This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.
Tuesday evening's modest four-game slate has a pair of injuries to All-Star guards at the forefront, as well as a pair of potentially high-scoring affairs between the Blazers-Thunder and Kings-Lakers. With some particularly favorable matchups on tap, let's look further at how best to invest:
DeMar DeRozan, TOR vs. MIA ($15,400): DeRozan has scored over 50 fantasy points in three of his last four games, and he could be in for more of the same against the Heat on Tuesday. To begin with, the individual matchup is enticing, considering Miami has allowed the third-most fantasy points (50.6) to two-guards on the season -- including the most (69.7) over the last five games -- along with the most points (40.4) and third-highest shooting percentage to the position over the latter span. Meanwhile, DeRozan also has an eye-popping 42.1 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.47 fantasy points per minute with Kyle Lowry off the floor this season, a circumstance that could well play out Tuesday with the latter questionable at best after being carried off the court with an acute back spasm Monday against the Nets.
Lonzo Ball, LAL vs. SAC ($13,500): Ball has shot a solid 44.0 percent over the last eight games, including 42.9 percent from three-point range. That improvement has led to fantasy-point tallies of between 28.50 and 43.50, as well as an average of 1.12 fantasy points per minute. The matchup should work in Ball's favor Tuesday as well, as he'll catch the Kings on second game of a back-to-back and will be facing a squad that's allowed 45.8 fantasy points to ones over the last five games. Moreover, he already racked up 39.25 fantasy points against Sacramento in a Nov. 22 meeting on the strength of an 11-point, 11-assist double-double.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC at LAL ($11,300): There are a number of appealing options at the affordable level at guard, including Shabazz Napier ($11,600) with Damian Lillard set to miss another game, as well as both Delon Wright ($8,500) and Fred VanVleet ($7,200), particularly if Lowry is sidelined for Tuesday's contest as expected. However, Fox is in a good spot in his own right, considering the Lakers have allowed 50.4 fantasy points to point guards over the last five games, along with the fifth-most assists (11.4) to the position over that span. Fox has also shown considerable improvement since returning from a six-game absence due to a quad injury, as he's averaged 15.3 points (on 50.0 percent shooting) and 7.0 assists over his first three games back. Given his recent performances and matchup, he presents as an attractive option for those who want to save a few hundred from Napier, who also draws a tougher individual matchup.
Aaron Gordon, ORL at DAL ($15,400): Gordon has scored between 38.50 and 55.75 fantasy points in three of his past four games, and he's now boasting a career-best 48.4 percent success rate from the field, including a career-high 39.0 percent figure from three-point range. The matchup Tuesday could hardly line up better, as the Mavericks have allowed the most fantasy points over both the last 10 (61.0) and five games (74.8) to power forwards. Moreover, they've given up the second-most points (34.2), rebounds (17.2), assists (7.2) and steals (2.6) to the position over the latter span, while Gordon is sporting team highs in both usage rate (33.5) and fantasy points per minute (1.25) over the aforementioned four-game sample.
Julius Randle, LAL vs. SAC ($12,800): Randle's current stint as the first-team power forward has generally been a rousing success, as he's scored between 30.50 and 58.25 fantasy points in five of his last six games while averaging 1.29 fantasy points per minute during that stretch. He's encouragingly remaining heavily involved on the offensive end, as he's taken 11.0 shot attempts on average over the last five games. If that pattern holds Tuesday, Randle should be poised for a strong return on a modest price, considering the Kings have allowed the most fantasy points (48.1) on the season to fours, along with the most points (24.3) and made three-pointers (2.6).
Dirk Nowitzki, DAL vs. ORL ($9,700): Brook Lopez ($8,800) also makes for an intriguing tournament option for those who need to save further, but Nowitzki is in an appealing spot versus a Magic squad that's allowed 44.2 fantasy points to power forwards over the last 10 games, along with the highest shooting percentage (50.0) to the position on the season. Nowitzki has scored between 27.00 and 36.00 fantasy points in seven of the last nine contests as well, excellent returns on his four-figure price.
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Paul George, OKC vs. POR ($14,400): George has scored no less than 32.75 and as many as 50.75 fantasy points in his last nine games, which has led to a 26.8 percent usage rate and an average of 1.15 fantasy points per minute over that span. He's found his niche while playing alongside Russell Westbrook and has his shot attempts up to an average of 16.3 per game, including a career-high 7.4 from three-point range. The Trail Blazers have also been more vulnerable than usual to small forwards in recent games, as the 44.1 fantasy points they've yielded to the position over the last five contests is a notable increase over their 39.4 season figure, and they're also surrendering bottom-five numbers in rebounds (8.9) and steals (1.9) to threes on the season.
C.J. McCollum, POR at OKC ($14,100): McCollum has scored over 40 fantasy points twice and over 50 on two other occasions in the six games that Lillard has missed since Dec. 22, and he sports a 30.8 percent usage rate and averages 1.02 fantasy points per minute whenever his teammate is off the floor this season. Lillard will be out once again with a calf injury Tuesday, but another absence could play just as important a role in McCollum's success Tuesday, as Andre Roberson will miss a fifth straight game for the Thunder with a knee issue. That should make the path to fantasy success a bit easier for McCollum, a notion made more credible by the fact that OKC has allowed 60.5 fantasy points and the fourth-most made three-pointers (5.2) to two-guards over the five contests Roberson has been sidelined for.