Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Thursday

Kyle Anderson merits a streaming consideration for Thursday night with Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels on the injury report. Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

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New this season, ESPN Analytics will also generate daily NBA fantasy projections. By combining historical player and team data and specific game factors ESPN is able to accurately predict player box score stats. Accounting for injuries, trends in playing time, and other factors impacting future performance the statistical models can be used to help NBA fantasy players gain an edge in their league.

What you need to know for Thursday's games

Wednesday's seven-game NBA slate saw some fantasy-relevant news emerge. The Orlando Magic backcourt tandem of Jalen Suggs (rostered in 24.5% of ESPN leagues) and Cole Anthony (32.8%) were both productive in a drubbing of the defenseless Washington Wizards.

Suggs is known to do damage on defense; ranking second in the league in steal percentage while claiming an atypically high block rate for his position. The newfound offense is the important change to his profile. Suggs had 22 points Wednesday night and has scored in double-digits in 11 straight games just a season removed from averaging 9.9 PPG. Anthony delivered 25 points in the win on Wednesday, is proving ascendant as a scorer (23.7 PPG with nearly seven APG over the past week) and is an intriguing candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

One more important note from yesterday was not just the return of CJ McCollum, as the New Orleans Pelicans cruised past a short-handed Philadelphia 76ers, but the fact Trey Murphy III (8.1%) was upgraded to doubtful as he works his way back from offseason surgery. Murphy was a league-winning 3-and-D force last year and his return will prove important for fantasy managers.

Thursday usually features lighter slates in the NBA, but not this week; with the in-season tournament coming up next week, the league is getting games in now. This means we have a nine-game schedule to pore over for fantasy purposes.

The impact injury news for Thursday includes the impending return of Cam Thomas (77%). Thomas averaged nearly 27 PPG prior to his ankle injury and the Brooklyn Nets get a sweet matchup with a porous Charlotte Hornets defense. Speaking of the Hornets, LaMelo Ball will miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury of his own, pushing greater usage for Gordon Hayward (45.4%) and Miles Bridges (73.6%).

The Miami Heat host the Indiana Pacers in a fantasy-friendly matchup. The Pacers rank 28th in defensive rating and first in pace. Tyler Herro remains ruled out, vaulting two key names featured in streaming section below. The total for this eastern-conference showdown is almost at 240 points at ESPN BET, making it a game to target.

Sticking with injury news, rising star Anthony Edwards is listed as doubtful to play the Utah Jazz tonight, while Jaden McDaniels is ruled out. Lineup data reveals Karl-Anthony Towns sees a 10% spike in usage rate with Edwards and McDaniels off the court this season, while a streamer from this roster merits mention.

The final focus is on the Atlanta Hawks visiting the San Antonio Spurs in a game that features two defenses ranked 25th and 27th, respectively. This game features the highest total of the night (248.5). We expand on how to navigate this contest below.

Thursday's Stream Team

This segment nominates three key streaming options ahead of that day's action. A streamer, by our standards, is a player available in at least half of ESPN men's basketball leagues.

Jaime Jaquez Jr., SF, Miami Heat (14.6%)

The absence of Herro combined with Indiana's weak defense and up-tempo offense gives more value for this rising rookie. Jaquez Jr. has averaged roughly 16/5/5 over the past week and is an ideal plug-and-play option at the wing ahead of an inviting matchup with the Pacers.

Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, (19.8%) and Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, (53.7%), Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are similar to the Pacers in that they play little defense and gobs of offense. The absence of Jalen Johnson (wrist) means more exposure for Bey in the rotation, especially against a soft San Antonio defense. Bogdanovic, meanwhile, is the resident playmaker and scorer for the Hawks' second unit, as his shooting and creation savvy are needed to keep the lineup going.

Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves (22.1%)

This is more speculative and predictive, as Anderson hasn't been so great yet this year. But last season, he was a stellar connector and glue guy on both ends for the Timberwolves. With Anthony Edwards' high-usage game potentially off the floor and McDaniels' perimeter defense unavailable, Anderson could thrive on Thursday night.

Duncan Robinson , SG/SF, Miami Heat (17.2%)

The pace-driven climate in the Heat-Pacers game could do wonders for Robinson's shot volume. More shots for one of the league's best shooters is never a bad thing. He has also expanded to add a bit more in other offensive categories, aiding his case as a worthy streamer.

Projections and Injury Reports

Fantasy projections powered by ESPN Analytics.* Projections assume all players who are listed as GTD will play. Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com. Players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues are listed in italics.

