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FanDuel NBA: Thursday Value Plays

After a massive 11-game offering on Wednesday, the league simmers down to a three-game slate in the third full night of league play.

SLATE OVERVIEW

Mavericks @ Hawks (-3)

O/U: 224.5 points

Bucks (-2.5) @ Heat

O/U: 224.0 points

Warriors (-3.5) @ Clippers

O/U: 226.0 points


Vegas scored these games as almost identical in every respect, but I think the DAL/ATL game is probably the most beneficial for DFS pursuits. Keep in mind that the Warriors are the only team to have played a regular-season game on this slate, so when it comes to predicting a rotation, they are the most reliable team to target.

INJURIES

ATL Danilo Gallinari (shoulder) - OUT

ATL Lou Williams (hip) - QUESTIONABLE

The Hawks are running with a tighter rotation, but Gallinari's absence presents an added wrinkle into tonight's narrative. His absence will cement De'Andre Hunter's ($4,700) role in the starting lineup and could also line up additional minutes for Kevin Huerter ($6,200).

MIL Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) - OUT

MIL Bobby Portis (hamstring) - OUT

MIL Brook Lopez (back) - OUT

MIL Jrue Holiday (heel) - OUT

Jordan Nwora ($3,700) stands to benefit from all of these absences. It appears that Grayson Allen ($4,400) has locked up a starting backcourt gig as long as DiVencenzo is out, which could still be a while. The Bucks don't really have a backup center on the roster, so with Lopez out we could see Giannis move up to the five and Nwora slide into the lineup at forward. George Hillcould be in line to start for Holiday.

LAC Kawhi Leonard (knee) - OUT

LAC Victor Oladipo (quad) - OUT

LAC Serge Ibaka (back) - OUT

LAC Nicolas Batum (personal) - OUT

LAC Keon Johnson (illness) - OUT

This is the last time we will mention Leonard and Oladipo here, though I felt it necessary to illustrate the Clippers' situation at the outset. We'll touch on a few Clippers below.

GSW James Wiseman (knee) - OUT

GSW Klay Thompson (Achilles) - OUT

GSW Jonathan Kuminga (knee) - OUT

This is also the last time I'll single out these players, as they all have timetables well into the future. To familiarize yourself with their current rotation, refer to Tuesday's box score against the Lakers.

ELITE PLAYERS

Despite the small slate, the player pool is jammed with good options from $9,000 and above, with three players eclipsing the $10k mark. Because of the small player pool, I see viability in all three of the 10k-plus options.

Aside from Jimmy Butler, I like every player available in this range. Based on potential value at other positions, going with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) and Paul George ($9,900) are the two wisest moves to make, but Luka Doncic ($11,000) and Stephen Curry ($10,000) have excellent matchups and are viable if you want to spend up at guard.

Point guards are at a bit of a premium tonight, which enhances Doncic and Curry's potential, though I will take a pass on Trae Young ($9,600), who is overpriced relative to his potential value.

EXPECTED CHALK AND CORE TARGETS

Due to the small slate size, this section will include endorsements down to $5,500 today.

Bam Adebayo, MIA ($8,200) vs. MIL

The Bucks have one of the league's best defenses, which they showed off against Brooklyn earlier in the week. Still, Adebayo enjoyed general success against Milwaukee in recent history with an average of 38 FP over two regular-season games against the Bucks last season. And, of course, Milwaukee will be without Lopez. As long as the Heat backcourt can keep the lanes open by forcing the bucks to defend the perimeter, Adebayo should have a productive day and likely be Miami's top DFS producer in the matchup.

Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,800) @ MIA

Let's not forget how potent Middleton was in the playoffs last season and how deserving he was of a berth in last year's All-Star Game. He started off the season on the right foot with a near double-double against the Nets, and his history against Miami last season was exemplary, with an average of 38 FP over seven games played.

Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($7,000) @ ATL

I also like Clint Capela ($7,600) on the other side of this matchup, but Porzingis is priced appropriately and more valuable in the PF slot. It feels like a make-or-break season for the big man, as injuries and tepid play have tarnished the pedigree he developed with the Knicks. When he was healthy, Porzingis was a nightly double-double threat, averaging 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and an excellent block/steal average of 1.8. As Luka Doncic matures, he'll carry the team on his shoulders with less frequency, and this may be the season where the duo achieves a better balance.

John Collins, ATL ($6,400) vs. DAL

Collins' $125M contract in the offseason is a solid indication that they like Collins' potential in Atlanta's playoff-worthy offense. The Wake Forest product has shown steady improvement over four years with the club. He holds an exceptional field-goal percentage (55.6%) from last season and can also get it done from long-range. The critical statistic for Collins is his rebounding total, which fluctuates more than his other numbers. Though Clint Capela grabs most of the boards under the basket, Collins is good at grabbing rebounds in transition and turning them into points.

Also consider: Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL ($6,200) vs. DAL, Marcus Morris, LAC ($5,400) @ GSW

VALUE PLAYS

Luckily, there are several value plays available to us in the player pool, allowing us to spend up to get multiple elite players. As usual, some of the great deals are in the injury section as well.

Jordan Poole, GSW ($5,200) vs. LAC

Poole showed up big in the preseason, and he looks like an excellent placeholder while the Warriors await the return of Klay Thompson. Poole is supremely motivated to look good because his performance before Thompson's arrival could increase his trade value. The rumor mill suggests that he could be moved before the deadline if Thompson is fully ready around Christmas, but that won't keep him from producing in the meantime. He looked great against the Lakers with 20 points, three assists and two rebounds.

Eric Bledsoe, LAC ($4,800) @ GSW

I'm willing to take a flier on Bledsoe at this price, especially with Nicolas Batum out tonight. I don't know that Bledsoe will continue to be a viable recommendation, but he will undoubtedly see more time than expected in this matchup. We will often see a small-ball approach with Reggie Jackson (also priced well at $5,000), Bledsoe and Paul George on the floor together in the backcourt, and if the veteran can hold off a talented bench, we could see some standout performances.

Tyler Herro, MIA ($4,900) vs. MIL

Herro was red-hot in the preseason and it'll be hard to keep him on the bench for too long. Although the team will likely start Duncan Robinson alongside Kyle Lowry, Herro's usage out-paced Robinson's last season, and he looked like the favored option in the preseason as well. Herro's totals will likely hinge on Robinson's early success or failure in draining shots from downtown, but he's still an excellent value at this price point.

Ivica Zubac, LAC ($4,200) @ GSW

As we all know, FanDuel only allows us one center, and Zubac presents an excellent alternative to the more expensive guys like Adebayo and Capela. With Serge Ibaka sidelined, Zubac has the paint to himself, and he's expected to have a full load despite some shoulder tenderness. The acquisition of Justise Winslow ($3,500) is intriguing because he has the size and height to play a hybrid center role if needed, and I like him as a contrarian flier for that reason. Still, Zubac's salary is hard to ignore with Ibaka out.

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