What a frustrating week from a fan perspective. We’ve lost Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and Kevin Durant just this week, which is scary since so many superstars were sidelined before these disastrous few days. Still, it opens up some value in DFS, and we’ll count on some absences here. With that in mind, let’s start with two of those guards coming into more prominent roles!
Devin BookerPHX vs. SAC ($37)
We were concerned about Booker’s fantasy value when Phoenix acquired Durant, but that’s not an issue now that KD is out for the next 2-3 weeks. On the contrary, even more should be asked of the DB because Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges are in Brooklyn after that trade. With all those guys off the floor, Booker has a team-leading 36 percent usage rate, averaging over 1.5 Y! points per minute. That elite rate has led to Booker scoring at least 56 Yahoo points in four straight outings! That’s absurd from a sub-$40 player, and should continue against Sacramento’s 28th-ranked defense. In their two matchups this year, the DB is averaging 55 fantasy points per game!
Tyus Jones, MEM vs. DAL ($26)
Jones is one of the best backup point guards in the NBA, but he’s a player whenever he starts. That’s what’s happening right now with Ja Morant being left out, causing TJ to hit 48 and 59 Y! points in two of three games this week. He has now started 12 games for the Ja’s this year, averaging 41 points in 33 minutes a night in those outings. This makes it hard to believe that Tyus is still only $26 and this Dallas defense has been a disaster since Kyrie Irving arrived.
Guard to dodge
Jordan PooleGSW vs. MIL ($26)
Poole has been fantastic at times this season, but has been terrible whenever Stephen Curry has been healthy. In the three games since Chef Curry’s return, Poole is averaging just 23 Yahoo points per game. That’s what we saw earlier in the season, with Poole coming off the bench to average 23 points in his 25 games. Those are scary totals for a $26 player, and it gets even scarier because Milwaukee has the best defensive rating over the past 20 games.
Gordon HaywardCHA vs. UTA ($24)
Hayward’s career has been interrupted by injuries, but he is currently playing some of his best basketball ever. The former All-Star has at least 26 Yahoo points in 10 of his last 11 games, averaging 34 Y! points per game in that period. It’s no surprise since LaMelo Ball is out for the rest of the season, increasing Hayward’s minutes, shot attempts, assists and usage. The revenge game against Utah is the icing on the cake, and the Jazz are ranked 22nd in points allowed and 24th in defensive efficiency.
Al HorfordBOS to ATL ($21)
It’s disgusting to recommend two veterans who are well past their prime, but it’s hard to fade Hayward and Horford right now. Much like Hayward, Horford sees a big boost due to injuries, with Robert Williams sidelined in Boston. That means Big Al is racking up all the big man stats, averaging 37 Yahoo points per game in the four at-bats since Williams went down. One of them was even an exhaust, which is great since Big Al was playing almost 35 minutes a night during this period. The Atlanta game should get him going, with the Hawks ranked 21st in points allowed and 22nd in defensive efficiency.
Forward to dodge
De’Andre HunterATL vs. BOS ($17)
Hunter is a good fantasy option, but it doesn’t make sense to pay $17 to use him. Atlanta’s wing forward is locked into a 30-minute role but has no cap, with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray gobbling up all of Atlanta’s usage. That’s not the only thing holding him back; Hunter is also battling for touches with John Collins, Clint Capel, Saddiq Bey and Bogdan Bogdanovic. That’s too many cooks in this Hawks kitchen, leading to Hunter averaging just 20 Y! points per game in the last six appearances. Facing the Celtics is also a concern, as Boston ranks fourth in defensive efficiency.
James Wiseman, TO vs. IN ($15)
Wiseman was considered a bust in Golden State, but the move to Detroit revived his career. The 2020 number two pick has started the last seven games for the Pistons and should continue to see an increased role with Isaiah Stewart as well. That injury allowed Wiseman to score 34 and 36 Yahoo points in his last two outings. Getting 25-30 fantasy points is great from a $15 player and this kid is just scratching the surface of what he could become. Facing Indiana is also incredible, with the Pacers ranked 26th in defensive efficiency and points allowed. They also surrender the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing centers, making Wiseman the best per-dollar play on the board.
Nick RichardsCHA vs. UTA ($12)
If Mark Williams misses this game, Richards will be locked into everyone’s lineup. Williams has started at center since replacing Mason Plumlee, and we expect Richards to take over that job if Williams can’t go. He would get a 30-minute role as the starting center, which is great because Richards averages 18 Yahoo points per game over 17 minutes a night. Both could double in this expanded role, with Richards losing 34 Y! points in 29 minutes in the game in which Williams fell. That makes the $12 price point ridiculous, especially since Utah surrenders the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers.
Christian WoodDAL to MEM ($19)
Wood can be a fantastic fantasy option when given a heavy workload, but it just doesn’t happen for whatever reason. A big man averages 23 Y! points per game over 20 minutes a night in his 13 games since returning from injury. We thought it was a rebound from injury, but his numbers over the last five appearances have been even worse. Memphis also isn’t a good matchup for Wood, who is sixth in points allowed and second in defensive efficiency.