This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This is a bizarre slate. It's certainly not for the East Coasters, starting at 8ET and featuring mainly Western Conference teams. It's hard to understand why the schedule makers did that, but it makes me happy since I've been covering the West Coast games for most of my time at RotoWire. That makes me feel like I have a great read on what's going on, so let's go ahead and get into it!
CJ McCollum, POR vs. BOS ($35)
The Trail Blazers are falling apart. They just lost Damian Lillard for a week due to an abductor issue and might be without Anfernee Simons as well. Those are really the only two point guards on the roster, but McCollum was doing all of the ball-handling in the absence of Dame anyway. In fact, CJ has a 31.4 percent usage rate with Lillard off the floor, scoring at least 32 Yahoo points in six of his last seven games. What's even crazier is the fact that he's attempted 44 shots in the two games without Lillard, grabbing those chucking numbers despite two massive blowouts. We don't anticipate that happening here with this close spread and Boston allowing 137 points on Friday night.
Tyler Herro, MIA at MIL ($30)
Herro is the frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year, but he might fall out of it because of some injuries in Miami. In any case, it adds to Herro's fantasy value, starting in the absence of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Those two were running the show in Miami, but it's all about Herro now. With those two off the floor, Herro leads the club with an absurd 32 percent usage rate while averaging 1.2 Y! points per minute. That's pretty close to the guy we've seen all year, with Tyler tallying at least 24 Y! points in 19 of 20 games this season en route to a 33-point average. One of his best games came against the Bucks, too, with Herro collecting 27 points, six rebounds and five assists in that masterclass.
Guard to Avoid
Grayson Allen, MIL vs. MIA ($15)
Allen was fantastic when he stepped in for some of these injuries studs early on, but he's not the same guy with all of them healthy. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday have returned over recent weeks, killing Allen's role. That former Blue Devil has failed to crack 18 Yahoo points in six of his last nine games, which directly correlates with the health of this roster. It's no surprise when you look at this roster, with Grayson getting just 8.1 shots per game in that span. That's even more concerning in a matchup with Miami, ranked fourth in total defense.
Jaren Jackson Jr, MEM at DAL ($29)
Filling in for injured players is a significant theme in this article, and JJJ fits that narrative perfectly. The guy he's stepping up for is Ja Morant, with the future All-Star missing games due to a knee issue. While it doesn't necessarily give Jackson more ball-handling duties, it increases his role exponentially. JJJ has a 31 percent usage rate with Morant off the floor, leading the team with 1.44 Y! points per minute. That's on full display when you see that JJJ has at least 42 Yahoo points in back-to-back games, despite playing just 27 minutes a night. That certainly won't continue after that 73-point demolition on Thursday, with Jackson expected to play 30-35 minutes. The best part of this play might be the matchup, though, with Dallas surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing big men.
Marcus Morris, LAC at SAC ($14)
Morris just had a nightmarish game on Wednesday, but so did the rest of the Clippers. The simple fact is, Morris is probably the best interior player on this roster right now, with Kawhi Leonard injured for the majority of the season. That was clear when he dropped 27 fantasy points across 32 minutes in his second game back and 24 Y! points across 33 minutes on Friday. Those are his only gems in the five games he's played, but the blowout nature of those other games alters some of these players' statistics. We're talking about a guy who played at a $25-level between 2019-20, and he's going to have to step up with The Claw out of the lineup. A matchup with Sacramento is an excellent way to get him back on track, with the Kings ranked 27th in defensive efficiency and 29th in points allowed.
Forward to Avoid
Keldon Johnson, SAN at GS ($22)
KJ was one of the biggest steals in season-long fantasy drafts, but this DFS pricing is finally catching up. What's really concerning about Johnson is that his role is declining. Not only are Dejounte Murray and Derrick White taking all the ball-handling opportunities, but guys like Devin Vassell and Thaddeus Young are stealing wing minutes as well. That's led to KJ scoring 24 or fewer fantasy points in six of his last seven games. That's an alarming number from a $22 player, and it's hard to imagine it getting any better against the top-ranked defense in the NBA.
Jakob Poeltl, SAN at GS ($23)
Poeltl didn't have the most prominent statistical game against Portland on Thursday, but he was easily the best player on the floor. He absolutely dominated the paint defensively for San Antonio and is becoming a double-double machine. If you take out the game he got injured and his first game back, Jakob is averaging 34.9 Yahoo points per game across 30 minutes a night. That 11-game sample size is nothing to scoff at, and it makes it surprising that he's still so affordable. Golden State has been the best defense in the NBA, but the center position is one spot they can be exploited with their lack of size.
Dewayne Dedmon, MIA at MIL ($14)
Bam Adebayo is my favorite player in the NBA, so it saddens me that he's out for the next six weeks. In any case, this is DFS, and we have to capitalize on these circumstances. His absence will allow Dedmon to grab the starting center job, dropping 36.6 Y! points in the first start without him. That's pretty much the guy we've seen throughout Dedmon's tenure in the NBA, averaging 1.1 Y! points per minute for his career. That means he should be $25 if he plays the 30 minutes we anticipate, making him one of the best values on the board.
Center to Avoid
Ivica Zubac, LAC at SAC ($17)
Zoo has never gotten the full allotment of minutes to make him a reliable fantasy option. The big man has only cracked 30 minutes three times all season, playing 21.3 minutes a night across his last four fixtures. That most recent trend is what's disturbing, with guys like Morris and Serge Ibaka developing bigger roles in this rotation. That means Zubac is capped off at about 25 minutes, which is concerning since he has a 20-point average in the 13 games he hasn't cracked the minute threshold.