What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NBA season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the day. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NBA with injury news close to lock, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to our Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each night. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the plays…
Lillard will be no secret tonight, but it’s hard to ignore him as the top overall play on Thursday night. Typically, players like Jokic and Doncic have way higher ceilings than Lillard who is typically very scoring dependent. While he is reliant on scoring, things are easier when you’re scoring at the rate he is — he’s topped 38+ real points in three of his last four games. He also owns the highest ceiling projection in our Projections Portal tonight — higher even than those aforementioned All-Stars. Anfernee Simons remains out for the Blazers tonight — without Simons on the floor this season Lillard’s already insane usage rate spikes to 43%. He also gets a massive fantasy point per minute bump to almost 2.00 full fantasy points per minute. It’s a fantastic match-up against the Kings, in a game with a slate-high 241.5 O/U. I will be building around Dame on both sites tonight.
UPDATE: Lillard and Jerami Grant are out for tonight — Keon Johnson and Nassir Little become great value plays while Luka Doncic becomes the top spend up option.
Kessler has been great for fantasy over the last few weeks — and should continue to see solid minutes with Jarred Vanderbilt out of town. He’s averaging over 1.1 fantasy points per minute as a starter, and could see some more shot attempts with Collin Sexton sidelined. Oklahoma City has been playing smaller lineups the last few weeks – and they currently rank bottom-three in all of basketball in rebounding. Kessler is the exact type of player that can take advantage of smaller lineups and I could see him going for a big double-double on Thursday night.
Talen Horton-Tucker + Killian Hayes
Horton-Tucker is one of the best plays on the slate tonight, so it’s no surprise that he’s popping for over 20% projected ownership. He’s been the biggest beneficiary with Mike Conley and Collin Sexton off the floor — posting over a 24% usage rate and one of the best per minute numbers on the Jazz. He should be in line for solid minutes — we have him projected for mid-20’s tonight and at his per minute output with these guys off the floor that makes him a top value projection in all formats.
Hayes isn’t a must-play for me in tournaments – but the Magic have been a strong match-up for opposing guards and he’s been back in the starting lineup over their last few games. He has one of the better per minute rates on the team – and as long as he sees 30+ minutes he should be in a spot for success in this match-up.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)