DraftKings Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 3/4/21

With nine games to choose from on Thursday's slate -- which locks at 7:00 p.m. EST -- let's look at the top options across all five positions for NBA DFS.

Be sure to check out our projections, which are updated throughout the day as news breaks, and our other DFS tools such as advanced stats and a matchup heat map.

Here are some of the top plays on today's DraftKings slate. As always, good luck.

Point Guard

Damian Lillard ($10,700) - Playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Lillard might come with a little more risk than usual, especially when you consider his high salary. But when we see the matchup, it's hard not to roster him. According to, the Sacramento Kings are dead last with a 118.7 defensive rating on the year, and over the last five, that has escalated to 123.1. This should be a high-scoring, up-and-down game between offensive-heavy squads -- an environment that favors a big game from Lillard going into the All-Star break.

Dennis Smith ($4,800) - Smith has been a revelation for the beat up Detroit backcourt. Despite playing only 26.8 minutes a game, in the last four matchups he's averaged 35.9 DraftKings points, including Wednesday's 51.5-point outburst in which he tallied a double-double against the Toronto Raptors. His salary has yet to catch up to the production, and while there could be some worry around the slower-paced head-to-head with the Knicks, it's also a chance for Smith to show up one of his former teams. He's near a must-play tonight.

Shooting Guard

Paul George ($8,600) - On Tuesday, Kawhi Leonard was scratched from the Clippers' lineup as a product of back spasms. He's now listed as questionable for Thursday's game, the final one before the team heads into the break. It wouldn't be surprising if the medical staff held him out with a longer rest ahead, and if that's the case, George should shoulder a higher usage rate on the offensive end. Per NBA Wowy, the seven-time All-Star has posted a 32.7% usage in Kawhi's absence, compared to 30.2% with Kawai on the floor this season. PG-13 should have no problem converting that to fantasy points against a Washington team ranked first overall in pace and fourth-worst in defensive rating.

Wayne Ellington ($3,400) - Neither Josh Jackson nor Jerami Grant played in Wednesday's game, and it's conceivable they're held out for a second straight night. With Delon Wright already on the sidelines, too, Ellington was called upon to start last night and logged 26 minutes. He hit 8 of 11 shots (all from three) for 25 points and 36.75 DK points. It's not likely that he repeats that performance, but if Ellington gets hot, you never know. He should at least give you double-digit scoring and flirt with 20 fantasy points, which is well above the total you need for him to return five-times value at this salary.

Small Forward

Norman Powell ($7,000) - The Raptors are expected to be without Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby for a second straight contest with all three placed on the health and safety protocols list. In the first matchup without the three, Powell took 20 shots and finished with 36 points in a 24-point loss on Wednesday night. It was the second straight game in which Powell hit the 30-point threshold and totaled at least 39.75 DK points. He should keep it rolling versus a Boston Celtics team that is bleeding points without Marcus Smart, checking in 28th in defensive rating over their last five showings.

Buddy Hield ($6,300) - On the other side of that Kings-Blazers clash, Hield warrants strong consideration across all formats. Tyrese Haliburton has missed the team's last three games and isn't expected back until after the All-Star break, meaning Hield should continue to have a larger workload. Even prior to last night's strong showing against the Lakers, the sharpshooting wing played 37 minutes in three of four contests, and while he didn't pop off in the first three, he was able to rack up 30 points and 46.5 DK points versus the Charlotte Hornets. His average of 29.3 DK points isn't far off his salary-implied total of 31.5, and a 238-point over/under is as juicy as it gets.

Power Forward

Zion Williamson ($9,300) - For what has seemed like a long time coming, Zion has finally arrived in full force. Going back 10 games, the second-year stud has piled up averages of 28.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists in that time -- all while shooting 61.5% from the floor and adding nearly a block and a steal on the defensive end. In the last five alone, he's turned a 30.5% usage rate into 50.2 DK points a night and 1.45 points per minute. The Miami Heat aren't the defense they were a year ago, and in the two teams' previous meeting, Williamson hit up Miami for 53 DK points in 38 minutes.

Nicolas Batum ($4,200) - Sure -- Kawhi Leonard's questionable, but it's looking like Marcus Morris, who is listed as doubtful, won't play, either. That means we could see even more of Batum, who has played 30 minutes apiece in the last two games with Morris healthy. This could be a game where he logs 35 minutes and easily exceeds 20 DK points -- something he's done 4 times in 10 games despite a more limited role.


Nikola Jokic ($10,900) - It's impossible to fade Jokic in any capacity these days. The Denver Nuggets' MVP candidate has his season average up to 60.0 DK points, but that pales in comparison to his recent box scores. In the last three, Joker has averaged 70.9 (yes, 70) DK points with two triple-doubles in 34.7 minutes per contest. He's taken it upon himself in a big way, too, averaging 25.5 shots in Denver's back-to-back wins against the Bucks and Bulls. The Pacers have good size to their frontcourt, but Jokic has the versatility to hurt them inside and out. It's hard to see Indiana slowing down Jokic given his elite form.

Marvin Bagley III ($6,700) - The massive over/under in this game is completely founded in stats. While the Kings rate last in defensive rating and 8th in pace, the Blazers are just 28th in defensive efficiency. And although Portland's pace is among the bottom 10, the two teams' previous matchups resulted in 224 and 258 combined points. Bagley is going to benefit as much as anyone, because he is seeing more opportunities of late. With Hassan Whiteside out of the picture, he is been getting run at both the four and five, averaging 30 minutes and 34.3 DK points thanks to three double-doubles in that span. The big man is a good mid-tier option to pair with others in this high-powered contest.

Brett Oswalt i
s not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Brett Oswalt also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username BRO14THEKID. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.