Jesse Johnson

Scouting The NBA DFS - Thursday, November 3

There is a 5-game slate of NBA action tonight and one showdown in the Bay Area. We highlight the best DFS plays on DraftKings and FanDuel here

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Plays of the Day

Value: Jamal Murray is a risky option, but the rookie should either start, or see a huge spike in playing time with Will Barton and Gary Harris likely out for Denver tonight. Nuggets HC Mike Malone has expressed confidence in Murray’s ability to produce when given more minutes, even though he’s 0-for-8 from the field with 5 assists and 2 TOs over just 37 minutes of run through three NBA appearances, so he should fly under the radar as a cheap tournament play.

Fade: LeBron James is always a reliable source of DFS production, but it’s hard to imagine him producing more FPs than Kevin Durant tonight unless the Celtics force the Cavs to go into overtime or give Cleveland a surprising run for its money. Otherwise, it will be James deferring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love for scoring while he adds solid peripheral stats.

Games to Target

  1. Golden State Warriors (-11) hosting Oklahoma City Thunder (Over/Under = 226)
  2. Minnesota Wolves (-3.5) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 209)

Point Guards

Two Studs

Russell Westbrook (OKC) @ GSW DK:$12,900/FD:$12,200

Unless you’re feeling contrarian, predict a huge blowout win, or simply hate money, you’re paying up for Westbrook tonight. The ultra-motivated Point God will come into Oracle Arena this evening with the intention of metaphorically murdering Kevin Durant and the rest of his “Super Team” in a matchup that’s comparable to John McClain versus Hans Gruber and his band of terrorists in Die Hard. That’s some strong wording, but you get the idea, it’s Russ against the World, which has really been the case all season with his league-high 43.8% Usage Rate (on pace for highest in the modern era) and league-high 37.8 PPG. Last night, Westbrook had a rough shooting night (14-for-30, 0-for-7 from deep), turned the ball over 10 times, and played horrible in his own words, but still produced 51 DK points (45.7 FD points) and led his team to a win. If that’s the worst he can do, you should feel comfortable using him in any format during this huge rivalry tilt.

Kyrie Irving (CLE) vs. BOS: DK:$7,600/FD:$7,800

It’s a tough call between Kyrie and Isaiah Thomas for cash game lineups, and there’s an argument to be made for both players. While Thomas is going to see heavy usage once again with Al Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle) out tonight, he’s struggled against the Cavs elite defense (20.3 PPG on 34.7% FG shooting last year) and his efforts on the offensive end will make it difficult to contain Irving. LeBron is deferring to Kyrie as the Cavs primary scorer so far this season, and the ultra-talented Duke product has responded by averaging 26.8 PPG with an absurd mark of 53.6% (15-for-28) from deep this season. The Celtics will have to send help towards James all night with Crowder likely unavailable, leaving the floor wide open for Irving and Kevin Love to burn them.

Potential Value

Kris Dunn ($4900/$4900) stands out as the value play with the best floor/ceiling combo on this short slate as he should start again for the Wolves. Emmanuel Mudiay ($6000/$5900) will also see some extra run and usage with Will Barton (ankle) and Gary Harris (groin) both likely out for Denver.

Longshot

Marcus Smart ($4400/$5200) was all over the floor in his season debut last night and he should see extended minutes with Crowder out. Ty Lawson ($5100/$5100) is a contrarian option to consider, as he struggled in a tough matchup on Tuesday, but faces maybe the worst defense in the league in Orlando tonight.

Shooting Guards

Two Studs

Zach Lavine (MIN) vs. DEN: DK:$6,200/FD:$6,000

This game has sneaky upside with a close line in Minnesota (-3) and a solid point total, while both back courts are shorthanded due to some injuries. Lavine looked poised to make a leap in his third season regardless, but an injury to Ricky Rubio (elbow) increases his floor/ceiling combination dramatically. With Rubio inactive on Tuesday, Lavine posted a 34.2% Usage Rate and dropped 31 points on 11-of-18 FG shooting to lead the Wolves in a blowout win. Now he’ll look to lead the backcourt against a Nuggets team that is giving up the most FPPG (53.33) to opposing PGs and fourth-most FPPG (45.07) to opposing SGs this season and is still without starting SG and solid defender Gary Harris.

Jamal Murray (DEN) @ MIN: DK:$3,700/FD:$3,500 as PG

Since it’s much tougher to fit studs like Westbrook into lineups on DK, you might have to punt SG with a player like Murray. He’s a risky option to say the least and a true longshot on FanDuel, but the rookie should either start, or see a huge spike in playing time with Barton and Harris likely out for Denver. Nuggets HC Mike Malone has expressed confidence in Murray’s ability to produce when given more minutes, even though he’s 0-for-8 from the field with 5 assists and 2 TOs over just 37 minutes of run through three NBA appearances. He’s an unknown commodity, which in turn makes him a great tournament option at this cheap price tag.

Potential Value

Klay Thompson ($6300/$5700) is surprisingly cheap on FanDuel because of his slow start shooting the ball, but he has plenty of upside and a solid floor in this fast-paced matchup.

Longshot

Evan Fournier ($6100/$6000) is a pure scorer with plenty of upside against the Kings weak defense tonight. If you need another punt play, consider Bucks rookie Malcolm Brogdon ($3100/$3700 as PG on FD) as a longshot.

