Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Thursday

Precious Achiuwa should see an increased opportunity on Thursday night with the Knicks dealing with a plethora of injuries in the frontcourt. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN's proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. Fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

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

The All-Star break has concluded, which leads to a dozen games to sift through for fantasy purposes. Thursday evening, we get a look at how Kevin Ollie plans to deploy the Brooklyn Nets' rotation now that he's been given head coaching duties and while there are also several emergent young players around the league to track as the post-break stretch ensues.

One such name is Tre Mann (rostered in 12.6% of ESPN leagues) of the Charlotte Hornets. Mann has stepped up for the Hornets as a key scoring and playmaking source since joining the team in the Gordon Hayward deal. With LaMelo Ball still ruled out because of a lingering ankle injury ahead of Thursday night's road matchup against the Utah Jazz, Mann should continue to consume plenty of possessions.

In that same matchup, it could prove rewarding to find roster space for rookie guard Keyonte George (13.8%). After all, his final performance before the break included a career-best 33 points. The staff is trusting him as a starting cog once again, so maybe we should too?

In regard to the injury report Thursday night, we find the New York Knicks still without OG Anunoby, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson in the lineup against the Philadelphia 76ers, without reigning MVP Joel Embiid. The fantasy fallout of the Knicks' absences leads to more interest in Donte DiVincenzo (53.2%) and the tandem of Precious Achiuwa (23.6%) and Isaiah Hartenstein (40.8%).

Despite being busy in the All-Star game, it looks like we won't see LeBron James on the floor against the rival Golden State Warriors Thursday night, which likely leads to a bigger workload for Anthony Davis and the Lakers' backcourt. It could be worth giving Rui Hachimura (11.0%) given his recent run of success.

Get those lineups set and remember to prove proactive on the waiver wire, as every NBA campaign includes several players who erupt from fantasy free agency amid the post-break sprint. There are just shy of 30 games on the schedule remaining for each team, or about a third of the regular season bandwidth, and many teams will pivot to young or emergent talents to simply see what they have.

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.

Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, New York Knicks (Rostered in 23.6% of ESPN leagues)

The likely return of Hartenstein could cloud Achiuwa's role to a degree, but we also can assume big minutes given how much Tom Thibodeau has trusted him to clean the glass and protect the rim in recent weeks. Such trust from Thibodeau is often sticky, which leads to continued success against smaller lineups such as the Philadelphia 76ers.

Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Washington Wizards (52.8%)

Avdija had a career outing prior to the break, but we simply need to see more consistency. Can Avdija hold his own against Denver's gifted frontcourt? We will find out later Thursday night.

Tre Mann, PG, Charlotte Hornets (12.6%)

Mann has flirted with triple-double outcomes as a high-usage guard for the Hornets in recent outings. Mann has been the man lately and with a soft matchup against an undersized Utah Jazz backcourt, he is poised to produce.

Paul Reed, PF/C, Philadelphia 76ers (14.1%)

Nick Nurse doesn't have a lot of frontcourt options as the 76ers roster lacks size without Joel Embiid. This likely leads to a big workload for Reed, who has been much better on the glass in recent games.

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.

Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland

BPI Projection: Cavaliers in the 12th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Magic: Markelle Fultz, (OUT - Knee)
Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell, (GTD - Illness); Tristan Thompson, (OUT - Suspension); Ty Jerome, (OUT - Ankle)

Magic projections:

Cavaliers projections:

Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers
7 p.m. Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis

BPI Projection: Pacers in the 2nd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Pistons: Cade Cunningham, (GTD - Knee); Isaiah Stewart, (GTD - Ankle); Quentin Grimes, (GTD - Knee)
Pacers: Jalen Smith, (GTD - Back); Aaron Nesmith, (OUT - Lower Leg)

Pistons projections:

Pacers projections:

New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
7 p.m. Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

BPI Projection: 76ers in the 8th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Knicks: Bojan Bogdanovic, (GTD - Calf); Duane Washington Jr., (GTD - Thumb); Isaiah Hartenstein, (GTD - Achilles); Julius Randle, (OUT - Shoulder); OG Anunoby, (OUT - Elbow); Mitchell Robinson, (OUT - Ankle)
76ers: Nicolas Batum, (GTD - Hamstring); De'Anthony Melton, (OUT - Back); Robert Covington, (OUT - Knee); Joel Embiid, (OUT - Knee)

