It's an NBA Thursday which means we get the shortened slate of games here with just four on the docket which also means smaller player pools and at times some tough decisions that need to be made when it comes to the value plays. Oftentimes on these smaller slates we get price decreases on some guys as well they are more expensive in larger player pools. With that said, let's jump in!


Point Guard

Gary Payton II,  GSW - Payton has started next to Steph Curry with Jordan Poole prepping for his eventual role off the bench with Klay Thompson expected to return this weekend. Tonight, however, Curry may be rested following statements made by Steve Kerr following the team's loss to the Mavericks on Wednesday. If Curry sits, that only increases the available shot attempts and while Payton isn't really known for his offense, it does secure his playing time tonight.

DeAnthony Melton, MEM - Melton is off the COVID list and could make his return to the Grizzlies lineup tonight. This is the same Grizzlies lineup that is still missing some key rotational pieces and could also be without Desmond Bane tonight as well. Though Dillon Brooks is also expected to return, there should be a role for Melton tonight within this wing rotation.

Killian Hayes, DET - Not exactly my favorite play in the world with his floor being legitimate single-digit fantasy production and a ceiling that isn't much higher than 25 fantasy points. That said, he should play 25+ minutes here in this one against the Grizzlies and does bring some defensive stat upside. If he can get the shot to fall he can give you 7x return on this price.


Shooting Guard

Jordan Poole, GSW - Ok, so, is Poole the cheapest guy in the world? No, no he is not. However, IF Steph Curry does not play tonight he is likely the BEST VALUE on the board at his price tag given his 32% usage rate when Curry is off the floor this season. In the one game that Poole was active which Curry did not play he went for 32 actual points against the Pistons. Tonight's matchup against the Pelicans is just as juicy and honestly, even if Curry does play, Poole is going to be a pretty chalk play on this small slate.


Small Forward

Marcus Morris (DraftKings), LAC - I mean, I know his numbers against the Timberwolves were not great but we should take into account the fact the blowout limited him to just 24 minutes in that one. Other than that we have seen Morris score 20+ actual points in the previous five games that he played. The price is nice over on DraftKings at just $5,600.

RJ Barrett (FanDuel), NYK - Are we chasing points here? Yeah, I guess we kind of are but there is still no Kemba Walker and Barrett is going to play a ton of minutes here in this game against the Celtics. Boston is on the second night of a back-to-back and while they do play strong defense at the wing, Barrett has had success against the Celtics in previous matchups. I like the play on FanDuel where he is a bit cheaper than on DraftKings.

Mikal Bridges, PHO - Bridges is cheaper than the two above him on all formats but he is a guy that I only play out of necessity. I realize he had 23 points while playing 42 minutes against the Pelicans but anyone who has watched a Suns game would know that he is almost consistently a "weakside" player which means he is generally in the opposite corner of where the basketball is going and largely gets his shots on kickout plays. The offense does not run through him at all and with Cameron Johnson on the floor it goes his way even less sometimes. What he does bring us some defensive upside and most of his shots are from three-point range so if he gets got there is value here.


Power Forward

Cameron Johnson, PHO - Johnson has been a great addition to the Suns starting lineup while Jae Crowder has been out. He is showing the upside that made him a first round pick a few seasons ago and he is becoming a real threat from three-point range. He is going to be a core play for a lot of lineups tonight given the Pelicans struggle to defend the perimeter this season.

Josh Jackson, DET - We will need to see who returns for the Pistons tonight but Jackson has played 20 and 25 minutes in the two games since his return from the COVID list and has put up 37 and 27  fantasy points in those two games. There is definitely a bit of a risk here with Jackson being very boom/bust.



Trey Lyles, DET - We need to know if Isaiah Stewart is going to be active or not. IF Stewart is active, then I am going to play him instead as he too is a nice value but with Lyles in the starting lineup of late in Stewarts place, he too has been a great fantasy option at a great value.

Serge Ibaka, LAC - The Clippers are still without Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein which means Ibaka should continue to be locked into 20-to-22 minutes here. I know that may not seem like a lot but he can be a solid fantasy point per minute player even in his older years.