Small Forwards

Two Studs

Kevin Durant (GSW) vs. OKC: DK:$10,200/FD:$9,700

It’s surprisingly easy to play Westbrook and Durant with a solid overall lineup on FanDuel tonight, so that should be the chalk in their showdown at Oracle Arena. It’s hard to expect either superstar to play with passivity or reluctance in the first of what should be a long rivalry between the two former teammates, and KD has had no issues producing at a superstar level with his new squad. He’s coming off his worst DFS performance (20 points over 31 minutes in a blowout win) of the season, but now he’ll face teammates such as Andre Roberson that he probably whooped in practice over the last couple of years and he should score with ease in a much closer game. You can fade him on DK, but there’s simply no reason to get off Durant for below $10K on FanDuel.

Rudy Gay (SAC) @ ORL: DK:$6,500/FD:$7,500

The fact that Gay is still so cheap on DK makes fading KD a bit easier on that DFS site, as you could still get elite production from the Kings secondary scorer. He’s thriving now that Rajon Rondo isn’t dominating the ball in Dave Joerger’s new offense, and DeMarcus Cousins is acting like a surly child, who is doing his best to pout until he gets traded later this season. While Boogie picked up 6 fouls in about 5 minutes the other night, Gay went for 30 points, 12 rebounds and 50 DK points (45.9 FD points) to lead the Kings into overtime in Miami. Now he’ll face a Magic squad that is ranked 27th in defensive rating and gives up an above average 38.42 FPPG to opposing SFs this season, so he appears to be a great mid-tier value on either main DFS site.

Potential Value

Matt Barnes ($4000/$4200) should start again for the Kings and play big minutes in an effort to slow down Gay this evening.

Longshot

C.J. Miles ($3600/$3900) is a bit of a risky play, but he’s a good way to cut some salary at this position and hope for a big game against the inexperienced Bucks.

Power Forwards

Two Studs

Draymond Green (GSW) vs. OKC: DK:$7,800/FD:$8,300

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky on this 5-game slate, as you might not be able to afford PFs with upside on either site after springing for Westbrook and/or KD. Draymond is a bit expensive on FanDuel given his upside on that site, but the nightly triple double threat is definitely worth a look on DK as a somewhat contrarian way to gain exposure to this game. He’s likely to be all over the floor tonight and play heavy minutes as the Warriors best defender, while he draws a fantastic matchup on the other end against weak rookie PF Domantas Sabonis. Blake Griffin wiped the floor with Sabonis last night and the Thunder are going to be very vulnerable to that position with him in the SLU and a hybrid forward/centers Joffrey Lauvergne and Enes Kanter as the only alternatives to try and contain a skilled PF like Green.

Gorgui Dieng (MIN) vs. DEN: DK:$6,700/FD:$6,500

Kevin Love is also a solid cash game play, but for a bit cheaper, give me the Wolves versatile young PF. Dieng has been a rock in DFS terms this season with 35+ FPs in all three of his appearances and the only thing preventing him from a third consecutive double double on Tuesday was a blowout victory. Now he’ll face an undersized Nuggets front line that’s giving up the second-most FPPG (53.7) to opposing PFs so far this season, in a game that’s projected to go down the wire. Look no further for a mid-tier option that you can rely upon tonight.

Potential Value

Jabari Parker ($5600/$5800) has settled in as a low-upside cash game option with the Bucks short of offensive options right now.

Longshot

Jonas Jerebko ($3000/$3900) exceeded value with Horford out last night and the absence of Crowder will probably give him an opportunity to log 20-25 minutes again.

Centers

Two Studs

Jusuf Nurkic (DEN) @ MIN: DK:$6,500/FD:$5,600

It’s puzzling to see both Nurkic and Nikola Jokic ($5900) at such cheap price tags on FanDuel given their consistent usage and playing time for the Nuggets this year. Those two Eastern European stars are alternating big lines from game to game, but Nurkic has actually been more consistent, and he flashed tons of upside with 13 points, 18 boards, 5 blocks and 50 DK points (47.1 FD points) while logging 38 minutes in Toronto on Monday. He’s going to be needed in order to defend Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng down low tonight, and he’s posting per 36 minute averages of 19.9 points, 14.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocks this year, so it’s really only a matter of opportunity for the Bosnian Beast.

Amir Johnson (BOS) @ CLE: DK:$3,900/FD:$4,000 as PF

He’s going to be a very popular play last night given his flukey performance last night that included going 4-for-4 from downtown in a full line, but that doesn’t mean you should fade Amir. The Celtics are shorthanded down low with Al Horford (concussion) unable to play tonight and the absence of Jae Crowder ensures that Brad Stevens will have to keep a versatile defender like Johnson out there for 30+ minutes if possible. The Cavs are a tough defensive team, but currently rank 23rd in Defensive Rebounding Rate and offer plenty of opportunities to board up given their grinding style of play.

Potential Value

Tyler Zeller ($3800/$3800) is a pretty risky play in this matchup even though he’ll probably start for Horford again, as he could simply give way to Amir for long stretches. I probably prefer Tristan Thompson ($4200/$4300) for a bit more salary.

Longshot

I’d rather play Nikola Vucevic ($6400/$7700) than Nurkic at virtually the same price on DK, but would go with the cheaper Nurk on FanDuel.


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