This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Sunday brings a seven-game slate with some interesting matchups that make for tough DFS decisions. What makes it especially difficult is that there are seven of the top nine defenses in action. If I could, I would avoid all seven of these teams and just try to hit a lottery with the other half of the field, including the Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Magic, Spurs and Jazz. Using one or two guys against these defenses isn't the worst idea to try to diversify your lineup, but steering clear of these teams is the best way to approach a short slate like this.
Goran Dragic, MIA vs. BOS ($34): Since returning from injury on Nov. 26, Dragic is averaging 21.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Those are some of the best numbers in the league in that stretch and it's clear he's comfortable as the highest-usage player on this team. This matchup isn't tough either, as the Celtics have played below expectations this season on the defensive end.
Deron Williams, DAL vs. SAC ($21): Over his last nine games, Williams is averaging 14.9 points, 8.3 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game. What's most encouraging about that stretch is the fact that he's playing over 33 minutes per game. Playing that many minutes and handling the ball as much as Williams does automatically makes him valuable, let alone the fact that he costs just $21. If that's not enough incentive, his matchup against a bad Sacramento defense should be.
Guard to Avoid
John Wall, WSH vs. LAC ($49): The way Wall is playing, he's hard to avoid right now, but the Clippers have established themselves as one of the best defenses in the league, and what makes them so good is their ability to slow down the other team's best player. While Wall is likely to approach a double-double with points and assists, it will be hard for him to surpass 50 fantasy points, which is what he needs at this price. Paul is actually $6 cheaper than Wall, and he's a better bet to score more fantasy points.
Serge Ibaka, ORL vs. TOR ($27): Ibaka has scored at least 37 fantasy points in three of his last four games. What I like here is the matchup, as the power forward position is the clear weakness for the Raptors. With limited options at power forward, Ibaka makes for a great value at just $27 and should be leaned on heavily as the clear mismatch in this game.
Robert Covington, PHI vs. BKN ($15): Covington got off to a nightmare start this season, but he's been very good since returning from injury, averaging over 32 fantasy points per game over his last three. That sort of upside is impossible to find at just $15 and it comes in the best matchup, as the Nets rank last in total defense and allow the most fantasy points per game to small forwards. Additionally, Brooklyn ranks first in pace, which only adds to Covington's value.
Forward to Avoid
Anthony Davis, NOP at SAN ($57): Davis had to leave the Pelicans' most recent game with yet another injury and he comes into this matchup questionable. Spending $57 on a player means you have to get at least 50 fantasy points to return formidable value, and while Davis has the ability to do that, it could become much tougher in thismatchup. San Antonio ranks in the top four in defensive efficiency and points allowed, as they regularly stifle the other team's best player. The last time Davis faced San Antonio, he had just 29 fantasy points, and a similar performance wouldn't be surprising Sunday.
Al Horford, BOS at MIA ($29): Horford is regularly under-priced because his numbers don't pop off the page. What makes him so good is his ability to stuff the stat sheet as he accumulates fantasy points through a variety of ways. Not only is he averaging over 36 fantasy points per game, he's has scored at least 40 in six of his last 16 games, a great return on his price.
Salah Mejri, DAL vs. SAC ($10): Mejri has taken over starting center duties in Dallas recently and this minimum price doesn't take into account his new role. Mejri has scored at least 22 fantasy points in three of the last five, while playing nearly 25 minutes per game. That isn't huge usage, but it makes him a great value at just $10.
Center to Avoid
Marc Gasol, MEM vs. UTA ($37): Gasol has been an absolute monster over the past month, but Sunday's matchup is as tough as it gets and the return of Mike Conley will reduce his usage. The Jazz rank in the top five in nearly every defensive category, and they are so good down low because of Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Conley's return will likely cut Gasol's usage, thus limiting his fantasy value. While 40 fantasy points doesn't seem impossible, that's likely Gasol's ceiling in this sort of circumstance, and that's simply too risky at this price.