This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
It's always easy to sit here and think there are more injuries this season. That's something I hear every year in every sport, but it honestly feels like that's the case in the NBA. Throwing in a global pandemic certainly doesn't help, but it makes DFS a great alternative to season-long formats. This is a spot where you can capitalize on these injuries and ride some of the players you previously had no stock in. We're going to do a lot of that here, so let's go ahead and get started.
Stephen Curry, GS at CHA ($50)
I usually try to avoid the top players for recommendations, but there are two on this slate who are impossible to avoid. Curry is one of them by playing some of the best basketball of his career. The best shooter of all time has scored at least 35 Yahoo points in all 11 games this season while averaging 28.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.6 steals. He's been even more ridiculous recently having posted a 61-point average over his last three. All of that makes Curry worthy at any salary, but this matchup is simply pristine with the Hornets ranking third in pace, 27th in defensive efficiency and last in points allowed. Not to mention, you better believe he'l be motivated against the team he rooted for growing up.
CJ McCollum, POR at DEN ($30)
Any time Damian Lillard gets ruled out, McCollum should be in every lineup. With Dame off the floor this season, McCollum is leading the Blazers with a 31 percent usage rate while averaging 1.2 Y! points per minute. Those are great usage numbers, and they've actually been higher in the past. That makes McCollum an easy choice at $30, especially with him averaging over 36 fantasy points. We anticipate CJ playing a lot of point here, which is incredible since Denver also surrenders the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing PGs. (And don't forget about Anfernee Simons at the min if he starts.)
Guard to Avoid
Jalen Green, HOU vs. PHX ($17)
This 19-year-old will have a great career, but it's clear he's a bit overwhelmed in the NBA right now. He's simply a kid playing against men, and it's evident in his 22 fantasy points per game. What makes that total concerning is the fact Green's getting all the usage he can handle averaging 33 minutes and 14 shots. His inefficiency and lack of stat-stuffing have really hurt his fantasy value, and it's hard to imagine it getting any easier in today's matchup. Not only does Houston carry significant blowout potential, but Phoenix also ranks Top-5 in total defense since the beginning of last season. That was on full display when Green missed 11 of his 14 shots in his first matchup with the Suns last week.
Andrew Wiggins, GS at CHA ($23)
I don't understand this valuation with Wiggins. He's been the second-best player on the NBA's best team with over 27 Yahoo points per game. That's pretty much what you expect from a $23 player, and it makes no sense why with Wiggins combining for 76.2 Y! points over his last two appearances. That sparkling form seems more likely to carry over today with the Hornets sitting near the bottom of every defensive category. The high-tempo style of play only adds to Wigs intrigue, with him displaying some of the best athleticism in the NBA and Charlotte allowing more easy baskets than any other team.
Norman Powell, POR at DEN ($20)
Portland players are going to be huge on this slate. With Lillard out of the picture, that means 20 shots, 35 minutes, and a 30 percent usage rate need to be covered. Powell will be happy to take some of that on having averaged 1.4 Y! points per minute with Dame off the floor this year. That's a fantastic rate, particularly with Powell leading the club with 9.8 made shots for every 36 minutes without their leader. That tells us he's firing up shots at will when Lillard is out, and it appears likely he'll log 35 minutes and attempt 20-plus shots. That's tough to find from a $20 player, and we certainly don't mind Powell provided 27 or more Y! points in three of his final four meetings versus the Nuggets last year.
Forward to Avoid
Aaron Gordon, DEN vs. POR ($20)
As someone who lives in Denver, it really feels like Gordon is lost in this offense. He's had every opportunity to go off in the absence of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, but continues to post ugly numbers. Despite a season-best 48 Y! points in his most recent outing, Gordon never reached the 30-point threshold in any of his first 11 games. You need that sort of upside from a $20 player, and it's even more worrisome when you see his 23-point average during that span. Gordon was terrible against Portland last year only averaging 22 Yahoo points over their eight matchups.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. POR ($53)
Joker represents the premier player on this slate, and rightfully so. He's the best fantasy option right now leading the league in fantasy points since the beginning of last season. The big man has scored at least 39 Yahoo points in every game this season and has cracked 48-plus in all but two. That has led to Jokic's absurd 55-point average, making him the safest play on the board. He absolutely throttled the Trail Blazers scoring at least 53 fantasy points in six of their nine meetings last year. Just take the guaranteed 50 and build your lineup from there.
LaMarcus Aldridge, BKN at OKC ($15)
It was tough to see LA retire from basketball, but it's equally as exciting to see him return to his Portland form in Brooklyn. The big man has played a bench role, but has been the focal point when entering the game. Aldridge has surpassed 22 Yahoo points in seven of 12 contests, en route to his 24-point average. Those are phenomenal numbers from a $15 player, and it looks even better when you see his 26-point average since the opener. We certainly don't mind Aldridge's usage and minutes have also been increasing, making him an excellent value play against a 23rd-ranked Thunder defense.
Center to Avoid
Christian Wood, HOU vs. PHX ($37)
This is an extremely risky fade, but this is a bad spot for Wood. We already discussed the blowout potential in this matchup, with Phoenix entering as a 9.5-point favorite. That means Wood could be limited, which is scary since he's been struggling of late. In fact, he hasn't cracked 37 fantasy points in any of his last four fixtures, generating a 24-point average over his previous three. That's a terrible average from a $37 player because you need at least 40 from that salary. The Suns have also been destroying opposing centers having surrendering the seventh-fewest fantasy points to them this season.