After our cup ran over Wednesday, we have just three games with which to satiate ourselves on Thursday. The middle tier is, surprisingly, the most bare on Thursday’s slate, with a dearth of interesting fantasy names priced between $6,000 and $8,000. Given that the TNT schedule always guarantees a handful of intriguing stars will be in action, our lineup takes on a stars-and-scrubs feel. We’ll have multiple five-figure players, complemented by guys priced at $4,500 and lower, who should be able to do their part alongside their superstar counterparts.
All prices are courtesy of FanDuel and based on a $60,000 budget.
PG: Russell Westbrook ($10,800) @ CLE: The Thunder are on the second night of a back-to-back, but Westbrook played just 27 minutes in Wednesday’s win over Portland, so he should be fresh. The Thunder and Cavaliers are projected to play to an over/under of 205, and Westbrook is putting up 49.2 fantasy points per game on a typical night. Cleveland’s defense is better with Matthew Dellavedova in the starting lineup, but that won’t be much help against a player like Westbrook.
SG: Jeremy Lamb ($4,400) vs. TOR: Lamb’s breakout season continues unabated, with the former UConn standout putting together his best game of the year on Wednesday. Lamb had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals in Charlotte’s 113-98 loss to Orlando. What’s more, he did that all in just 24 minutes. The Raptors have a strong defense, but are a bit worse than league average against shooting guards. Lamb should take advantage.
SF: Kevin Durant ($10,300) @ CLE: It’s entirely possible to get both Durant and LeBron James in your lineups on Thursday, even if you also choose to roster Westbrook. That’s what we’re doing here, but we’re going to highlight the Durant selection. He has 11 straight games with at least 20 points, and is quietly having another phenomenal season (thank you Steph Curry and Paul George). Durant is averaging 27.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game.
PF: Frank Kaminsky ($3,800) vs. TOR: Kaminsky is averaging 27.2 minutes in his last five games in the absence of Al Jefferson, who has been nursing a calf injury. Jefferson began his five-game suspension on Wednesday, meaning Kaminsky should be locked into more playing time for the next week or so. In those five games, he’s averaging 18.9 points, which far exceeds the number he needs to turn a profit at his $3,800 price tag.
C: Bismack Biyombo ($4,000) @ CHA: Biyombo is another player getting a chance to play more because of an injury. Jonas Valanciunas remains out because of a hand injury, making Biyombo a near lock to play 30 minutes against the Hornets on Thursday. In the last 10 games, all with Valanciunas in street clothes, Biyombo is averaging 20.1 fantasy points per game. That’s the magical 5x point-to-salary ratio fantasy owners hope for at every position. He should be able to hit that against a Charlotte team that 22nd against centers and 28th against power forwards in fantasy points allowed per game.