This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a small, three-game slate tonight, and unlike a slate with eight or more games, the variance is low enough to make several combinations in GPPs. In general, the slimmer a slate is, a cash game spread is not as profitable. If you MME enough combos with three games, chances are better for a score.
LAL @ MIL (-1) O/U: 228.5
NOR@ UTA (-6.5) O/U: 218.5
NYK @ GSW (-4.5) O/U: 214.5
Last night's slate burned us, as my most heavily-endorsed game was cancelled. In the future, I will add an amendment in the comments section of the article if I am available and give a brief update of my picks. We provide these articles as a guide for the day's favored plays, but you have to check for late scratches in our current climate.
No single game is worth fading today, but we have a lot of information for the Pelicans-Jazz game since they just played. A look at previous lines should allow for more reliable totals in that contest.
NYK: Alec Burks (ankle) - PROBABLE
NYK: Austin Rivers (Achilles) - DOUBTFUL
Burks hasn't played since December 27th, but it looks like he's good to go tonight. With Rivers out, Burks at $5,800 would be an excellent pivot, but we would need to be sure about his status before locking him in.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) stands head and shoulders above all players on Thursday. He exploded for 63.9 FDFP on Monday against the Nets, and that number would beat value against the Lakers. He had a couple of great games against LA last season. I have no problem going in that direction, but Anthony Davis ($10,000) is freakishly cheap by comparison. The O/U for this game is decent, and if we take Davis, we can use that extra $1,300 and go elsewhere. We need double-digit rebounds from Davis to get maximum value, and he could pull that off against Milwaukee. It's a close call between Giannis and Davis, but between the two Laker elites, I like AD over LeBron James ($9,500).
Stephen Curry ($9,800) is a sensible option against the Knicks, but he carries a bit of variance due to his streaky shooting. There is a massive drop beyond Curry, so you'll be able to offset his salary with a budget pick in the second PG slot. The salary gap gives the guard position a very low baseline, so he may be the smart spend-up option. At the bottom of the 9k pool is Julius Randle ($9,000), and I have nothing bad to say about him. He's been very consistent all season long, and even though his salary has inflated with the excellent production, I'm more likely to give him a shot at the PF position.
Rudy Gobert, UTA ($8,500) vs. NO
Speaking of salary gaps, FanDuel is begging us to play Gobert. The next center up is Montrezl Harrell ($6,000), so the discrepancy will make Gobert extremely chalky. The Jazz and the Pelicans have already met up, and Gobert double-doubled with 13 points and 18 rebounds in that contest. He'd need a similar number to meet value, and if you're looking for uniqueness, Gobert should merit limited exposure in tournaments. With too many spend-up guys to get to, center may be the place to go lower.
Zion Williamson, NO ($8,000) @ UTA
Zion fared much better than Brandon Ingram ($8,200) against the Jazz, so I am more likely to go to Williamson for $200 less. Things get a little messy in this range, as Khris Middleton is also sitting at the same salary point and has two straight 40-plus-FDFP performances to his credit. There's an argument to fade the top and build a more balanced lineup around these 8k targets, as both of these guys could beat value easily.
It's a small slate, so this ends the plays above the DraftKings median. Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley aren't doing enough to meet value and failed to get there against the Pelicans, and although you can make a case for Jrue Holiday ($7,600), I'll be lower than the field on him.
Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($6,300) vs. NO
Clarkson continues to be a great option, and he's easily my favorite option for the Jazz. He generated astronomical usage when he comes off the bench and is a solid multi-category contributor. I think we'll see at least 30 FDFP from him tonight, and although that comes just short of 5x value, a few more rebounds and assists will put him well over that number.
Lonzo Ball, NO ($5,500) @ UTA
The public was forced to move off of Ball on Monday after a minute restriction was announced, but Ball is a potentially low-usage player with very high upside if that tag is taken off. He still netted 23 FDFP in 23 minutes anyway, and with a few more days of rest, we could still see him go for 1.0 FDFP per minute once again.
Brook Lopez, MIL ($5,300) vs. LAL
While the public will stick with Gobert or slide down to Mitchell Robinson or Montrezl Harrell, Lopez should be far less popular and give you enough support at the center spot to be viable on a slate with limited options. He has the potential to eclipse 30 FDFP on a nightly basis, and that's an excellent line relative to his salary. Anthony Davis will be kept busy with Giannis, and that should allow for a bit more opportunity for Lopez.
James Wiseman, GS ($4,400) vs. NY
Wiseman bounced back from a tepid outing against the Lakers where he only logged 13 minutes, with a 20-point, six-rebound game against the Spurs. The usage dip is cause for concern, but Wiseman doesn't have to do much to exceed 5x value here, and he'll allow you more room in your salary cap for more expensive options at other positions.