This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Thursday brings a limited five-game slate in the NBA. The Suns will try to extend their 17-game winning streak in a matchup against the Pistons, although they'll have to do it without Devin Booker (hamstring). The Knicks and Bulls will face off in New York, and a noteworthy absence in that game will be Coby White, who is out for the Bulls after testing positive for COVID-19. The other significant game on the schedule will be the Bucks, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back set, traveling to Toronto to face the Raptors. Let's highlight some players from these games to target for your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to potentially avoid.
CJ McCollum, POR vs. SA ($33): The Blazers received some bad news on Damian Lillard (abdomen), who is going to miss at least the next 10 days. He's the centerpiece of the team, so his shoes will be difficult to fill. With him out Tuesday against the Pistons, McCollum stepped up to score 46.8 Yahoo points on the strength of 28 points. Expect him to receive all the shot attempts that he can handle in this game, as well.
Anfernee Simons, POR vs. SA ($14): In terms of additional playing time, Simons should be the main beneficiary from Lillard's absence. He logged 36 minutes Tuesday, scoring 27.7 Yahoo points along the way. His stat line could have been even better had he not shot just 5-for-14 from the field. Expect to see him included in a lot of lineups at this salary, and rightfully so.
Guard to Avoid
Zach LaVine, CHI at NY ($35): LaVine hasn't been playing poorly by any stretch of the imagination. However, with added talent around him this season, he's scored fewer than 40 Yahoo points in 11 of his last 12 games. The two previous times that he faced the Knicks, he scored 36.7 and 38.2 Yahoo points, respectively. McCollum has arguably a higher upside and a salary that is two dollars cheaper, so this might not be the night to roll with LaVine.
Dillon Brooks, MEM vs. OKC ($23): In two games since Ja Morant (knee) went down, Brooks has shown he's going to be one of the main scoring options for the Grizzlies. First, he scored 21 points on 17 shot attempts against the Kings over the weekend. He followed that up with 17 points on 18 shot attempts Tuesday versus the Raptors. With the Thunder possibly having tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back set, the aggressive Brooks could thrive.
Larry Nance, POR vs. SA ($10): Lost in the Lillard news is that Nassir Little (ankle) is going to miss at least a week. That means, even if Norman Powell (quadriceps) is able to return, the Blazers depth chart is going to be extremely thin. Nance has had a difficult time finding the floor this season, but that shouldn't be a problem in this contest.
Forward to Avoid
Saddiq Bey, DET at PHO ($18): Bey is ice-cold from the field, shooting 29.8 percent across his last five games. For the season, he's only shooting a mere 35.5 percent. A matchup against a Suns team that has the second-best defensive rating in the league isn't likely to help him right the ship.
Deandre Ayton, PHO vs. DET ($28): With Booker out, the Suns are going to need more scoring from Ayton. When Booker went down in their last game against the Suns, Ayton set season highs in points scored (24) and shot attempts (19). Add in the Pistons allowing the seventh-most rebounds per game in the league and Ayton could dominate this matchup.
Jakob Poeltl, SA at POR ($22): The centers with really cheap salaries for this slate leave a lot to be desired. Considering the cheap salaries of Simons and Nance at their positions, you might be able to allocate more of your budget than usual to the center spot. It's not as if Ayton's salary is overly expensive, but if you want to fade him, Poeltl is another viable option. He's used his career-high average of 29 minutes per game to average 30.9 Yahoo points.
Center to Avoid
Isaiah Stewart, DET at PHO ($17): Stewart is coming off of arguably his best game of the season, recording 15 points and 14 rebounds against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. The problem is, he still only has modest averages of 7.4 points and 7.6 rebounds for the season. A matchup against a very good defender in Ayton could limit his production here.