With a surprising nine games on the schedule for Thursday’s slate, there’s a ton of options to sort through at all levels of the price scale. The following list should provide a handful of players to consider building your lineup around:
Damian Lillard, POR vs. CLE ($9,700): Lillard has been on fire of late, helping lead the Trail Blazers to 10 straight wins and a spot in the top half of the Western Conference playoff race. He’s hit at least 50 FanDuel points in four of his last eight games, a stretch where he’s averaged 47.3 FanDuel points. In addition to that, he’s facing a Cavaliers squad that has given up the sixth most FD points to point guards on the season, so he shouldn’t have much trouble adding to his hot streak.
Lou Williams, LAC at HOU ($7,400): Williams has carried a price tag of $8,000 or more in each of his last six games, so Thursday’s salary is a nice break from where he’s typically at. I’m big on grabbing players at their lowest price, especially when it’s a guy like Williams that has big-time scoring potential. The Rockets haven’t necessarily given up a ton of points to shooting guards on the season, though the contest should be an up-and-down affair with a ton of extra statistics available due to the pace of play. Williams has averaged 35.4 FanDuel points over the last 10 games, but shouldn’t have much trouble surpassing that mark against the Rockets.
Ben McLemore, MEM vs CHI ($4,900): McLemore is admittedly a bit risky due to his fluctuations in playing time, but he’s still been particularly effective in recent weeks, averaging an impressive 29.4 FanDuel points over his last six games. If he posts anything near that number Thursday, he’d be hitting value at a price of just $4,900, so I’m willing to take a risk here, especially considering there’s not a whole lot of other intriguing cheaper guard options. Tyreke Evans (rib) has been upgraded to questionable and if cleared, could cut into McLemore’s playing time a bit, so that will be a situation to monitor up until tip-off.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SAS vs. NOP ($8,000): Aldridge is coming off a couple of weaker performances, posting 34.4 and 20.9 FanDuel points over his last two games, respectively. However, that’s dropped his price $700 and now leaves him at $8,000 flat. That’s a great salary for a guy like Aldridge, who has surpassed the 50-FanDuel-point mark a whopping 11 times already this season. The Pelicans have also given up the fifth most FanDuel points to the power forward position on the season, all of which are great reasons to fire Aldridge up as a higher-priced forward.
T.J. Warren, PHO at UTA ($6,500): The Suns are in danger of being without Devin Booker (hand) on Thursday, which means Warren could be in line for a spike in usage as he would assume the role as the go-to scorer. With Warren’s 40-FanDuel-point potential on any given night, a price of $6,500 is a very reasonable amount. I might look elsewhere if Booker gives it a go, but if he can’t fight through his hand discomfort, lock Warren in as a guy that’s going to see a lot of time on the ball.
Josh Jackson, PHO at UTA ($5,600): As with Warren, Booker’s potential absence is what peaks my interest here. Jackson would likely become the second option offensively to Warren and he’s already shown a few times this season that he can be a very strong DFS option when he gets hot. Jackson is coming off an outing Tuesday where he put up 37.1 FanDuel points and he could surpass that if he were to see boosted usage. At just $5,600, Jackson will likely be a very popular pick if Booker remains sidelined. However, I’d actually feel comfortable using Jackson either way due to how cheap he is and the fact that he’ll likely be pushing for a 30-minute role whether he’s off the bench or a starter.
Dwight Howard, CHA at ATL ($8,500): Despite five centers being priced above him, Howard still has my favorite matchup of the night. He’ll be facing off against the Hawks, who have given up the ninth most FanDuel points to centers on the season. Of course, the Hawks have been better since the return of Dewayne Dedmon, but I still think Howard has the potential for one of his typical monster double-doubles. Over his last four games, Howard has averaged 47.2 FanDuel points, which would be more than enough for him to hit value at a $8,500 price tag.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. CLE ($6,600): Nurkic is a solid mid-tier option if you can’t afford to pay up for guys like Howard, Joel Embiid ($9,900) and Andre Drummond ($9,500). That’s largely due to his matchup against Larry Nance, who Nurkic should have no trouble taking advantage of in the post due to his superior size. Over the last five games, the Cavaliers have given up the seventh most FanDuel points to centers and when you add that to the fact that Nance is dealing with a hamstring injury and may not be 100 percent in the contest, that should give Nurkic plenty of upside.