Jeremy Lin ($4200, 22.1 USG) – The pickings are slim this Thursday with only 3 slated games so we’re not going to love many of these values, but there are still some we can exploit. Let’s start with Jeremy Lin. Lin has already been playing a major role for the Hornets, being the first guy off the bench. He’s playing close to 25 minutes a game and has exceeded value in 5 out of his last 6. Here’s the cherry on top: Nicholas Batum left yesterday’s game in this 3rd quarter with an illness and didn’t return. I’d peg him more on the doubtful side for tonight’s contest against Toronto so if he were to sit, Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb (see below) would be the main beneficiaries. Lin’s USG% jumps up a tad to 23.6 without Batum (and Jefferson) so it’s nothing to overly get excited about but it’s something. Also something to not get overly excited about is this game, as it holds the lowest over/under on the night at 195.5. The only thing I’m likely to use this game for is value so I can load up on key players from the Rockets/Lakers game, which is easily the highest expected score of the night (over/under 213.5).
Jeremy Lamb ($4300, 22.8 USG) – Nobody benefits more with Batum’s absence than Jeremy Lamb. Lamb’s USG% jumps up to 28.5 when Batum and Jefferson are off the court. To put that in perspective, John Wall owns a 28.6 USG% and Kevin Durant owns a 28.4 USG%. Need more convincing? Without Batum last night, Lamb finished with 16 points on 7-10 shooting, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals (35.8 DK points) in only 24 minutes. If Batum is ruled out tonight, I can see him getting near 30 min which is all he should need to pay off his salary and more.
Corey Brewer ($4200, 18.6 USG) – There’s not much salary relief at the small forward position tonight so we’ll take a look at Corey Brewer because of recent production. Brewer has failed to meet value only once over his last 5 games and is playing in the highest over/under on the night. It doesn’t hurt that in only 17 minutes played against these same Lakers on Saturday, he totaled 26.5 DK points (7 points, 4 assists, 4 steals). Brewer doesn’t need much playing time to pay off his salary as he’s only topped the 30 min mark once over that 5 game span. I just love the idea of loading up on as many players as possible in this game, so using Brewer as exposure isn’t the worst of ways to do so.
Donatas Motiejunas ($3800, 27.2 USG) – I’m gonna keep going back to the Donatas well until it kills me because simply put, he’s the best power forward the Rockets have and only priced this cheap because he’s still playing his way back from offseason back surgery. The Rockets might have realized this too just recently because on Tuesday night with Capela and Jones both being available to play, they chose to start Motiejunas instead. He only played 14 minutes but I think it’s a sign of things to come and helps Capela and Jones to get accustomed to their new roles on the bench. I’m hoping to get word sooner rather than later about the Rockets starting lineup. If he’s starting again, he’s a must play for me going against a Lakers team that’s 24th in DvP (power forward). If they go back to Capela, he’s still a viable punt but not nearly as attractive.
Bismack Biyombo ($4800, 11.8 USG) – I think I’m more likely to pay up for Dwight Howard tonight but if you chose to punt the position, Biyombo has the revenge game narrative going for him playing against his former team on the road. As mentioned above, you should only want to use this game for value and Bismack does provide some. Charlotte gives up the 8th most fantasy points to opposing centers (50 DKPT) and 21st overall in DvP (center). Roy Hibbert also makes for a nice cheap play if you wanted some more exposure to the Lakers/Rockets game and has been a surprisingly steady source of fantasy production. He may see a few more minutes with no one else on the Lakers being big enough to help defend Howard.