Welcome back to Thursday Night DFS Dunks! Last Thursday I had my best night of the year all thanks to this article I wrote. Hopefully you all had a nice night as well. Let’s do it again tonight.

If you’re new to this article, 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 102.06 (3rd fastest in the league) possessions per game and face the Cavs who play at 97.7 pace (7th slowest).
  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 six-game slate

Game GSW @ CLE  7:30 PM ET WAS @ MIA 7:30PM ET LAC @ MEM 8:00 PM ET SAS @ MIN   8:00 PM ET PHI @ DEN  9:00 PM ET TOR @ UTA 9:00PM ET
Total 208.5 206.5 221 219 208 215

The Starting Five

Ricky Rubio, PG/SG, CLE (DK $6900, FD $6800)

Rubio signed with the Cavs in the off-season to be the second unit’s point guard and play for about 25 minutes. 31.8 MPG over his last five games is not what he signed up for, but he’s taken full advantage of it. In four of his last five games, he’s recorded more than 35 DraftKings points and is averaging 18.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.6 steals over that span. The Cavs did get Isaac Okoro and Kevin Love back last night but with high usage guys Colin Sexton and Evan Mobley out again tonight, Rubio is a nice value option at PG. Oh, and I almost forgot, Cleveland hosts the Warriors who run at the third-fastest pace in the league.

Dejounte Murray, PG, SAS (DK $9800, FD $9900)

Murray has moved into the fantasy elites this season and is my favorite top-tier play tonight, over Steph and PG13.  Minnesota gives up 62.7 fantasy points a game to combo guards, the most on the slate, and Murray has exceeded 60 Draftkings points not once, not twice, but three times this season. Wow. He’s averaging 1.33 fantasy points per minute and is a triple-double threat every night. This game has the highest total of the night and both teams are in the top 10 in pace of play. Let’s slide in DM tonight.

Jimmy Butler, SF/SG, MIA (DK $9500, FD $9700) 

Butler is back and seems healthy after last night’s triple-double and 64 Draftkings points. He carried the load for the Heat with Bam Adebayo sitting out. Bam is questionable again tonight vs Washington, who also played yesterday. Jimmy B is averaging 1.29 fantasy points per minute with a 27% usage rate. Without Bam in the lineup, Jimmy’s usage rate jumps to 31.1. If Bam sits again, the sky is the limit, but Jimmy should do just fine no matter the scenario.

Patrick Beverley, PG, MIN (DK $4200, FD $4700) 

Pat Bev has scored 24 or more fantasy points in four of his last six games. He seems to have solidified the sixth-man role for the Timberwolves and has played back-to-back 34-minute games. The Spurs rank in the bottom four vs distributing point guards and we know Pat Bev is going to be out there to pester Murray. This is slated to be a close game so I see Beverly being out there to close. We need some cash savings with Murray and Butler in the lineup so with the minutes secured, and a nice ceiling, Beverley is our guy tonight. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get tossed for instigating.

Montrezl Harrell, PF/C, WAS (DK $6200, FD $7600) 

Montrezl for MVP. What? Yes, Wizards fans in DC were chanting MVP while he attempted free throws. Trez has scored more than 42 Draftkings points four times this season. Three of those were when Daniel Gafford was out. Gafford is back and is the starter but doesn’t matter because  Trez is averaging 1.24 fantasy points per minute. This is a back-to-back for Washington so I think Gafford’s minutes may be capped leaving more time for the sixth leading MVP candidate to smash his price tag. I’m not sure what Wizard sorcery got him on that MVP list, but he is a nice play at +1300 to win sixth-man of the year.

Other guys on my radar:

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