Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Thursday

Josh Hart has an opportunity to let his diverse skillset shine in a favorable matchup at home against the Golden State Warriors Thursday night. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

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What you need to know for Thursday's games

A more balanced NBA schedule in the wake of the All-Star break features an exciting eight-game slate on the final day of February.

With just two teams (Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers) playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, fantasy managers will thankfully get some fresh legs and projectable rotations for Thursday night's action.

Sixteen teams will be active, so it's helpful to consult official injury reports first to decipher which rosters and rotations are likely to change with any absences or limited players.

The marquee matchup is in Madison Square Garden as the Golden State Warriors take on the New York Knicks. The Warriors will be without Andrew Wiggins (personal reasons), and the Knicks are down starters OG Anunoby, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. Even star guard Jalen Brunson is listed as questionable. Suffice to say, our Stream Team section leans on this contest for several actionable paths to production.

The Atlanta Hawks continue to find new form in the games since Trae Young went down with a hand injury. Onyeka Okongwu is also out tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, adding to Jalen Johnson's league-winning appeal down the stretch. Johnson sees sizable spikes in usage and DFS production when Young and Okongwu are both off the floor. Saddiq Bey and De'Andre Hunter also garner attention.

For the Nets, targeting Dennis Schroder in DFS and offensive props appears prudent given his sizable leap in usage. He has averaged nearly seven more DraftKings points per 36 minutes with Cam Thomas off the floor this season. Check out the Stream Team for the fantasy fallout of yet another likely absence for LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets.

There are three games with totals above 230 points at ESPN BET, including a battle of Rookie of the Year candidates when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Oklahoma City Thunder, a matchup between the young Houston Rockets and the veteran-laden Phoenix Suns and the Washington Wizards facing a gritty Los Angeles Lakers team just three games back of the No. 5 seed in the West with 22 games left to play.

Given the lack of clear high-end fantasy climates, Thursday's slate seems like the perfect time to lean on our streaming tier for actionable transactions.

Thursday's Stream Team

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

Josh Hart, SG/SF, New York Knicks (47.1%)

The Knicks are somewhat sizable home dogs against the Warriors as oddsmakers likely suspect Brunson might not be active or at full strength. If Brunson is unable to go or has a reduced role, Hart should be able to showcase his diverse skill set on a national stage. Donte DiVincenzo and even Bojan Bogdanovic also surface as useful fantasy options given the Knicks injury-riddled roster.

Tre Mann, PG, Charlotte Hornets (9.7%)

Mann becomes the man at the helm of the Hornets' offense with Ball out. His first few games with Charlotte set a high bar, but he is still capable of hovering around 20 points with nice peripherals.

Brandin Podziemski, SG, Golden State Warriors (16.2%)

Podziemski will likely see more run with Andrew Wiggins out. He has the skill set to build productive lines with big assist and rebounding totals. Klay Thompson and Dario Saric also stand to benefit from Wiggins' absence against the Knicks.

Rui Hachimura SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers (13.0%)

While LeBron James was at the center of Wednesday night's epic fourth-quarter comeback over the LA Clippers, Hachimura also thrived with efficient shot-making and savvy cutting skills. The Lakers have an ideal matchup against Hachimura's former team, the Washington Wizards.

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.

Milwaukee Bucks at Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

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

Injury Report:
Bucks: Andre Jackson Jr., (GTD - Illness); Giannis Antetokounmpo, (GTD - Knee); MarJon Beauchamp, (GTD - Illness); Khris Middleton, (OUT - Ankle)
Hornets: LaMelo Ball, (OUT - Ankle); Mark Williams, (OUT - Back)

Bucks projections:

Hornets projections:

Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic
7 p.m. Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

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

Injury Report:
Jazz: Walker Kessler, (GTD - Foot); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT - Not Injury Related)
Magic: Jonathan Isaac, (GTD - Illness); Paolo Banchero, (GTD - Illness)

Jazz projections:

Magic projections:

Atlanta Hawks at Brooklyn Nets
7:30 p.m. Barclays Center, New York

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

Injury Report:
Hawks: Mouhamed Gueye, (GTD - Back); Onyeka Okongwu, (OUT - Toe); Trae Young, (OUT - Finger)
Nets: Cam Thomas, (OUT - Ankle); Dariq Whitehead, (OUT - Lower Leg)

Hawks projections:

Nets projections:

Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York

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

Injury Report:

Warriors: Andrew Wiggins, (OUT - Personal); Gui Santos, (OUT - Knee)
Knicks: Jalen Brunson, (GTD - Neck); Duane Washington Jr., (OUT - Thumb); Julius Randle, (OUT - Shoulder); OG Anunoby, (OUT - Elbow); Mitchell Robinson, (OUT - Ankle)

Warriors projections:

Knicks projections:

Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
8:30 p.m. Frost Bank Center, San Antonio

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

Injury Report:
Thunder: None reported
Spurs: Marcus Morris Sr., (OUT - Not Injury Related); Charles Bassey, (OUT - Knee)

Thunder projections:

Spurs projections:

Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns
9 p.m. Footprint Center, Phoenix

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

Injury Report:
Rockets: Tari Eason, (OUT - Lower Leg); Steven Adams, (OUT - Knee)
Suns: Bradley Beal, (GTD - Hamstring); Eric Gordon, (GTD - Groin); Jusuf Nurkic, (GTD - Ankle); Damion Lee, (OUT - Knee)

Rockets projections:

Suns projections:

  • Kevin Durant, SF/PF: 48.8 FPTS (30.1 pts, 6.4 reb, 6.1 ast, 1.8 3PM)

  • Devin Booker, PG/SG/PF: 48.3 FPTS (29.2 pts, 4.9 reb, 6.0 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • Jusuf Nurkic, C: 25.9 FPTS (11.2 pts, 8.1 reb, 3.6 ast)

  • Grayson Allen, SG: 24.3 FPTS (10.3 pts, 4.0 reb, 3.4 ast, 1.9 3PM)

  • Eric Gordon, SG/SF: 20.3 FPTS (10.7 pts, 2.0 reb, 2.1 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Royce O'Neale, SF: 17.0 FPTS (6.4 pts, 3.9 reb, 1.9 ast)

  • Drew Eubanks, PF: 13.7 FPTS (6.5 pts, 3.8 reb, 1.1 ast)

Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets
10 p.m. Ball Arena, Denver

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

Injury Report:
Heat: Orlando Robinson, (GTD - Back); Tyler Herro, (GTD - Knee); Josh Richardson, (OUT - Shoulder); Kevin Love, (OUT - Heel); Thomas Bryant, (OUT - Suspension); Dru Smith, (OUT - Knee)
Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar, (OUT - Knee)

Heat projections:

Nuggets projections:

Washington Wizards at Los Angeles Lakers
10:30 p.m. Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

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

Injury Report:
Wizards: Deni Avdija, (GTD - Heel); Bilal Coulibaly, (OUT - Pelvis); Isaiah Livers, (OUT - Hip)
Lakers: Gabe Vincent, (OUT - Knee); Jarred Vanderbilt, (OUT - Foot); Christian Wood, (OUT - Knee); Colin Castleton, (OUT - Wrist)

Wizards projections:

Lakers projections: