This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
Thursday's slate is a modest four games, and it carries just three players priced at or above $10,000 (Blake Griffin, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook). Three of the matchups fall between a 223-226 over/under. The real outlier is Celtics at Heat, which has been given a 212.0 over/under. Every contest is expected to be relatively close, with the largest spread being -5.5 in favor of the Nuggets, who are hosting the Clippers.
Let's dive into each game:
Celtics at HeatOver/Under: 212.0
Spread: BOS (-2.5)
Cash Plays: Kyrie Irving ($8,400); Justise Winslow ($6,600); Dwyane Wade ($5,400)
GPP Plays: Hassan Whiteside ($7,500); Marcus Morris ($4,700); Jaylen Brown ($4,200)
BOS: Aron Baynes (hand) - Out
MIA: Goran Dragic (knee) - Out
The Celtics (10-10 on the road), who are on the second half of a back-to-back, are taking a four-game win streak into Miami (9-12 at home). Aside from Goran Dragic, the Heat are healthy in what seems like ages, and the team will enter Thursday's game having won two of the past five games. It seems like oddsmakers are taking into account Boston's schedule, giving the Celtics just a 2.5-point advantage. This game also features the lowest over/under by a 11-point margin, making it risky for DFS.
The Celtics have won its past four games by a ridiculous combined margin of 82 points, and Kyrie Irving was missing for the first two contests. As a result, it's almost futile to read into Boston's recent fantasy production. Rather, we should consider players' season averages. Three players check in averaging at least 30 FP: Kyrie Irving (44 FP with a high of 61 FP), Marcus Morris (30 FP with a high of 41 FP) and Jayson Tatum (30 FP with a high of 48 FP). Al Horford is certainly worth consideration as well, as the big man has gone for 30-plus FP in three of the past four.
Miami's new-found health gives me pause when considering putting significant faith in one player. During Wednesday's 103-99 loss to the Nuggets, five Heat players posted at least 25 FP, and three players posted between 19-23 FP. When looking for some consistency, Justise Winslow, Dwyane Wade and Josh Richardson stick out. Winslow has gone for at least 30 FP in six of the past eight, Wade hasn't slipped below 25 FP in his past five appearances and Richardson has gone for at least 30 FP in nine of the past 12.
Clippers at NuggetsOver/Under: 226.0
Spread: DEN (-5.5)
Cash Plays: Nikola Jokic ($11,000); Tobias Harris ($7,600); Danilo Gallinari ($7,400)
GPP Plays: Nikola Jokic ($11,000); Jamal Murray ($7,200); Lou Williams ($7,000)
LAC: Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) - Out
DEN: Gary Harris (hamstring) - Questionable; Will Barton (groin) - Out
Over the past 10 games, both the Clippers and Nuggets are 7-3. Despite the possible absence of Gary Harris, the Nuggets are favored in large part due to an impressive 16-3 record in Pepsi Center. The Clippers have been solid on the road, going an even 10-10 away from Staples Center.
Without Harris available during Tuesday's 103-99 win in Miami, Nikola Jokic dropped 57.2 FP, which marked his fifth game of 50-plus FP over the past six. Paul Millsap, Jamal Murray and Torrey Craig finished between 33-36 FP. Nobody else posted more than 17.6 FP (Trey Lyles). During the team's prior two contests, the only players to post at least 30 FP were Jokic, Millsap, Monte Morris and Harris.
A resounding 128-109 win over Charlotte on Tuesday saw five Clippers players net 30-plus FP (Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander). Gallinari has been playing especially well lately, racking up 40-plus FP four times in the past 10 outings. Williams has excelled, too, averaging 37.4 FP over the past eight. Harrell and SGA have both found consistency, with the former averaging 35.7 FP over the past five and the latter posting above 20 FP in all of the past four.
Thunder at SpursOver/Under: 223.0
Spread: OKC (-1.5)
Cash Plays: Russell Westbrook ($12,100); Paul George ($9,700); Steven Adams ($7,200)
GPP Plays: DeMar DeRozan ($9,000); Derrick White ($5,500); Jerami Grant ($5,400)
OKC: Nerlens Noel (concussion) - Out; Alex Abrines (personal) - Out; Andre Roberson (kneecap) - Out
SAS: Rudy Gay (wrist) - Out
The Thunder (12-9 on the road) barely come in as favorites over the Spurs (17-5 at AT&T Center). The Spurs are most recently coming off a loss on the front end of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Grizzlies, but San Antonio has lost just three of the past ten games. By comparison, OKC is an even 5-5 over the past 10 and is on a two-game losing streak at the hands of Washington and Minnesota. Rudy Gay is expected to miss the next couple games, and his absence has prompted the Spurs to go big with LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl both starting. Nerlens Noel's absence following a scary fall may open up more time for Jerami Grant and/or Patrick Patterson. It's also possible Steven Adams sees more time than he already does.
Russell Westbrook has been himself, posting at least 50 FP in five straight games. Paul George is in a mini-slump, failing to crack 40 FP in two straight. Jerami Grant has cooled off, passing 20 FP just twice over the past four. Dennis Schroder's play has also been subpar, as the guard has surpassed 20 FP in only two of the last five.
The Spurs poor 86-point outing Wednesday resulted in no player posting more than 26.1 FP (Patty Mills), which effectively brought an end to the hot streaks of DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Derrick White. All three players are still relatively enticing from a fantasy perspective. DeRozan has the highest upside of the group, having posted at least 55 FP in four of the past nine outings. Aldridge's potential is upper-40s to low-50s, while White could net you something in the mid-30s.
Pistons at KingsOver/Under: 224.5
Spread: SAC (-5.0)
Cash Plays: Blake Griffin ($10,000); Andre Drummond ($9,800); Reggie Jackson ($5,200)
GPP Plays: De'Aaron Fox ($8,600); Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,300); Nemanja Bjelica ($5,400)
DET: Zaza Pachulia (lower leg) - Questionable; Ish Smith (groin) - Questionable
SAC: Iman Shumpert (finger) - Questionable; Marvin Bagley (rest) - Questionable
Both teams enter this matchup having lost four of the past five games, though the Kings (11-10 in Golden 1 Center) have been given the advantage over the Pistons, who are 6-12 on the road and are on the second half of a back-to-back set, losing to the Lakers 113-100 on Wednesday. Both teams could be getting key players back, too, with Marvin Bagley especially of DFS intrigue. In a six-game stretch from Nov. 17 through Nov. 29, the rookie averaged 34.6 FP in 28.5 minutes.
De'Aaron Fox – 79.7 total FP over the past two – has gotten back on track for Sacramento after a three-game cold streak. Willie Cauley-Stein has looked good as well, dropping 40-plus FP in two of the past three. Buddy Hield has cooled off, going for fewer than 20 FP in two straight following a three-game average of 40.1 FP. Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a wall of 17.1 FP last time out, but had hit 35 FP in four of the previous five. Nemanja Bjelica has totaled 27.8 FP over the past two after averaging 31.7 FP in the prior six. Harry Giles and Justin Jackson have seen more time lately, but represent GPP fliers at best.
Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin combined for just 91.8 FP during Wednesday's loss. Blake Griffin's poor outing (24.0 FP) was especially noticeable, as he was averaging 49.9 FP in the four prior games. Still, beyond that trio, everyone else on the Pistons is essentially a dart throw. No other teammate is averaging more than 20 FP on the season.