Yahoo DFS Basketball: Thursday Picks

Mike Barner

Thursday brings the customary limited night with only four games in the NBA. We do still get an excellent matchup, though, with the Raptors hosting the Rockets. There's also money to be won on Yahoo, so here are some players to target, and some to avoid, for your entry.

GUARDS

Ben Simmons, PHI at WAS ($35): Simmons might not score a ton of points, but his ability to contribute in multiple areas leaves him with a tremendously high floor. He's scored at least 31.2 Yahoo points in all but one game this season and the one time he didn't was because he left with an injury after playing just 10 minutes. The Wizards have played at the fastest pace in the league, which should afford Simmons with even more opportunities to stuff the stat sheet.

J.J. Redick, NO vs. PHO ($14): The Pelicans have sure dealt with their share of injuries this season, but Redick has at least been able to remain mostly healthy. As a result, he's averaged 18.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists across his last 12 games. It's also helped his cause that the Pelicans have played at the fifth-fastest pace. Even though his value is largely dependent on his ability to score, he is still worth considering at this cheap price.

Guard to Avoid

Lonzo Ball, NO vs. PHO ($19): Ball hasn't been as fortunate as Redick since he's been forced to miss eight games. The good news is that he's started and played at least 30 minutes in back-to-back games. The bad news is that he scored 28.3 and 16.7 Yahoo points, respectively. His upside should remain limited with the Pelicans' health situation improving and he's not overly cheap, so it might be wise to keep him out of your entry.

FORWARDS

Brandon Ingram, NO vs. PHO ($40): Ingram is coming off of a big performance against the Mavericks on Monday in which he scored 50 Yahoo points across 37 minutes. He's become the leader of the Pelicans' offense with his team-high 28.9 percent usage rate. Not only that, but he's averaged 7.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 blocks a night. Add his significant role to his high minutes' floor and he's one of the safer forward options on the slate.

Davis Bertans, WAS vs. PHI ($19): Bertans had already worked his way into added playing time, but the Wizards are really going to need him now that Thomas Bryant (foot) is set to miss at least three weeks. Moritz Wagner (ankle) also missed their last game against the Magic, which enabled Bertans to score 36 Yahoo points across 40 minutes. Even if Wagner does play in this contest, Bertans is going to be needed to absorb Bryant's minutes, making him someone to strongly consider for your entry.

Forward to Avoid

Julius Randle, NY vs. DEN ($27): Randle has hit a bit of a rough patch, scoring 28.6 Yahoo points or fewer in four of his last six games. He is going to get plenty of chances to score and is a threat to pull down double-digit rebounds whenever he takes the floor, but his lack of defensive stats doesn't help his cause. Since he is so reliant on his offensive game, this could be a rough night for him against a Nuggets team that has allowed the fewest points per game in the league.

CENTERS

Joel Embiid, PHI at WAS ($46): The only thing that might be able to slow Embiid down in this game is a blowout causing him to sit in the second half. With Bryant out, the Wizards don't have anyone who can match up with him on the defensive end. Given the up-tempo pace at which the Wizards play and Embiid's 31.9 percent usage rate, the sky is the limit.

Frank Kaminsky, PHO at NO ($11): The key news to watch out for in this game is the status of Aron Baynes (calf). He's been forced to sit out both of the last two games, leaving Kaminsky to start and score 30.2 and 35.5 Yahoo points, respectively. If Baynes sits again, Kaminsky has the potential to be a steal considering how poorly the Pelicans have played on the defensive end.

Center to Avoid

Mitchell Robinson, NY vs. DEN ($14): It's difficult to project what the Knicks are going to do on a nightly basis. One thing that does seem to be somewhat certain is that coach David Fizdale has no plans of starting Robinson, who has come off the bench in 10 straight games. He's been limited to 23 minutes a game during that stretch, averaging 7.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and two blocks a night. Until he starts to receive more playing time, he's too much of a risk, even at this cheap price.