NBA DFS Bargains: Thursday
Every NBA DFS lineup needs to draw from the bottom of the player well to balance those stars who spend through the DraftKings or FanDuel salary cap with such ease. Bargain players are ideally those with low salaries, but plenty of upside. Opportunity is often the key to success for our low-cost lineup fillers.
Thursday’s NBA slate contains six games, with just one carrying a spread of less than eight points. Possibly the most blow-out risk I’ve seen this season. To make fantasy matters worse, six of the teams playing tonight rank in the bottom 10 of the league in fantasy points allowed to their opponents, while only Los Angeles ranks in the top five. Indiana, Toronto and Boston enjoy the biggest pace bumps from their opponents tonight, while Toronto, Minnesota, and Denver could benefit from their opponents’ high turnover rates.
Injuries are going to be a major factor tonight. Serge Ibaka is out (suspended), as is Robert Covington, who is apparently not ready to return just yet. Kyle Lowry and Jayson Tatum look like they’re on the probable side of questionable tonight, while Karl-Anthony Towns, Luca Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr., Marcus Smart and Josh Hart are listed as game time decisions. Be sure to check back closer to lock for updates on those statuses.
Tyus Jones – PG – Minnesota (FD: $4400, DK: $4200)
Jones makes for the easiest bargain to lock in if Teague (and to a lesser extent, Rose) is ruled out. Though the Timberwolves are shorthanded and Vegas has them as big underdogs to defensive-minded Utah, it’s the opportunity that makes Jones a great option tonight. He’s posted double-digit points and over 20 fantasy points in each of the last two games.
D.J. Augustin – PG – Orlando (FD: $4400, DK: $4200)
Several Orlando players are enticing tonight as the Cavaliers rank 30th in the league in defensive efficiency, but they allow the second-most fantasy points in the league to point guards, making Augustin a great value. He’s been a steady fantasy option for the price all season long, and is averaging 25 fantasy points in two games vs. Cleveland this season. He’s rarely going to exceed around 5X value, but he’s a lock for that tonight.
Jaylen Brown – G/F – Boston (FD: $5000, DK: $4600)
The Kings aren’t the defensive pushover they have been in recent years anymore, but they do rank fifth in fantasy points allowed to opposing small forwards. If Jayson Tatum is out, Brown is almost a must-play – he put up 22 points, seven rebounds and three steals under those conditions Monday night. We also want to monitor the health of Smart, who missed practice Wednesday with an illness. If either were to miss the game, I’d feel very good about locking Brown into any lineup tonight. Gordon Haywardis another name to consider, but he’s a tournament only play for me given his wide range of outcomes…even in a good on-paper matchup. Ditto for Marcus Morris, the most expensive of the three on FanDuel, but cheapest on DraftKings.
Iviva Zizic – C – Cleveland (FD: $4400, DK: $4000)
Kevin Loveis the guy I want in this frontcourt, but Zizic is the bargain. With Nance and Thompson questionable again, Zizic is looking at an expanded role if they miss the game. This is a tough matchup – Orlando allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points overall and third-fewest to centers. But if you have reasonable expectations of around 18-22 fantasy points, and he gets you another stud in your lineup, I think he’s worth the roster spot at this price. David Nwabais another contender if you’re looking to save big, but it’s hard to justify loading up on too many Cavs.
Monte Morris – SG – Denver (FD: $3900, DK: $3500)
Morris is a risky play, but the cheapest of the cheap. Yes, he’s coming off two great 30-plus fantasy point efforts while Gary Harris and Malik Beasley have been inconsistent (and consistently worse than Morris), but the Denver backcourt is still a busy place. Yes, he got extended run in two games that were blowouts and tonight the Nuggets are 11-point favorites over Dallas. And, yes, Dallas is among the league’s most friendly guard matchups for fantasy, allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to guards. I think it’s enough to give Morris a shot in your tournament lineups tonight, but he’s too risky for cash games.