Knicks projections:

76ers projections:

  • Tyrese Maxey, PG/SG: 49.9 FPTS (25.1 pts, 3.4 reb, 5.8 ast, 3.0 3PM)

  • Tobias Harris, SF/PF: 37.7 FPTS (17.2 pts, 4.8 reb, 3.5 ast)

  • Kelly Oubre Jr., SF/PF: 32.7 FPTS (17.5 pts, 4.5 reb, 1.2 ast)

  • Buddy Hield, SG/SF: 28.2 FPTS (9.2 pts, 2.9 reb, 3.4 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Paul Reed, PF/C: 22.9 FPTS (8.6 pts, 7.2 reb, 1.4 ast)

  • Cameron Payne, PG: 17.1 FPTS (6.2 pts, 1.5 reb, 2.4 ast)

  • Mo Bamba, C: 15.3 FPTS (5.1 pts, 4.7 reb, 0.8 ast)

Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors
7 p.m. Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

BPI Projection: Raptors in the 11th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Nets: Dariq Whitehead, (OUT - Lower Leg)
Raptors: None reported

Nets projections:

Raptors projections:

  • Scottie Barnes, SF/PF: 46.4 FPTS (19.7 pts, 7.1 reb, 6.4 ast, 1.8 3PM, 1.3 blk)

  • RJ Barrett, SG/SF: 40.3 FPTS (21.6 pts, 4.7 reb, 3.5 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • Immanuel Quickley, PG/SG: 32.9 FPTS (15.6 pts, 3.3 reb, 3.9 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Jakob Poeltl, C: 27.8 FPTS (10.5 pts, 8.0 reb, 2.0 ast)

  • Kelly Olynyk, PF/C: 23.8 FPTS (7.8 pts, 4.3 reb, 3.6 ast)

  • Gary Trent Jr., PG/SG: 21.1 FPTS (10.7 pts, 2.0 reb, 1.0 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Bruce Brown, SG/SF: 20.0 FPTS (7.7 pts, 3.3 reb, 1.8 ast)

Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks
7:30 p.m. American Airlines Center, Dallas

BPI Projection: Suns in the 6th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Suns: Bradley Beal, (GTD - Hamstring); Damion Lee, (OUT - Knee)
Mavericks: Dereck Lively II, (GTD - Nose); Luka Doncic, (GTD - Nose); Maxi Kleber, (GTD - Toe); Dante Exum, (OUT - Knee)

Suns projections:

  • Devin Booker, PG/SG/PF: 57.1 FPTS (29.2 pts, 5.5 reb, 6.5 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • Kevin Durant, SF/PF: 54.9 FPTS (27.5 pts, 7.0 reb, 5.6 ast)

  • Bradley Beal, PG/SG: 40.9 FPTS (18.3 pts, 4.5 reb, 5.1 ast)

  • Jusuf Nurkic, C: 32.0 FPTS (11.0 pts, 9.0 reb, 3.4 ast)

  • Grayson Allen, SG: 28.7 FPTS (9.7 pts, 4.5 reb, 3.2 ast, 1.8 3PM)

  • Eric Gordon, SG/SF: 22.0 FPTS (9.0 pts, 2.2 reb, 2.0 ast, 1.9 3PM)

  • David Roddy, PF: 19.0 FPTS (8.6 pts, 4.2 reb, 1.2 ast)

Mavericks projections:

Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. United Center, Chicago

BPI Projection: Celtics in the 7th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Celtics: Jaden Springer, (GTD - Ankle)
Bulls: Patrick Williams, (OUT - Foot); Torrey Craig, (OUT - Knee); Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Zach LaVine, (OUT - Foot)

Celtics projections:

  • Jayson Tatum, SF/PF: 53.7 FPTS (27.9 pts, 7.7 reb, 4.8 ast, 3.1 3PM)

  • Jaylen Brown, SG/SF: 36.4 FPTS (18.0 pts, 4.4 reb, 3.1 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • Jrue Holiday, PG/SG: 35.9 FPTS (14.1 pts, 5.3 reb, 4.9 ast, 1.8 3PM)

  • Derrick White, PG/SG: 33.8 FPTS (14.4 pts, 3.5 reb, 4.2 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C: 33.1 FPTS (17.5 pts, 5.8 reb, 1.8 ast, 1.4 blk)

