After a couple of busy nights, there are just five games to choose from on Thursday. That is however, a more active slate than we usually get this day of the week. The best team in the league takes on one of the worst, and the matchup with the Lakers could actually compromise some of the stars on Golden State. Not only will the team not need a Herculean effort from Stephen Curry, Draymond Green or Klay Thompson to vanquish its in-state foe, it could also benefit from getting the regulars some rest in what should be a blowout. That, alone, shouldn’t scare you off of the Warriors, but keep it in mind when building your lineups.
All prices are courtesy of FanDuel and based on a $60,000 budget.
PG: Ish Smith ($6,600) vs. CHI: Smith has been one of the greatest fantasy bargains since being traded to Philadelphia and he remains so on Thursday night. Smith is averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 32.4 fantasy points per game as a member of the 76ers (nine games). The Bulls, meanwhile, allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to point guards.
SG: Lou Williams ($6,000) @ GS: The Warriors may not benefit from a fantasy standpoint if they roll over the Lakers, but that shouldn’t trouble Lou Williams. The over/under of 216 is a great thing for him, especially when you consider that he has been one of the hottest players in the league of late. He’s putting up 33.5 fantasy points per game in his last nine, and 41.1 per over his last three. Even if Golden State wins this game by 20, he’ll be on the floor for his usual complement of minutes.
SF: Gordon Hayward ($7,600) vs. SAC: Small forward is a bit thin on Thursday, and with LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard facing off in what could be a defense-first matchup between Cleveland and San Antonio, finding savings at the position makes a lot of sense. Hayward has 20.6 real points and 32.7 fantasy points per game over his last 10, and Sacramento is in the bottom-third of the league in points allowed to small forwards, as well as fantasy points allowed across the board.
PF: Taj Gibson ($4,700) vs. PHI: Pau Gasol will miss this game because of shoulder and Achilles injuries, opening the door for Gibson to see extended time on the floor. We saw what he did when Joakim Noah was out, turning into a nightly bargain, thanks primarily to his rebounding ability. He should bring that to bear against a Philadelphia team that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points per game to power forwards this season.
C: DeMarcus Cousins ($10,600) @ UTA: There really isn’t much more we can say about Cousins that hasn’t already been said, but we can try. In his last six games, he is averaging 53.3 fantasy points per game. In two of those, he surpassed the 60-point threshold. He has hit at least 45.9 points in all six of those and Cousins has double-doubles in five of the games (he had nine rebounds in the only one he fell short), and at least 30 points in five of them, as well. Cousins scoffs at the tough matchup with Utah on Thursday. You should too.