This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Thursday's slates on DraftKings consist of a single-game showdown and a two-game slate that features the two games available on Thursday and Friday. While this article will focus on the showdown due to the larger variety of contests and prize pools available, I will also tack on a shortlist of Friday players to accompany my Thursday picks, which should align well with a typical roster build for the Classic contests.
MIA vs. BOS (-2.5), O/U: 208.5
Rather than drill down into my strategies regarding single-game contests, please refer to my previous article which discusses how to tackle this unique format.
Unlike previous single-game showdowns where we've correctly targeted the CPTN for an ideal lineup every time, this game presents several players who could end up fitting the bill. Although it is possible to cash in a GPP without the right CPTN pick, you have to nail it if you want a big score. Duplicate lineups will also dilute player pools somewhat, so if you are hammering these contests, it's wise to make plays with single-entry contests (H2H, Double-ups, 50/50s). I do think the overlay on the Showdown contests will be massive, however. When there is an opportunity to go with a Classic build, players tend to go that direction. Add in a Thursday Night Football game, and you'll see some Showdown guarantees that don't fill up.
FINDING THE VALUE
The key to success for single-game contests is to find how we will provide 2-3 value picks so that we can make room for our more obvious elite positions. The cheap players could also become a source for the CPTN selection, but I don't think my ideal choice will fall in this category.
Daniel Theis, BOS (CPTN $9,900, UTIL $6,600)
It's going to be rare to find a Rajon Rondo-type player who will find 5x value with his CPTN price, and Theis isn't one of them. Although his Game 1 performance against the Heat wasn't spectacular, he did record 35 minutes on the floor. To be honest, I don't like him as much as some of the other value selections I've made, but there's a lot of volatility in this range and you have to make some sacrifices somewhere.
Brad Wanamaker, BOS (CPTN $4,200, UTIL $2,800)
Wanamaker could easily burn you, but how can you avoid him at this price when he exploded with 33 DKFP in 25 minutes during Game 1? All you have to do is rewind one game to see the goose-egg he laid against Toronto, but otherwise, he's played some decent games relative to his bargain UTIL salary. He's not a great CPTN candidate, but his low price allows us the flexibility to get an elite into that position. With Wanamaker, I was able to put just about anyone into the CPTN spot with only one additional value pick.
Jae Crowder, MIA (CPTN $9,900, UTIL $6,800)
Crowder rounds out my value selections. Duncan Robinson will probably be a popular play in this range, but I like Crowder's reliable floor over what could be an up-and-down series for Robinson, who relies on the long ball to produce. Crowder should garner another start and provide solid interior support. He can be a streaky scorer, but his recent point totals (22, 16, 18) along with good ancillary numbers should produce a nice score at his UTIL price point.
VALUE PLAYS AND CPTN PICK
As I said, a build with Crowder and Wanamaker at our base should provide us with a lot of wiggle room. I'll begin with the most necessary adds and go up from there.
Goran Dragic, MIA (CPTN $11,700, UTIL $7,800)
Dragic has been rock-solid throughout the playoffs and I'll have high exposure to him in just about every lineup I play, and he will find his way into my CPTN spot a decent amount as well. You will see as you experiment that Wanamaker will make everyone available so it may not even be necessary to put him in the CPTN slot, but it could provide you with a broader array of elites that you wouldn't be able to get if you went with someone like Tatum in the position.
Jayson Tatum, BOS (CPTN $15,600, UTIL $10,400)
Tatum's really come into his own in Orlando, and his 67 DKFP performance in Game 1 is just another one of those games that cements his role as one of the best young players in the league. His floor makes him an obvious add despite the salary number, and I'm exponentially more likely to slot him over Jimmy Butler despite his humorous commercials during the playoffs. In all seriousness, Butler's floor isn't where I'd like it to be and has been a bit of a boom-or-bust candidate relative to his salary, so Tatum is the obvious go-to at the top. If you've been building along with me, you now know that you can get him into your CPTN slot.
Bam Adebayo, MIA (CPTN $13,200, UTIL $8,800)
Miami will continue to win the battle inside until Gordon Hayward gets back. His return should even things up a bit, but in the meantime, both Adebayo and Jae Crowder will continue to see success in the paint. Adebayo has put up 40-plus DKFP performances in seven of his last ten games. One of those games was a very decisive win where he wasn't needed. There's a bit of volatility with Bam, but I think the matchup favors the big man, and he's risen to the occasion in the playoffs after a slow start in the bubble.
Marcus Smart, BOS (CPTN $11,400, UTIL $7,600)
I think Kemba Walker is fine in your single-entry games, but if you're going for upside, I will still go with Smart unless Gordon Hayward makes a surprise appearance. I like Jaylen Brown as much as the next DFS player, but Game 1 showed how he can get ice-cold and burn you at a salary that's gotten almost prohibitively high. If you can't get away from him, there's a way to get him but you'll probably have to move Tatum into the UTIL to get there. Otherwise, both Walker and Smart fit well, and as long as he has a starting role, I will roll the dice and go with Smart in hopes that he comes close to his playoff-high 60 DKFP performance he posted against the Bucks three games ago,
Also consider: Tyler Herro, MIA (CPTN $10,500, UTIL $7,000)
FRIDAY PICKS FOR CLASSIC BUILD
Keep in mind that SALARIES ARE DIFFERENT for the above players in the two-game slate, so adjust accordingly. Rather than go into detail here, I will list my top three elite and value plays for the DEN/LAL matchup.
LeBron James, LAL ($11,200)
Nikola Jokic, DEN ($10,500)
Jamal Murray, DEN ($9,000)
Gary Harris, DEN ($4,800)
Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($4,600)
Rajon Rondo, LAL ($4,300)