There will be plenty of early basketball Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Among the afternoon matchups will be the Cavaliers hosting the Pelicans, two young teams hoping to make deep runs in the playoffs. The Bucks will also be playing, taking on a Pacers team without Tyrese Haliburton (knee). As far as the late games go, the Lakers will play the second game of a back-to-back set when they host the Rockets. Let’s dig into the main Yahoo slate and highlight some players to target for your lineups.
Russell Westbrook, LAL vs. HOU ($32): It will be interesting to see if LeBron James plays this game, as he logged 35 minutes Sunday against the 76ers. He did play both games of a back-to-back set earlier in January, so he could take the floor. If he doesn’t, Westbrook would take over as the Lakers’ primary scorer. Even if James does play, Westbrook can still exploit this matchup since the Rockets have the third-worst defensive rating in the league.
T.J. McConnell, IND at MIL ($19): The injury to Haliburton has thrust McConnell into a more prominent role. He’s still not starting, but he has played at least 24 minutes in three straight games. He hasn’t disappointed, averaging 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 2.0 steals. Even though the Bucks are a solid defensive team, McConnell is still worth deploying at this salary.
Guard to Avoid
Caris LeVert, CLE vs. NO ($19): The Cavaliers don’t have any injuries of note right now, and even Ricky Rubio is back. Their improved health situation has contributed to LeVert scoring 24.0 Yahoo points or fewer in four straight games. Expect LeVert to remain in a limited role for as long as the Cavaliers can stay healthy.
Jayson Tatum, BOS at CHA ($48): The absence of Jaylen Brown (groin) leaves a significant void within the Celtics’ scoring attack. They will have to rely even more heavily on Tatum, who scored 54.8 Yahoo points against these same Hornets on Saturday. The Hornets have played at the 10th-fastest pace and have the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league, giving Tatum a favorable chance to shine in their rematch.
Donte DiVincenzo, GS at WAS ($18): The Warriors will also be playing the second game of a back-to-back set after losing to the Bulls on Sunday. They have ruled out Klay Thompson for rest, continuing his trend of not playing consecutive days this season. While Jordan Poole will likely replace Thompson in the starting five, DiVincenzo should also be in line for added playing time off the bench. The Warriors have played at the fastest pace in the league, so extra minutes could enable DiVincenzo to provide value.
Forward to Avoid
P.J. Washington, CHA vs. BOS ($22): This is not a good matchup for Washington since the Celtics have the seventh-best defensive rating. In their last meeting Saturday, he finished with just 14 points and three rebounds en route to scoring 22.6 Yahoo points. With fewer than 23 Yahoo points in three straight games, it’s hard to have much faith in Washington at this salary.
Alperen Sengun, HOU at LAL ($22): The Lakers don’t have a lot of size up front, which has contributed to them allowing the seventh-most rebounds per game. Despite logging only 27 minutes per game this season, Sengun has averaged 8.6 rebounds. He has played at least 28 minutes in five straight games, which helped him score at least 33.6 Yahoo points four times. As long as he remains in that role, he could cause plenty of problems for the Lakers.
Walker Kessler, UTA at MIN ($17): Walker should remain in the starting five for the Jazz with Kelly Olynyk (ankle) still out. Over the nine games in which Kessler has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. For those who want to save money at the center position, Kessler stands out as someone to target.
Center to Avoid
Steven Adams, MEM vs. PHO ($27): The Suns are dealing with several injuries, but at least they have Deandre Ayton healthy again. He’s one of the main reasons they have allowed the seventh-fewest rebounds per game. Adams’ primary value comes from his ability to rebound since he’s averaging only 8.3 points to complement his 11.4 rebounds per game. At this salary, Adams comes with plenty of risk.
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.