Everyone is rested and ready after a week away – everyone except the All Stars, of course. Thursday is a time to stay away from the All Stars who might be a little tired after a week of festivities. Instead we’ll turn to a few All Star snubs who may wish they’d been in on the fun and a quartet of New York players taking advantage of extra minutes and shots with their teammates banged up and missing.
PG/SF Ben Simmons PHI $9.0K vs Chicago
Ben Simmons was left out of most of the All-Star festivities despite having six triple-doubles already in his first 54 games as an NBA rookie. Two of those have come in his two games against the Bulls, the league’s worst defending the point guard. Simmons put up 19 points, 11 boards, and 10 assists in his first visit to Chicago, then 19/17/14 for his best line as a pro in the second matchup. He’s a serious threat for a third Bulls triple-double and is a must start Thursday night.
PF/C Enes Kanter NYK $7.6K vs Orlando
Kanter had a hot start to the season before slowing down a bit, but he’s heated up again as more of a central role with Kristaps Porzingis sidelined. He’s scored at least 30 fantasy points in each of his last ten games, with seven of those games at 39 or higher. Kanter is putting up monster rebounding numbers and playing a career high in minutes of late. The Magic appear likely to miss Nik Vucevic and are not good against centers anyway, so Kanter could give you a 20/15 game.
PG/SG Lou Williams LAC $6.9K vs Golden State
This is the top over/under Thursday night by a wide margin. You never know who will get the job done for the Warriors, and their players are all priced pretty high, but Lou is the guy for Los Angeles, and you can bet he’s stinging after watching the rest of the NBA come to Los Angeles and play an All-Star Game without him. Avery Bradley is still out, so that means plenty of minutes and shots for Lou Will, who’s always a threat for a huge scoring game. He’ll need plenty of shots to keep up with the Ws.
SG/SF Tim Hardaway NYK $6.3K vs Orlando
The Magic are worst in the league against shooting guards, and Hardaway is coming off a huge 37-point scoring game heading into the break. He takes plenty of shots every game and that gives him a pretty nice floor, and like Lou Williams, he is always liable to go off for a monster scoring game. Tonight we’ll play both of them and hope to hit lightning twice.
SF/PF DeMarre Carroll BKN $6.1K vs Charlotte
Brooklyn is one of the few teams that isn’t quite healthy coming out of the break, with both Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson still expected to be sidelined Thursday night. That means continued big minutes for our next two plays, both bargains with their recent minute load. Carroll has been a beast of late with a heavy minute load, scoring over 30 fantasy points in five straight. He’s threatening double-digit rebounds each night out and has at least four assists in three of those games. He’ll fill up the box score at a moderate price.
SG/SF Allen Crabbe BKN $5.3K vs Charlotte
Crabbe is our second bargain bin Net, another beneficiary of Brooklyn missing LeVert and Hollis-Jefferson for extended time. Crabbe has scored 32 fantasy points in four straight games, and he’s attempted an incredible 49 three pointers during those four games, making 21 of them. That’s helped him score more than 25 points a game in that stretch as he plays huge minutes and bombs from deep. Let’s hope he keeps shooting.
PG/SG D.J. Augustin ORL $5.0K vs New York
The Magic traded Elfrid Payton at the deadline and inserted veteran D.J. Augustin into the starting role. Augustin and Shelvin Mack have split results pretty evenly so far, but Augustin is playing more consistent minutes and he gets a great matchup against New York’s terrible point guards. He should score in the teens and add four or five assists, and this is the sort of matchup that could see him break out for more.
C Cody Zeller CHA $3.8K vs Brooklyn
Zeller is, quite simply, an upside play. He’s continued to play well this season but isn’t getting many minutes, still producing a strong fantasy point per minute ratio. Brooklyn is worst in the league against opposing fantasy centers, so Zeller should produce when he’s out there. If he only plays his usual 16 minutes, that’ll still be worth the price. If Dwight Howard gets into some foul trouble and Zeller is out there longer, he’ll turn into a steal.