This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a slightly bigger slate than usual for a Thursday with seven games on the docket, and six of the games have lines of 6.5 points or less. The injury report does have some big names on it, but there are several with probable designations. There's also a robust selection of elite healthy players and some appealing value plays, which should make for a fun night of lineup construction.
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In addition to the fact the night projects to be as largely competitive, there are also four games with projected totals of over 230 points, including 240.5-point figure attached to the Lakers-Pacers battle.
Injury Situations to Monitor
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Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (knee): PROBABLE
Antetokounmpo is expected to take the floor in what will be a favorable matchup on paper against the Clippers' frontcourt.
LeBron James, LAL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If James isn't able to suit up, Rui Hachimura and Troy Brown would likely enter the starting five.
Anthony Davis, LAL (foot): PROBABLE
Davis is expected to play, but if he suffers a setback, Thomas Bryant would be in line for a spot start at center.
Tyrese Haliburton, IND (knee/elbow): QUESTIONABLE
Haliburton is expected to play after a 10-game absence but could be on a minutes limit of some sort.
Aaron Gordon, DEN (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Gordon can't suit up, Jeff Green and Vlatko Cancar could be in line to take on the majority of minutes at power forward.
Other notable injuries:
Zion Williamson, NOP (hamstring): OUT
Christian Wood, DAL (thumb): OUT
Kelly Oubre, CHA (hand): OUT
Steven Adams, MEM (knee): OUT
Bobby Portis, MIL (knee): OUT
Mitchell Robinson, NYK (thumb): OUT
We have seven players with five-figure salaries on Thursday's slate – Luka Doncic ($12,200), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,900), Nikola Jokic ($11,600), LeBron James ($10,700), Ja Morant ($10,300), Kawhi Leonard ($10,200) and Stephen Curry ($10,100).
Doncic just erupted for 72.1 FD points against the Pistons on Monday night, and he's facing a Pelicans team he's scored 57 and 66.7 FD points against in two prior meetings.
Antetokounmpo is expected to play through his probable designation and is averaging 62.6 FD points across his last four games.
Jokic went off for 71.1 FD points versus the Pelicans in his most recent contest and has eclipsed 60 FD points four times overall in the last nine games.
James is questionable due to his lingering ankle issues, but he's averaged under 60 FD points in the last 11 games while shooting 49.1 percent in that stretch.
Morant has scored 55.8 to 68.5 FD points in three of his last four games, a span during which he has a pair of double-doubles and triple-doubles apiece.
Leonard scored 65.3 FD points against the Bulls on Tuesday and had three other tallies over 50 in the previous five games as well.
Curry has scored over 60 FD points in two of the last three contests, and he put up 43 FD points in 36 minutes in his one prior meeting with the Nuggets this season.
Other likely chalk plays include:
Anthony Davis, LAL ($9,700)
Assuming Davis plays through his probable designation, he should be popular thanks to his salary reduction and the fact that he'll be an integral part of the game with the highest projected night total.
Julius Randle, NYK ($9,300)
Randle has scored at least 40.9 FD points in six straight, which should keep him in plenty of lineups Thursday.
Tyrese Haliburton, IND ($9,100)
If Haliburton is confirmed as available following his 10-game absence, he should be popular on the mid-size slate after posting 49.4 FD points or more in four of his last six full games.
LaMelo Ball, CHA ($8,700)
Ball is coming off a massive 69.5 FD-point showing against the Bucks in his last game and has outpaced his salary on numerous occasions this season, which should keep him very popular Thursday.
Nikola Vucevic, CHI ($8,400)
Vucevic is already averaging 20.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 45.5 FD points per contest since the calendar flipped to 2023 and now draws a premium matchup for centers in the Hornets.
P.J. Washington, CHA at CHI ($6,100)
Washington had a rare three-game stretch of single-digit scoring Jan. 23-26, but he's bounced back to average 37.8 FD points over the subsequent pair of contests and had also put up 16 straight double-digit scoring efforts immediately preceding his brief slump, averaging 31.6 FD points per contest along the way. Washington now faces a Bulls team allowing the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (28.8) and the fifth-most FD points per game to the position (46). Chicago is also giving up 36.5 percent three-point shooting to PFs, while Washington is draining 40.7 percent of his attempts from behind the arc in his last 20 contests.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DEN vs. GSW ($5,100)
KCP has quietly put together a rock-solid season as a complementary source of scoring for the Nuggets while shooting a career-best 46.8 percent, including an elite 46.3 percent from three-point range. The veteran wing scored a season-high 40.5 FD points against the Pelicans on Monday night, and he's averaging 26.1 FD points in his last 11 games overall. He's scored at least that amount on six contests during that stretch, he produced 27.3 versus the Warriors in his one prior meeting against them this season, and he's shooting 50.6 percent, including 49.2 percent from distance in 26 games. Then, Golden State is tied for the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to two-guards (24.7), along with the fourth-most FD points to the position (44.2).
Aaron Nesmith, IND vs. LAL ($4,100)
Nesmith is posting career highs in multiple categories with the most extensive opportunity of his career, averaging 23.6 minutes per contest. The third-year pro has provided at least a 5x return on 18 occasions thus far this season, with 10 of those instances coming at home. The matchup against the Lakers is also attractive, as they've allowed over 45 FD points per game to power forwards on the season. Meanwhile, Nesmith has posted over 30 FD points in four games, an excellent ceiling for his minuscule salary.
ALSO CONSIDER: Pat Connaughton, MIL vs. LAC ($5,100)