NBA DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Thursday, April 6

NBA DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Thursday, April 6

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We're taking a breather of sorts Thursday after 21 games in the last two days, as there are only five contests on tap. As is often the case this time of year, each successive slate brings further clarity to the postseason picture. However, we're fortunate from a DFS perspective in that there are still multiple teams with something left to play for Thursday.

Slate Overview

For the latest spreads and over-unders, visit RotoWire's NBA Odds page. There, you can also find player props, futures, picks articles and sportsbook bonus codes.

As of Thursday morning, all spreads are at 8.5 points or less, which is helpful in terms of upping the chances of competitive matchups. However, projected totals aren't overly encouraging, as there is only one game with a figure above 230 points as of Thursday morning.

Injury Situations to Monitor  

For all the latest updates, visit RotoWire's NBA Injury News page and our comprehensive NBA Injury Report.

Nikola Jokic, DEN (calf): QUESTIONABLE

If Jokic is out once again, Jeff Green, Zeke Nnaji (knee) and DeAndre Jordan are likely to handle center minutes, while the usage for the rest of the starting five will bump up considerably.

Jamal Murray, DEN (thumb): QUESTIONABLE

If Murray were to sit out, Bruce Brown and Reggie Jackson would likely handle point guard minutes.

Donovan Mitchell, CLE (finger): OUT

In Mitchell's absence, Danny Green and Cedi Osman are likely due for plenty of run at shooting guard.

Lauri Markkanen, UTA (hand): OUT

In Markkanen's absence, Talen Horton-Tucker will continue running with the first unit.  

Evan Mobley, CLE (rest): OUT

In Mobley's absence, Dean Wade should see an expanded role.

Darius Garland, CLE (lower leg): OUT

In Garland's absence, Ricky Rubio will likely draw the start at point guard.

Bam Adebayo, MIA (quadriceps): QUESTIONABLE

If Adebayo were to sit out, Kevin Love and Cody Zeller could handle most center minutes, while Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro would be due for expanded usage.

Other notable injuries:

Walker Kessler, UTA (concussion): OUT

Jordan Clarkson, UTA (finger): OUT

Jusuf Nurkic, POR (knee): OUT

Jerami Grant, POR (quadriceps): OUT

Anfernee Simons, POR (foot): OUT

Jarrett Allen, CLE (groin): OUT

Jeremy Sochan, SAN (knee): OUT

Keldon Johnson, SAN (foot): QUESTIONABLE

Shaedon Sharpe, POR (knee): QUESTIONABLE

Tyrese Maxey, PHI (neck): QUESTIONABLE

Elite Players

We have four players with five-figure salaries on Thursday's slate – Joel Embiid ($12,000), Nikola Jokic ($11,600), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,600) and Jimmy Butler ($10,000).

Embiid is working toward securing an MVP nod, but otherwise, the 76ers are essentially locked into the No. 3 seed. Therefore, it's difficult to gauge how many minutes the big man might play Thursday after perhaps sealing the award with his 52-point, 13-rebound double-double against the Celtics on Tuesday.

Jokic will have to overcome his questionable designation, and if he does suit up, it's almost certain he plays limited minutes now that the Nuggets have locked up to No. 1 seed in the West.

Gilgeous-Alexander should be in for a heavy workload again as the Thunder tries to hang on to its play-in spot and has scored 45.5 to 58.8 FD points in the last five games.

Butler may take the floor without Bam Adebayo, a scenario in which he's averaging 49.3 FD points per 36 minutes. The Heat still have a slim shot of climbing into the top six, so Butler should see a normal workload.

Expected Chalk

Other likely chalk plays include:

James Harden, PHI ($9,500)

Harden should be popular on the small slate based on name value and upside, but how many minutes he actually sees is an open question.

Kevin Durant, PHO ($9,500)

Durant could see a solid workload as he looks to stay in rhythm ahead of the postseason and should be in plenty of lineups on the small slate.

Devin Booker, PHO ($9,400)

Booker scored 46.9 FD points against the Spurs in his most recent game and has kept his production robust despite the recent return to action of Kevin Durant

Talen Horton-Tucker, UTA ($8,400)

Horton-Tucker is averaging 47.1 FD points across his last four games and should therefore remain very popular at his salary.

Josh Giddey, OKC ($8,000)

The Thunder still have plenty to play for and he's scored 34.4 to 61.9 FD points in six of the last seven, which should help keep him in plenty of lineups.

Key Values 

Skylar Mays, POR at SAN ($6,000)

Mays has been excellent as a late-season fill-in for the Trail Blazers after putting together an impressive stint in the G League, averaging 33.9 FD points on 17.0 points, 7.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 60.6 percent, including 57.1 percent from three-point range. The 2020 second-round pick of the Hawks should continue in a starting role with no shortage of usage Thursday, considering the Trail Blazers are operating with a skeleton crew as they close out the season. The Spurs make for excellent targets as well, considering they've allowed an NBA-high 31.1 offensive efficiency rating to point guards, along with the third-most FD points per game to the position in the last seven (54.4).

Malaki Branham, SAN vs. POR ($5,800)

Branham has been enjoying an expanded role in his own right as Devin Vassell (knee) sits out, with the rookie averaging 30.1 FD points and shooting 48.4 percent, including 39.1 percent from behind the arc, in his last four games. Branham has scored over 25 FD points in 15 games overall this season, and he should be poised to stay hot Thursday while potentially taking the floor without Keldon Johnson (foot) in addition to Vassell and Jeremy Sochan (knee). The Blazers have also struggled to contain shooting guards, allowing the 12th-highest offensive efficiency rating to the position (23.4), along with 41.6 percent three-point shooting and the most FD points per game to twos in the last seven (57.5).

Cedi Osman, CLE at ORL ($4,200)

Osman is one of several Cavaliers that should be in for a massive usage bump Thursday, considering Cleveland will be down its entire starting five. Osman will likely start at either shooting guard or power forward and is averaging 31.3 FD points per 36 minutes without the team's first unit available. He's also an excellent three-point shooter and has flashed a ceiling north of 30 FD points – including a pair of tallies over 40 – while coming off the bench this season, making him one of the best potential fantasy-point-per-dollar values of the night.

ALSO CONSIDER: Ochai Agbaji, UTA vs. OKC ($5,700); Sandro Mamukelashvili, SAN vs. POR ($5,600); Keita Bates-Diop, SAN vs. POR ($5,500); Jabari Walker, POR at SAN ($4,900); Ricky Rubio, CLE at ORL ($4,500); Dean Wade, CLE at ORL ($3,800)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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