This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This is an exciting card. I absolutely love the three highest-salaried guards on this slate, with Luka Doncic, De'Aaron Fox, and Paul George all being excellent plays. You know this because you're smart readers, which is why I'm mostly going to offer up value plays. Every recommendation will be no higher than $35 so you can squeeze in at least one or two of studs into your lineups. With that in mind, let's get started!
CJ McCollum, POR at CHA ($35)
Many might overlook CJ because of those aforementioned studs, but McCollum is the best per-dollar play on the board. We say that because he's going to be running things in Portland with Damian Lillard out of the lineup. With Dame off the floor, CJ leads the team with a 32 percent usage rate while providing 1.2 Y! points per minute. That was on full display when he dropped 43 Yahoo points on Friday, which is pretty much his average without Lillard over the last three years. The matchup isn't too shabby either with Charlotte missing half of their roster due to injury.
Terry Rozier, CHA vs. POR ($32)
We just mentioned how the Hornets have been stung by the injury bug, but it's made Scary Terry a fantasy beast. Charlotte is currently missing LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Malik Monk, Devonte' Graham, and P.J. Washington. That is quite literally the entire rotation and it's led to Rozier's biggest numbers of his career. He's managed a 31.4 percent usage rate with those players off the floor while averaging 1.3 Y! points per minute. That has allowed Rozier to score at least 48 fantasy points in back-to-back games and we certainly don't expect a 29th-ranked Portland defense to slow him down.
Guard to Avoid
D'Angelo Russell, MIN at LAC ($21)
Russell offers plenty of potential, but looks lost in Minnesota right now. What's really hurting him is that he's coming off the bench. Russell thrives off of confidence and this relegation has led to scoring 24 or fewer fantasy points in three straight outings. That's an unacceptable total from a player north of $20 and we certainly don't anticipate it improving against a top-10 Clippers' defense. A big reason for that is the health of this roster with Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio, and Anthony Edwards all swallowing up touches.
Darius Bazley, OKC at TOR ($17)
Oklahoma City has chosen to go in rebuild mode, and it's made Bazley one of their most valuable players. They're currently missing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Al Horford, and Aleksej Pokusevski, leaving Bazley as one of the offensive focal points. Since returning from an injury four games ago, he's produced at least 29 Yahoo points in three of those while posting the second-highest usage on the team. That makes it hard to believe Bazley is only $17 and we love that he faces a Toronto team also surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing PFs.
Jalen McDaniels, CHA vs. POR ($17)
Here we are again! This is yet another player who's seeing an expanded role because of injuries, and it's easy to see why when you see the laundry list from the Rozier writeup. All the missing bodies have forced McDaniels into six straight starts with at least 29 minutes. That playing time floor has led to him scoring at least 20 Yahoo points in all of those en route to a 30-point average over that span. That's a stupendous number from a $17 player and we can't overlook the fact the Trail Blazers carry the NBA's second-worst defensive rating.
Forward to Avoid
Gary Trent Jr, TOR vs. OKC ($22)
Trent had one crazy game when all the Raptors' starters were sitting, and it's inflated his value too much. It sounds like Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby should all return here, which will leave Trent as a standstill shooter. With all of them healthy, GTJ is averaging just 0.8 Y! points per minute. That's really no surprise when you see he's failed to crack 18 fantasy points in eight of his last 15 games while dealing with an ankle injury.
Wendell Carter Jr, ORL vs. HOU ($21)
A change of scenery can be great for an athlete. That's just what WCJ got when he was traded to Orlando and he's proven to be a beast in this new role. Over his last nine games, Carter is averaging 35 Yahoo points per game across 30 minutes a night. That's all you can ask for from a $21 player, and it's not like we think the Rockets will slow down a speeding train as they currently rank 25th in points allowed while playing at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA. When they met earlier this year, Carter dropped 42 Y! points against them in his second-best performance of the year.
Hassan Whiteside, SAC at DAL ($12)
With Richaun Holmes out another week, Whiteside should get some extra run. All you need is 20 minutes out of him to have a monster game, and he's proven to be one of the best per-minute producers when provided the opportunity. If you look at the six games Holmes has sat this season, Whiteside is averaging 34 Yahoo points per game in just 19 minutes. That's an amazing rate and it would be great to see the sort of line he could post in 25-30 minutes. The best part of this play might be the matchup, with Dallas essentially playing without a center. Good luck finding a higher upside from another $12 player.
Center to Avoid
Jusuf Nurkic, POR at CHA ($19)
I love Nurk and I truly believe he'll be a $25 player in a few weeks, but we can't trust him right now. He's played 22 or fewer minutes in eight of his nine games since returning and hasn't cracked 30 fantasy points in any of those eight outings. That tells us Portland is overly cautious with their big man and they're going to continue to split his minutes with Enes Kanter for the foreseeable future.