Identify the players on tonight’s NBA DFS slate who have the safest floors for your DraftKings & FanDuel cash game lineups!
We have a big nine-game slate on tap for NBA DFS on Thursday. Normally, Thursday’s are a light day for NBA games, but this week they went light on New Year’s Day Wednesday and are making up for it today. It is not the highest scoring slate we have seen as only one team projects for more than three points above average. We do have a lot of close spreads though, which keeps most of these games in play.
As always injuries are a concern for NBA DFS, but it is a relatively quiet day for such a big slate. I really only see two major pieces of news that could impact the slate drastically. The Minnesota Timberwolves situation is the main one. Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns are all listed as questionable.
Of the three, Wiggins seems more likely to play as he sat out last game with an illness. Towns has been out for over two weeks and Teague is nursing an injury as well, so they are more on the questionable or even doubtful side. The other one is the status of Kristaps Porzingis. The Dallas big man missed last game and that opened up some offense for everyone else. If he misses again, we will have some plays from the Dallas side as he is a high minutes, high usage guy.
I write this article using FanDuel positions, because the FanDuel positions are a more rigid system without the G, F, and Util spots or the multi-positional eligibility on DraftKings. Remember, when you are building DK lineups, you don’t have to adhere to the positions as you can almost always move the pieces around to fit the guys you want most.
When I say I hate a position today, I’m usually referring to FanDuel where I’m trapped in a box using only the names available. On DK, the flexibility allows you to sometimes play three of four of the guys I may list at a position and avoid the position I said I hated. I often end up with multiple Point Guards and Power Forwards on my DK lineups with combinations and builds I wouldn’t be able to pull off on FD.
I’ll try to mention the pricing differences on the sites a bit more and emphasize which one I prefer to use a guy on. Some plays because of pricing or the pricing of the players around them are better or worse on one or the other.
Highest Projected Totals
- Clippers 117.75
- Kings 114.25
- Mavericks 114.25
- Timberwolves 111.75
- Spurs 110.25
Biggest Pace Bumps
- Kings +6.2
- Pistons +3.7
- Mavericks +3.4
- Warriors +3
Luka Doncic – Luka is back. All the way back. He played 40 minutes last game and put up 35/10/7. Since his return, it was the first time he went over 32 minutes and even in the lighter workload he’s averaging 27/9/9 since his return and playing to a usage rate well into the 30s. Luka projects for the most points on the slate, is averaging almost 1.8 fantasy points per minute and is a walking triple double threat. The Mavericks may even need him to do more today as he did last game if Porzingis remains out. Yes, he has a high price tag, but no it is not overly expensive for the production he gives you.
De’Aaron Fox – The only team on this slate that projects well above their average is the Sacramento Kings in a paced up matchup against a weak Memphis defense. They met a little over a week ago and Fox was still playing under 30 minutes as he rounded back into shape. He had a really solid game where he went over what would be 5X his price today. He’s playing a few more minutes now as he got back up over 30 the last few games. Given the bump in minutes and the excellent matchup, he’s in line to outperform today and do it for a slightly cheaper price than we normally get him at.
Collin Sexton – On FanDuel I like him even more, but on DK he’s in play if you need to save some salary as well. Not only has Sexton been playing well and producing, but he finds himself in one of the better matchups today. Both teams project over average in Cleveland which is the only game on the slate you can say that for. Sexton is not a huge upside guy, but he’s been giving us a solid floor, especially with such a low price of only $5100 on FanDuel. He makes a great PG2 over there.
Andrew Wiggins – Karl-Anthony Towns has been out for nine games, so I’m not optimistic he plays tonight. Wiggins has missed a few games as well, but would have played yesterday if not for coming down with an illness. The early word was they wanted to give him that extra day so he did not have to push through two games while feeling under the weather. That means he should be available for them tonight. It’s a soft spot against the Warriors in Minnesota, so Wiggins being active would put him near the top of the list for production. Guys like Butler and VanVleet project slightly higher, but they are also more expensive. On DK it’s a few hundred bucks, but on FanDuel you get Wiggins for $7000, which is cheap for a guy who may be the #1 option on a team that could be down both Teague and Towns tonight.
DeMar DeRozan – On FanDuel you can pay for him or the same price for Donovan Mitchell. Of course, Wiggins is way cheaper than both and my preferred play on FD at the high end anyway. On DK, Derozan is much cheaper than Mitchell and also slightly less expensive than Wiggins. That’s where DD is best. He is never a high upside kind of guy, but he always plays around value. He’s a solid 35-45 fantasy points, which for the $7K+ tag is what you need to get.
Lou Williams – I had to do a double take because normally he would not be the cheaper option I would include if you need to save. Lou Will is down to $5200 on FD and $5700 on DK. He sat out two games two weeks ago. When he returned they babied him with his minutes a bit and that caused the price to drop. Then he saw the minutes bounce back up to 30+ and he went for over 6X a few times. Then he sat again out last game. Maybe the injury is a major issue and maybe it limits him to 22-24 minutes, but, if not, he should smash this number if he gets anywhere near the 30 he normally sees. Sometimes the price is just too good for the talent and that’s the case here.