  • Xavier Tillman, PF/C: 15.2 FPTS (6.0 pts, 2.8 reb, 1.2 ast)

  • Sam Hauser, SF: 13.9 FPTS (5.6 pts, 2.2 reb, 0.8 ast)

Bulls projections:

Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans
8 p.m. Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

BPI Projection: Pelicans in the 10th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Rockets: Reggie Bullock Jr., (GTD - Back); Tari Eason, (OUT - Lower Leg); Steven Adams, (OUT - Knee)
Pelicans: Brandon Ingram, (GTD - Illness); Cody Zeller, (GTD - Knee); Dyson Daniels, (OUT - Knee)

Rockets projections:

Pelicans projections:

LA Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
8 p.m. Paycom Center, Oklahoma City

BPI Projection: Thunder in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Clippers: None reported
Thunder: None reported

Clippers projections:

Thunder projections:

Washington Wizards at Denver Nuggets
9 p.m. Ball Arena, Denver

BPI Projection: Nuggets in the 9th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Wizards: Isaiah Livers, (OUT - Hip)
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, (GTD - Lower Leg); Julian Strawther, (GTD - Ankle); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, (GTD - Hamstring); Hunter Tyson, (OUT - Finger); Vlatko Cancar, (NA - Knee)

Wizards projections:

Nuggets projections:

Charlotte Hornets at Utah Jazz
9 p.m. Delta Center, Salt Lake City

BPI Projection: Jazz in the highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Hornets: LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle); Mark Williams, (OUT - Back)
Jazz: Otto Porter Jr., (OUT - Not Injury Related)

Hornets projections:

  • Miles Bridges, SF/PF: 43.1 FPTS (21.0 pts, 6.5 reb, 3.9 ast, 2.3 3PM)

  • Brandon Miller, SG/SF: 33.6 FPTS (17.4 pts, 4.0 reb, 2.3 ast, 2.3 3PM)

  • Nick Richards, C: 24.7 FPTS (10.1 pts, 8.8 reb, 0.9 ast, 1.2 blk)

  • Cody Martin, SF: 22.9 FPTS (9.0 pts, 3.5 reb, 3.0 ast)

  • Kyle Lowry, PG: 20.7 FPTS (5.3 pts, 2.6 reb, 3.4 ast)

  • Tre Mann, PG: 20.0 FPTS (7.3 pts, 3.8 reb, 2.5 ast)

  • Grant Williams, PF: 19.5 FPTS (8.0 pts, 3.2 reb, 1.4 ast)

Jazz projections:

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. Chase Center, San Francisco

BPI Projection: Warriors in the 5th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD - Achilles); Cam Reddish, (GTD - Ankle); Max Christie, (GTD - Ankle); LeBron James, (OUT - Ankle); Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee); Jarred Vanderbilt, (OUT - Foot); Christian Wood, (OUT - Knee)
Warriors: Gary Payton II, (GTD - Illness); Chris Paul, (OUT - Hand)

Lakers projections:

Warriors projections:

San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings
10 p.m. Golden 1 Center, Sacramento

BPI Projection: Kings in the 3rd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Spurs: Marcus Morris Sr., (OUT - Not Injury Related); Charles Bassey, (OUT - Knee)
Kings: Domantas Sabonis, (GTD - Illness); Sasha Vezenkov, (OUT - Ankle)

Spurs projections:

Kings projections:

  • De'Aaron Fox, PG: 55.9 FPTS (26.5 pts, 4.1 reb, 5.5 ast, 2.9 3PM)

  • Domantas Sabonis, PF/C: 52.9 FPTS (19.1 pts, 12.2 reb, 7.1 ast)

  • Malik Monk, SG/SF: 32.5 FPTS (14.4 pts, 3.1 reb, 4.3 ast, 2.3 3PM)

  • Keegan Murray, SF/PF: 28.7 FPTS (12.9 pts, 4.8 reb, 1.5 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Kevin Huerter, SG/SF: 25.6 FPTS (10.7 pts, 3.9 reb, 1.9 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • Harrison Barnes, SF/PF: 23.3 FPTS (11.1 pts, 2.8 reb, 1.0 ast)

  • Trey Lyles, PF: 19.8 FPTS (8.5 pts, 4.7 reb, 1.0 ast)