There are 12 games of NBA today and it’s the last big day of basketball before the All-Star Break, so get involved in the NBA Thursday Monster for a shot at the $5,000 prize pool!

NBA THURSDAY MONSTER

Point Guard

Ish Smith – $7,300

I truly miss the time when Ish Smith was an auto-play at around the $3,800-$5,000 mark. His production has been so fantastic since moving to the 76ers that his price has risen from $3,800 to $7,300. Because of his excellent matchup against the Sacramento Kings, he’s back in consideration for your Moneyball lineup today. The Kings vs. 76ers game has an expected total of 218.5 and is anticipated to be a fast-paced high-scoring affair.

Derrick Rose – $6,300

Apologies to those that played Derrick Rose after my recommendation on Tuesday’s slate of NBA – he ended up being a late out due to ‘general soreness’.

Let’s put our saltiness aside for just a second, though, because he’s in play today for the same reasons. His usage rate with Butler is 26.6, but with Butler missing from the team it jumps to a massive 33.7. It’s translated to fantasy production as well because Rose is averaging 36.6 fantasy points over his last five games.

Also consider:

E’Twaun Moore – $3,500

Shooting Guard

Kent Bazemore – $5,200

Kent Bazemore is starting to produce some excellent fantasy scores and it’s all happening regardless of whether he is shooting efficiently. In his last game, against the Magic, he shot at 25% from the field, managing only 5 points, but was still able to score 27.6 fantasy points on the back of 13 rebounds and 4 assists. If you manage to play him on a night that he shoots the ball well also, you’re looking at 35+ points from just $5,200 salary.

There’s every reason this is possible against a Bulls team that is missing defensive stopper Jimmy Butler today.

Marco Belinelli – $3,800

Marco Belinelli could prove to be a fascinating point of difference today on Moneyball. Although he had been having one of the worst months of his career, he was promoted to the starting lineup and will remain there for today’s game against the 76ers.

Through the five games he has started, Belinelli has averaged 21.6 fantasy points on 14.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2 assists per game. This five-game stretch includes the one dud game against the Cavaliers in which he managed just 9.5 fantasy points.

Belinelli has the type of ceiling that is required in a tournament, but his salary is low enough that he is also a low-risk selection at a weak position today as well.

Small Forward

Jeff Green – $6,000

I never thought I’d be recommending Jeff Green at $6,000, and I still don’t want to, but with Marc Gasol missing games indefinitely with a broken foot it should result in increased production from players like Jeff Green and Matt Barnes. This one is more so an attempt at trying to beat the crowd here before it’s too popular, as many entrants will be playing Zach Randolph today as their primary beneficiary of the Gasol injury. It’s unknown just how much this can benefit Green, but if it provides any sort of increased production for Green, we want to be the first to jump on because it could take us all the way to sweet Thursday Monster victory.

Stanley Johnson – $4,700

Stanley Johnson is yet another guy I’ve wanted to play at times this season, but it’s been difficult considering his erratic minutes and production. However, with Ersan Ilyasova missing games due to illness, it’s allowed Johnson to break into the 30+ minute territory, and he has been a wild ride for fantasy owners since then.

Johnson is averaging 27.8 fantasy points through his last four games, which is more so a reflection of the 36.5 minutes per game he has received. His average may be skewed a little due to a monster game against the Knicks (44.3 fantasy points).

Johnson’s matchup against the Nuggets today is a highly favorable one.

Power Forward

Zach Randolph – $6,000

The power forward position, like most days, is one full of chalk plays. Starting with Zach Randolph, he is going to be one difficult player to avoid today in all formats on Moneyball.

Now that Marc Gasol is sidelined with a broken foot, it’s allowed Grizzlies players like Zach Randolph and Mark Conley to step it up another level in his absence. With Ryan Hollins the backup center for the Grizzlies, it’s no surprise that Zach Randolph enjoys close to a 16% usage rate increase.

There’s probably no better play today than Zach Randolph, who will be spoon-fed the ball in the post all night long against the weak Brooklyn Nets defense.

Markieff Morris – $5,200

Markieff’s resurgence is amazing. I wrote about it when I recommended Markieff on Tuesday, and he backed it up with a 35.6 fantasy point performance. He is the new face of the Suns offense and has enjoyed plenty of minutes, something that he never received under ex-coach Jeff Hornacek this season. The change in coach has worked wonders for Markieff, who is now averaging 36.3 fantasy points over his last five games.

Even in his matchup against the Draymond Green and the Warriors tonight, he’s hard to ignore.

Also consider:

Derrick Favors – $6,500

Center

Al Horford – $7,100

Here’s another point of difference for your lineup today – Al Horford. The Hawks big man has been up-and-down recently, but that’s just been a direct result of his fluctuating minutes. Now that his minutes are approaching 35 per game again, his fantasy production has risen as well. Through his last three games, Horford has managed 37.4 fantasy points on 19.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

Horford enjoys a decent matchup against the Chicago Bulls today who are suffering from a plague of injuries across their starting lineup.

Myles Turner – $5,400

This guy just doesn’t stop. Like most guys that I recommended on Tuesday’s slate, Myles Turner is in excellent form, and it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon. Through 12 games, his lowest fantasy score is 21.4, and he has also managed two scores of 41.4 or more.

Turner has a neutral matchup today against the Charlotte Hornets, but don’t let that stop you because he is an attractive option at center if you are looking to spend up big elsewhere today.

 

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