Welcome back to Thursday Night DFS Dunks with me, Cousin Timmy.  I break down tonight’s NBA slate and give you my starting five for both FanDuel and Draftkings.  These will be my core plays (guys I’ll be playing in my lineups with my money) for hitting the cash line in 50/50s and double-up contests.  If you’re looking for GPP winning plays you’ll have to follow me on Twitter (@TimmySperos) and then we can talk. At the end of the article, I’ll have a pool of three to five players I like that you can use to fill-in the rest of your lineups. It’s important to have a process in DFS so let’s review the strategies you should be thinking about.


  1. Focus on teams with high game totals and a high pace of play. On tonight’s slate, the Warriors play at a pace of 103.63 (6th fastest) possessions per game and have the highest game total of 233, a nice game to attack.
  2. Select players from high game totals that play lots of minutes and have high usage rates or FPP (fantasy points per minute). Over time, when comparing two players with similar salaries, choose minutes over a hot hand. It’s the correct thing to do.
  3. NBA may be the toughest DFS sport to play for a few reasons.  Number one is time. Throughout the season players will get ruled out for rest, injury, or because they think the earth is flat. This tends to happen shortly before lock or even after lock as we experienced last year. It’s imperative that you make yourself available for the 15 minutes before lock or you may lose some money for a simple user error.   

Ok now that you know the basics, it’s time for tonight’s slam dunks.

Tonight’s games

Game ATL @ WAS  7:00 PM ET DET @ PHI   7:00 PM ET NYK @ CHI  8:00 PM ET UTA @ HOU 8:00 PM ET SAS @ DAL   8:30 PM ET MEM @ GSW 10:00 PM ET
Total 222.5 N/A 214.5 222.5 N/A 233

The Starting 5

Ja Morant, PG, Memphis (DK $9.6K, FD $10K)

Ja has made it to the next level and his crazy 2021 playoff numbers have carried over to this season. In 35 MPG he has a 34% usage rate and is averaging over 1.5 fantasy points per minute. He’s in a back-to-back and coming off a nine turnover game but that was caused by foul trouble to Jackson and Adams and a poor shooting night from Memphis. I expect Ja to bounce back in an uptempo game vs. the Warriors. I think his ceiling is as high as Curry’s and Luka’s and I’ll take the $1,500 discount on Draftkings.

Desmond Bane, SF/SG, Memphis (DK $4.9K, FD $5,800)

In only his second season, this Bane has been terrorizing defenses like that Bane terrorized Gotham City. He’s averaging 30 minutes per game and 33 fantasy points per game, that’s 1.1 FPP. These numbers could be higher but he had to leave last game due to a laceration above his eye from an elbow (he only played 23 minutes). Assuming Bane is ok, he has a solid floor with upside vs. the Warriors in an uptempo high total game.

DeMar DeRozan, SF/SG, Chicago, (DK $7.6K, FD $7.4K)

DeMar continues to perform at a high level in his 13th season averaging 39 fantasy points in just under 35 minutes per game for the 4-0 Bulls. DeMar has a 29% usage rate starting alongside ball-dominant Zach LaVine, who has an injured thumb and is questionable to play tonight. If he sits (and I think he will), DeRozan’s usage gets a bump up and he becomes the primary outside scorer for Chicago.  With no LaVine he has 50 fantasy point game upside against the Knicks.

John Collins, PF/C, Atlanta, (DK $6.3K, FD $6.4K)

Collins is a nice mid-tier play today on both sites. In a matchup with Washington who struggles against skilled big men, Collins has an upside of 40 fantasy points. Washington will likely be without Daniel Gafford tonight (who left Wednesday’s game with an injury) which should clear the lane a bit for Collins to succeed. If Collins can stay out of foul trouble he should see 30+ minutes in a game that could stay close down the stretch indicated by the 1.5 point spread.

Montrezl Harrell, C, Washington, (DK $5.3K, FD $5.6K)

Trez is averaging 1.1 fantasy points per minute in 27 minutes per game this season. When Daniel Gafford left the game Wednesday night Trez really took advantage of the extra minutes by crushing the Celtics in the paint. He went for 25 points, 11 boards, and two blocks, good for 45.25 DK points, more than AD, Towns, and JV. With Gafford out, Harrell should start and see 30+ minutes. Tonight we will “eat the chalk” with Harrell as he’ll likely garner very high ownership on this six-game slate.

Other guys on my radar: 

  • Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Detroit (DK $5.8K, FD $5.4K)  – If Grant is ruled out Kelly O becomes a core play
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Chicago (DK $8.6K, FD $8.7K) – If LaVine sits I’m finding a way to fit in Vuc
  • Dejounte Murray, PG, San Antonio (DK $8.8K, FD $8.3K)

Feel free to hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions or need help with lineup building. Good luck tonight and I’ll see you guys next week!

Cousin Timmy