Let’s not discuss the Cavaliers tonight. No, seriously.
On the surface, the Cavaliers-Thunder game might have warranted a moderate stack alert, but with Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue all but suggesting LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will each sit out, that — along with the cloudy condition of Iman Shumpert‘s sprained ankle — makes them (almost) a non-factor.
Tristan Thompson ($9,700 at FantasyDraft) is a strong option and could see the bulk of usage tonight. Thompson has averaged 14.2 points, 10,2 boards and 1.2 blocks in his last five games, numbers he should be able to exceed with the offense likely centering around him and Kyle Korver ($7,700), who ignited the Cavs with 29 points and five rebounds off the bench in Wednesday’s win over the Pacers. We’d wait until Lue unveils his starting lineup before committing to Korver, as his value would be significantly better if he is indeed in the starting five.
If you really want to fly off the top rope, Channing Frye is the stealth pick for the Cavs. At just $6,700, Frye has seen a considerate increase in usage rate (28.2, up from 20.1) in his last five games. He’s also averaged 20.2 Fantasy points per game in that span and would be in position to offer production nearly double his value if Frye does start.
Beyond Russell Westbrook ($22,800), the best plays on the Thunder would be Stephen Adams ($11,500) and Victor Oladipo ($11,600), both of whom have averaged just over 30 FP in the last five. Oladipo has seen a slight uptick in his usage rate and could benefit if the Cavs indeed do give Irving, James and Love the night off.
You’ll have to stay up late for the best game with Fantasy potential, as the Celtics visit the Trail Blazers. Boston’s Isaiah Thomas put up his 14th straight game of at least 40 FP in Wednesday’s surprising loss at the Kings and has averaged 53.6 FPPG in his last five. At $17,900, he’s a bargain compared to Westbrook and James Harden ($22,000), but his 35.9 usage rate of late is all you need to know about the Celts’ plan of attack.
Even with usage rates hovering under 20, both Al Horford ($13,600) and Jae Crowder ($12,300 are averaging over 30 FP per game in the last five. Horford had just one assist on Wednesday, snapping a streak in which he recorded at least four assists in ten straight games.
C.J. McCollum is earning every penny of his $14,400 salary at FantasyDraft, averaging 55.8 percent from the field and 46,4 percent from three-point range in his last five. Damian Lillard ($16,400) hasn’t been as proficient from the field as McCollum, yet is still averaging 40.2 FPPG in the last five. Mason Plumlee pulled down 15 rebounds in Wednesday’s win over the Mavericks and has racked up double-doubles in seven of his last ten.
The last time Harden faced the Hornets, he put up 78.25 Fantasy points while recording a triple-double. Pity Charlotte, which welcomes a Houston team coming off a 128-point outing over Orlando in which Harden put up 59 FP.
Kemba Walker ($14,200) has been too shaky of late to give strong approval. He’s been below 30 FP in three of his last four. I’m inclined to suggest Nicolas Batum ($14,000) and his 34.2 FPPG in his last five, including 45 FP in Tuesday’s win over the Nets.
Nikola Vucevic ($14,300) and Serge Ibaka ($12,700) are solid plays when the Magic welcome the Sixers. Both are over 30 FP in their last five, and the recent play of Ibaka has suggested he’s being showcased for a possible trade. As for a wounded 76ers squad still without Joel Embiid, the best plays will be Robert Covington ($10,600 and gets the bulk of usage when Embiid is out) and Jahlil Okafor ($8,700), who comes off a 20-point, eight-board effort in Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs.
Gordon Hayward ($13,700) has been blistering, averaging 41.8 FFPG in his last five, all wins for a Jazz team that visits the Mavericks. Rudy Gobert ($12,800) has quietly averaged 39.2 in the same span. Both deserve status in your lineup. Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell continues to be a bargain at $9,800, but could be challenged by the aggressive Utah defense. The best Dallas play will be Wesley Matthews ($10,600), who comes into tonight with five games of at least 30 FP in his last six.