This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
The NBA starts the weekend with a busy nine-game slate Friday. With so many options to wade through in DFS, let's get right down to business and highlight some players to target and avoid while completing your Yahoo entry.
Bradley Beal, WAS at CHA ($37): Beal is trying to carry the Wizards to a spot in the playoffs by averaging career-highs in points (25.1), rebounds (5.1), assists (5.4) and steals (1.4) per game. His 28.3 percent usage rate gives him an extremely high floor, especially since the Wizards play at the eighth-fastest pace (102.5 possessions per game) in the league. With at least 41.2 Yahoo points in 10 of his last 11 contests, Beal makes a lot of sense at this reasonable price.
Wayne Ellington, DET at ATL ($10): After trading away Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson, the Pistons brought in Ellington to help restore some depth to their roster. He logged 33 minutes in their last game against the Celtics, which helped him score 21.7 Yahoo points. The key stat is that he attempted 10 three-pointers in that contest. At the minimum price, he might be worth the risk in tournament play since the Hawks play at the fastest pace (104.6) and allow the eighth-highest three-point percentage (36.3 percent) in the league.
Guard to Avoid
Elfrid Payton, NO at IND ($18): After missing almost a month, Payton (ankle) is expected to make his return for this game. The Pelicans are in tank mode, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Payton log limited minutes in his first game back. Couple that with the Pacers allowing the fewest points per game (102.9) and Payton is not a very appealing option at this price.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI at ORL ($33): If there is any silver lining to this disaster of a season for the Bulls it's that Markkanen continues to show a lot of promise. He was particularly hot heading into the All-Star break, scoring at least 40.3 Yahoo points in seven of his last nine games. The Bulls don't have much depth up front after trading away Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker, so look for Markkanen to continue to receive all of the playing time that he can handle.
Dario Saric, MIN at NY ($14): With the Timberwolves struggling to remain in the playoff hunt, they've made the decision to insert Saric into the starting five over Taj Gibson. Gibson is a key veteran who plays good defense, but he doesn't have nearly the fantasy upside that Saric does. After scoring 36.6 and 28.1 Yahoo points, respectively, in his first two starts, take advantage of Saric at this cheap price while you still can.
Forward to Avoid
Jerami Grant, OKC vs. UTA ($19): The Thunder made a significant addition to their bench by signing Markieff Morris (neck) after he was bought out by the Pelicans. Morris has been cleared to return and could make his debut with the team Friday. Grant will continue to start, but he's averaged 32 minutes a night with limited options behind him. It wouldn't be surprising to see his workload decrease slightly. This is also a bad matchup since the Jazz allow the fourth-fewest points per game (105.9), so it's hard to justify paying this much for Grant.
Andre Drummond, DET at ATL ($40): The Pistons have worked their way up to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference in large part because of Drummond, who has scored at least 51.4 Yahoo points in five straight games. That included dominating a couple of good defensive teams in the Celtics and Nuggets. This is another great opportunity for him to shine against the Hawks' horrible defense. In two previous meetings against them this year, Drummond scored 49.7 and 53 Yahoo points, respectively.
Cody Zeller, CHA vs. WAS ($13): It's a bit surprising that Zeller has remained this cheap. He's locked in as the starting center for the Hornets and has scored at least 27.2 Yahoo points in five straight games. He's even logged at least 30 minutes in back-to-back contests. The Wizards give up a ton of points and allow the third-most rebounds per game (47.6), so don't hesitate to add Zeller to your entry if you want to save money at center.
Center to Avoid
Marc Gasol, TOR vs. SA ($22): Gasol has come off of the bench and logged 22 minutes or fewer in all three games since joining the Raptors. With Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam ahead of him on the depth chart right now, his upside is nothing to write home about. It also doesn't help that the Spurs allow the second-fewest Yahoo points per game (33.6) to opposing centers.