This article is one in a series that uses the FantasyLabs Tools to build daily fantasy scouting reports for the NBA’s brightest stars.
If a scientist were asked to create the perfect ‘3 and D’ basketball player, he’d likely come back with something resembling Klay Thompson. Thompson has always been a sniper from deep, and he’s emerged as one of the league’s premiere perimeter defenders. Per NBA.com, he’s held his opponents to just 42.1 percent of their field goals this season. For reference, that’s the same percentage that LeBron James has allowed this season. Thompson’s defensive prowess and three-point marksmanship have helped him average 32.91 DraftKings points per game (PPG) this season.
Thompson has averaged roughly 1.5 blocks and steals per game over the past five seasons, but it’s clear that he gets the majority of his fantasy production from his shooting. He’s now averaged over 21 PPG for three consecutive seasons, and he’s never averaged over four rebounds or three assists per game.
Thompson has been better at Oracle Arena than on the road over the past three seasons:
Per our Trends tool, he’s averaged an additional 2.39 DK points at home since 2014. Still, Thompson has proven to be capable of producing on the road, as he’s surpassed his salary-implied total in over 50 percent of his road games.
Thompson has continued to play better at home through 64 games this season:
He’s averaged a +5.4 Plus/Minus at home this season compared to a +0.3 on the road. Intriguingly, his ownership has remained consistent regardless of where he’s played. Consider him at Oracle Arena, where his heightened production has come without an ownership premium.
The Warriors are frequently heavy Vegas favorites. Still, even though Steph Curry often takes fourth quarters off in blowouts Thompson hasn’t been hindered in these situations this season:
With 61 percent Consistency and ownership below eight percent, Thompson has averaged 33.85 DK PPG in 41 games as a double-digit favorite this season.
He’s continued to crush in games with even wider spreads:
Thompson has surpassed his salary-implied total in 13 of 15 games this season when favored by 15-plus points.
While blowouts were more of a hindrance in recent seasons, the arrival of Kevin Durant and the departures of Harrison Barnes and Leandro Barbosa among others have forced Thompson to play his normal minutes in most games. Overall, he’s played over 27 minutes in 60 of 64 games this season. In the four games in which Thompson didn’t play more than 27 minutes, the Warriors won by an average of 42.75 points.
Thompson has proven capable of producing in most situations, although he’s historically struggled in back-to-backs.
Thompson has struggled in home and road back-to-backs alike. Even with reduced ownership, he’s a fade candidate.
Durant suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee and will likely miss the rest of the regular season. The Warriors have played just six games without him at the time of this writing, and Thompson has failed to take advantage of his increased offensive role:
Thompson’s fantasy production has been ugly over his past six games, although there’s reason to believe this could change. He’s attempted 20 shots per game in this time frame compared to his seasonal average of 17.5 field goals per game. Thompson hasn’t managed to convert those extra shots into fantasy production due to his brutal shooting slump. Overall, he’s shot just 29 percent from three-point range in the month of March. Thompson will break out of his shooting slump at some point.
Salary Sweet Spot
Thompson has been tightly priced on DK this season, as he’s reached a low of $6,000 and a high of $7,300. Since Durant’s injury, he’s been on the higher end of that scale. Averaging 32.91 DK PPG this season, Thompson has an implied salary of around $7,100, so he has been fairly priced in recent weeks.
Thompson’s salary has been more volatile on FanDuel this season. He’s reached a low of $5,700 and a high of $7,200, although he’s been in the low $7,000s since the All-Star break. Thompson has averaged 30.22 FD PPG, which implies a salary of $7,400. In comparison to DK, FD has offered Thompson at a slight discount recently.
The Warriors haven’t had many relevant players stand out in the three games Thompson has missed this season (per our On/Off tool):
None of the Warriors with top DK Plus/Minus differentials without Thompson have averaged over 20 minutes per game this season. Curry has performed well when asked to be the team’s featured splash brother, but Thompson has never suffered a major injury in the NBA and typically doesn’t miss games.
We see a similar story for when Thompson has been on the court this season:
Thompson’s limitless range gives the Warriors spacing that most teams lack. Still, his presence hasn’t led to a ton of fantasy value for any of his relevant teammates this season.
As discussed earlier, Thompson’s usage has increased without Durant, although this increase hasn’t yet led to more fantasy production:
Both Curry and Thompson have had higher usage rates in games without Durant this season. We shouldn’t expect a massive increase in production from Thompson, but don’t expect his cold streak to last for long thanks to the increased usage.
Stacking the Warriors
Below is the average production for the Warriors in Thompson’s 10 best fantasy performances of the past three seasons, first on FD and then on DK.
Besides Patrick McCaw (averaging fewer than 15 minutes per game this season), none of Thompson’s teammates has crushed value in his top fantasy performances since 2014. This isn’t surprising given Thompson’s role in the Warriors offense. Per NBA.com, his average of 9.1 catch-and-shoot field goal attempts per game is 1.5 attempts higher than the closest mark. The Warriors lead the league in team assists per game by a wide margin, so it makes sense that Thompson is able to get his abundance of catch-and-shoot opportunities regardless of whether his teammates are thriving.
It took just 33 shots for Thompson to reach 60 points this past December. His average of 2.07 points per minute was the best mark since Wilt Chamberlain averaged 2.08 points per minute on his way to 100 points. Thompson is about as pure of a scorer as you’ll see when he’s hot, and he’s especially thrived at home and as a double-digit favorite over the last three years.
Thompson has struggled since Durant’s injury, but he’s become a bigger part of the offense as expected. Consider Thompson on FD, where he’s been underpriced in recent weeks.