Daily fantasy basketball: Expert picks and fades for Thursday

As the Clippers tip off their season, should DFS players take a look at Jamal Crawford? Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

There are only four games on the NBA schedule for Thursday night, which is all the more reason to see what our experts have to say about which players you should turn to in order to build around, and which busts to avoid in DFS play.

Players to build around

Al Zeidenfeld -- Jamal Crawford, SG, LA Clippers

On short slates, you need to get in the expensive players. The only way to achieve that goal is to find low-priced value plays in order to have room for the pricier talents. Crawford is simply underpriced for his role on the Clippers, needing only between 20 and 22 fantasy points in order to reach value on the night. He averaged 21.9 fantasy points per game last season.

Jim McCormick -- Al Horford, C, Boston Celtics

We can expect Horford to approach, if not top, his career highs in shooting volume and usage rate this season as the centerpiece of Boston's efficient offense. As the key big on an otherwise small Boston roster, rebounding opportunities and post touches should be plentiful for Horford. The Bulls' up-tempo scheme under Fred Hoiberg also serves Horford's skill set well, helping to support his stock as a key building block on a light Thursday slate.

Renee Miller -- Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls

I want to spend up pretty much everywhere tonight, so it's important to find a little value where I can. Gibson has always been a reliable injury fill-in for the Bulls, but he finally earns the start. Vegas has the Bulls-Celtics game at 211 points, with the spread sitting at just one point. Gibson is a great bet for a double-double and a few blocks tonight, making his price very enticing -- especially on DraftKings.

Players to fade

Al Zeidenfeld -- Pau Gasol, C, San Antonio Spurs

More than anything else, Gasol's move to the Spurs means we won't be able to predictably rely on his minutes night in and night out. In the Spurs’ win over the Warriors on opening night, Gasol played only 18 minutes and scored a mere 7.3 DraftKings points. He's still got a big name (and the salary that goes along with it), so there will certainly be people who play him tonight. Don't be one of them.

Jim McCormick -- Dwyane Wade, SG, Chicago Bulls

In a backcourt with two other high-usage, ball-dominant guards in Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler, Wade's opportunity rates could take a hit this season. When we factor in Wade's relatively lofty asking price along with a direct matchup with Boston's Avery Bradley -- an All-Defensive first team selection last season -- it becomes reasonable to fade the veteran in daily play tonight.

Renee Miller -- DeMarcus Cousins, C, Sacramento Kings

Not only are there other players I'd rather pay top dollar for tonight, but Cousins has traditionally underperformed his season averages against the Spurs with 11-12 fewer fantasy points on both FanDuel and DraftKings when facing San Antonio. He was rested quite a bit Wednesday night, so he should be ready to battle tonight. However, the way the Spurs looked on Tuesday, I'm wary of paying up for Cousins in any format.