This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
On Thursday's slim slate, injury situations dominate the headlines. the early MIA/CLE is excluded from DraftKings' featured contests, so we'll roll with five games.
LAC (-6) @ NO, O/U: 234.5
MIL (-11.5) vs. CHI, O/U: 230.5
DAL (-7.5) @ NY, O/U: 215.5
DEN (-9) vs. BKN, O/U: 222.5
PHO (-7) vs. ATL, O/U: 228
(Odds provided via DraftKings Sportsbook and are subject to change)
GAME TO TARGET
Clippers (-6) @ Pelicans
The only thing I'm concerned about right now is load management for Kawhi Leonard ($9,500) who could always end up as a healthy scratch on the tail end of a back-to-back. If he plays, then he's a heavily endorsed add for me, but it may take until later in the day to determine the end result. The debut of Paul George ($7,900) may or may not happen tonight, but he isn't a DFS target yet due to what will likely be a hefty minutes restriction. Lou Williams ($7,700) and Montrezl Harrell ($7,600) are the other top plays for me on the Clippers end, with JaMychal Green ($4,000) a low-cost buy. For the Pelicans, we have a load of injury concerns that I'll outline in the injuries section – we may be able to find some cheap value there.
GAME TO FADE
Mavericks (-7.5) @ Knicks
I don't see anyone that I'm actively considering outside of Luka Doncic ($10,000), who blitzed the Knocks for 72 DKP six days ago. The oddsmakers are being generous as that game only produced 208 points, but it's a good example of how an elite can be unaffected by a low point total. Kristaps Porzingis ($6,900) would only need 45 DKFP to buy at what looks like a reasonable price, but there's some volatility here after a dud of a game against the Celtics. He put up 28 points and nine rebounds against the Knicks, though. As for the Knicks – well, I like RJ Barrett ($6,200) but I probably won't play him, and the frontcourt depends on what David Fizdale had for breakfast. If someone pops off, that's fine with me – I won't get into a guessing game of who that might be – at least, not in this matchup.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
There are ongoing injuries out there, and some that are not especially important for my builds, but these two situations below warrant a closer look.
Lonzo Ball (hip) OUT
Josh Hart (knee) OUT
Brandon Ingram (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Jahlil Okafor (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
With this list of injured Pelicans, it looks more and more like a nice night for Kawhi to sit, doesn't it? We still don't know about that yet, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit. Ingram is the big variable here, as his presence would shift a lot of pieces, but Kenrich Williams ($4,500) would likely be a big beneficiary, and you can never count J.J. Redick ($4,500) out in a game script like this one. You'd think this would be a good night for Jrue Holiday ($8,200), but he hasn't hit value at his price enough for me to give a full-throated endorsement when there are other viable guards I can find at a cheaper price. If Okafor sits, The Pelicans will have to go with Nicolo Melli ($3,000) unless Jaxson Hayes (ribs) is able to suit up.
Kyrie Irving (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
I went with Spencer Dinwiddie ($5,700) two nights ago and didn't go so well for me, but he's the guy you have to go with if Kyrie sits out. If he's out, this game becomes another contest that I'm likely to stay away from. Denver could take this game over without Irving.
With the aforementioned endorsements in mind, let's move on to some individual selections.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,700) vs. CHI
Giannis is at home against a team that ranks dead-last against his position. If he hits his average (yes, his current average is 63 DKFP per game), then he meets value and is worth the price, and you might even see more if they elect to keep him on the floor for more than 30 minutes. He has been known to dip a bit on blowout games, and this could be one of them. I would roster him initially, and then possibly disperse his salary to other positions in some lineups if I can't stomach the drop-off elsewhere.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,600) @ PHO
With three straight games in the 60 DKFP range, Young is approaching matchup-proof levels, especially when you consider that he put up these numbers against, the Nuggets, Trailblazers and Kings – not too shabby. The Suns have been stingy against opposing backcourts, but I'm not too concerned about Young's ability to meet and possibly beat value at this price. I'm completely satisfied with 50 DKFP at this price point, and I'd be thrilled if he pops for more.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Eric Bledsoe, MIL ($7,300) vs. CHI
After jumping around Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio and eventually eliminating them based on their recent history and potential to fall short of value, I've landed on Bledsoe, who's riding a wave of 40-plus DKFP games. It's a plum matchup for Giannis, and he's also Bledsoe's most likely assist target. I expect those dimes to enhance his value and if he can get his three-ball back in order, we should see an excellent total.
Jabari Parker, ATL ($7,200) @ PHO
Parker has provided a necessary shot in the arm for the Hawks after losing John Collins (suspension), and he's fit into the starting lineup with ease. Opportunity is key when considering Parker. As long as he keeps seeing 30 to 35 minutes, the shots will fall, and they've been doing so at a conversion rate of 55 percent, which is about five percent higher than his usual numbers.
Will Barton, DEN ($6,600) vs. BKN
Barton is one of the season's surprises, as he kind of fell off the radar when people would rave about the Nuggets and their playoff aspirations. I have him in my weekly league and I couldn't be happier with the results. With a floor of around 30 and an ability to pop into the 40 DKFP range, Barton should have exposure in a lot of my lineups.
Aron Baynes, PHO ($5,900) vs. ATL
I generally consider anything below the DK median as value, so Baynes earns a spot here at $5,900. Although there's competition to fill the void left by Deandre Ayton (suspension), Baynes is and will continue to be the frontrunner. I'd ideally like to see a few more minutes from him, but he gets it done with remarkable efficiency when he's on the floor. Frank Kaminsky ($4,500) took a big leap forward with a nice game two days ago, but it won't be enough to unseat Baynes' position as the de facto starter.
Derrick Favors, NO ($5,500) vs. LAC
At least Derrick Favors is healthy, which can't be said for the rest of New Orleans' usual starting lineup. Both Montrezl Harrell and Ivica Zubac will provide challenges for Favors, the Pelicans will look to Favors as a team leader for their depleted starting five. I like Favors even more if Ingram can't make it on the floor, as the big man put up an impressive 41 DKFP without the former Laker in the lineup.
Gary Harris, DEN ($4,700) vs. BKN
It's rare that you'll see a player at this price point log 40 minutes on the court unless there's some kind of freak injury, but that's exactly what Harris did in his last game. He hasn't taken full opportunity of his playing time as his numbers don't really reflect his massive usage, but as long as he hangs on in the first unit, he'll have chances to generate a decent score.
Taj Gibson, NY ($4,400) @ DAL
I know, I know, I said I wouldn't make guesses here. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that Gibson could be a decent value play if Mitchell Robinson (concussion) stays on the bench. A concussion is no joke and the Knicks have no reason to rush him, but if he plays I won't consider Gibson any longer.
A stack of Giannis and Doncic/Young only gives you about $4,700 per player to work with, but pairing any of the three players above with guys like Williams and Bledsoe, you're in an almost identical spot. In short, don't feel like you're missing value on this slate by going with only one elite.
Be sure to check in with RotoWire before game lock to get up-to-date information for your lineups!