There are only two games on tap for Thursday, often a slow NBA night. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of fantasy options available on the four teams that will be in action. Here are a few, at various price points, who you might want to consider:
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Russell Westbrook vs. CLE ($10,700) – He’s had at least 40 fantasy points in each of his last five. If you were worried that KD returning to action would take away his opportunities, the last four games have served as a reminder that this team, and all it’s most important fantasy parts, are at their best when these two superstars are on the floor together.
- Kyrie Irving @ OKC ($9,200) – The hard thing with Kyrie, and really with this entire team so far, is that it is difficult to predict which guy is going to come up big night to night. Kyrie hasn’t cracked fifteen points scored in his three games since the 37-point outburst against the Knicks. But while you might be able to get the same production with one of the cheaper options, you won’t get the upside, which might be the play you make in a larger GPP.
- Darren Collison vs. HOU ($6,800) – You don’t love seeing Beverly back on defense, but who else are we going to talk about? There are only so many relevant guys tonight, and Collison is one of them.
- Patrick Beverly @ SAC ($5,600) – He’s had two games back, he played 27 minutes and then 40, he scored some points, grabbed you a half dozen rebounds, played good defense… ho hum. He’s back. That’s what he does. He’s got a floor around 20 fantasy points and a ceiling that’s not really quite 40, but he cracked 30 both of the last two times out.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- James Harden @ SAC ($11,400) – Harden returned to action last night, and immediately resumed his role as the center of the Rockets’ universe. Houston lost to Golden State, but Harden showed once again why he is one of the most expensive options out there when he’s going, as no one outside LeBron has more of his team’s offense flow through him. Last night, he went for 34-8-4 with four steals for good measure. You might not get the exact same production against the Kings tonight, but you’ll have the opportunity to, as once again Harden is sure to spend the whole night with the ball in his hands.
- Ben McLemore vs. HOU ($5,100) – Probably the only time all year he’ll be listed as a stud in this space, he is the third most expensive guy on the list, behind Harden and Jason Terry, who just lost his starting gig to Beverly. McLemore has wild swings in both minutes and production, but unless he really spends a lot of time on the bench, he usually does enough to get you around twenty or so fantasy points.
- Dion Waiters ($3,500) @ OKC – He acquitted himself nicely the other night, with a 26 point effort, contributing to a big win over Brooklyn. And his minutes seem to be rebounding to a degree as a result, with him at least ending up on the plus side of twenty the last couple of nights. The risk is that Cleveland has at least shown a willingness to go with the really big lineup, which could limit his opportunities on a gameplan-specific basis.
- Jason Terry @ SAC ($5,800) – He’s not starting anymore, and the minutes are declining, so the 30+ point potential is probably gone too. But he’ll get you twenty. You might have overpayed for it, but he’s at least consistently involved when he is out there.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- LeBron James @ OKC ($11,800) – Last time out he got you 50 fantasy points on the back of his highest scoring night since October. Tonight, he might get you 50 on the back of a dozen assists, but he’ll be involved. Despite the struggles of the team early, they’re playing well now, and what we’re seeing from LeBron is nothing less than the most versatile skill-set since Magic on full display.
- Kevin Durant vs. CLE ($10,500) – This will be his fifth game back, and from all accounts, there is no reason to believe he will play more than 30 minutes as his minutes restriction continues. Amazingly, though, that’s why he ONLY costs $10,500. Soon enough, he’ll cost what LeBron does. But if anyone can take advantage of 30 minutes on the court, it’s this guy – he’s still averaging 22 a night since his return.
- Trevor Ariza @ SAC ($6,500) – He is what he is, and that’s a virtual lock for between 25-35 fantasy points. He’s got a good matchup, and he’ll get his looks while the defense focuses elsewhere, as usual. You’ll just be pulling for enough boards to score you the double-double.
- Rudy Gay vs. HOU ($8,900) – These are literally the only four small forward options available to you tonight. Gay would be the second mention in the studs category for you on a lot of nights with this matchup. The Rockets have shown they can have trouble guarding athletic wings, and Harden & Co. are also capable of scoring enough points to force opponents into keep-up mode early. Gay could be the beneficiary of all that, and at a solid savings compared to the top options at his position.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Kevin Love @ OKC ($9,300) – Power forward is going to be a tough call in this one. There aren’t a lot of options, and Love is the most expensive of the bunch by a mile, but he’s got a pretty bad matchup. You might want to go somewhere else, but it’s not going to be easy to find a landing spot that looks comfortable.
- Serge Ibaka vs. CLE ($7,200) – While Love doesn’t have a good matchup, he IS a good matchup. But he can rebound, and that’s where a lot of Ibaka’s value lies.
- Tristan Thompson @ OKC ($5,100) – No guarantees here, but he has been getting minutes. If that continues, the production might very well too (averaging over 30 fantasy points per in his last three). Let’s keep our fingers crossed that another viable option is developing right in front of us.
- Jason Thompson vs. HOU ($4,600) – All of a sudden, he is getting minutes. And with the minutes, fantasy points. Sometimes it’s an easy formula.
- Reggie Evans @ SAC ($5,000) – Make no mistake, Reggie Evans is not a stud fantasy option, but every now and again at least he does play more than fifteen minutes a game. So there’s that. In all seriousness, he is getting the run with Cousins out. And, although the opportunity is not translating into any points, he is out there enough that he’s accumulating double-digit rebounds most nights. Root for a few put backs and you could conceivably hit on a double-double. At least he’s got a chance.
- Anderson Varejao @ OKC ($5,000) – While his playing time has been erratic, he actually has been involved on both ends whenever he is out there, getting plenty of looks around the rim while his teammates draw away attention. This could definitely be a game that the Cavs want to get some bigger bodies on the floor against the Thunder front court, so if you pick him and it’s a 25-minute night and not an eighteen minute night, you could be looking at a cheap 20+ fantasy points.
- Tarik Black @ SAC ($4,400) – He will be getting the starting nod for Howard, and he can rebound. He’ll be matched up against another back-up, which really just means more chances for the perimeter guys in this one. These two are not offensive weapons, but either one of them could be a useful fantasy option tonight, when no one is going to be rolling out a dominant center option.
- Steven Adams vs. CLE ($3,900) – The last guy on the list who is getting more than 5 minutes a night of run, he could get you 18 or so fantasy points in a best-case scenario, which this game likely is not. But if you manage to construct the perfect lineup elsewhere and only have $3,900 to spend, it’s better than zero.