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DraftKings NBA: Thursday Cheat Sheet

Alex Rikleen

Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living in Delaware.

NBA Twitter reached peak offseason form this week – but actual basketball resumes Thursday. That’s right, the Warriors are not yet officially NBA champions, and there is still DFS to be played.

The Warriors defense has been the best per possession so far in these playoffs, while the Cavaliers have been merely average. The Warriors offense has also been more potent. As a result, it may be wise to target more Warriors than Cavaliers when constructing your lineups.


Stephen Curry, GS ($11,000): DraftKings made LeBron James ($22,500) so expensive that it squeezed the rest of the expensive market. James is a fade candidate for Game 1, as he has “struggled” in Game 1s this postseason. In three Game 1s, he’s averaging “just” 21.7 points on 38.1 percent field goal shooting. Over the playoffs as a whole, he’s averaging 34.0 points on 54.2 percent shooting. With James out of consideration, the red-hot Curry is a great option, and more than 25 percent cheaper. Curry finished the Rockets’ series with back-to-back games of at least 27 points, five threes, and 51 DKFP. The Cavaliers’ defense doesn’t have the personnel to keep up with all of the Warriors’ outside shooters, so look for the point guard to be heavily involved. Curry or Thompson are my picks for the 1.5x “captain” spot, where they would cost either $16,500 or $11,700, respectively.

Kevin Durant, GS ($10,400): There aren’t a ton of ways to spend your salary cap if you’re avoiding James, so it shouldn’t be too hard to work in Durant alongside Curry.


Klay Thompson, GS ($7,800): The Showdown format requires embracing some variance, which makes Thompson a strong option. Though he scored less than 14 points and less than 24 DKFP in three of the games against the Rockets, he also had two games above 28 points and 42 DKFP. Thompson is averaging 27.7 points in Game 1s so far this postseason. As mentioned above, I’d go with either Thompson or Curry in the 1.5x “captain” spot.

George Hill, CLE ($4,400): The middle tier consists mostly of Cavaliers onThursday, which is to say it’s a lot of players who have been insanely inconsistent throughout the postseason. Each of them have had their good games here and there, and each have also had some atrocious displays. Given the options available, I’d rather trust in Hill than Jeff Green ($5,000) or Tristan Thompson ($5,600). Hill has averaged 32.5 minutes over the last two series, so he should have plenty of opportunities, and he’s topped 22 DKFP in four of his last eight games.


Larry Nance, CLE ($4,000): Kevin Love (concussion) is still in the concussion protocol, leaving his availability very much in doubt Thursday. Love missed most of the last two games after averaging 32.6 minutes in the playoffs before that. Though Nance saw less action in Game 7, he was a major beneficiary of Love’s absence in Game 6, nearly double-doubling in 22 minutes. As Juan Carlos Blanco pointed out, Warriors opponents averaged 47.0 points in the paint per game, making them a matchup that favors an athletic post player like Nance. Nance is also a candidate I’d consider for the 1.5x “captain” spot.

Shaun Livingston, GS ($2,000): Livingston is one of the few – if not the only – super cheap option that we have confidence will see meaningful minutes Thursday. Livingston has played double-digit minutes in every game of these playoffs, averaging 17.5 per game. That’s not a ton, but it’s enough to protect against a zero in your final roster spot. He’s averaging 6.5 points and 2.1 rebounds this postseason, which is enough to squeak into profitable territory, if he can match it in Game 1.

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The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.