This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
I was burned yesterday by some late-breaking news. Marcus Morris got ruled out minutes before the Clippers game started, and it's a good lesson for all of us. With this NBA landscape and COVID uncertainty, it's imperative to keep your eyes and ears on every bit of news until lineup lock. There are so many updates and you're at a severe disadvantage unless you follow everything that's going on. With that in mind, let's dive into today's card.
Chris Paul, PHX at CHA ($33)
Using playmakers against the Hornets is usually a profitable endeavor. They surrender fantasy points at the highest rate in the NBA, rank second in pace and 28th in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. That's beneficial for the Point God, with Paul providing a 38-point average this season. That's already plenty for a $33 player, but we love that CP3 has posted at least 32 Y! in 25 of 34 games this campaign. That floor and average are impossible to avoid in this matchup because we genuinely believe Paul will provide 15 assists in this very favorable spot.
Malik Beasley, MIN at LAL ($18)
The Timberwolves had one of the worst COVID breakouts last week, and it's forced Beasley into a monster role. It's the absences of Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell that have opened things up, with Malik leading the team in usage since they went out. He's averaging an unbelievable 18.7 shots and 13.2 three-point attempts over his last six contests. No player in the NBA has tried more threes during that span, and it makes it hard to believe Beasley remains below $20. The matchup with LA is fantastic with the Lakers ranked first in pace and 26th in points allowed.
Guard to Avoid
Jalen Brunson, DAL at OKC ($27)
We need to applaud Brunson for how good he's been in the absence of Luka Doncic. With that said, his salary has gotten way too high, especially since Luka expected to return. Brunson is averaging 38 Y! points per game in his 15 starts, but only 23 points across 18 appearances off the bench. His shots, minutes and usage plummet when Luka is in the lineup, and it's easy to understand why with the superstar leading the NBA in usage rate. All of that makes Brunson a tough sell, particularly with the blowout potential in this lopsided matchup.
LeBron James, LAL vs. MIN ($54)
We simply can't fade King James right now. The 20-year vet is in one of the most dominant stretches of his career averaging 34.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks over his last six games. He's actually scored at least 59 Y! in five of those while generating a ridiculous 64-point average. Those numbers make LeBron impossible to fade no matter what the salary says, and it's clear as day that he's in takeover mode with Anthony Davis out for the next month. It's not like Minnesota is a menacing matchup considering the club is ranked sixth in pace and 20th in total defense.
Jalen Smith, PHX at CHA ($11)
This is probably my favorite value play. Phoenix is one of many teams dealing with a COVID breakout and have lost Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee to protocols in the last week. That has forced Smith into a very prominent role logging at least 25 minutes in three straight outings. More importantly, he scored at least 27 Y! in all of those en route to a 31-point average. That's the production you usually see from a $25 player, and Smith is less than half of that. We already discussed how Charlotte might be the best matchup in fantasy, which only adds to his intrigue.
Forward to Avoid
Kelly Oubre Jr, CHA vs. PHX ($24)
Oubre was brilliant when Charlotte was shorthanded, but he's back to the volatile bench player that earned him a sub-$20 tag with everyone healthy. That has led to him collecting 26 or fewer fantasy points in six of his last seven contests with a 23-point average. We've said this before, but your average should never be below your value unless you're above $40. All of that is concerning, but the matchup with the Suns is terrifying as they currently rank second in defensive efficiency ratings this season and could win in a blowout.
Myles Turner, IND vs. CLE ($24)
This valuation is tough to understand. Turner has been playing at a $30 level all season long, and Yahoo continues to keep him in this low-$20 range. We're talking about someone who's averaging 33 fantasy points on the year with at least 33 Y! in eight of his last 12 appearances. Turner's also registered a 35-point average during this stretch, making the salary even more challenging to understand. Cleveland looks like a scary matchup when dissecting the numbers, but it also guarantees Turner 30-35 minutes because of their size. As long as that happens, he's an easy play at this value.
Omer Yurtseven, MIA at SAC ($20)
Yurtseven has been brilliant filling in for Bam Adebayo. He's been an absolute beast on the boards, gobbling up at least 12 rebounds in seven straight games. That alone makes Yurtseven a great value at just $20 having scored at least 34 fantasy points in each of his last three. That's an astounding total from such an affordable player, and the matchup with Sacramento is the icing on the cake. The Kings currently rank 26th in defensive efficiency and 28th in points allowed while surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. Not to mention, they just lost Richaun Holmes to COVID protocols, making this weak frontcourt even more fragile.
Center to Avoid
Nathan Knight, MIN at LAL ($15)
Knight was a great fill-in this time last week, but it looks like he's back to a minimal bench role. Minnesota was amid a COVID breakout when Knight was an immense value, but he's been relegated to lesser duties with Naz Reid and Jarred Vanderbilt back in the lineup. In the first outing with those players back, Knight played 18 minutes and provided five points and four rebounds. That's pretty much what we expect to see from him here on out, and it's even more worrisome with the Lakers currently playing a lot of small-ball. Reid is also just $11, and he seems like the better bet of the two if you want some exposure to a T'Wolves center.