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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Thursday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
With four games scheduled for Thursday night’s slate featuring offensive-minded teams, defense may be scarce, leaving room for fantasy production all throughout.

Offenses to Use
Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets: The Timberwolves-Rockets showdown is the matchup to own for strong fantasy play Thursday night. Both teams are equipped with a stacked roster, each with superstars, role players, budget options, and injured centers. Dwight Howard (ankle) and Nikola Pekovic (ankle) are both doubtful to play Thursday, leaving room for value plays in Omer Asik ($3,500) and Gorgui Dieng ($3,100). In addition to the usual James Harden and Kevin Love domination, expect the Timberwolves-Rockets matchup at Houston to be a fantasy blast.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards
Second game of a back-to-back: Minnesota Timberwolves

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Point Guard
Jarrett Jack, CLE (vs. OKC), PG/SG ($4,700): With Kyrie Irving (biceps) out for Thursday’s game, Jack is slated to put up big minutes once again. In Tuesday’s game against the Heat, Jack posted 22 points (8-13 FG, 4-6 3Pt, 2-4 FT) to go with four rebounds, four assists, and one block in 42 minutes of action. He’s going to be on full-throttle Thursday against the Thunder, the team he sparked for 21 points, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal back on February 26. Look for Jack to be a low-cost, high-reward option for daily fantasy play.

Other suggestions: Ricky Rubio (at HOU), PG ($7,100)

Shooting Guard
Klay Thompson, GSW (vs. MIL), SG/SF ($6,000): Thompson has been on fire of late, averaging 24.3 points (51.9 percent FG), 2.7 rebounds, and 3.7 three-pointers made over the last three games. The Bucks have been atrocious defensively over the past five contests, losing each and giving up an average of 110.0 points per game. With many mid-round options at the shooting guard spot in tough matchups Thursday, consider Thompson a solid pick for daily games.

Other suggestions: Bradley Beal (at POR) SG ($6,300)

Small Forward
Chandler Parsons, HOU (vs. MIN), SF/PF ($6,700): Parsons has found himself in a major slump recently, averaging just 5.7 points (32 percent FG), 1.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.0 three-pointers made over his last three games. His price tag has been lowered accordingly, but his potential to produce fantasy gold still remains. He’s been excellent this season, and it’s rather rare that Parsons stays in a cold slump for an extended period of time. Look for him to have a good chance at breaking out Thursday against the Timberwolves, who give up 20.3 points (sixth-worst) and 7.9 rebounds (worst) per game to opposing eligible small forwards.

Other suggestions: Trevor Ariza (at POR), SG/SF ($5,800)

Power Forward
Kevin Love, MIN (at HOU), PF/C ($11,300): Love comes with a massive price tag, but he’s undeniably been one of the best fantasy studs the entire season. He’s been underperforming of late, averaging 26.4 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.8 three-pointers over his last five games, and to call those numbers “sub-par” is already an insane notion that’s hard to swallow. He’s toasted Terrence Jones and the Rockets this year in two matchups so far, averaging 29.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in dominating fashion. With the Rockets possibly missing out on Dwight Howard (ankle) in the low post, Love could go off for an even deadlier performance.

Other suggestions: David Lee (vs. MIL), PF/C ($7,300)

Center
Gorgui Dieng, MIN (at HOU), C ($3,100): Dieng’s performance will directly be affected by the availability of Nikola Pekovic (ankle), so be sure to check before tip-off to make sure Dieng will be starting. He’s made the most of his extended minutes over the last two games, averaging 11.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 3.0 blocks, and 1.0 double-doubles per game. Given his extremely cheap price tag, he will be a no-brainer for Thursday’s daily contests if Pekovic is out.

Other suggestions: Spencer Hawes (vs. OKC), PF/C ($7,500)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Kyrie Irving (biceps) will miss at least two weeks of action before being re-evaluated.
Nene Hilario (knee) is out for at least another two weeks.
Andre Iguodala (knee) will not play Thursday.
Larry Sanders (eye) is out for the season.

Game-Time Decision
LaMarcus Aldridge (back) is highly doubtful for Thursday’s game, though he hasn’t been officially ruled out yet.
Russell Westbrook (rest) will miss either Thursday’s game against the Cavaliers or Friday’s game against the Raptors.
Dwight Howard (ankle) is doubtful to play Thursday.
Luol Deng (ankle) is a game-time decision Thursday.
Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is a game-time decision Thursday.
Andrew Bogut (ankle) is a game-time decision Thursday.
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