Welcome back to DFS Dunks! I love Thursdays because I seem to do well when I write this article. Last week we had a single game showdown but luckily we have a more substantial NBA slate tonight with five games on the docket. We have three games with spreads of five points or less, so there’s hope that our fire plays won’t get PUT OUT by a BLOWOUT.  The big news tonight is that Giannis Antetokoumpo and Khris Middleton are both out for Milwaukee, yet they are still favored by 9.5 points over the Kyle Kuzma-less Wizards. Ja Morant is OUT. DeMar DeRozan is OUT. Lots of value tonight, let me tell you which is the best! Let’s get it.

If you’re new to this article, I break down tonight’s five-game 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.  Due to all the protocols, injury management, and general rest of players a lot can change from now until tip-off.  There’s a good chance I’ll use a player or two not listed here so make sure to follow me on Twitter for any important player swaps closer to lock.  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 I use.

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Strategies

  • Focus on teams with high game totals and a high pace of play. On tonight’s slate, the Bucks run at the second-fastest pace while their opponent Washington, ranks 26th in defensive rating. This game has a total of 229.5.  Using some Bucks and Wizards in our lineups is a good place to start.
  • Select players who play a lot of minutes, have high usage rates, and/or produce a high FP/M (fantasy points per minute).
  • 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 health and safety protocols. This tends to happen shortly before lock or even after lock as we experienced in the past. 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 five-game slate (totals courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook):

Game CLE @ TOR WAS @ MIL IND @ MEM CHI @ NOP PHO @ DEN
Time 7:30 PM ET 8:00 PM ET 8:00 PM ET 8:00 PM ET 9:00 PM ET
Total 215 229 235 224 233

The Starting Five

Jrue Holiday, PG, MIL (DK $8000, FD $8200) 

Perhaps Chingy and Snoop Dogg will make an appearance tonight but even if they don’t, the Holiday Inn will be rocking tonight. Giannis and Khris Middleton have been ruled out and when they are off the court Jrue Holiday has a 37.3% usage rate, a 13% bump. He’s averaging 12.35 more fantasy points per 36 minutes and 11 more points per game. The Wizards rank 29th in defensive rating over their last 10 games are forcing the least amount of turnovers in the league during that span, at just 11 per game. Bottles will be popping  at the Holiday Inn tonight.Jrue Holiday agrees to 4-year contract extension with Bucks | NBA.com

Tyus Jones, PG, MEM (DK $4300, FD $5100)

Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and Brandon Clarke have all been ruled out for Memphis. This opens up a ton of minutes for guys like De’Anthony Melton, Desmond Bane, Kyle Anderson, and Tyus Jones. Jones get’s a 3% usage bump and is averaging 1.02 FP/M when he starts. He’s walking into 30+ minutes against the Pacers who are 26th in defensive rating. We may be staying at the Holiday Inn in Memphis tonight.

Rui Hachimura, SF/PF, WAS (DK $4500, FD $4600) 

Rui has not been a great per minute guy over her young career but we’ve seen improvement. Kuzma is out tonight leaving some minutes to be filled for the Wizards. Rui leads the team in minutes when Kuzma is off the court. He’s averaging a 22.6% usage and 32+ fantasy points per 36 minutes. The Bucks run at the second fastest pace over the last 10 games and give up a league worst, 14.3 3PM per game. Rui has attempted 14 threes over his last four games.

Bobby Portis, PF/C, MIL (DK $6700, FD $5000)

We just talked about how bad Washington has been so no need to kick a city when they’re down. Without the big two, Bobby Portis has a 25% usage rate, second only to the man listed above. He’s averaging 1.07 FP/M without Giannis and Middleton.  Serge Ibaka is playing more minutes and Brook Lopez is back, getting his share at the five. However, Bobby Portis is still going to get 28+ minutes tonight and the Bucks should smash. I love this play on FanDuel and will also enjoy it on DraftKings as he’ll be much lower owned because of the higher price tag.

 Nikola Vucevic, C, CHI (DK $7900, FD $6700)

DeMar DeRozan is OUT tonight vs. New Orleans. Vuc’s price on FanDuel is the lowest it has been all season. With DeRozan and Ball off the court, Vuc averages 1.36 FP/M and gets a 4.7% usage bump. Since the All-Star break, New Orleans has surrendered a league worst 20.8 points off turnovers per game. Lots of assists and easy basket opportunities for Vuc tonight.  This is not the best matchup vs. Valanciunis but the usage, opportunity, and skill set are too good to pass up at this price tag.

Reserves:

  • De’Anthony Melton, PG/SG, MEM (DK $5000, FD $5400) 
  • Jaren Jackson Jr, PF/C, MEM (DK $6900, FD $6600)
  • Desmond Bane, SG, SF (DK $7100, FD $7500)
  • Nikola Jokic, C, DEN (DK $11400, FD $11800)
  • Zach LaVine, SG, CHI (DK $7700, FD $7200) 

Good luck!

– Cousin Timmy