Trail Blazers Defeat Lakers; Spoil Lebron James's Debut in LA
The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Lebron's debut with Los Angeles. What happened?
Last night was a little bit of a dud for us in this column, but we still managed to give away some solid value. Eric Gordon was eventually ruled out and Pau Gasol had an off-night from the field, but still managed to net DFS players 34 fantasy points. Spencer Dinwiddie finished with a double-double and Josh Richardson was our best giveaway of the night, finishing with 47.3 fantasy points. Here are our FanDuel and DraftKings NBA sleepers for Thursday, Feb. 8.
The Raptors host the short-handed Knicks at home on Thursday night in a game that could get out of hand by halftime. That would leave plenty of playing time for the Raptors’ younger backcourt players and Fred VanVleet has shown the ability to put up some nice all-around stat lines when given the opportunity to produce.
In VanVleet’s last seven games, he has topped 35 fantasy points three times and he’s eclipsed the 20-point mark in three straight and four of his last five contests overall.
He seems to have overtaken Delon Wright as the first guard off of the bench and VanVleet comes in shooting a respectable 43.2 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three-point range this season.
After scoring in double-figures for five straight games off of the bench, look for VanVleet to be a very sneaky sleeper play if the Raptors can take care of business and blow out the Knicks on Thursday night.
Tim Hardaway Jr. limped off of the court against the Bucks with an apparent injury; however, it doesn’t appear to be anything serious, as he was cleared for Thursday’s game against the Raptors.
The Knicks will be severely short-handed in this one, which leads me to believe Hardaway could be asked to handle a big chunk of the load on offense. New York already lost Kristaps Porzingis for the season with a torn ACL and the team will also be without big man Enes Kanter for this game.
Hardaway has been ice cold from the field as of late, making just 9 of his last 46 attempts from the field over his last four games. He scored in single-digits in all four of those contests, so most casual fantasy players will likely shy away from him.
Don’t get spooked by his recent production. At his price, Hardaway offers tremendous value at the shooting guard position and could end up a must-own player in GPPs tonight.
Mario Hezonja has been one of several Orlando Magic players expected to be available at the trade deadline, so it will be interesting to see if he ends up available for this game. The 22-year-old from Croatia will likely draw plenty of interest from teams, and rightfully so, because Hezonja has been on fire from beyond the arc as of late.
His numbers don’t jump off of the page, but he’s played well when given the opportunity to produce. He comes in averaging just 7.9 points per game this season, but that number jumps up to 14.6 points per game as a starter. He’s also shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range in games that he starts, compared to just 31.5 percent when coming off of the bench this year.
Over his last five games, Hezonja is averaging 15.2 points per game on 50.9 percent shooting form the field and 57.1 percent shooting from three-point range on 5.6 attempts from deep per game.
With Aaron Gordon already announced as out for Thursday’s game against the Hawks, look for Hezonja to have another productive night.
The power forward position is slim on Thursday night, which has me leaning towards a little riskier of a sleeper play. Marcus Morris’ role has been inconsistent with the Celtics this season and he’s coming off of a hip injury that caused him to miss two games at the beginning of February. However, he returned to play 29 minutes against the Raptors on Tuesday night and was playing minutes in the 25-30 range before he got hurt.
The Celtics-Wizards rivalry may have died down a bit this season, but Morris will likely be a little more amped up for this game than most of his teammates, as he will get to go up against his brother Markieff in this matchup.
Both Morris brothers will be on my radar for tonight’s game, but with Marcus being the cheaper of the two players, he qualified as more of a sleeper for this column. To find out how the Morris brothers have fared against one another in the past, click here.
Kyle O’Quinn has long been one of the Knicks most active and productive big men on a per-minute basis. He enters Friday’s matchup against the Raptors with a PER of 19.39, however, he’s averaging just 16.6 minutes per game this year. O’Quinn will likely see a major boost in floor time on Thursday, as both Kanter and Porzingis will be missing from the Knicks’ front line.
It doesn’t happen often, but when O’Quinn plays more than 20 minutes on a given night, he offers fantasy owners tremendous value. Since January, O’Quinn has played 20 or more minutes just six times. In those six games, he is averaging 29.05 FanDuel points per game.
Now with Kanter out and Willy Hernangomez gone, it is possible that O’Quinn could see minutes into the 30s in this game. That bodes well for fantasy owners looking to cheap out at the center position tonight. Look for O’Quinn to finish Thursday’s game with a solid all-around stat line.