Bruce Brown – I’ll give you guys one more because I do like another guy a lot in the lower range. It’s tough for me to put him ahead of Lou Will for the few hundred more, but Bruce Brown is the other guy I was considering as a cheaper option. His matchup is much tougher against the Clippers, but the minutes and production have been there while the Pistons battle some injuries on the wing.
Paul George – I much prefer him on FanDuel at $8000 v. $8800 on DK. This is one of those guys I would only play on one site as I prioritize paying for others on DK. With the discount and the higher total salary on FD you have an easier time fitting him in. It’s almost $1000 difference between the sites in price and he’s cheaper on the site where I can accept a slightly lower multiple as well.
Alec Burks – On DraftKings I had him as a play before I even looked at FanDuel. He’s been seeing minutes and producing with the crazy talent drain due to injury on the Warriors. Then I looked at FanDuel and saw the low $5K tiered price and it was all in. Burks is in line for big minutes as the Warriors are hurting with the big 3 out, as well as Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein. It has moved everyone’s positions and opened up minutes across the board. The last three times Burks played 30+ minutes he scored, 43, 44, and 50 fantasy points. So at the mid $6K range on DK that’s still a 6-7X return. On FD, at $5300, that’s an 8-10X return and a monster crush of his value.
Glenn Robinson III – Just to build on the same sentiment from Burks, GR3 has also benefited from the injury situation. He’s seen at least 34 minutes in three of the last four games and produced an average of over 30 fantasy points when he did. He’s priced below $5K on FD so that 30 is over a 6X return for him. The Minnesota matchup is a paced up one where the Warriors project for above average production, even with the team so beat up. The beat up nature makes the rotations shorter and keeps the minutes high, so if anything it’s a bonus for the guys remaining in production.
Serge Ibaka – I like him on DK and love him on FanDuel for the price. This is one of the games where they are going to need him for his max minutes, which has been 30+ lately in those situations. It’s happened in six of the last eight games with five of them being double-doubles and the other game he finished with 23/9. He had only seen 30+ minutes one other time this season before the recent string of big minute games. It’s no secret that with Siakam and Gasol out he is the guy who benefits, but it’s nice to be able to quantify that narrative with the bump in minutes and the string of double-doubles it yielded. Nothing has changed for the Raptors and this projects to be a close hard fought battle with max minutes for the key pieces on both sides. I’m looking for another 30+ minutes and another 35-40 points off the back of another double-double for Ibaka.
PJ Washington – PJ Washington had a nice start to the year before injuries derailed him a bit. He has not missed a beat since returning three games ago with over 33 minutes a night on average. He’s in the low $5K range on both sites and putting up 25-30 fantasy points. He draws a good matchup today off a 6X+ performance in a game where his team does see a slight boost in production and pace. I’m not expecting a 40-50 point outburst, but give me 28-32 and he’s made value and helped you save some salary.
Marqueese Chriss – Chriss is one of the best cheap options on the night at any position. People hate him as he is super inconsistent and can be foul prone, but the opportunity is too good. Looney and WCS are both likely out, which means Chriss may be the man playing a lot of center and PF today. He’s had a couple good games in this role and the minutes will be there on a short rotation. He’s in play on DK at the higher price. FanDuel dropped the ball here at $4300 where I expect him to be nearly universally owned in cash as his numbers and projections are popping off the page today at that price.
Andre Drummond – It was close between Drummond and Rudy Gobert, who I also like. Ultimately the fact that Drummond’s price has been dropping a bit and Gobert’s rising also makes that too close. The fact they are nearing the same price is why I ultimately decided to lean towards Drummond. I know the Clippers defense is good, but if you want to pick on them, it’s more advantageous to do it with size than skill. Kawhi and PG13 are two of the best shut down wing defenders, which also helps funnel the ball to the big man where the matchup is most favorable. If Detroit is going to stay in this game, Drummond has to outplay the less athletic Zubac and manhandle the smaller Harrell. Otherwise this one could get ugly real quick. If that concerns you too much, Gobert is the way to go. I just think Drummond has the higher ceiling and floor if the game doesn’t blow out.
Montrezl Harrell – He is another guy that has seen a big price drop for the Clippers. I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t make sense for him and Lou Will to get a price cut as you would definitely expect that to happen with the addition of high usage guys like Kawhi and PG13, but it feels like the sites went too far. He sat out against Utah and then played just 24 minutes last game, but that game was a massive blowout and he was the first game off the injury list. Two weeks ago this was an $8K player. A $3000 price discount is massive. Now I’m not arguing he wasn’t overvalued at $8K, but he’s undervalued at just over $5K. Mid $6K range is where I would have expected his lower end to be even off a couple bad games. At $5200-$5700 today a game of 25-30, which is the lower end of his floor on bad nights is enough. If he hits a solid 35 or a great 40+ point game you get an absolute smash of value for the cheap price. Normally his volatility has me using him more in GPPs, but at this price I’ll embrace the volatility as the bad game won’t kill me here and the good one could be a winning strategy.