There are three games on the schedule for Thursday night, so you’d think your options will be limited, but you’ve actually got a number of studs you’ll have to make a decision on. And either way, limited choices doesn’t limit your chances to build that bankroll. Here are some players to consider for your lineups tonight:
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Stephen Curry vs. NO ($10,200) – It’s a steep price tag, but that’s what you get for a 45-fantasy-point scoring average. And if there ever was a player who might limit interior options and force the Warriors to lean on an outside threat like Curry, it’s the power forward they’re facing tonight.
- Damian Lillard vs. IND ($8,700) – For another player putting up 40 fantasy points every night, $1,500 is a sizable savings. Lillard hasn’t gone off for huge numbers in about a week or so, but he’s getting you 30+ on his down nights. Indiana is still banged up and a little thin in the backcourt, so this could be a night Lillard steps up.
- Jose Calderon vs. CLE ($5,600) – Calderon, if nothing else, is getting the minutes. Shot opportunities can certainly be hard to come by on this offense occasionally, but most nights Calderon is a good bet for 15 or so points coming on rebounds and assists, so if he manages to find the bottom of the bucket a few times, he could be a key performer for your team.
- Donald Sloan @ POR ($5,000) – George Hill is expected to miss about another week, but Stuckey is cutting into Sloan’s minutes already and might do more of the same as he gets healthier. Sloan hasn’t been all that impressive lately, and the minutes are declining, but if you want to capture the last remnants of early season value, this is your chance.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- Klay Thompson vs. NO ($7,300) – Same theory as Steph Curry, without Jrue Holiday bothering you all night. Golden State is likely going to have to rely on shooting in this one, and this could be your guy as much as Steph if the game breaks right. The quad contusion didn’t seem to bother him last time out, so that really isn’t something that should concern you tonight.
- Tyreke Evans @ GS ($7,300) – Shooting guard is thin at the top tonight, so if you want to grab a more expensive option, you know what game to watch. Thompson is not exactly known for his defense, and Evans is coming off a 30-point outing on Tuesday. He has had a couple of down games scoring recently, but he supplements his scoring well with solid rebounding and assist numbers pretty much night in and night out.
- Iman Shumpert vs. CLE ($5,100) – Cleveland barely even plays an actual shooting guard lately, with Dion Waiters getting nine minutes last time out. They are actually listing LeBron at SG on their official depth chart right now as they run out a weirdly huge lineup featuring LeBron, Marion, Love and Varejao. LeBron is likely not going to be focused on locking down Shumpert, though, with Carmelo roaming around, so Shumpert is left with matchups he could potentially exploit for a solid outing.
- Rodney Stuckey @ POR ($4,500) – He seems to be getting run at PG as well as SG, so while his minutes do flucuate, the potential is there for a lot of opportunities. This also matters when you consider that Portland has been successful at slowing down off-guards, so it is potentially helpful that Stuckey could move around somewhat in the offense.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- LeBron James @ NY ($11,700) – I don’t have to tell you he’s good. But it seems like maybe he’s finally clicking with some of his new teammates, as he is averaging over nine assists a night in his last five games. As he plays with a much bigger lineup than he did in Miami, his rebounding figures have understandably dipped, but he is talented enough to produce in whatever category his team needs most.
- Carmelo Anthony vs. CLE ($9,900) – I don’t know about you, but I feel like I could see Melo getting up a LOT of shots tonight. If the Knicks are playing the Cavs tight, he will try to be the closer, and if they’re not, he’s going to try to shoot them back into it. Either way, it could work out really well for you. Maybe not the Knicks, but you, definitely.
- Harrison Barnes vs. NO ($5,200) – He’s steady. He comes by his average honestly. Almost every night, he’s going to give you between 10-18 points and 7-12 rebounds. If he ends up on the high end of those ranges, you’re looking at a great 30+ point night. But he’s almost a lock for 20-25 fantasy points, not bad for this price.
- Shawn Marion @ NY ($4,000) – He’s starting. Who saw that coming? There are certainly a lot of mouths to feed here, but Marion has always been a player who can fill the stat sheet in multiple ways (albeit significantly less so now). You could easily be looking at a handful of rebounds, a couple of blocks and/or steals and 8-10 points as the last option on offense in 30 or so minutes. It’s not great, but it’s not nothing for $4,000.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Anthony Davis @ GS ($11,600) – Guy is a stud, what can you say? His downside is about 40 points. Last time out, he went for 25-10-4-4-6 .That one at the end? Steals. SIX. STEALS. One way or the other, you rarely regret the investment in this guy.
- Kevin Love @ NY ($8,900) – Pat Riley would be rolling over in his grave (oh wait), but the Knicks just don’t play defense. OK, so Riley isn’t rolling over anywhere, but he is probably grinning to himself looking at the box scores on his teletype down in Miami every morning. Um, and that’s the whole story. Love is good. Knicks defense is not. You never know who’s gonna go off on any given night with the Cavs right now, but this is a decent bet.
- Ryan Anderson @ GS ($6,000) – He’s coming off the bench, but he is getting a lot of time, and he is producing with it. He can hit three’s, he can grab some boards, and his scoring average has creeped up to almost 16 a night. He’s not exactly dirt-cheap, and you see that GS is successful against power forwards and maybe you shy away. But Anderson is not that type of power forward – he’s roaming around outside on offense and crashing hard for boards, while whatever defense GS uses (re: Andrew Bogut) to limit guys on the block will be focused on the Pelicans other power forward (which is how no one has referred to Anthony Davis, ever).
- Amar’e Stoudemire vs. CLE ($5,500) – You know who else doesn’t play defense? Kevin Love. And right now, Stoudemire is healthy. And that’s the only question with this guy – we know he’s good, and last couple of times out, he logged 37 minutes. He’s not the run and gun player he was a decade ago, but he’s a double-double candidate every time out.
- Roy Hibbert @ POR ($7,100) – Slim pickings in the middle tonight, and Hibbert has been playing well. He’s going to give you close to a double-double every single night, and tonight should be no exception. On the nights where he gets those 12 rebounds instead of only 8, you notice the difference, but regardless, he is a useful player with a good matchup.
- Andrew Bogut vs. NO *($6,500) – The only other player on this list who qualifies as a stud, Bogut is another player who, right now, is healthy. You might as well take advantage of his playing time while you can, because the talent is definitely there. He is not scoring, at all, but lines like Tuesday’s make up for it, with 12 rebounds, three assists, five blocks and a pair of steals. He’s big, and he plays defense. Root for double-digits in points and this is a great value.
- Robin Lopez vs. IND ($5,800) – Like I said, not a lot of options tonight. I would prefer to either spend up, or take the guy Lopez is splitting time with. Lopez gets more minutes, for sure, but he’s out there with the starters, not getting any looks, while the next guy on this list seems to get more use of out of his minutes.
- Chris Kaman vs. IND ($4,600) – He’s only getting 15-20 minutes most nights, so it’s a risk.
He had 6.25 fantasy points on Tuesday, for example. But when he is on the court, he often gets plenty of opportunities, which explains how he still has 20+ fantasy points in seven of his last ten.