This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Thursday's four-game slate may be lacking the marquee matchups we've enjoyed over the past few weeks, but where it lacks in playoff implications (only one game with both teams over .500), it makes up for it with value plays aplenty. The Knicks-Timberwolves game is a battle for better odds at landing the number one overall draft pick, but it's also got some enticing fantasy options. The days of Alexey Shved being a sneaky-good value play may be in the rearview mirror with his $7K price tag, but there are a lot of other bargains to be had Thursday. In the event that you can turn your attention away from March Madness long enough to make a lineup for tonight, here's a look at Thursday's value plays.
Thursday's Value Plays
Zach LaVine, MIN, $4,200: Minnesota is playing the second half of a back-to-back Thursday, and Ricky Rubio isn't exactly an iron man, so it's possible that coach Flip Saunders (or Sam Mitchell) rests Rubio. If that's the case, LaVine becomes a viable cheap option at point guard. Minnesota already said it was going to try give LaVine more run down the stretch, and tonight would be a good opportunity for that to happen after a tough 105-100 loss in Toronto on Wednesday where Rubio played 30 minutes and Kevin Martin logged 44 minutes. In LaVine's two starts earlier in the week, he had 29.2 and 22.9 FD points. Perhaps more importantly, he averaged 14 shoot attempts in those outings and shot at a 53 percent clip. If he gets the start, you'll have to live with his turnovers (11 in those two starts I keep rambling on about), but his shooting volume and decent assist contributions would make LaVine a solid value play at $4,200. Keep an eye on Minnesota's situation prior to tip, but LaVine could be in line for a big night against the Knicks if he gets the nod.
Other Suggestions: Langston Galloway, NYK ($5,000) vs MIN
Eric Gordon, NOP, $6,000: Gordon isn't a flashy option, but it's slim pickin's at shooting guard tonight. He's had at least 23 FanDuel points over his last six games and has reached that mark in nine of his last 10. When you look at what's out there behind Gordon among tonight's shooting guard options (you don't even need to scroll down to see Ian Clark), Gordon suddenly looks like a pretty good option. Throw in the fact that Phoenix doesn't play defense very well in general (bottom half in Defensive Rating post All-Star break) or against opposing shooting guards (5th most FD points allowed this season) and wallah, we might have something here. If you're desperate, Randy Foye might be a decent option, especially if the Nuggets continue to blatantly tank and put him in the starting lineup again, but otherwise there isn't much out there at shooting guard tonight.
Corey Brewer, HOU, $5,400: Brewer has been getting it done in a variety of ways lately with four 30+ FD point outings in his last five. He gets a lot of run off the bench, averaging 26.1 minutes in nine games this month. Brewer is not only putting up decent rebounding numbers for his position, he's also getting a good amount of shots (11.4 FGA in March, 13.4 over his last five) and converting them (50% this month, 56% over the last five). On top of all that, he draws the lowly Nuggets tonight, who are allowing the most FD points to opposing small forwards this season and fourth most over the last 10 games. Even though he's a Florida Gator and I'm a Georgia Bulldawg, I'll let bygones be bygones tonight and take Brewer at $5,400 against Denver.
Rodney Hood, UTA, $4,600: Hood came back to earth Wednesday against Washington after setting career-highs in points in three of his previous four games. He finished with a modest 14.6 FD points outing where he attempted just nine shots, but that can be chalked up to the fact that the Jazz were trying to come from behind, which led to Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors accounting for nearly half of Utah's FGA. If the Jazz can avoid being in a dogfight with the Lakers, which I think they will, the Jazz will be less pressed to have only their stars take all the shots (which hurt Hood's value on Wednesday because scoring accounts for so much of his FD performance), which should provide an opportunity for Hood to produce.
Donatas Motiejunas, HOU, $5,500: If you're looking to save at power forward, you could do a lot worse than using Motiejunas tonight. He won't have the benefit of facing Wilson Chandler at power forward now that Kenneth Faried is back to his natural position with Jusuf Nurkic's return, but it's still a favorable matchup. His rebounding output isn't great for a power forward, but he should score in double figures and add a few assists to make for a decent return on $5,500.
Other Suggestions: Andrea Bargnani, NYK, $5,900
Brandan Wright, PHO, $5,200: Wright made his first start of the season and capitalized on the extra time on the floor to the tune of 18 points and 11 rebounds (34.7 FD points) over 37 minutes. Granted, it was against the Knicks, but still. It doesn't look like he's going anywhere either as Alex Len missed Wednesday's practice and is unlikely to suit up tonight. Wright has actually been a decent contributor when he's given the minutes. In four games this month where he's played 25+ minutes, Wright has posted 14 points and 8 rebounds; 7 pts, 7 rebs, and 3 blks; 11 pts and 9 rebs; 18 pts and 11 rebs. Assuming he gets the start again tonight, Wright is a solid bargain that gives you the flexibility to spend on the top options at other positions.