After a busy Wednesday, the NBA churns along with six games on the schedule Thursday. One of the highlight matchups will feature the Celtics hosting the Knicks. The Bulls, coming off a loss to the Pacers on Tuesday, will try to bounce back on the road against the Hornets. Let’s dig into all of the matchups and highlight some players to consider for your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Darius Garland, CLE at HOU ($36): Donovan Mitchell recently missed three games with a groin injury and he apparently aggravated the injury in his return Tuesday. The Cavaliers shouldn’t need Mitchell against a rebuilding Rockets squad, so while he is officially listed as questionable, don’t be surprised if he sits this one out. If he does, the Rockets have the third-worst defensive rating in the league, so Garland could thrive in a leading role.
Malcolm Brogdon, BOS vs. NYK ($20): Brogdon is set to return after missing the last two games because of a personal matter. The Celtics certainly need him with Marcus Smart (ankle) out for at least a week. Brogdon has averaged 18.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists across six games in which he has logged at least 30 minutes this season, and he should at least approach that threshold with Smart sidelined.
Guard to Avoid
Zach LaVine, CHI at CHA ($31): LaVine struggled in the fourth quarter against the Pacers, committing four turnovers and not scoring a single point. He’s dealing with an injury on his shooting hand, which has contributed to him shooting 16.7% from behind the arc over the last five games. Despite this favorable matchup, LaVine comes with some risk.
Bojan Bogdanovic, DET at BKN ($24): Bogdanovic is having an excellent season for the Pistons, and isn’t slowing down with at least 30.9 Yahoo points in each of his last five games. The Nets will be playing the second game of a back-to-back set, so Bogdanovic might be able to exploit some tired legs.
Jeremy Sochan, SAS at LAC ($15): Sochan just played the Clippers less than a week ago, providing 16 points, six rebounds and two assists over 32 minutes. He’s locked into the starting lineup for the rebuilding Spurs, and he’s starting to find a groove offensively with at least 11 points in six of his last seven games. His upside isn’t all that high, but it doesn’t need to be for him to provide value at this cheap salary.
Forward to Avoid
Jabari Smith Jr., HOU vs. CLE ($20): Smith had missed two games with an ankle injury before returning Wednesday against the Wizards, but only provided 18.4 Yahoo points. There’s a chance that he sits this game out for rest if his ankle isn’t completely healthy, but even if he does play, facing a Cavaliers team that has the second-best defensive rating in the league makes him difficult to have much faith in.
Nikola Vucevic, CHI at CHA ($36): The Bulls need to get a win and they should ride Vucevic to try and get one. This is a great matchup for him, with the Hornets allowing the second-most rebounds per game in the league. He also enters this matchup on a hot streak, averaging 19.5 points, 13.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists across his last 12 games.
Jalen Duren, DET at BKN ($19): Duren moved back into the starting five Monday against the Bucks, playing 31 minutes in his second game back from an ankle injury. He certainly looked locked in, posting 23 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Facing Nic Claxton and his shot-blocking prowess isn’t a walk in the park, but Duren’s salary is too cheap to ignore.
Center to Avoid
Alperen Sengun, HOU vs. CLE ($35): This is all about matchups. Sengun is playing well, scoring at least 33.6 Yahoo points in each of his last eight games. However, playing the frontcourt duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley will leave him with an uphill battle. Vucevic has a nearly identical salary and a much better matchup, which makes it difficult to justify rolling with Sengun over him.
* * *
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.