Yahoo DFS Basketball: Thursday Picks

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·5 min read
Yahoo DFS Basketball: Thursday Picks
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  • Brooklyn Nets
    Brooklyn Nets
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  • Cleveland Cavaliers
    Cleveland Cavaliers
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The NBA brings a fairly quiet slate to the table Thursday that consists of only four games. The big news surrounding the matchup between the Nets and Sixers is that Kevin Durant is expected to return to the floor after dealing with COVID-19. Kyrie Irving was also activated from the health and safety protocols, but he still is working his way back into shape. The game is being played in Brooklyn, so he wouldn't have been eligible to play, anyway, given that he is not vaccinated. The Cavaliers, who were dealt the tough news Wednesday that Ricky Rubio has been lost for the season with a torn ACL, will try to pick up the pieces for their matchup against the Wizards. Let's get down to business and highlight some players to consider for your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to possibly avoid.

GUARDS

James Harden, BKN vs. PHI ($51): Harden is coming off of back-to-back games with at least 71.0 Yahoo points. The Nets needed him with Durant out, but now that Durant is set to return, Harden won't be asked to carry as much of the scoring load. Still, with his average of 47.8 Yahoo points per game for the season, he has one of the highest floors of any guard on this slate.

Kevin Pangos, CLE at WAS ($10): The Cavaliers have now lost Rubio and Collin Sexton (knee) for the season, leaving them very thin at guard. Darius Garland is also in the health and safety protocols, which really puts them in a bad spot for this game. We could see Pangos get the start and play significant minutes. He hasn't been on the floor much this season, but when he logged 16 minutes in a blowout win over the Raptors on Sunday, he scored 18.0 Yahoo points.

Guard to Avoid

Seth Curry, PHI at BKN ($21): Curry has scored at least 40.3 Yahoo points twice over the last two weeks, but those types of performances from him are generally few and far between. In fact, he's scored 27.5 Yahoo points or fewer in six of his last eight games and is only averaging 25.8 Yahoo points per game for the season. Since his salary doesn't come at much of a discount, he's a risky option.

FORWARDS

Franz Wagner, ORL vs. MIL ($26): Wagner had the best performance of his young career when these two teams met Tuesday, scoring 38 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. He's averaged 34 minutes over his last 10 games, which has led him to averages of 20.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists during that stretch. With COVID-19 continuing to make the Magic shorthanded, Wagner should remain busy.

Andrew Wiggins, GS at DEN ($23): After missing four games while in the health and safety protocols, Wiggins made his return to the floor Tuesday against these same Nuggets. He wasn't efficient, needing 20 shot attempts to score 21 points. However, he also chipped in eight rebounds and two steals on his way to 39.1 Yahoo points. There's a chance that he again provides added production on the glass in this game with Draymond Green still in the protocols.

Forward to Avoid

Kyle Kuzma, WAS at CLE ($22): This is a tough matchup for Kuzma, who could spend most of this game being guarded by Evan Mobley. Mobley is just a rookie, but he's already proven to be one of the better defensive big men in the league and is one of the main reasons why the Cavaliers have posted the second-best defensive rating. When these two teams met earlier this month, Kuzma was held to 20.3 Yahoo points.

CENTERS

Joel Embiid, PHI at BKN ($50): Embiid is doing his best to carry the Sixers with Ben Simmons still away from the team. Across his last 10 games, he's averaged 30.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks. His usage rate checks in at 33.3 percent, which isn't going to chance anytime soon given that he's never had a usage rate lower than 32.9 percent in any season of his career. The Nets haven't been able to slow him down in two previous meetings, leaving Embiid to score 49.6 and 52.8 Yahoo points, respectively.

Daniel Gafford, WAS vs. CLE ($17): The Wizards are suddenly thin up front with Montrezl Harrell and Rui Hachimura both in the protocols. Gafford is only averaging 22 minutes per game for the season, but he logged 36 minutes with both of them out Tuesday against the Heat. He used that added playing time to score 33.7 Yahoo points. This is far from an ideal matchup, but the potential for increased minutes still makes Gafford a viable option.

Center to Avoid

LaMarcus Aldridge, BKN vs PHI ($20): Not only has Durant cleared the protocols for this game, so has Aldridge. The veteran big man has morphed into an important part of the Nets' frontcourt, averaging 14.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while claiming the starting center job. However, having to battle with Embiid after sitting out for 17 days could leave him with a muted stat line.