Portland Trail Blazers at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland

BPI Projection: Cavaliers by 11.5 in the 9th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Blazers: Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee); Anfernee Simons, (OUT - Thumb); Ish Wainright, (OUT - Knee)
Cavaliers: Ricky Rubio, (OUT - Personal); Dean Wade, (OUT - Ankle); Ty Jerome, (OUT - Ankle)

Blazers projections:

Cavaliers projections:

Charlotte Hornets at Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. Barclays Center, New York

BPI Projection: Nets by 12.2 in the 7th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Hornets: Brandon Miller, (GTD - Ankle); Frank Ntilikina, (OUT - Lower Leg); Nick Richards, (OUT - Concussion); Cody Martin, (OUT - Knee); LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle)
Nets: Cam Thomas, (GTD - Ankle); Dennis Smith Jr., (GTD - Back); Ben Simmons, (OUT - Back); Noah Clowney, (OUT - Shoulder)

Hornets projections:

Nets projections:

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. Kaseya Center, Miami

BPI Projection: Heat by 1.2 in the 3rd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Pacers: Isaiah Jackson, (GTD - Illness); T.J. McConnell, (GTD - Hamstring); Jalen Smith, (OUT - Heel)
Heat: Dru Smith, (OUT - Knee); Bam Adebayo, (GTD - Hip); Duncan Robinson, (GTD - Thumb); Haywood Highsmith, (GTD - Back); Jimmy Butler, (GTD - Ankle); Tyler Herro, (OUT - Ankle); R.J. Hampton, (OUT - Knee)

Pacers projections:

Heat projections:

  • Bam Adebayo, C: 42.6 FPTS (23.5 pts, 10.9 reb, 4.2 ast, 1.3 blk)

  • Jimmy Butler, SF/PF: 33.9 FPTS (20.4 pts, 5.0 reb, 3.7 ast)

  • Kyle Lowry, PG: 24.7 FPTS (9.2 pts, 4.3 reb, 3.9 ast, 1.9 3PM)

  • Josh Richardson, SG/SF: 23.4 FPTS (11.6 pts, 3.1 reb, 2.7 ast)

  • Duncan Robinson, SG/SF: 22.9 FPTS (11.5 pts, 2.7 reb, 2.2 ast, 2.5 3PM)

  • Caleb Martin, SG/SF: 19.8 FPTS (10.4 pts, 4.2 reb, 1.0 ast)

  • Kevin Love, PF/C: 18.2 FPTS (7.5 pts, 5.9 reb, 1.2 ast)

Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York

BPI Projection: Knicks by 13 in the 8th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Pistons: Monte Morris, (OUT - Quadriceps); Bojan Bogdanovic, (GTD - Calf); Joe Harris, (GTD - Shoulder)
Knicks: Ryan Arcidiacono, (GTD - Ankle)

Pistons projections:

Knicks projections:

Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. United Center, Chicago

BPI Projection: Bucks by 6.6 in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Bucks: Jae Crowder, (OUT - Groin); Pat Connaughton, (OUT - Ankle)
Bulls: Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Alex Caruso, (GTD - Toe); DeMar DeRozan, (GTD - Ankle); Zach LaVine, (GTD - Foot)

Bucks projections:

Bulls projections:

Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. Target Center, Minneapolis

BPI Projection: Timberwolves by 10.9 in the 5th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Jazz: Kris Dunn, (GTD - Personal); Lauri Markkanen, (OUT - Hamstring)
Timberwolves: Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles); Anthony Edwards, (GTD - Hip); Jaden McDaniels, (OUT - Ankle); Jordan McLaughlin, (OUT - Knee)

Jazz projections:

Timberwolves projections:

Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder
8 p.m. Paycom Center, Oklahoma City

BPI Projection: Thunder by 6.5 in the 2nd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Lakers: Jarred Vanderbilt, (GTD - Heel); Jaxson Hayes, (GTD - Elbow); Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee); Rui Hachimura, (OUT - Nose)
Thunder: None reported

Lakers projections:

Thunder projections:

Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m. Frost Bank Center, San Antonio

BPI Projection: Hawks by 9.2 in the highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Hawks: Kobe Bufkin, (OUT - Thumb); Mouhamed Gueye, (OUT - Back); Jalen Johnson, (OUT - Wrist)
Spurs: Jeremy Sochan, (GTD - Knee); Victor Wembanyama, (GTD - Hip)

Hawks projections:

Spurs projections:

LA Clippers at Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. Chase Center, San Francisco

BPI Projection: Warriors by 2.5 in the 6th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Clippers: Mason Plumlee, (OUT - Knee); Brandon Boston Jr., (GTD - Quadriceps); Norman Powell, (GTD - Leg)
Warriors: Gary Payton II, (OUT - Calf); Chris Paul, (OUT - Lower Leg); Usman Garuba, (OUT - Finger)

Clippers projections:

  • Paul George, SG/SF/PF: 47.9 FPTS (27.0 pts, 6.0 reb, 3.9 ast, 3.2 3PM)

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF: 39.5 FPTS (21.0 pts, 5.0 reb, 3.4 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • James Harden, PG/SG: 33.7 FPTS (14.2 pts, 4.9 reb, 6.0 ast, 1.8 3PM)

  • Russell Westbrook, PG: 25.6 FPTS (11.6 pts, 4.7 reb, 4.2 ast)

  • Ivica Zubac, C: 22.2 FPTS (11.1 pts, 8.4 reb, 0.8 ast, 1.4 blk)

  • Terance Mann, SG/SF: 17.0 FPTS (6.9 pts, 3.8 reb, 1.4 ast)

  • Norman Powell, SG/SF: 16.3 FPTS (10.2 pts, 1.9 reb, 1.1 ast)

Warriors projections: