Ish Smith ($5,300) – Smith has seen 30+ minutes in each of his 2 games as he’s filled in for the injured Reggie Jackson. Jackson will be inactive again on Thursday with a knee injury, which once again opens the door for Smith to get some increased run. In his last 2 games he’s put up 30.7 and 29.6 fantasy points, respectively. Brooklyn has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to point guards this season (52.3 a game), so Smith is in a great position to reach value again tonight.
James Harden ($12,400) – Houston is essentially locked in at the 3rd seed with the teams on either side of them 6 games away in the standings. This means the Rockets technically don’t have anything to play for, but James Harden does. The fantasy star is right in the middle of one of the most talked about MVP races in a while. With the Rockets having no incentive to win, Harden is free to let the MVP talk take the forefront of his mind. I think that is what will happen tonight as he faces off with the Trail Blazers in a fantastic matchup. Not only does this game have the highest team total of the night (230), but Portland also doesn’t have a defender that can really compete with Harden, which is evident in the fact that they’ve given up 47.7 fantasy points a game to the point guard position all season. Harden will easily exceed that number en route to what I believe will easily be a 60+ fantasy point effort.
Andrew Wiggins ($7,000) – This may be a surprising cash game pick to some, but Wiggins has absolutely lit the Lakers up this year. In the 2 games against them he’s averaging 41.5 points to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Wiggins entire fantasy game revolves around scoring, not necessarily the other stat-stuffing numbers that sometimes play a roll in DFS. But he’s proven he can score on the Lakers, so he’s really a great play tonight in all formats. Also, Los Angeles has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to small forwards in their last 10 games (46.9), and a meeting with Wiggin’s is more than likely not the solution to their problem.
Grogui Dieng ($5,200) – Not only does Dieng have a great matchup against the Lakers tonight, but he’s also been playing well as of late, making him a great cash game play for Thursday’s slate. He’s put up 30+ fantasy points in each of his last 3 games and will be facing a Lakers defense that gives up 48.8 fantasy points to the power forward position per game, which is the most in the NBA. At only $5,200 he only needs 26 fantasy points to reach value, which he should easily be able to do at the Target Center.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,600) – I’m going to finish my Timberwolves stack with Karl-Anthony Towns. I think him and Dieng make for a great pairing tonight against that weak Lakers front court, who have given up a lot of fantasy points to the center position (52.2 a game). Towns would need at least 50 to reach value tonight, a number he’s hit twice in his last 3 games. As scary as his price may be, his matchup is just really too good to pass up. He’ll be one of the higher owned stars on the slate and is definitely worth reaching up for at the center position.
Jeremy Lin ($5,900) – Jeremy Lin is flying under the radar tonight despite a great matchup with the Pistons, a team has given up the 10th most fantasy points to points guards this season. He has also been playing well recently, posting 30+ fantasy points in 4 of his last 7 full games. He’s an under $6k point guard to consider tonight as he heads to The Palace and is a sneaky play as he’ll fall in popularity behind guys like Ricky Rubio and Ish Smith.
Lou Williams ($4,600) – James Harden has come out and said his wrist injury is actually limiting what he can do on the court. Because of this, plugging Lou Williams into your GPP lineup at only $4,600 could be very beneficial. The veteran is a very inconsistent fantasy player, posting a low of 9.4 and a high of 39.6 in his last 3 games. However, there’s reason to believe that Harden’s injury and the Rocket’s lock in the 3rd seed could give William’s some more minutes tonight against the Trail Blazers, who will be coming out highly motivated and looking to hold onto their 8th seed spot in the West.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,900) – Another Nets player that should get overlooked tonight is Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The small forward has been as consistent as you can get, posting 4 straight games of 30+ fantasy points (31.2, 32.4, 32.1, 31.4). There’s no reason to think his hot streak will end tonight, especially when you consider the fact that he’ll be facing a Pistons team that has given up the most fantasy points in the league to the small forward position over their last 5 games (50 FP). If he can manage to hit 30+ again he’ll hit 6x value for the 5th straight game.
Kevin Love ($7,400) – I haven’t heard a lot of news on Kevin Love for tonight’s game against the Bulls, which leads me to believe he’s going to be a solid tournament play with low ownership. Chicago has been terrible containing power forwards over their last 5 games, giving up an average of 49.5 fantasy points to the position during that stretch. There’s really no reason Love shouldn’t reach value tonight against them and is a great play at $7.4k.
Tristan Thompson ($4,900) – I’m going to stay in Cleveland for my GPP center pick and go with Tristan Thompson of the Cavaliers. Though he’s had a rough couple weeks fantasy wise, I love him tonight as he goes up against Robin Lopez and the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is generally good at defending centers, but nobody picks Thompson for his offensive production. They do, however, play him for his rebounding ability, and lucky for us, Chicago has been having a difficult time grabbing boards over their last few games. They’ve been allowing 12 offensive rebounds a game, which is far more than their season average. In my opinion, the best part of Thompson’s game is that he can crash the offensive glass. He should be able to do this tonight when the Cavs take on the Bulls at the United Center.