This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
We are in the last weeks of the regular season, so short-term trends are often more predictive than season-long ones because teams are changing the way they play, and/or new players are taking over positions that were previously held by others. There are several examples of that listed below, both for the recommended and the players to avoid. Young players are moving up and veterans moving down on lottery teams, while teams still fighting for playoff positioning are doing the opposite.
Ish Smith, DET at MIL ($16): Smith has been the starting point guard with no challenge from Reggie Jackson (knee) for the last few games, and he has responded with three games between 29.6 and 39.2 fantasy points. On Friday, he faces a Bucks defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to point guards over the last 10 games.
Buddy Hield, SAC at NO ($16): Hield has played two straight games against elite defenses (Jazz and Grizzlies) and combined for only 25.7 fantasy points. However, in the four games before that he scored between 29.9 and 45.1 fantasy points in each. He now faces off against his former team, which has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to shooting guards over the last 10 games.
Guard to Avoid
Bradley Beal, WAS at UTA ($50): Beal has scored between 20 and 29 fantasy points in five of his last eight games. He's a great player, so he also has two games in the 30s and one over 50 fantasy points in that stretch, but he has been below par in the majority of his recent games, which is unacceptable in a player with a price this high. Additionally, he faces an elite Jazz defense, which has allowed the fewest fantasy points allowed to shooting guards this season, including the seventh-fewest over the last five.
Terrence Ross, ORL at BOS ($16): Ross continues the theme of $16 value-play recommendations. Like Smith and Hield, Ross isn't a world-beater by himself, but he's another who has been productive for his price. In his last five games, he has scored between 25.0 and 32.3 fantasy points. On Friday, he faces a Celtics defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to small forwards in the last 10 games.
Zach Randolph, MEM vs DAL ($20): Randolph has started at center the last three games in place of Marc Gasol (foot), and he has scored between 27.7 and 39.0 fantasy points. Grizzlies coach David Fizdale says he believes that Gasol feels a little better, but he's still no guarantee to play. If he sits, Randolph makes for another solid play.
Forward to Avoid
Carmelo Anthony, NY at MIA ($35): Anthony's minutes and usage rate have been trending down, with the Knicks mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and wanting to see what they have in their younger players. Anthony said he is "at peace" with playing a reduced role, but it's obviously not good for his fantasy value.
Rudy Gobert, UTA vs WAS ($35): Gobert has played as well or better than any center going Friday, scoring between 34.0 and 60.1 fantasy points in eight straight games, including five with at least 44.0. However, he is the fourth-most expensive center, $15 less than DeMarcus Cousins (he also makes a good play in a revenge game against his former team). Gobert has a great chance to produce against a Wizards defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to centers over the last 10 games.
Al Horford, BOS vs ORL ($27): Horford has scored between 29.7 and 51.1 fantasy points in nine straight games, as he's playing some of his best basketball of the season. On Friday, he faces a Magic defense that has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to centers over the last 10 games.
Center to Avoid
Marcin Gortat, WAS at UTA ($17): Gortat has not scored more than 26.2 fantasy points in the 10 games, failing to reach even 20.0 eight times. He now faces an elite Jazz defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to centers over the last 10 games.