Today’s NBA targets entry breaks down the two NBA games we have on tap for Thursday, with a look at the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you want to have rotating in your lineups.

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After last night’s seemingly endless options, the strategy takes a distinct turn with only two games going on tonight. With such limited choices, you almost have to play not to lose, rather than playing to win. Sure, it’s more obvious who are the top players, but you still have to take them – if only a few guys are going to blow up, you have to have them on your roster to have a chance. Good luck.

POINT GUARD TARGETS

Studs

  • Chris Paul @ MIA ($9,600) – If you’re going with the strategy of getting out in front of the most likely big games, PG is one of the few positions with a bona fide superstar available tonight, and that right there might be enough of a reason to spend on Paul. And that’s not even considering the fact that he is the closest thing you have to a virtual lock for 35+ points every night, with 60-point upside.
  • Darren Collison vs. CHI ($7,000) – Whether or not you spend on Paul, you might find yourself trying to squeeze him into your lineup with the lack of options at the other guard slot. And why not? He certainly doesn’t have Paul’s upside, but the consistency is certainly there, with no fewer than 26 fantasy points all season long, despite hardly ever cracking 20 “real” points in any one game, which shows his ability to stuff the stat sheet in other ways (averaging three and a half rebounds, six and a half assists and almost two steals).

Values

  • Kirk Hinrich @ SAC ($4,500) – Rose has missed the last couple games, and there is at least a solid chance that he doesn’t suit up tonight either. Hinrich has been getting the nod in the starting lineup, as well as a boost of almost ten minutes in total PT as a result, and that makes him usable. And, just so happens, he’s got a great matchup right when the opportunity is there, so that makes him extra usable. When you start looking at your SG options in a minute you might decide you want a guy like this filling in your G slot behind your first PG selection.
  • Norris Cole vs. LAC ($4,000) – After playing only 14 minutes a little more than a week ago against Dallas, Cole hasn’t played fewer than 25 minutes, or scored fewer than 20 fantasy points, since. This is likely only because of Wade’s absense over that stretch, but that’s an absense that’s expected to continue, so take advantage. If you’re just looking for filler on a slow night, he could fill the bill.

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SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS

Studs

  • Jimmy Butler @ SAC ($7,600) – He’s the most expensive option at his position tonight, and you really can’t go wrong with the amount of opportunities he has to get, well everything: points, rebounds, assists, and defensive stats are all in play. Butler has the talent for all of it, yes, but he is also just ALWAYS on the floor, with 40+ minutes in six of his last seven, and never fewer than 35 minutes all season long.
  • All-Star McDunksalot vs. NO-D ($12,000) – I wish this guy existed. But the second most expensive off-guard actually playing in tonight’s games costs you $5,600. And I am not comfortable discussing Jamal Crawford in the context of “studs.”

Values

  • Jamal Crawford @ MIA ($5,600) – I am comfortable discussing him, right. here. It is sort of amazing to look at the stat sheet and think about how he manages to get up SO MANY shots in so few minutes, but he does it, consistently. His ability to get hot fast won him the Sixth Man of the Year award last season, and has gotten him 35.5 and 36 fantasy points in his last two outings.
  • Ben McLemore vs. CHI ($4,000) – He has not been all that impressive, but he is still getting the opportunities, and he has at least shown the potential to both score and rebound. The upside, in all honesty, is limited. But so are the options at this position, so maybe you just eat the downside here to scoop up as many studs as possible elsewhere.

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SMALL FORWARD TARGETS

Studs

  • Rudy Gay vs. CHI ($8,000) – He’s listed as questionable, but he was going into their last game as well, and he still had 37 minutes and 17 shot attempts. When Shawne Williams is third on the list of options for this position, those kinds of opportunities are hard to pass up.
  • Luol Deng vs. LAC ($5,900) – He might play. He might not. If he does, he’s still risky. But this is an article about guys to target, so let me take this opportunity to say this: target point guards and centers, tonight.

Values

  • Shawne Williams vs. LAC ($4,800) – The drop-off happens in a hurry in this one, but again, at least with Williams, the minutes are there. The decision here is whether to spend up on Gay or cross your fingers and spend elsewhere.
  • Danny Granger @ LAC ($3,000) – Remember Danny Granger? He knows how to play basketball, and for the moment, he’s even healthy! And that’s more than you can say for his teammates Deng and Wade. If they are both out, you can take a HUGE risk and run Granger out there. Assuming he came away from their last game no worse for the wear, you could see him on the court for something more than 20 minutes, which is more than what you normally get for a minimum salary option.

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POWER FORWARD TARGETS

Studs

  • Blake Griffin @ MIA ($9,400) – Terrible match-up, and it hasn’t been a great stretch for Griffin lately. He can explode for a bunch of rebounds on any given night but you could easily see him playing a lot of defense outside of the lane with Bosh on the other side, which might limit those opportunities. The dearth of games makes building a team harder, but at least there are a couple of seemingly useful less expensive options at PF tonight, as opposed to SG or SF.
  • Taj Gibson @ SAC ($5,300) – At $5,300, maybe you feel like this is more of a mid-level option, but Gibson has got talent, and Pau Gasol is out for tonight’s game. Without Gasol, Gibson is the man, and should see a ton of time out there (he had 41 minutes in Gasol’s first game out). I don’t care what the price is, Gibson is a stud tonight, especially facing off against the Kings.  He’s the closest thing to a no-brainer on the board tonight.

Values

  • Carl Landry vs. CHI ($3,900) – He is the fourth most expensive Power Forward on the site today. If that’s not an endorsement of Griffin and Gibson, I don’t know what is, but again, you could be looking for filler with such a shortage of options, and we are now three weeks into Landry’s return from a knee injury, and at least he looks healthy. He’s actually somewhat of a sife bet for 18-25 fantasy points tonight, not bad for the price.

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CENTER TARGETS

Studs

  • Chris Bosh @ SAC ($8,500) – Limited options, so it might seem strange to skip straight past DeMarco Cousins, one of the most productive big men in the league so far on the year. Bosh has also been throwing up huge numbers, and won’t really have to contend too much with the bigger Cousins in this one, because of his ability to stretch the floor on offense. His game might look more like that of a Power Forward tonight, but that’s fine, because with the Heat struggling with so many injuries, he is going to have the chance to get his no matter what.  He seems like an easy choice for this one.
  • DeAndre Jordan @ MIA ($7,800) – The thing about the center position is that it can often be tough to get two of them in your lineup, because that necessarily fills your utility spot, which is nice to save for a value play from some other position.  But tonight, with the paucity of talent at the other spots, might be a night to employ the Two-Center look, striking fear into your opponents by virtue of sheer intimidation, like Moses and Hakeem back in the day.

Values

  • Spencer Hawes @ MIA ($3,300) – The fifth most expensive center on the board on a night where only four starting centers are even playing.  Suffice it to say, the dropoff from #4 to #5 is substantial tonight, as Hawes’ pricetag is a full $4,200 less than the guy right next to him on the list. But if you’re looking to save that four grand, he is really the last guy on the list you can consider. At 15-20 minutes a night, he is getting significantly more minutes than all the guys below him on the list. At least he’s not a guaranteed nothing – he could rack up 20-30 fantasy points if his jumper is falling, which could make for an interesting way to fill your final roster spot, if you have people you like from every other position.

Good luck.