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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Thursday Picks

Mike Barner

Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. He currently focuses on the NBA. Before RotoWire, Mike wrote for

Although there are only four games in the NBA on Thursday, the night wonít be short on excitement with the Philadelphia 76ers taking on the Boston Celtics and the Minnesota Timberwolves facing off against the Houston Rockets. Consider targeting and avoiding the players below for your Yahoo entry to hopefully end your night with the excitement of a winning DFS lineup as well.


Jimmy Butler, MIN at HOU ($42): The Timberwolves suffered a tough loss Tuesday against the Magic, but Butler still managed to score a staggering 63.4 Yahoo points. Heís provided elite production of late, scoring at least 51.1 Yahoo points in three of his last five games. The Rockets play at the eighth-fastest pace (101.5 possessions per game) in the league and could be getting James Harden (hamstring) back Thursday, so Butler is going to be counted on to provide plenty of offense. He loves these types of showcase games, so expect another big stat line.

T.J. McConnell, PHI at BOS ($15): The Sixers will be without J.J. Redick (leg) for at least the next week, opening up some minutes in the Sixers backcourt. While Jerryd Bayless is expected to replace him in the starting lineup, it should also open up playing time for McConnell. McConnell played 26 minutes against the Celtics last Thursday, finishing with 32.2 Yahoo points. Donít be surprised if he plays more minutes and out produces Bayless in this game.

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Guard to Avoid

Ben Simmons, PHI at BOS ($38): Simmons has been an excellent all-around contributor for the majority of the season, but heís been less productive of late. Heís still averaging an excellent 18.3 points through four games in January, but heís only averaging three rebounds and five assists over that same stretch. Heís scored 29.2 Yahoo points or less in five of his last 10 games, making it tough to pay up for him on a night with so many other elite options available.


LeBron James, CLE vs. ORL ($59): With the Cavaliers struggling, James is doing everything he can to try and carry them out of their slump. Heís provided some monster performances as a result, scoring at least 60.1 Yahoo points in three of his last five games. One of those came against these same Magic when he scored 76.5 Yahoo points. His 31 percent usage rate ranks eighth-best in the league, so look for him to continue his productive ways Thursday.

Domantas Sabonis, IND at POR ($23): With Myles Turner (elbow) already ruled out, Sabonis is in line for added playing time again Thursday. Turner also missed the last four games for the Pacers, resulting in Sabonis averaging 12.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 28 minutes per contest. At this reasonable price, he could be a valuable budget-friendly option for your entry.

Forward to Avoid

Dario Saric, PHI at BOS ($30): Saric hasnít been productive lately, scoring 27.3 Yahoo points or less in four straight games. Itís no surprise that Sixers center Joel Embiid played in all four of those contests. Saric has seen a significant increase in value when Embiid is sidelined, but with Embiid expected to play again Thursday, Saricís upside likely isnít high enough to warrant this price.

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Kevin Love, CLE vs. ORL ($30): After a few rough performances in blowout losses, Love has rebounded to score at least 38.9 Yahoo points in back-to-back games. His 26.4 percent usage rate is third-highest on the team behind James and Isaiah Thomas, leaving him with plenty of opportunities to be productive as long as this game stays close. He scored 34.5 Yahoo points in his last meeting with the Magic, a team that allows the fifth-most Yahoo points per game (50.7) to opposing centers. This is a very reasonable price to pay for Love considering his favorable matchup.

Bismack Biyombo, ORL at CLE ($24): Biyombo has scored at least 30.8 Yahoo points in three straight games, averaging 15.0 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over that stretch. Heís always been an excellent rebounder and shot blocker, but he didnít have much value stuck behind Nikola Vucevic (hand). With Vucevic still sidelined, Biyombo should get enough playing time again Thursday to warrant consideration for your entry.

Center to Avoid

Al Horford, BOS vs. PHI ($27): Horford has played very well for the Celtics this season, but doesnít have a high ceiling in DFS. He has scored at least 40 Yahoo points only once in his last 13 games. His floor hasnít been that high lately either, scoring 29 Yahoo points or less in three of his last six games. There are a lot of excellent options available at center Thursday so while Horford can still be productive, his fairly limited upside makes him someone you may want to avoid.

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The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Mike Barner plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: mbarner, DraftKings: mbarner51 .