The All-Stars have had their showcase and the NBA is back Thursday night. The Dallas Mavericks' Rajon Rondo (face surgery) is joining in on the fun, too.
Head coach Rick Carlisle told Earl K. Sneed of the Mavs' official website Rondo was a full participant in practice and is expected to play as the Mavs travel to Oklahoma City to take on Kevin Durant and the Thunder. This tilt has Las Vegas' higher total of the two-game slate at 212, per Odds Shark.
Let's sort through the options to help you set the best daily fantasy lineup at DraftKings.
PG Rajon Rondo, Dallas Mavericks ($6,600)
Clearly Rondo's price has dropped after the injury, but the question is whether his production will be impacted. He doesn't seem to think so, as he told The Dallas Morning News' Eddie Sefko, and we tend to believe he will play well right away, motivated to prove he is not impacted—whether or not he wears the facial mask:
I tried to wear it at practice, but we didn't have much contact for me to wear the mask, so I didn't put it on. I came in last night and shot in the mask. It's specifically made for my face, so it's not uncomfortable. ...
My main concern was double vision and I don't have double vision. I've talked to a couple doctors and for the most part, pretty much said the same thing: if I'm not having double vision and my eye hasn't dropped two millimeters, then I'll be fine.
He might not get a full 30-plus minutes, but we are looking for 10 points, eight assists, five rebounds and a few steals, numbers well worthy of his reduced price.
- Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder ($10,900)
- J.J. Barea, Dallas Mavericks ($4,800)
SG Monta Ellis, Dallas Mavericks ($7,400)
You might expect Rondo's return to cut into Ellis' production, but we don't necessarily see it that way. Rondo is more distributor, and Ellis is more scorer. The two go hand in hand. The opportunities for the Mavs in this one lie at the shooting guard position, against which the Thunder is just 27th at DraftKings.
Ellis' production has been modest of late, perhaps because Rondo has not been active, but more likely because Ellis' hip has been a hindrance. The All-Star break gave that hip some rest, so we like Ellis to chip in a solid 35-fantasy-point night against the Thunder's poor defensive 2-guards.
- J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers ($3,300)
- Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City Thunder ($3,500)
SF Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs ($7,500)
Not only is Leonard one of the most underrated players in the NBA, but he is also drawing the 29th-ranked team at DraftKings against small forwards. Assuming you don't want to go all-in on Kevin Durant ($10,600) and his huge price, Leonard is the next best thing at the position Thursday night, and his matchup is superior, even if his game isn't.
This is the modern-day "Matrix," filling up the stat sheet around the board. He has been great against the Clippers in two games this season, averaging 45.4 DraftKings points with 50 points, 15 rebounds and six steals.
- Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder ($10,600)
- Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers ($4,300)
PF Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs ($7,400)
Duncan is generally a bad play because his name gets him selected more often than warranted and his price exceeds his production, but we don't necessarily see it that way with Blake Griffin (elbow) out. The Clippers are sixth against power forwards at DraftKings, but Duncan can return from the All-Star break with a solid effort of 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Duncan is the safest play among the sketchy options on the board at the position Thursday night. That counts for something when filling out your lineups.
C DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers ($7,800)
There is no one hotter than Jordan right now, as he is coming off back-to-back 20-20 games. The absence of Griffin has helped the Clippers big man become more of a go-to man in the paint. He has already been one of the game's finest rebounders, but the absence of Griffin also forces more lower-percentage perimeter shots which have to be cleaned off the offensive glass by Jordan.
As ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi wrote last week, Jordan leads the NBA in rebounding (13.7) and field-goal percentage (72.7) and would become the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to do that in consecutive seasons. Head coach Doc Rivers marveled to Markazi:
If he keeps going as he is, him and Wilt Chamberlain will be the only two with back-to-back years like that, and nobody notices him. It's amazing to me that no one notices DeAndre Jordan. I don't know how you can get 22 and 27 and no one notices. He's just going to keep doing his job. He's so important for us, and he knows that, and we know that.
With Griffin still out, Jordan is a must-have in all daily fantasy lineups. He will be a force on both sides of the court, contributing more offensively than usual.
- Spencer Hawes, Los Angeles Clippers ($3,900)
- Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder ($3,000)
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.