention this season and would love to develop their young big man as quickly as possible. Collins has seven games of over 30 FanDuel points this season, which is great value for a price of just $5,900.
Wesley Johnson, LAC vs UTA ($4,700): Like Louis Williams, Wesley Johnson is also a guy that’s only going to benefit further with the absence of Blake Griffin (knee). He’s already been starting at small forward with Danilo Gallinari (hip) out, and without Griffin, Johnson could have to play some small-ball power forward. With more minutes and shot attempts available, Johnson will be a low-tier guy with 30-to-40-FanDuel-point potential.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs CHI ($9,500): While the Bulls defense isn’t the worst against opposing centers, they still give up the 12th most FanDuel points and Jokic is one of the best in the league at his position. Without Paul Millsap (wrist), Jokic has taken on even greater responsibility in the frontcourt, including a 28-point, 13-rebound, eight-assist performance against the Grizzlies last Friday. In the following game against the Jazz, Jokic really struggled, but that was obviously a much tougher defense than what he’ll be seeing Thursday. Look for Jokic to take advantage of a weaker opposing team and secure a bounce-back performance.
Kevin Love, CLE at ATL ($7,800): If you’re not able to spend up for Jokic at the center position, Love should be a great alternative at nearly $2,000 less. He blew up for 54.8 FanDuel points his last time out against the Heat on Tuesday and while I don’t necessarily expect him to do that again, Love still should have his way against the Hawks. He’ll be matched up against the rookie John Collins with the Hawks’ usual starter Dewayne Dedmon (leg) out for three-to-six weeks. Collins should be no match for Love’s experience and with Love likely brimming with confidence following Tuesday’s showing, he should be able to continue his strong play.