Yahoo DFS Basketball: Thursday Picks

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Mike Barner
·4 min read
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Thursday's five-game slate is loaded with star power since the Warriors, Mavericks, Lakers and Nuggets will be among the teams in action. In terms of how to navigate the DFS slate, let's discuss some players at various salary points to consider, as well as some to possibly avoid.

GUARDS

Ben Simmons, PHI vs. POR ($35): This is a great matchup for the Sixers, in general, considering that the Blazers have the second-worst defensive rating in the league. It's also important to note that the Sixers just played Wednesday, so there is a chance that Joel Embiid sits the second night of their back-to-back set. If he sits, then the Sixers would likely lean more heavily on Simmons for production. Even if Embiid does play, though, this matchup is still appealing enough to roll with Simmons.

Josh Richardson, DAL vs. GS ($16): After easing his way back from being in the health and safety protocols, Richardson has logged at least 35 minutes in three straight games. He caught fire his last two contests, scoring 40 and 34.2 Yahoo points, respectively. Combine his heavy playing time with the fact that the Warriors have played at the second-fastest pace in the league and Richardson could have plenty of opportunities to continue his recent hot streak.

Guard to Avoid

Kevin Huerter, ATL vs. UTA ($19): Huerter exploded against the Mavericks on Wednesday, scoring 46 Yahoo points over 39 minutes. He scored 21 points on 15 shots attempts, which tied his highest mark in a game this season. However, he was struggling heading into that game, scoring 22.6 Yahoo points or fewer in six straight contests. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him come back down to Earth against a Jazz team that has the fifth-best defensive rating.

FORWARDS

LeBron James, LAL vs. DEN ($49): James comes into this game well rested since the Lakers last game was Monday. He has one of the highest floors of any player on this slate, averaging 46.1 Yahoo points a game. The only real concern around him is that if the Lakers race out to an early lead in games, he could see added minutes on the bench in the fourth quarter. With that being said, this has the prospects of being a close contest against a Nuggets team that is 7-3 across their last 10 games.  

Will Barton, DEN at LAL ($16): The Nuggets are going to have a thin backcourt with both Gary Harris (thigh) and PJ Dozier (hamstring) ruled out. That should mean plenty of playing time is coming for Barton, who has averaged 14.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, three assists and 1.1 steals across nine games in which he has logged at least 30 minutes. Despite the Lakers being a tough defensive team, Barton's salary is low enough to still warrant consideration.

Forward to Avoid

Kelly Oubre Jr., GS at DAL ($19): It's difficult to have much confidence in Oubre given his struggles this season. He's shooting just 37.6 percent from the field, which has resulted in an average of 12 points a game. Despite the Warriors having limited depth, he's also started to see his playing time decline, averaging just 26 minutes across the last six games.

CENTERS

Christian Wood, HOU at MEM ($38): The Rockets laid an egg against the Thunder on Wednesday. Wood was among the players who struggled, finishing with eight points and six rebounds. On the bright side, he only played 22 minutes, so he should be relatively fresh as far as back-to-backs go. The Grizzlies are thin up front without Jonas Valanciunas (COVID-19), so don't be surprised if Wood bounces back in a big way.

Gorgui Dieng, MEM vs. HOU ($12): Although Dieng hasn't been starting with Valanciunas out, he has played at least 24 minutes in three straight games. He scored at least 33.3 Yahoo points in two of those contests and the one that he struggled in came against the defensive-minded Myles Turner. At near the minimum salary, Dieng's newly expanded role could make him worth taking a chance on in tournament play.

Center to Avoid

DeMarcus Cousins, HOU at MEM ($18): Cousins played 26 minutes Tuesday thanks to the Rockets being blown out, but he normally doesn't log that much playing time. He's only averaged 15 minutes a night in games that he's come off the bench, which has resulted in averages of 6.9 points and five rebounds. Considering his salary doesn't come at much of a discount, it might be best to keep him out of your lineups.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Utah
-162-3O 230.5
Philadelphia
+135+3U 230.5