With four games on Thursday night, you have eight teams worth of options to choose from, which is plenty. Don’t worry about overlap, or being contrarian – just grab a bunch of players who will score fantasy points and you’ll be alright. Here are a few to consider, at every position and every price range… good luck!
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Chris Paul vs. BKN ($9,600) – The only real “stud” on the list for tonight, he’s going to be worth it. With Lillard contending with Smart and Bradley, and Paul going up against a Brooklyn team that gives up good fantasy performances to players at every position, if you’re going to spend big on PG tonight, the choice seems pretty obvious.
- Derrick Rose vs. SA ($7,300) – Two 50-point fantasy games in his last three. 20+ “real” points in three of four. Back-to-back double-doubles, on back-to-back nights. If he is rounding into anything resembling his former form, you are going to want to get on that train early.
- Jarrett Jack @ LAC ($6,200) – He is getting a ton of run with Deron Williams missing time, averaging almost 40 minutes a night. He’s averaging just over 40 fantasy points a night over his last three.
- Marcus Smart @ POR ($4,400) – In order to evaluate the Celtics backcourt properly, you have to understand how they are being used. Smart and Bradley are guarding the 1 and 2 every night, but Evan Turner is actually running the point on offense and just defending the 3 on the other end. So Smart is not spending a ton of time on the offensive end with the ball in his hands, which drastically limits his upside. But since the roster was eviscerated, he’s been getting 30 minutes a night, which is enough for a guy like him to stuff the stat sheet in multiple ways (for example, his 25.75 fantasy points last week against Atlanta, on 6 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals).
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- Jimmy Butler vs. SA ($7,900) – Shooting guard is thin tonight, and Butler is the most expensive option on the board by far. San Antonio is not a great matchup, but they are the kind of team that will try to make opponents beat them one-on-one, and if anyone on Chicago is going to join Rose in that quest, it’s Butler.
- Joe Johnson @ LAC ($6,000) – He’s actually second on the list tonight at $6K, and he is playing 35+ minutes a night, and getting lots of opportunities to score, averaging almost 15 attempts per night on the season (he has never been shy about getting his).
- Evan Turner @ POR ($5,300) – See: Smart, Marcus. On offense, Turner is playing point. He has had back-to-back 30+ fantasy point outings (and 27.75 just two games before), something you don’t often see at this price point.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. UTA ($5,200) – He is capable of doing a lot of things well. If you watch him play every now and then, and keep an eye on his box score, he just seems like the kind of guy who is getting better, and quickly. He’s athletic, and plays tough – the kind of guy you’d love to root for if he was on your favorite team.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- Gordon Hayward @ MIL ($7,800) – There are also not a lot of top options at small forward tonight, but at least, unlike shooting guard, some of the better options seem to have favorable matchups as well. Hayward is one of those guys with a high ceiling and a low floor, so you are taking a risk every time you trot him out there. But when you’re right, you’re really right, and that could definitely be what happens tonight.
- Kawhi Leonard @ SA ($7,800) – Leonard’s minutes have finally seemed to level out at just north of 30 a night, and he’s got 30+ fantasy points in each of his last six (including a couple over 45). Upside with consistency. That’s the kind of run he’s on right now, which is always what you’re looking for.
- Nicolas Batum vs. BOS ($5,300) – With Aldridge out, he went for 27-10-5 last night, and with that kind of increased opportunity, a matchup with the Celtics makes him a very intriguing option.
- Matt Barnes vs. BKN ($5,000) – He’s not exciting, but he’s effective. Whether he could do what he is doing right now over an 82-game season is unclear, but for the past couple of weeks, he’s gotten 30+ minutes every night, which is plenty of time for him to get you 20-30 fantasy points, a decent value at this price.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Blake Griffin vs. BKN ($9,800) – With at least 44 fantasy points in each of his last three, and another solid matchup on tap, Griffin has a better chance of getting you those 40+ fantasy points than anyone else on the board. You could save a little and still get there if you choose right, but with only four games tonight, he could be the only PF with that level of production.
- Tim Duncan @ CHI ($8,300) – It would be easy to recommend his opponent in this one, with the way Pau is playing, but this seems like the type of matchup where Duncan loves to step up. He can make more out of 28 or 30 minutes than just about anyone when he’s on his A-game.
- Jared Sullinger @ POR ($6,600) – With Aldridge out, there should be plenty of room down low for Sullinger to grab more than his fair share of boards and garbage points.
- Taj Gibson vs. SA ($6,100) – Gibson has been the biggest beneficiary of Noah missing time with an ankle injury, and the veteran is doing exactly what the Bulls expect – he’s consistent as an NBA player, if not so much as a fantasy option. But with 45-point upside and a floor in the mid-twenties, he’s worth the investment.
- DeAndre Jordan vs. BKN ($7,800) – His athleticism means that his best games happen when he can get out and run with his All-World point guard. So, in a sense, he is matchup proof. Sure, he can be slowed down, but not in the traditional sense. In other words, just because a team is good at defending centers in general, that does not mean they’ll be effective at guarding Jordan.
- Brook Lopez @ LAC ($6,400) – Lopez has the kind of disciplined post game that can allow him to exploit the interior defense of the Clippers. He could even end up being central to any kind of successful game plan, since it seems like one of the matchups Brooklyn could make a concerted effort to exploit.
- Zaza Pachulia @ UTA ($5,600) – He’s getting a lot of minutes, which makes me nervous that he’s not going to make it through the season at full speed. But he is doing it right now, so you might as well take advantage while you can.
- Kelly Olynyk @ POR ($4,400) – Another guy who could be helped by Aldridge being out, he is capable of grabbing a weakside board or two, even if his strengths are a bit further away from the basket than most centers.