After a week-long hiatus due to the All-Star break, the NBA returns Thursday with a six-game slate. Nine players who played in the All-Star game will be lacing them up tonight, meaning there will be plenty of talent to choose from. Even with all the star power, not everyone is an automatic lock as there are multiple factors you will want to consider when setting your lineup. After all, you are playing to win some money!
I am going to give you my top plays of the night from each position and breakdown why I expect them to have a big game.
Ben Simmons ($8,900 on FD and $9,500 on DK) – Although better on Fan Duel than on Draft Kings, Ben Simmons has been stellar as of late, averaging almost 19.5 points on 60 percent shooting over his last six games and gets the Brooklyn Nets at home on Thursday. In three previous games against Brooklyn this season, the All-Star has averaged 24.7 points, 8.6 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 62 percent from the field. This comes as no surprise as the struggling Nets are currently second-worst at defending his position. Look for Simmons to have another monster game as Philly looks to right the ship and build some momentum heading into the playoffs.
Goran Dragic ($5,100 on FD and $5,700 on DK) – The Miami Heat get the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, a team which is allowing the second most points per game at 118.9 a night. This game also has the second highest over/under on the night, pointing towards a fast-paced, high-scoring game in which The Dragon always thrives in. Going with Dragic at this price allows you to pay up at some other positions while still holding on to the tremendous upside that Dragic presents.
Coby White ($4,600 on FD and $4,700 on DK) – This is a very sneaky play but also has the potential to be a low-risk, high-reward type scenario. Coby White has excelled when getting the chance this season and it was just announced that fellow Bulls point guard Kris Dunn will miss the next 4-6 weeks after suffering a sprained right MCL. Across his last last four games, the rookie has put up 11.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.5 rebounds across 28 minutes a night. Although he may not receive a drastic increase in minutes, his usage rate should go up as the Bulls lean on him to lead the second unit in Kris Dunn’s absence.
Jimmy Butler ($8,100 on FD and $7,900 on DK) – Jimmy Butler does it all for Miami, acting as play maker on offense and the tone-setter on defense. The Heat get the Hawks on Thursday and as mentioned previously above, they boast the second worst defense in the entire league, giving up an average of 118.9 points a night to opposing teams. In three games against the Hawks this season, Butler has stuffed the stat sheet with averages of 15.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 3.0 steals per game.
Buddy Hield ($5,700 on FD and $6,600 on DK) – Buddy Hield has put up 21 points on nearly 50 percent shooting a night since being relegated to the bench. On Thursday, the Kings face off against the Memphis Grizzlies who have won 8 of their last 10 games. Although they come in with momentum, they are allowing 114.4 points to opposing teams on the year which puts them in the bottom half of the league. This game also has the third highest over/under coming in at 229.5 and has the makings of a lot of points with tons of shooting – two things Buddy Hield excels at.
Andrew Wiggins ($7,500 on FD and $7,600 on DK) – Andrew Wiggins has played well in his first few games as a member of the Warriors. On Thursday, the Rockets come into town in what will most likely be a fast-paced game with very little defense. It has the highest over/under on the night at 234.5 and Wiggins will have every opportunity to put up shots as they try to keep pace with the small-ball Rockets.
Miles Bridges ($5,800 on FD and $6,000 on DK) – Miles Bridges had been excellent leading up to the All-Star break, garnering a ton of minutes and producing in almost every category. Tonight, the Hornets take on the Bulls who are the 4th worst at defending Bridges position. Look for him to fill the stat sheet on Thursday night.
Danuel House Jr. ($4,900 on FD and $4,600 on DK) – Aside from Russell Westbrook, I’m not sure there is another Rocket who has thrived more in the small-ball lineup than Danuel House. He has been given the green-light to hoist up three’s and has been stepping it up on defense. Over his last five games, he’s putting up 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game while knocking down nearly two three’s a game. Look for him to get plenty of opportunities to produce – both offensively and defensively – on Thursday against the Warriors in what is sure to be a fast-paced game.
Christian Wood ($7,400 on FD and $6,900 on DK) – Ever since the Pistons sent Andre Drummond to Cleveland, Christian Wood has come to life. Over his last five games, the big-man is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 51 percent from the field. Now that Reggie Jackson has signed with the Clippers, there is an even bigger need for Wood to continue his strong play. He does have a tough match-up against a stout Milwaukee defense, but he’s hard to pass up with his current price and under-the-radar status.
Eric Paschall ($4,200 on FD and $4,300 on DK) – Eric Paschall comes in averaging 12.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game across his past six. Given his current price and his opportunity to put up numbers on a nightly basis, I’m playing Paschall here and most likely stacking him with Russell Westbrook and James Harden in a game that will most likely be all scoring with very little defense.
Joel Embiid ($9,600 on FD and $9,000 on DK) – There aren’t too many solid options at center on Thursday, forcing us to look at Joel Embiid for most of our lineups. The All-Star big-man has been a bit inconsistent since returning from a torn ligament in his left hand but has still been productive. The fact that he looked good in the All-Star game and that he will no longer wear a splint on his left hand are good signs that he is nearing full health. Play Embiid and don’t think twice about it on a night that lacks much star-power at the center spot.
Dewayne Dedmon ($4,900 on FD and $4,800 on DK) – This is a surprise here but if you are wanting to save at center and pay up toward some other positions, I believe Dedmon is a sneaky play on Thursday. For starters, with Clint Capela still “weeks away” from returning to the lineup, Dedmon should continue to start on his new team. If Miami has one glaring weakness this season, it’s been their inability to defend the paint. They also have lacked a true center as Meyers Leonard is still recovering from his sprained left ankle. Look for Dewayne Dedmon to gobble up plenty of offensive rebounds and to be an active presence for the Hawks on Thursday.