Welcome back! It’s Thirsty Thursday and I’m ready to pour you all a glass of green juice as we light up those screens tonight with some cash money. Last week four of the guys from this article finished as a top-12 fantasy scorer. I mentioned Chris Paul had a great shot of hitting 50 fantasy points and what did he do? 56.3 on DraftKings and 52.6 on FanDuel, good for third highest on the night. Tonight, Kevin Durant and James Harden get to beat up on their old team (OKC) sans Kyrie as he isn’t playing home games right now. We also get to see the most exciting player in the NBA tonight, Ja Morant. Did you see that block he had?  Most importantly, we will be build (lineups) Rip City on Nurk and Little! If you don’t get the reference, here you go. 

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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 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.

Strategies

  1. Focus on teams with high game totals and a high pace of play. On tonight’s slate, the Timberwolves play at a pace of 100.19 possessions per game, fastest on the slate. The Grizzlies come in at 11th fastest giving this game a 230 total. Hello, Ja Morant.
  2. Select players who play a lot 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 safe thing to do in cash games.
  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 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: 

Game GSW @ MIL MIN @ MEM LAC @ NOP OKC @ BKN POR @ DEN
Time 7:30 PM ET 8:00 PM ET 8:00 PM ET 8:30 PM ET
10:00 PM ET
Total 223.5 231 213 217 211.5

The Starting Five

Ja Morant, PG, MEM, (DK $9200, FD $9700)

Ja is at 1.39 fantasy points per minute (FP/M) on the season.  This game has the highest total on the slate and both teams are in the top-11 in pace. Memphis and Minnesota have played twice this season. One game was a blowout in which Ja played only 27 minutes and recored 19 fantasy points (complete dud). The other? 56 fantasy points in 41 minutes. Minnesota is healthy and Ja just dropped 50 fantasy points on the best defensive team in the league (GSW). If that’s not enough for you, Dillion Brooks is out and with him off the court, Morant gets a 2.5% usage bump. I’ll be flying high with Morant tonight.

D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, MINN (DK $7900, FD $7600)

Russell has played 30+ minutes in every game since his five-game absence. He’s recored 10 or more assists in his las three games and has a 27% usage rate on the season. We know the game environment he’s in vs. Memphis and the last time these teams met, Russell, Edwards, and Towns all scored over 20 real points; plenty to go around. Russell is at 1.13 FP/M while the Grizzlies surrender 54 Draftkings points a game to combo guards. He’s also $1000 cheaper than Brandon Ingram who will be popular tonight.

, SF/PF, POR (DK $5600, FD $5300)

Portland is depleted. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, and now Anfernee Simons are all out. Four of their top five scorers. Little has played 30 or more minutes in five straight games but has not produced much fantasy value. Tonight is going to be different. With the active players for tonight, Little’s usage bumps up 7% and his FP/M goes from .84 to 1.06. Little scored 13 points in both meetings with Denver back in November and Portland had all their guys then. Big things coming at a nice price.

Marcus Morris, SF/PF, LAC (DK $6500, FD $6500) 

Morris finds himself back in my starting five for the second week in a row. This week his price is the same on both sites! We don’t see that often.  Paul George is still out and Morris is the man when he is. Morris has recored 35 or more fantasy points in seven of the previous ten games and has hit the 40 mark in five of those games. He’s at 1.0 FP/M without Paul George and the Pelicans rank 24th in defensive rating.

Jusuf Nurkic, C, POR (DK $7600, FD $7500) 

We just talked about Portland being thin. Without Lillard, McCollum, and Powell on the floor, Nurkic averages 1.30 FP/M. His minutes have been sporatic this season but he’s played more than 30 of them in each of the last five games. He’s coming off a disappointing performance vs. Brooklyn where he shot 4-for-13 from the field but tonight is a great bounce back spot. Nurkic has faced Jokic 12 times dating back to 2017. In those 12 games he’s recorded 41 or more fantasy points six times, all with Lilliard and McCollum active. Nurkic is going to need to play while Jokic is on the floor so his minutes should have no cap. At this price, with a 50-point ceiling, Nurkic will be highly rostered but warranted. Some chalk you want to draw with.

Other guys on my radar:

Rip City is the place to get value tonight.  Robert Covington and CJ Elleby also in play.

Before you go, do me a favor and leave a comment or question today. Much appreciated.

– Cousin Timmy

@TimmySperos

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