This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Just like last Thursday's slate, tonight only features two games, which puts daily games players in full on studs-and-scrubs mode. There are a number of positions, like shooting guard and small forward, where there are no top-tier options available. Russell Westbrook is the only active player with a price tag north of $10K with a salary of $12,000(!!). Still, there are enough bargain-level options out there to build a viable lineup around your studs.
Thursday's Value Plays
Russell Westbrook, OKC, $12,000: I don't care that Westbrook costs 20 percent of the salary cap, the man is playing like he's on fire in NBA Jam right now. When your triple-double streak is the best since Michael Jordan (vintage 1989), you're in pretty special company. Also, Westbrook draws a matchup against a Bulls team that looks more like a MASH unit than a basketball team. If you're entering multiple lineups, it might be smart to leave Westbrook off of one or two of them because he'll be in such a high percentage of lineups, but do you really want to leave him off of all yours when he's playing like this? He needs about 60 FanDuel points to be worth his price tag, which is a huge ask, but Westbrook is on a special run right now.
Aaron Brooks, CHI, $4,800: Brooks had a big outing Tuesday against Washington, where he put up 22 points and eight assists on his way to posting 36.4 FD points. He's a 41 percent shooter from the field and beyond the arc this season but hasn't been connecting on anywhere near that clip over the last four games (28% FG, 26% 3Pt). Those numbers should move closer to his season averages soon enough, and his matchup tonight against OKC is more favorable than you might think. The Thunder are allowing the seventh-most points to opposing point guards this season and fifth-most over the last five.
Tony Snell, CHI, $3,800: Snell moved into the starting shooting guard role Tuesday in Jimmy Butler's (elbow) absence and had a decent outing (11 points, three rebounds, two assists) over 40 minutes. He has hit multiple three-pointers in five straight games, shooting 48 percent from beyond the arc in that span. His matchup tonight is a bit worrisome as Oklahoma has some good wing defenders, but Snell is a viable option Thursday for the near-minimum salary.
Nicolas Batum, POR, $5,600: It's not often that the top option at a given position comes with a sub-$6K price tag, but that's where we are Thursday with just two games and Kevin Durant and Chandler Parsons sidelined. Batum did it all on Wednesday as he helped the Blazers finish the comeback over the Clippers, finishing with 20 points, eight assists, and seven boards. His scoring can be pretty up-and-down, but he's a consistent contributor in other categories and is the best of an uninspiring group of small forwards Thursday.
Nikola Mirotic, CHI, $4,700: Just like Brooks and Snell, Mirotic gets a bump in value because the guy ahead of him on the depth chart is injured. Mirotic's playing time has ballooned in Gibson's absence thus far, and he has responded with back-to-back 30+ FD point outings. He's battling a sore shoulder right now but is still probable for Thursday's contest in Oklahoma City. Unless he's a surprise scratch before tip-off, Mirotic will be a solid value play Thursday.
Dirk Nowitzki, DAL, $6,300: Nowitzki draws a pretty tough matchup against Portland, but he has something working in his favor. The Mavericks haven't played since Monday, whereas the Trail Blazers had to compete for all 53 minutes of Wednesday night's overtime victory against the Clippers. In two games against the Trail Blazers this season, Nowitzki is averaging 21 points, three rebounds, and an assist. If Dirk maintains that scoring pace and pulls down a few more rebounds Thursday, he'll be a solid play at $6,300.
Enes Kanter, OKC, $6,000: Kanter, like every other Thunder starter not named Westbrook, had an off night against Philadelphia on Wednesday. It was Kanter's first game as a member of the Thunder where he failed to reach 20 FD points. He should bounce back Thursday. One situation to monitor prior to tip-off is Steven Adams' possible return from a hand injury. If Adams is active and Scott Brooks deploys him, it could cut into Kanter's minutes to the point that it affects his fantasy totals. Adams was a game-time decision prior to Wednesday's contest and is considered the same Thursday, so keep an eye on Adams' status ahead of the tip.
Robin Lopez, POR, $5,000: Lopez has had back-to-back 20 FD point performances, including an 11-point, seven-rebound outing Wednesday. If you're looking to save at the center position Thursday, where there aren't many top-end options, Lopez is worth a look. In two games against Dallas this season, Lopez has averaged 9.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in 30 minutes. Tyson Chandler is probable heading into tonight after a hip injury sidelined him for three games, however. Even if Chandler is able to give it a go, Lopez should be able to provide decent production.