This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Thursday might only bring five games, but the night is loaded with star power. The Warriors, Sixers, Bucks, Rockets and Celtics are all in action, leaving many of the top players available in DFS. Let's dive into the slate and examine some options to consider and avoid as you create your entry.
Brandon Ingram, LAL at SAC ($20):LeBron James (groin) seems to have avoided a significant injury, but he's not going to play Thursday. Rajon Rondo (finger) also won't play, leaving the Lakers without two of their primary ball handlers. Lonzo Ball certainly stands to benefit from their absences, but so does Ingram, who averaged 3.9 assists per game last year. Ingram also has a significantly higher scoring upside with James on the sideline. Both the Lakers and the Kings are in the top-four in the league in pace of play, which should afford Ingram with even more opportunities to provide value.
Eric Gordon, HOU vs. BOS ($14): This doesn't stand out as a great matchup since the Celtics allow the fourth-fewest points per game (105) in the league. Even though the majority of Gordon's value comes from his contributions in the scoring department, the Celtics defense still shouldn't scare you away from him. He has a significantly higher ceiling with Chris Paul (hamstring) out and has scored 30.4 and 31.2 Yahoo points, respectively, over his last two games. At this price, he might be worth the risk in tournament play.
Guard to Avoid
Jaylen Brown, BOS at HOU ($16): Brown began the year in the starting five, but he's come off of the bench in eight of his last nine games. His production has fallen off, as a result, scoring 19.2 Yahoo points or fewer in five of his last six contests. With the Celtics terrific depth, it's going to be hard for Brown to consistently produce.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. NY ($54): These two teams just faced each other Christmas Day in New York, a game in which the Bucks won 109-95. The Knicks had no answer for Giannis, who scored 67.3 Yahoo points. These teams have already played each other three times this season with Giannis scoring at least 58 Yahoo points in each contest. Don't expect the Knicks to be able to slow him down Thursday.
Noah Vonleh, NY at MIL ($19): Vonleh was really impressive when these two teams met Tuesday, scoring 14 points to go along with 14 rebounds and two blocks. He's continued to be a surprising source of production for the Knicks, averaging 8.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and one block across 28 games as a member of the starting five. Mitchell Robinson (ankle) will be out again for this matchup, which should afford even more playing time for Vonleh.
Forward to Avoid
Derrick Favors, UTA vs. PHI ($19): Favors continues to move in and out of the starting five based on matchups. The Sixers don't have much size up front outside of Joel Embiid, so this could be a situation where Favors comes off of the bench. Even if he does start, he may not play all that much. With 24.3 Yahoo points or fewer in four of his last five games, it might not make sense to roll with Favors when Vonleh is available at the same price and has a more secure role.
Clint Capela, HOU vs. BOS ($32): Capela was already playing well before Paul was injured, but he's scored 51.6 and 52.1 Yahoo points, respectively, since Paul went down. He absolutely destroyed teams on the glass, grabbing exactly 23 rebounds in both contests. The Celtics are a great defensive team, but they don't have a ton of size up front, which could leave Capela with another stellar stat line.
Brook Lopez, MIL vs. NY ($15): Lopez scored 20 points against the Knicks on Tuesday, which helped lead him to 29.8 Yahoo points. He only made one three-pointer, but he was a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity strip. While getting to the line that often is rare for him, he also blocked two more shots, boosting his average to 1.9 blocks per game for the season, overall. The Knicks haven't been able to figure him out yet this season, which has resulted in Lopez scoring at least 29.8 Yahoo points in each of their three meetings.
Center to Avoid
Enes Kanter, NY at MIL ($22): Kanter flopped with 22.7 Yahoo points Tuesday and it really wasn't all that surprising considering the matchup. Lopez blocks plenty of shots down low and forces Kanter to guard him on the perimeter on the offensive end, which pulls Kanter away from some rebounding opportunities. His price actually increased by three dollars since Tuesday, so it might be best to avoid him for your entry.