Fresh off the All-Star break, the NBA resurfaces with six games on the schedule for Thursday’s slate and there’s plenty of options to sort through at all levels of the price scale. The following list should provide a handful of players to consider building your lineup around:
Zach LaVine, CHI vs PHI ($7,100): LaVine was priced at $7,800 and $8,200 in the two games prior to the All-Star break, so DFS owners are getting a fairly significant price break here for a player that’s hit 40-plus FanDuel points in two of his last five outings. His opponent, the 76ers, have also given up the seventh most FanDuel points to shooting guards on the season, so the defensive matchup appears to be in LaVine’s favor. With a full All-Star break for rest, it seems unlikely that LaVine will be on any sort of restrictions, so with a full workload likely in store, go ahead and get LaVine in your lineups.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC vs OKC ($6,000): Bogdanovic continues to show improvement as the season wears on, now establishing himself as one of the key young players to develop for the future. While I typically avoided Kings’ rotations earlier in the season, Bogdanovic’s play of late has cemented a huge role moving forward. Prior to the All-Star break, Bogdanovic hit 29 or more FanDuel points in four of five games and I don’t see him having too much trouble hitting that 30-point plateau once again. While the Thunder haven’t been horrible defending opposing shooting guards this season, they have noticeably struggled of late, giving up the third most FanDuel points to the position over the last five games.
Emmanuel Mudiay, NYK at ORL ($4,600): The Knicks are officially in tank mode and are planning on giving their younger players more run down the stretch of the season. While rookie Frank Ntilikina is surely going to get his fair share of minutes at point guard, it appears the Knicks are currently planning on starting Mudiay coming out of the All-Star break. In Mudiay’s lone game where he saw more than 20 minutes with the Knicks, he ended up posting 29.4 FanDuel points. That’s the sort of production I’m expecting Thursday, as Mudiay is in line for a fairly sizable workload. At a price of just $4,600, there’s plenty of upside with this pick.
Ben Simmons, PHI at CHI ($9,000) Simmons has one of the most favorable matchups of the top priced players. He’s absolutely handled the Bulls in two prior matchups this season, posting 60.4 and 56.2 FanDuel points during those contests. With a full All-Star break off for rest and arguably an All-Star injury replacement snub, Simmons should be fired up and ready to go. Simmons averaged 44.9 FanDuel points over his last five games, which is the sort of value you’re looking for at a price of $9,000.
Michael Beasley, NYK at ORL ($7,000): Beasley is coming off an ear irritation,but is probable to play and considering the location of the injury, shouldn’t give him much trouble. He’s fully established himself as the go-to scorer on a night-to-night basis for the Knicks and I don’t see anything changing there following the break. He’ll be facing off with Aaron Gordon of the Magic, and while that typically isn’t necessarily a guy to target, Gordon is returning from an extended absence and is expected to see limited minutes, so it’s not a huge worry overall.
David Nwaba, CHI vs PHI ($3,500): The Bulls announced earlier this week that they’re going to change up the starting lineup and get some younger players more minutes moving forward. One of those guys is Nwaba, who’s moving into the starting lineup at small forward over Justin Holiday. Nwaba is likely looking at minutes in the upper 20s and could potentially see his playing time climb all the way up into the 30s. When you add that to the fact that he’s priced at the minimum, it easily makes him one of the more intriguing values plays on the night. Go ahead and fire Nwaba up in tournaments, though there’s a decent chance he’s highly owned due to his price and projected role.
Dwight Howard, CHA vs BKN ($9,000): Howard is easily the most intriguing center option for Thursday’s slate, with his matchup being the main factor. The Nets have given up the most FanDuel points to centers on the season and have been particularly poor in recent weeks. Howard’s production continues to be solid as well, considering he’s coming off a 45.6-point showing against the Magic prior to the All-Star break. Look for Howard to pick up another monster double-double Thursday.
Enes Kanter, NYK at ORL ($7,500): Kanter has really been on a roll of late, averaging 17.9 points, 14.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists across 30.0 minutes in the Knicks’ last nine contests. That’s unlikely to change much moving forward with Kristaps Porzingis (knee) done for the season, so Kanter should see plenty of usage once again. While his price is at one of the highest peaks of the season, his recent production still has me sold that he'll be a solid play for Thursday's slate. Kanter essentially has a 30-FanDuel-point floor if he can keep up what he’s done over the last month.