Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Thursday, 7/30/20Well, I really can't believe I'm typing this, but four long months later basketball is set to return to regular-season action. We've gotten a glimpse of life in the Orlando bubble with a very different feel to the basketball games. It still remains to be seen how certain teams approach this restart prior to the playoffs, but we'll wade through the first slate. It's a two-gamer and we already have some injury news to account for and keep track of leading into the start of games.
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Point GuardLonzo Ball FD - $7900 DK - $7400
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 36.4 DK - 37.54
The Pelicans will begin a major push to make the playoffs in a crowded Western Conference, but they are playing at full strength and will open things up against a Utah team that doesn’t have quite the same gravity around their early games. Lonzo should run heavy minutes early and often and this season was averaging a very fantasy-friendly 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Getting minutes more minutes with Zion should increase the dimes too and it’s hard to imagine the Pels want to run too much in the way of ballhandlers behind Zo because of what he brings on the defensive end. Strikes me as a very safe play on Thursday.
Mike Conley FD - $5700 DK - $6200
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 30.39 DK - 31.77
Conley was a moderate disaster to start the season after coming over from the Grizzlies in the offseason. But before the season was shutdown he’d started to pick it up on the offensive end. In his *final* seven games in March he shot 46% from three on almost seven attempts per game. This had been a source of great frustration early in the year, but the shot was starting to fall. The assist numbers we climbing too, averaging more than 5.5 per game after hovering in the high fours all season. With no Bojan, there should be a few more shot opportunities in this offense and Conley is coming way too
Monitor the Patrick Beverley situation closely. He’s had to quarantine after leaving the bubble. If he’s cleared in time then he makes a good play. If he can’t and with the Clippers already without Lou Williams, they are awfully short on guard depth. Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet would make for interesting plug and plays.
Shooting GuardDonovan Mitchell FD - $7200 DK - $7000
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 39.12 DK - 40.53
The Pelicans played the second-fastest pace in the league this season at 106.4 and had a bottom-third defensive efficiency. The pace alone should make Mitchell an attractive play in this game where the Jazz will most definitely need his scoring. He was averaging 24 points per game before the stoppage and should see a slight usage uptick without Bojan on the court. The main piece with Mitchell today is the price sitting in the mid-to-low $7K range on both sites. It’s hard to imagine him not hitting value on that number considering the pace up game.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope FD - $3700 DK - $4000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 20.08 DK - 20.43
Danny Green FD - $4100 DK - $3500
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 22.8 DK - 22.78
With Avery Bradley sitting out the restart, the starting nod looks like it’s going to go to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for the Lakers at the two. That makes him a decent punt play option with the expected minutes increase alone. I don’t see JR Smith and/or Dion Waiters taking over too much of that run when the *real* games start. The one issue being that the Lakers don’t have all that much to play for when things start back up again on Thursday. Though this is something of a leverage game, they have a 5.5 game lead over the Clippers in the West, a number that is basically impossible to make up in the eight remaining games. But we’ve seen the Lakers go for it all season regardless of the narrative, so if we saw big starters’ minutes I also wouldn’t be shocked.
Meanwhile, Green was rolling about 25 minutes per game this season, but that should tick up as well without Bradley. He’s essentially a three ball and occassional rebound dude and that’s about it. But he’s coming close to the minimum on DraftKings and has a high enough floor considering the opportunity.
Small ForwardKawhi Leonard FD - $9500 DK - $9200
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 46.64 DK - 46.73
The Clippers, like the Lakers might not feel like they have a ton to play for here at the restart. The latter almost definitely can’t catch the former and with home court advantage (whatever that may or may not have meant for the Clips) out the door, I don’t know how incentivized they are to hold on to the two seed. The thing to like about Kawhi here though is the Clippers will be without Lou Williams to start and Patrick Beverley might sit as well. They would be short on ballhandlers and Kawhi, along with Paul George, could essentially take a vast majority of the team’s shots even on limited minutes. I like the price on Kawhi with the understanding that the minutes could be a bit of an unknown to start.
Joe Ingles FD - $5500 DK - $5700
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 29.13 DK - 30.44
With Bojan Bogdanovich sitting out the restart, it sure looks like Joe Ingles will be in the starting lineup at the three. He’s versatile as a secondary ball handler and though will have a lower usage for sure while sharing the court with the likes of Conley and Mitchell, I do think we see a moderate minutes increase in the short term. He makes for a decent floor, mid level play at small forward that shouldn’t dumpster you considering he does have assists in his makeup even when sharing the court with those other guys.
Power ForwardAnthony Davis FD - $10400 DK - $1
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 54.12 DK - 53.82
Davis is already questionable for Thursday’s restart after getting poked in the eye, and one has to think that if the Lakers are even a little worried they will sit him out. But, and this is a big but, because it’s an eye issue and not, say, a leg then I think if he’s in the starting lineup we wouldn’t have to worry about any restrictions. Davis was obviously a monster this season, averaging 26 points, 9.4 rebounds and a whopping 3.9 blocks + steals. The latter two give him massive FanDuel upside because of how the defensive stats are overweighted. Keep an eye out for the injury news. If he can’t go, then Kyle Kuzma (FD 4700 DK 4500) would likely join the starting lineup and be the chalk play.
Zion Williamson FD - $7100 DK - $7500
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 36.01 DK - 36.32
Zion had to leave the bubble but he’s on track to be back for Thursday’s game. In his first 19 games after sitting out the first part of the season, Zion was the prince that was promised. In just about 30 minutes per game he was putting up 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He’s coming entirely cheap on FanDuel especially where rostering two power forwards was almost always a nightly struggle. I suspect Zion is the chalk here even if New Orleans is cautious with his minutes after missing some time in the bubble.
CenterDerrick Favors FD - $5400 DK - $5800
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 29.87 DK - 30.76
Favors appears healthy and should be starting at the five when the season resumes on Thursday. If that’s the case then I think we can take a shot on him as a mid-tier center play on FanDuel. The position is incredibly weak on that site without the multi-position eligibility. Favors is obviously the fifth option on offense among the starters but should play somewhere in the mid 20’s minutes which is more than you can say for just about every other center except for Gobert. He averaged nearly a double-double in 24 minutes per game this season with 9 points and 10 rebounds. Again, I’d avoid on DraftKings, but FanDuel he’s in play.
Again, this is a thin position. Ivica Zubac (FD 4500 DK 4500) is interesting simply as a starter, but his minutes are really capped because he never closes for this team and can sometimes run sub-20 minutes. The same can be said of the Lakers’ big guys JaVale McGee (FD 4400 DK 3600) and Dwight Howard (FD 3900 DK 3200).
And I don’t think you are going to want to pay up for Rudy Gobert (FD 8200 DK 7100) considering some of the more expensive options on FanDuel. But on DraftKings, he’s a great value especially being a double-double candidate in what should be a fast-paced game.