Thursday night brings us just four NBA games, but it's an exciting slate, thanks in part to Kawhi Leonard returning after getting a load management day on Wednesday.
With limited options, it's that much more important to make the right NBA fantasy plays for the night. Here are five options to consider for Thursday night's schedule.
1. Kawhi Leonard, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
The marquee player on the slate, Kawhi Leonard is also the marquee fantasy option. He's handling a massive 40.1% usage rate to open his tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers, and while some of his per-36 minute numbers are unsustainably high (namely his 34.6 points, which are 6.4 more than his previous career-high), this massive usage should continue to lead to career-best efficiency, at least until Paul George returns. He's not playing huge minutes, but he's well rested tonight and this game doesn't carry huge blowout risk, with the Clippers favored by 5.5 points on FanDuel Sportsbook, so Kawhi should get plenty of run tonight.
2. C.J. McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers
Seeing a slightly expanded offensive role this year, C.J. McCollum's 27.1 percent usage rate sits well ahead of his 25.5 percent mark from last year. His .453 effective field goal percentage has held his production back, but when you consider his .527 mark last season and .520 career-average, this small-sample slump doesn't bring any concerns moving forward. This matchup against the Clippers has a slate-high 229-point over/under, and McCollum's fingerprints should be all over the Portland Trail Blazers' offensive production.
3. Landry Shamet, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
Sometimes, especially with as few games to choose from as we have tonight, you'll need to make some compromises with underwhelming players in your fantasy lineups. Landry Shamet is averaging 11.3 points, 2.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds per 36 minutes, but his playing time gives him both a reasonable floor and some intriguing upside for a player as overlooked as he is. He's averaging 30.7 minutes per game as the Clippers' starting point guard, and his offensive usage gives him more scoring upside than he's shown off so far this year, with 6.1 of his 8.5 field goal attempts per game coming from 3-point range.
4. Dario Saric, PF, Phoenix Suns
Dario Saric is another unexciting-but-solid option for tonight. He produces in most areas of the stat sheet, averaging 8.9 points, 6.4 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 27.0 minutes per game through his first seven with the Phoenix Suns. Tonight's game against the Miami Heat has some shootout potential, as both teams rank top-12 in both pace and points per game, which gives a nice boost to everyone's fantasy value in this one.
5. Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Steven Adams' offensive production is down to start the year, and his 3.0 made field goals and 7.0 points per game are both his fewest since his rookie season. He's averaging a career-best 11.6 boards, though, and his offensive production should bounce back some, as his .385 field goal percentage is miles below even his career-worst mark of .503. Pairing a bounce-back on offense with his outstanding 2019-20 rebounding numbers (it's no coincidence they're up with Russell Westbrook gone) gives Adams far more upside than we've seen so far this year.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.