We’ve revamped the NBA Targets post to give a little bit more of a diverse look at each slate rather than focusing on just a couple games. Here's a preview of each matchup and my thoughts on the top picks, other picks to consider, and some players to avoid for tonight.
GSW @ TOR over/under 211.5, Warriors -4.5
This is projected to be the highest scoring game of the night and one of the closest as well. Stephen Curry and the Warriors played last night, but he played just 33 minutes, so Curry should be in better condition than Westbrook this evening. Curry had 32 points and 12 assists in the only other meeting with the Raptors this season and nearly 60 fantasy points in that game. Look for DeMar DeRozan to finally get back on track in this one as well.
OKC @ POR over/under 207, Blazers -6
This game could be a real battle tonight, with the Thunder playing well, but coming off an overtime game last night in which Russell Westbrook played 42 minutes and took 38 shots, they are going to be very tired. For the Blazers, they are starting to get healthy, but LaMarcus Aldridge is now struggling with his thumb injury and they need him desperately against a team he’s manhandled in his career. Damian Lillard is my favorite GPP play in this game as he’s going to be constantly moving against what’s likely to be a lax Westbrook on defense.
Russell Westbrook -- PG OKC
I’m all for being weary of Westbrook on a back-to-back after an extended overtime game, but with how good he’s been, including almost 80 fantasy points last night, he’s pretty hard to ignore in this matchup. The Blazers force efficiency struggles on point guards, but Westbrook is used to that and the Blazers have fallen to the bottom 3rd in the league in fantasy points allowed to point guards. Westbrook should easily approach 30 shots tonight and he’s coming off back-to-back triple-doubles.
Greg Monroe -- PF DET
Monroe takes on the Knicks and their very depleted frontcourt tonight. He’s been up and down with the rest of the Knicks, but he should dominate the offensive end of the floor for the Pistons tonight. He’s the only other player other than Reggie Jackson who can create offense on his own for the Pistons right now and that makes him an elite play anytime he sees a plus matchup like this.
Jimmy Butler -- SG CHI
The matchup is solid here with Kevin Martin and the Timberwolves, even though they’ve been defending shooting guards better of late with Andrew Wiggins at times. The big reason to get Butler in your lineups tonight is that both Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol, or more importantly over 30 shot attempts per game, are out of the lineup. When Butler attempts 16 or more shots, he averages 41.7 fantasy points per game, which is a rock solid number and offers some major upside if he can get even more to add to his stellar peripherals.
Reggie Jackson -- PG DET
As I mentioned above in the Monroe blurb, Jackson is the primary creator for the Pistons by far and they simply fall apart at times when he’s not on the floor. That should help keep this game close while Jackson prepares to play 35+ minutes for the second straight contest. With Jose Calderon out, the Knicks get even younger on the perimeter and Jackson should be able to pick apart a weak Knicks defense with both his scoring and passing.
Rudy Gobert -- C UTA
We all know how much Denver has struggled with big men this year, especially since they traded Timofey Mozgov. Now with Jusuf Nurkic out as well, the center position will be manned by JJ Hickson and a collection of power forwards. Gobert should dominate this game and played 36 extended minutes on Wednesday. While Gobert won’t score 16 points most games, his other categorical production over the last two games should give us a nice baseline total to work with for the rest of the season, should his minutes remain consistent.
Tyreke Evans -- PG NO
Evans has been rock solid in the last two games despite dealing with an illness. He scored almost 40 fantasy points in each game at home and he’ll play a struggling Miami defense there tonight. He should draw plenty of fouls on his drives as Miami’s bigs are all aggressive shot blockers, which should also leave him some easy passing lines. I feel Evans is an under-the-radar elite play at point guard tonight.
Rudy Gay -- SF SAC
The matchup is interesting here, especially if Gay plays some power forward tonight as the Spurs have been killed by “stretch 4s” this season. With DeMarcus Cousins out Gay’s usage rate should rise and he’ll be their primary scorer by far on offense with third-fiddle Darren Collison out as well. The only real concern here is the Spurs taking care of business early against a depleted Kings team .
Nerlens Noel -- PF PHI
Noel has taken a huge step forward since the All-Star Break, showing off some of his immense upside with a 9 block performance recently. Most importantly though, he hasn’t disappeared as easily for long stretches and definitely not games. Early in the season, he’d throw up some miniscule lines out of nowhere and that hasn’t been the case lately. However, this matchup with Washington’s tough frontcourt could keep him quiet. All of their big men are veterans who don’t get their shots blocked often and don’t take bad shots.