Thursday nights in the NBA are usually a little light for my liking. They usually are just a big tease for Friday’s full slate of games. I always prefer the larger slates of games because there are more sleepers to be had and prices are more reasonable.
With that being said, there are some intriguing match ups tonight. The #1 story line of the night is going to be Dwight played his former team (the Lakers). Dwight has already come out and said it’s, “just another game.” We all know that isn’t the case and Dwight will want to show Los Angeles that he’s doing great without them. The over/under in this game is a ridiculous 218 so look to get as many players as you can in your lineup from this one.
The other game brings a very different story line: the MVP so far this season (Chris Paul) vs the MVP of the last two seasons and four overall (LeBron James). Yes, the 3-2 Los Angeles Clippers travel down south to American Airlines Arena to face the Heat. Vegas also gave this game a sizable over/under (208) so both televised games should be dandies tonight. I also should mention the one non-nationally televised game is Denver/Atlanta, which includes some solid fantasy options, but really has no eyebrow raising side stories to speak of.
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All that being said, here is a list of three players I love tonight and three that I won’t be using. All prices listed are according to Draftkings: my favorite fantasy basketball daily site.
Players I Love:
Jeff Teague – $8,000 – While the game not be the most exciting, Teague is a different story. A pre-draft target of mine in all yearly leagues, the Atlanta PG has not disappointed. For the season, he’s averaging 18.8 PTS, 8.8 AST and 2.0 STL. The Nuggets allow 101.7 PPG which is 9th worst in the NBA. All three starting point guards to play Denver so far have scored at least 17 PTS. Greivis Vasquez scored 17 in game one while his backup Isaiah Thomas scored 16 in the same game. Tony Parker led all scorers in Denver’s last game with 24. Certainly the match up is looking ripe for Teague and I wouldn’t hesitate one bit to use him.
Chris Bosh – $7,000 – Remember the good old days when Chris Bosh was 20 and 10 on a nightly basis in Toronto? That version of him is probably gone forever but the 2013 version hasn’t been too shabby so far: Bosh is nearly averaging 20 PPG (19.8) while adding 6.8 REB and 1.5 BLK. Nikola Vucevic, by far Orlando’s most talented big man, just torched the Clippers for 30 PTS and 21 REB last night. The composition of the Heat roster is quite different than the Magic, but they really only have one reliable big man: Bosh. I wouldn’t go expecting 21 boards, but I see no reason why Bosh can’t be a terror himself. He doesn’t play in the post as much as Vucevic, but he does stretch the floor which will make defenders (and fantasy players who don’t use Bosh) equally as uncomfortable. Oh, and the Clippers allow the most points in the NBA.
DeAndre Jordan – $6,000 – What do you think of the picture for the article? If you don’t know what DeAndre Jordan dunk face is, then google it. Basically, it’s the picture above but the non-cartoon version after DeAndre Jordan dunked on Brandon Knight. As I mentioned above, the Heat truly only have one talented big man and he plays PF. Consistently, the Heat give up big rebounding totals to bigs because they don’t have the personnel to box them out. Jordan is coming off a 19 REB performance against the Magic, so he’s certainly in the groove. Make sure you watch him keep the rebounding rhythm going while he’s inserted into your lineup.
Players I Won’t Use:
Pau Gasol – $7,600 – Pau is more comfortable playing against softer big men as opposed to ones who bang. Dwight Howard is a beast and is going to try and dominate you physically. Furthermore, the Dwight/Asik duo are the best post defending duo in the NBA in my opinion. The Rockets allow the 4th worst FG% to opposing teams. To be fair, they allow 103.8 PPG but that’s because of how fast they play. Houston comes into this game as 13 point favorites so I think this game may slip away from the Lakers. I still love Gasol for yearly leagues but, even without Kobe, tonight isn’t the night.
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Jeremy Lin – $6,700 – Patrick Beverley’s return has once again hindered the fantasy value of Jeremy Lin. If Lin’s price came at a value, I’d still consider him, but $6,700 is a big number. Looking at Beverley’s price tag of $3,700, there’s no question he is the Houston PG to start tonight. Saving $3,000 is no small matter, especially considering Beverley could easily produce more fantasy points. I actually consider Beverley to be the better player, so even though Lin has the sexy name, just skim over it.
Jamal Crawford – $5,400 – Redick looks to be emerging as a major part of the Clippers’ offense. The Clippers score (and allow) the most points in the NBA, so there is plenty of production to go around, but it just seems Redick is the go-to scorer of the two. It feels weird to say because Crawford has been known as a pure scorer for so long, but whenever Redick is in, CP3 finds him the ball and he shoots. Doc Rivers loved him and wanted to trade for him while in Boston, so it’s no wonder he’s taking advantage of him in L.A. It’s not that Crawford won’t still score, but right now Redick has the coach’s attention. Crawford is a little bit of an afterthought in the short term, so just hold out on him until he earns more playing time. His 21 minutes last game were both a product of his poor shooting and J.J.’s hot shooting. Fortunes will soon turn so just be patient; which I know is not an easy thing when trying to win money on a daily basis.