This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have an exceedingly rare one-game regular-season slate Thursday night, and it has a relatively large spread, so it isn't exactly picture-perfect conditions for lineup construction. However, as we've repeatedly seen over the first month-plus of the season, the NBA is anything but predictable on a night-to-night basis.
With just one game on the ledger, we're dealing with FanDuel's single-game contest rosters, which are comprised as follows:
- MVP- (Garners points at 2x the normal rate)
- STAR- (Garners points at 1.5x the normal rate)
- PRO- (Garners points at 1.2x the normal rate)
- Two Utility spots- (Garner points at normal rate)
With salaries also being different than in conventional FanDuel contests on multi-game slates and top players inevitably headed for heavy rostering, there are strategic elements particular to single-game lineups. Finding key value plays for the two utility spots is undoubtedly key, enabling you to fill out the multiplier spots with some of the top projected producers.
Dallas Mavericks (-8) at Detroit Pistons (Projected total: 221.5 points)
The Mavericks haven't been consistent, recently snapping a four-game losing streak. Dallas is only 1-7 on the road, so a big win here where playing time is compromised for Luka Doncic isn't a lock. The Pistons are floundering at 5-17, but they have played very competitively in most games and are even 2-3 over their last five after surprisingly knocking off the Jazz and Nuggets in that span.
FanDuel single-game rosters don't have traditional positions that match those on a starting five, so we'll instead break down some candidates for the top three multiplier positions instead:
MVP (2x): Luka Doncic ($17,000) is naturally far and away the top candidate for this spot among both clubs.
The elite MVP candidate is averaging 60.5 FD points per game on the season, an eye-popping figure built on performances such as the 83.4 FD points he put together via a triple-double against the Warriors on Tuesday night. He has five performances of over 60 FD points in his last eight games alone.
The Mavericks' Christian Wood ($12,500) might be the next and maybe only other worthwhile consideration for this multiplier. The big man has flashed a ceiling north of 40 FD points and will face a Pistons squad ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency rating allowed to power forwards and in the paint. However, he is now dealing with a non-COVID illness and is listed as questionable.
STAR (1.5x): Whichever of the two stars mentioned above doesn't make your MVP spot is naturally the prime candidate here, but a case is also there for Killian Hayes ($13,000) and Bojan Bogdanovic ($10,500) as well.
Hayes has been very effective filling in for Cade Cunningham (lower leg) at point guard the last three games, in particular, averaging 38 FD points per game on the strength of 14.7 points, 7.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.7 steals per contest along with vastly improved 45.2 percent shooting. However, it bears mentioning the Mavs don't turn the ball over much (fifth-fewest steals allowed per game), potentially robbing him of one of his primary sources of complementary fantasy production.
Bogdanovic can be hit-and-miss with his production, but he does have a ceiling north of 40 FD points when he gets hot and faces a Dallas team surrendering 50.1 percent shooting on the road.
Dinwiddie is amid a downturn in production with six straight sub-30-FD-point tallies, but he's still shooting an impressive 53.8 percent in that span and has eclipsed 30 FD points on nine occasions this season.
Stewart was impressive in his return from a seven-game absence due to a toe injury in the Pistons' most recent contest, posting 27.5 FD points to push his season average to 27.8 FD points overall.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Cade Cunningham, DET (lower leg): OUT
Killian Hayes should continue to start at point guard in Cunningham's absence.
Jaden Ivey, DET (knee): QUESTIONABLE
If Ivey cannot return for Thursday's game, Isaiah Livers could remain in the starting five.
Christian Wood, DAL (illness): QUESTIONABLE
Maxi Kleber could see additional minutes if Wood can't suit up.
Luka Doncic ($17,000) is the sole genuinely elite player on the slate, with his recent performances already detailed in the MVP section, making his airtight case.
With only one game on the ledger, the other players mentioned as candidates for the MVP, PRO and STAR spots should also be very popular.
Note: On a multi-game slate, I typically try to highlight players that would be considered under-the-radar plays in this section. Naturally, with such a limited player pool, there will be very few low-rostered players that are likely to also be viable from a DFS perspective, so I'll instead focus on two candidates outside the ones already mentioned that could offer a solid return relative to salary for the two Utility spots in single-game lineups:
Alec Burks, DET ($10,000)
Burks has only played in 10 games thus far, but his three-point shot is as sharp as ever. The veteran is draining 40.9 percent of his attempts from behind the arc and has shown some upside by scoring 20.9 to 33.1 FD points in six games thus far. The Mavericks are allowing the second-highest three-point shooting percentage (40.5) on the road and rank in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency rating surrendered to second-unit players (40.6) while also conceding 47.7 percent shooting in that split.
Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL ($9,500)
Finney-Smith saw a streak of three straight double-digit scoring performances snapped in Tuesday's win over the Warriors, but he's put up 22.1 to 33.6 FD points in seven games this season. The big man should be in position to benefit from a matchup against a Pistons team that's allowed the ninth-highest offensive efficiency to power forwards (27.9), along with 50.5 percent shooting to the position.
ALSO CONSIDER: Marvin Bagley, DET ($12,000)