Thursday brings a fairly light slate in the NBA consisting of only five games. There aren’t a ton of exciting matchups, with two potential blowout situations with the Nuggets facing the Pistons and the Bucks hosting the Pacers. As you build your lineups on Yahoo, here are some players to consider targeting, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Mikal Bridges, BKN vs. SAC ($32): Bridges continues to churn out one masterful scoring performance after another. He produced 34 points against the Thunder on Tuesday and is now averaging 26.3 points per game since joining the Nets. He shot 50.6% from the field during that span, while also chipping in 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game. With the Kings ranking inside the top-10 in the league in pace of play and inside the bottom-10 in defensive rating, Bridges is an extremely appealing option.
Cory Joseph, DET vs. DEN ($12): While Jaden Ivey (COVID-19) is expected to return for Detroit, Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles), Alec Burks (foot), Marvin Bagley III (ankle) and Isaiah Livers (hip) are all out for this matchup. With the Pistons playing so shorthanded, Joseph has scored at least 23.0 Yahoo points in six straight games. At near the minimum salary, he’s worth considering in tournament play.
Guard to Avoid
Jamal Murray, DEN at DET ($27): Murray (knee) is listed as probable for this game after logging 40 minutes Tuesday against the Raptors. He has been on the injury report often because of his knee, but it is encouraging that he has averaged 34 minutes over the last 10 games. However, with the Pistons having so many injured players, if the Nuggets race out to a big lead early, we might not see much of Murray in the second half.
Pascal Siakam, TOR vs. OKC ($32): Siakam has been pretty quiet, scoring 29.8 Yahoo points or fewer in three of the last four games. Two of those games came against the Nuggets, who proved to be a difficult matchup for him. This is a perfect spot for him to bounce back against a Thunder team that doesn’t have much size up front. Their issues in that area have resulted in them allowing the most rebounds per game in the league.
Jordan Nwora, IND at MIL ($14): At a minimum, the Pacers will play this game without Bennedict Mathurin (ankle) and Chris Duarte (ankle). They also have Tyrese Haliburton (ankle), T.J. McConnell (back), Buddy Hield (foot) and Myles Turner (back) listed as questionable. With so many players out lately, Nwora has scored at least 21.0 Yahoo points in six of the last eight games. Expect him to remain in an expanded role for this matchup.
Forward to Avoid
Harrison Barnes, SAC at BKN ($18): Playing time is not an issue for Barnes since he is averaging 33 minutes per game, However, he is averaging fewer than 10 shot attempts per game for the first time since the 2015-16 season. With so many talented scorers around him, expect Barnes to continue to receive limited opportunities to contribute on the offensive end.
James Wiseman, DET vs. DEN ($19): Wiseman may have found the perfect home with the Pistons. Not only has he finally found his way onto the floor on a nightly basis, but he has been locked into the starting lineup. That has enabled him to average 13.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over the last 10 games. There is some risk that he gets into foul trouble guarding Nikola Jokic, but his salary is low enough to still make him worth considering.
Bobby Portis, MIL vs. IND ($17): With Giannis Antetokounmpo healthy, Portis has slipped back into a limited role in the last two games. That resulted in him scoring 5.6 and 18.8 Yahoo points, respectively. What makes him interesting for this matchup is that Brook Lopez (ankle) is listed as questionable. If Lopez sits, Portis has a path to around 30 minutes. If Lopez plays, then it’s easy to pivot off of Portis and roll with Wiseman at a similar salary.
Center to Avoid
Wendell Carter Jr., ORL at PHX ($22): Carter has produced back-to-back double-doubles after missing three straight games with a hip injury. He’ll have his hands full here against Deandre Ayton, who is a good defender and is averaging a double-double for the season. There is also some blowout potential here with the Magic being just 12-22 on the road and the Suns having a 22-12 record at home. If that were to happen, Carter might not see as many minutes as usual in the second half.
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.