Thursday Night NBA DFS Primer: How to set your lineup with Giannis, Luka + a loaded three-game slate
While we have been absolutely steamrolling the NFL, it’s time to jump back into the NBA for just one day. With MLB Playoffs and Thursday Night football going on, we have a sneaky three game NBA slate that features a back to back NBA TNT primetime spot featuring the games biggest stars. Dallas and Atlanta tip off at 7 p.m. ET followed by the Clippers and Warriors in the Bay, we have Miami and Milwaukee sandwiched in between. That’s to say, a lot of star power will be hooping on Thursday evening. With three game NBA slates the strategy becomes a bit different, we have to identify lower owned pieces to have an edge in GPP’s.
Salaries are provided by DraftKings
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Price- $10,300:
The Greek Freak is the No. 1 option on the slate. The Milwaukee star held a 42.9 percent usage rate all of last year and now he gets to play with Jrue Holiday sidelined for this contest. Giannis averaged 25 points and 13 rebounds in the four playoff games against Miami last season. Many of the DFS models project him to be the highest scorer on the slate. Giannis had 66 DraftKings points on opening night against Brooklyn. He is capable of blowing up on any day with his ability to garner rebounds, blocks, and assists. He will see ownership certainly above 50 percent in this one. So fade at your own risk I guess? Personally I just might.
Luka Doninic: Price - $10,600
Luka Doncic gets a matchup with the team that drafted and then traded him to the Dallas Mavericks, while also entering this game as one of the favorites to win NBA MVP in the DraftKings Sportsbook. The Hawks had the 11th best defensive rating against guards last season. If we have learned anything Luka is matchup proof. During the preseason, Luka averaged 1.77 fantasy draftkings points per minute, which is an uptick from 1.55 during last season's total. Luka averaged 25.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists last season. With everyone riding the Greek Freak, I think we can get the Dallas star at a discount ownership price where we can usually get him.
Low GPP Plays:
Low Owned Stud: Paul George - Price $9,700
Averaging 1.33 DraftKings points per minute last year, George is not in the same stratosphere as far his floor is concerned when compared to Luka or Giannis. However, he gets a great matchup against a Golden State Warriors team that leads the NBA in pace. He also plays without frontcourt mate Kawhi Leonard. Without Kawhi in most seasons, George posted a usage rate of 34 percent. He is going to be in a spot where he is going to have to carry this Clippers roster throughout the season. George said he is taking that responsibility seriously, “He (Kawhi) led the team when I was out, kept us competitive, now it’s essentially my turn to lead the team and keep us afloat.”
There is going to be a lot of volume opportunities for George, and his ceiling is just as high as anybody on Thursday’s slate.
Khris Middleton: Price - $7,300:
Middleton averaged 21 points per game without Jrue Holiday in the lineup last season. He should get a lot of use today. As Aaron said in his podcast before, Middleton can turn into the main scorer on this team. He had a 25 percent usage rating in the opener against Brooklyn.
Giannis has struggled in the past against Miami when Bam has his good days. Is this one of those cases? If Middleton becomes the guy for Milwaukee in the second game of the season, you get a major advantage over the rest of the field over the guys that roster Giannis at a $3,000 higher price point.
Jordan Poole: Price - $5,500:
Poole had a 31 percent usage rate on opening night and we expect that to continue here. The Clippers struggle with transition defense, and we can see Poole spot up on those opportunities. The game will be played at a fast pace. Poole will likely be guarded by Reggie Jackson, who is one of the worst on ball defenders in the NBA. Expect Poole to continue to produce with Klay Thompson out of the lineup. We will continue to ride the Poole train.
Jordan Nwora: Price $3,700
With Bobby Portis and Semi Ojeleye out, Nwora will be the most popular value play on the site. In the opener against Brooklyn, Nwora scored 15 points and collected six rebounds in 26 minutes. The former Louisville star should get the same amount of touches tonight. With his price barely adjusted, we should see his ownership stay around the same. Miami has a suspect interior defense against bigger wings. Nwora should be able to slash and have cutting opportunities while Miami’s defense is focused on Giannis.
Terrence Mann: Price $4,500
Mann was a breakout star for the Clippers during the postseason averaging 12.1 points while shooting 55 percent from the floor when Kawhi went down for an injury. Mann was awarded with a two year extension before this season. Mann is going to be a guy who steps up for the Clippers this season. Mann will likely come off the bench, but the Clippers will give him a lot of run to throw length out to defend Curry and Jordan Poole. Mann’s playing time should be projected around 24-28 minutes in this contest.
The Clippers will be without Jason Preston, Nick Batum, and Serge Ibaka in this one giving Mann an opportunity to have a significant run off the bench. We want to attack the Warriors poor interior defense in this one, and Mann's ability to drive to the cup is a valuable asset here. Mann is a good value piece to have exposure to in the late game.
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