This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Sunday slates tend to be lighter, but that's not the case here. We have just one game during the day and then an eight-game nightcap. The good news is we don't have a lot in terms of injuries or COVID news, which is a breath of fresh air with everything over the last few weeks. It's also one of my final articles before the All-Star break, and we're looking forward to finishing off the first half strong. Without further ado, let's get into it!
Dennis Schroder, LAL vs. GSW ($17)
Schroder made his return from the COVID protocol list on Friday and showed why he's so valuable to this team. He provided 22 points, three rebounds and two assists in that much-needed win, taking some of the load off of LeBron James' broad shoulders. He's been doing that a lot when Anthony Davis has been out of the lineup, scoring at least 29 Yahoo points in the last four games he's missed en route to a 35-point average. That's a monster total from a player south of $20, and it's no surprise when you see he has a 24 percent usage rate with AD off the floor. We also love the matchup against Golden State, and we'll discuss that more later in the article!
Goran Dragic, MIA vs. ATL ($17)
Dragic also returned to action this week and showed how dominant he could be. While he struggled in his first game back on Wednesday, he picked up 37 Yahoo points on Friday across 33 minutes of play. That's the stud we loved in the bubble last season and it makes it hard to believe he's only $17. The Dragon averaged 34 fantasy points per game in the bubble before tearing his plantar fascia a few months back, and is going to be at least $5 more by the time the All-Star break comes around if he gets back to that form. We believe he can duplicate that in a matchup like this, with Atlanta surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing PGs thanks to Trae Young's horrific defense.
Guard to Avoid
Russell Westbrook, WAS at BOS ($42)
It's hard to deny how good Westbrook has been recently, but this one scares us. This marks the Wizards' fifth game of the week and one has to believe Russ might be rested here in the second half of a back-to-back set. While he's played the last two B2Bs, five games in seven days are a different story. That alone makes us worried, but this matchup makes it impossible to click the plus sign next to his name. In his two meetings versus Boston this year, Westbrook is only averaging 32 fantasy points per game while shooting a combined 10-of-35 from the field.
LeBron James, LAL vs. GSW ($50)
It's hard to fade King James the way he's playing right now. Outside of a dud against the bolstering Utah Jazz, he's been one of the best options in fantasy this month. AD's injury is the thing that's really allowed LBJ to thrive posting a 35 percent usage rate with the big man off the floor this season. That's led to James' best stretch of the year averaging 26.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.4 steals over his last 12 games. This matchup is the icing on the cake with Golden State ranked 19th in total defense while playing at the NBA's second-fastest pace. LBJ's eyes always light up when he plays the Warriors having averaged 33 points, 11.5 rebounds, 9.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks in 22 career playoff games against them.
P.J. Washington, CHA at SAC ($20)
Washington has been nicked up the last few weeks, but a 40-point gem on Friday could be a sign of things to come. We say that because he averaged 30 before getting injured while scoring at least 28 Yahoo points in half of his games this season. That's a monstrous total from someone in this salary range and if P.J. should be in line for another big night if Cody Zeller is out again. The matchup only adds to his intrigue, with Sacramento carrying the league's worst defensive rating.
Forward to Avoid
John Collins, ATL at MIA ($25)
With all the new weapons in Atlanta, Collins has never looked comfortable. Clint Capela has swallowed up all of the center minutes while Danilo Gallinari has been stealing some of his minutes at PF. That has held Collins to a 37-point ceiling over his last nine games played, averaging fewer than 27 Yahoo points per game over that span. That's not good enough from someone this expensive, and we certainly don't like him facing a fifth-ranked Miami defense either.
Deandre Ayton, PHO at MIN ($26)
It's weird Ayton is only $26, as he's in the midst of a breakout season and should be closer to $30. We say that because he's scored at least 31 Yahoo points in five of his last six games, which is actually below his average since the calendar turned to 2021. Ayton is averaging 35 fantasy points per game over his last 21 outings, providing 15.2 points and 11.9 rebounds a game during that span. That shouldn't be hard to duplicate against a Minnesota team surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing centers while sitting 25th in defensive efficiency.
Chris Boucher, TOR vs. CHI ($21)
Boucher has been all over the map this season, but he's currently in the midst of one of his better stretches. In fact, he's scored at least 25 fantasy points in nine of his last 13 games while averaging over 30 Yahoo points. That's Boucher's second such run of the season as he averaged 35 fantasy points per game across his first 13 outings. We also love he got a rare start on Friday in the absence of Pascal Siakam and would be one of the best values on the board if he does that again. The matchup is stupendous with Chicago ranked fifth in pace and 24th in total defense.
Center to Avoid
James Wiseman, GS at LAL ($15)
People tend to pick the talented rookie, but Wiseman hasn't played big minutes all season. In fact, he hasn't seen more than 27 minutes in any game this year and only averages 20 a night. That's a terrible total no matter how talented Wiseman may be, and it worries us even more now that Draymond Green is rolling and Kevon Looney is fully healthy. The worst part might be this matchup as the Lakers come in with the NBA's best defensive rating. And in their one meeting this season, Wiseman posted a career-worst 6.6 Yahoo points.