Fantasy basketball daily notes for Thursday: Raptors' Gary Trent Jr. flying under the radar

Gary Trent Jr. already has value, but he becomes a bona fide statistical star whenever Fred VanVleet is off the floor. Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports

Gary Trent Jr. likes to steal the ball. The Toronto Raptors shooting guard sits fifth in the league in steals per game and is tied for sixth overall in total swipes. In a close loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday, Trent collected a steal and tied his season-high with 32 points as he continues to fly under the radar as a fantasy force.

All-Star candidate Fred VanVleet missed last night's game due to knee soreness, vaulting Trent into a premier scoring role. Trent, who is rostered in roughly 60% of ESPN leagues, has been a relevant fantasy option even with VanVleet on the court this season, but he becomes a bona fide statistical star whenever his peer leaves the floor. Trent has played 322 minutes this season with VanVleet off the floor and has seen the team's largest leap in usage rate and fantasy points per 36 minutes in such scenarios.

Now that Chris Boucher has become a steady and productive member of the Raptors' rotation again, it's arguable Trent is the team's top statistical sleeper.

Wednesday recap


LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets: 29 points (11-16 FG), 10 rebounds, 13 assists

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: 43 points (16-28 FG), 12 rebounds, 4 assists


Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks: 4 points (2-9 FG), 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 TO

Wednesday takeaways

• Ball and the Hornets were playing NBA Jam against the Pacers last night; Charlotte scored a franchise record 158 points, a number that also marks the most points allowed by Indiana ever in a game. In fact, it marked the fifth-most points ever scored on the road in regulation. I wrote on Tuesday that the Pacers might just be the best target for fantasy production going at the moment -- and that remains true. While Ball posted the fourth-best net rating by a Hornets player in the last 25 seasons, Kelly Oubre Jr. broke his own franchise record by producing 39 points off the bench. Now that he's back in the rotation, Oubre, who just became the fourth player in NBA history to sink at least 10 3-pointers off the bench, is worth rostering.

• The Cavaliers cruised past the Bucks thanks to a huge line off the pine from Kevin Love. The stretch big tallied 25 points in 27 minutes of run and finished just one board shy of a double-double. Evan Mobley had two blocks and Darius Garland was efficient, but it was Love who carried the second unit and helped deliver this rousing division victory. Love has averaged 16 points and 8.5 rebounds during his last four games and yet is rostered in just 27.3% of leagues.

• Brooklyn kept up with Denver despite missing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris and James Harden from the lineup. Rookie Cam Thomas produced a career-high 25 points off the bench for the Nets, while Aussie combo guard Patty Mills started and tallied an efficient 21 points. The big line from Thomas reads more like an outlier, while Mills has become a bankable source of scoring and shooting.

Dejounte Murray rightfully will earn praise for producing yet another triple-double for the Spurs. San Antonio lost to the surging Grizzlies last night, but both Murray and center Jakob Poeltl were stellar statistically. Poeltl made all eight of his shots from the floor and collected four blocks.

• Those Grizzlies have been great for some time now, and last night was no exception. Ja Morant produced his third 40-point game of the season, while Jaren Jackson Jr. delivered his league-leading fifth game this year with at least 20 points and five blocks.

Injuries of note

• The Lakers' Anthony Davis is listed as probable to play in Philadelphia this evening. Davis will have to battle Joel Embiid in the post at times tonight, so it's encouraging the team trusts him to play. The Sixers, meanwhile, will be without Seth Curry and Shake Milton, likely affording Matisse Thybulle additional playing time.

Analytics advantage for Thursday

Two-game slates don't often offer a ton of angles for streaming. Identifying any key injuries is a good place to look, as Draymond Green will miss tonight's matchup against the Timberwolves.

With Green off the court this season, rookie Jonathan Kuminga has enjoyed a team-high leap in DraftKings points per 36 minutes. Another name to mention is Jordan Poole, who has seen his usage rate spike whenever Green leaves the floor this season.

DFS discussion

Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers: A rough December has given way to a really solid January for Harris, as he's back to posting efficient scoring and rebounding rates as Embiid's frontcourt sidekick. The Lakers rank 24th in the NBA in defensive efficiency during the last 10 games, setting up Harris as a high-floor option on a light night.

Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors: A little bit of matchup narrative is always fun. Wiggins faces his former team this evening and is reasonably priced on DraftKings, making him one of the stronger wing targets of the slate.