If you read this column on Wednesday, you’ll recall that we put Paul George on the same plane as Clayton Kershaw. This might be a basketball column, but we don’t throw around Kershaw’s name lightly. George showed yet again why the comparisons are apt on Wednesday night when he torched the Clippers for 31 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals, en route to a 57-point fantasy night. George and the Pacers are in action again on Thursday, visiting Portland to take on the Trail Blazers. You don’t need me to tell you to get the NBA’s Kershaw in your lineup. Here’s who you should play around him.
PG: Kyle Lowry ($8,500) vs. DEN:Lowry is putting together a career season, averaging 21.3 points, 6.1 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals per night. He has had at least 33.1 fantasy points in all of his last 10 games, and 42.7 in five of those. The Nuggets have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to point guards, making this a dream matchup for a player who doesn’t need one to star for his fantasy owners.
SG: Will Barton ($5,300) @ TOR:Barton may come off the bench for the Nuggets, but he has been one of the team’s more reliable scoring options all season. He has at least 24.8 fantasy points in eight of his last 10 games, and is posting 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals on an average night. So long as he gets his usual complement of minutes, it’ll be hard for him to disappoint at a $5,300 price tag.
SF: Gordon Hayward ($6,500) vs. ORL:Pairing George with Hayward will give you a potent duo at small forward with the latter finally seeming to turn a corner this season. Hayward has at least 30.6 fantasy points in four of his last five games, including two 36-plus point nights in the last week. The Magic are a touch worse than league-average at slowing down small forwards.
PF: Jared Sullinger ($6,100) @ SAC:Sullinger is one of the most bankable players in daily fantasy. He doesn’t have a ceiling that requires a huge salary, but he rarely falls beneath his 28.3-point average. In other words, he always provides his owners with savings while delivering the points necessary to make him a worthwhile value play. The Kings have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to power forwards this season.
C: Meyers Leonard ($4,700) vs. IND:Leonard returned earlier than expected from a dislocated shoulder, though Terry Stotts eased him back into game action. After playing a total of 40 minutes in his first two games after the injury, he played 32 in Tuesday’s loss to Dallas, scoring 23 points and pulling down seven rebounds. He should be back to playing 30 minutes per game, and that makes him a steal at $4,700.