Jim McCormick, Special to ESPN.comNov 30, 2023, 12:45 PM ET
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.