This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We've got six games on the docket tonight. Let's dive in.
TOR (-10) @ CLE, O/U: 221
WAS (-4) vs. CHA, O/U: 227.5
PHI (-7)@ ATL, O/U: 227.5
BOS (-12.5) vs. GS, O/U: 222.5
DEN (-1.5) vs. UTA, O/U: 216
LAC (-13.5) vs. SAC, O/U: 227
Beyond my endorsements below, I think Sacramento and Utah will both offer value. I've given a lot of exposure to the CHA/WAS and PHI/ATL games, but almost every matchup is worth considering tonight.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Ongoing injury situations are excluded, but RotoWire has you covered with player notes for those injuries on DraftKings if you need a refresher.
Jayson Tatum (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
Tatum's return is imminent but as of writing, there's no word on his status for Thursday's game. Marcus Smart ($6,200) would draw another start if Tatum can't go. Although I'm not a fan of the price, Gordon Hayward ($7,500) would also see a larger load.
Al Horford (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Joel Embiid, PHI ($9,300) @ ATL
Embiid's first game back from injury was an average outing by his standards, but with injuries to Alex Len and Bruno Fernando, I'd expect the big man to take full advantage of Atlanta's decimated front line. John Collins ($7,800) will be the biggest obstacle in the way for Embiid, and due to his favorable price and usage load I can't fault a play in that direction, either.
Bradley Beal, WAS ($9,400) vs. CHA
No need to get your eyes checked – the Wizards are actually favored in this game. That's a rarity for Washington, but you can thank Beal for almost single-handedly willing the franchise into some huge game totals of late. The team's only problem is that they can't seem to close the deal defensively. Tonight could be a temporary reversal of fortune, and Beal will once again be the pace-setter. He's getting to be awful expensive, but his five-game average puts him just a sliver above 5x value so I'm still OK with playing him. If he rises above 10k, I may have to start considering other options.
Also consider: Ben Simmons, PHI ($8,900) @ ATL
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER OPTIONS
Pascal Siakam, TOR ($8,400) @ CLE
I favor targeting players whose seasonal average is faithful to 5x value, and Siakam's 42.6 DKFP per-game average sits just above that threshold currently. My only hesitation against Cleveland is the team's rebounding prowess, ranking 11th in total rebounding percentage. They rank 27th in offensive rebounding percentage, however, and I think Siakam's line can survive by yielding a put-back here and there. If you're looking for a cash option, Siakam's a good play, but I'm not as high on his ceiling for large-field tournaments.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($7,200) @ DEN
This is a superb price for Mitchell, who saw an $800 price drop despite a 40 DKFP score against San Antonio last night. I'm usually wary about teams on back-to-backs, but this game is a bit of a rivalry match, and Mitchell has played hard historically against the Nuggets, who are still without Jamal Murray at the point. Mitchell's also succeeded in his long-range efforts recently, with a three-point conversion rate of 42.5 percent over his last five games.
Tobias Harris, PHI ($7,000) @ ATL
Conventional wisdom tells me the Embiid's return should have a detrimental effect on Harris' value, but I think that there will be plenty to go around for both players against the Hawks. The one-two punch of Harris and Embiid in the frontcourt will be tough for John Collins to defend, and Harris has exceeded 6x value in two of his last three games.
Buddy Hield, SAC ($6,800) vs. LAC
Hield only played 23 minutes in last night's loss to the Thunder, and there was probably a method to Luke Walton's madness in managing his load. Hield should be the most-rested utility player for Sacramento, and I expect him to perform well against a Clippers team that's had problems against opposing backcourts. Hield has lost his starting gig to Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,800), but I still think he'll get considerable minutes off the bench in this matchup. It's hard to overlook Bogdanovic's value at $4,800, and he only logged 27 minutes on Wednesday. I have no problem pivoting to him if you need the cash.
Also consider: Devonte' Graham, CHA ($7,700) @ WAS
Thomas Bryant, WAS ($5,200) vs. CHA
The value for Bryant here is readily apparent. The Hornets are unrivaled (30th) in their inability to defend the paint, and right now Bryant is the healthiest and best option in their frontcourt. While he's only topped 10 rebounds once over the past ten games, I think we need to play the situation and disregard some of the contradictory metrics, especially at this price point.
Ish Smith, WAS ($4,600) vs. CHA
I struggle with this pick as I have a soft spot for Isaiah Thomas, but if I'm being objective, Smith is the better call at point guard in terms of price and value. It truly is a close call but Smith logs more minutes and had double the production Isaiah had in their last tangle versus the Hornets.
Shake Milton, PHI ($4,200) @ ATL
With Josh Richardson out for the next month, the Sixers have finally landed on Milton as his replacement. Over his past two games as a starter, he's averaged around 25 minutes, and has a 24 DKFP score to his credit. If this game gets out of hand, I can see the Sixers allowing Milton to see as much time as he can handle as the G-League call-up further acclimates to Brett Brown's system.
Marquese Chriss, GS ($4,500) @ BOS
I love that DraftKings is still giving Chriss a designation at PF, as it means we can slot him in four different positions. His DKFP totals have consistently been in the mid-20s since Willie Cauley-Stein's departure, and he's also finally starting to see games where he eclipses 30 minutes of court time. The Celtics are without Enes Kanter tonight, and while Daniel Theis and Grant Williams are fine options for Boston, I think this could be an exploitative spot for Golden State. They are clearly outmatched at almost every other position, so the Warriors may find themselves leaning on the journeyman.