This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Thursday brings a four-game slate packed with intriguing top-dollar picks. Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Paul George, and Karl-Anthony Towns all find themselves in great matchups with room to thrive. We'll break down which of those stars deserves a spot in your Yahoo lineups while also running through the bargain picks to help offset their elevated cost.
Stephen Curry, GS at WAS ($43): Curry checks in with a much cheaper salary than Westbrook, which has me looking in his direction this evening. Facing a Washington team that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency to the point guard position doesn't hurt either. Curry has been at his best lately while hitting 41+ fantasy points in 10 of his most recent 11 games. I'd be surprised if he didn't keep that momentum tonight.
C.J. McCollum, POR at PHX ($23): The shooting guard spot is somewhat tricky tonight, pushing me towards the mid-range salary of McCollum. Take note that Damian Lillard is a little banged up as well, and his absence would provide an assured boost to CJ. However, I believe McCollum is a strong DFS asset regardless of Lillard's status. CJ is coming off a strong showing at Oklahoma City on Thursday, and the draw looks great against a Phoenix team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency to opposing shooting guards.
You could gamble with Lance Stephenson ($12) while looking towards value. That may not be a bad selection, as I'm expecting him to have a larger role for the depleted LAL rotation in a much more competitive contest compared to Monday's blowout vs. Golden State. Jerryd Bayless ($12) and Seth Curry ($10) are injury-dependent bargains. Bayless would become a strong value asset if Jeff Teague (questionable) is ruled out, and Curry would make for a solid pick if Lillard is sidelined.
Paul George, OKC vs. NO ($49): It's hard to deny George in this spot. He's playing up in pace against a New Orleans team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency to the small forward position. On top of that, the Pelicans will be without Anthony Davis to protect the rim. George has been on fire with 45+ fantasy points in each of his past five games, and I'm fully expecting him adding to that streak this evening.
Kyle Kuzma, LAL vs. MIN ($30): Kuzma flopped on Monday vs. Golden State, but he should be in a line for a strong bounce-back effort in a competitive draw vs. Minnesota tonight. After all, he posted two straight 50+ fantasy point outings prior to that disappointment. The Wolves rank in the bottom ten for defensive efficiency against opposing frontcourt players, and Kuzma will see a ton of usage with LeBron James, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo out.
The Suns are dealing with some injuries at the moment with TJ Warren out, Deandre Ayton doubtful and Richaun Holmes questionable. Due to this, Mikal Bridges ($13) should see more solidified playing time against a Portland team that ranks in the bottom ten to opposing small forwards. He's a serviceable value filler on this slate.
Taj Gibson ($15) is reasonably cheap while settling into a nice matchup with the Lakers. He's not a must play by any stretch of the imagination, but you can fall back on him for salary relief if need be.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR at PHX ($33)
I really want to put Towns in this spot, but it's difficult to recommend his $49 salary when Nurkic holds similar fantasy potential for a fraction of the cost. This is a beautiful matchup for the Portland big man, facing a decimated Phoenix frontcourt that already ranks 29th against opposing centers. Nurkic has realistic 50+ fantasy point potential in this one, and I suggest you find a way to squeeze him into your lineup.
Jahlil Okafor ($12) is the best value play of this slate. He's seeing a ton of minutes with Anthony Davis out, translating to 40+ fantasy points in back-to-back outings. The matchup at Oklahoma City is a tough one, but Okafor should be able to post solid value with respectable playing time for a near-minimum salary. Dragan Bender ($12) would be looking at another clear path to 30+ minutes if Holmes (questionable) joins Ayton (doubtful) on the sidelines. If Holmes ends up playing, you could look his way for only $11 on Yahoo.