Buckle up for a busy Friday in the NBA with eight games. The Warriors will be trying to snap their nine-game road losing streak when they face the Hawks. Another exciting matchup features the Lakers hosting the Mavericks, though both teams will be shorthanded. Let’s dig into the Yahoo slate and highlight some players to target, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Jaylen Brown, BOS at POR ($36): The Celtics may be without star Jayson Tatum (hip), who’s listed as questionable. They also play Saturday against the Jazz, so they could take the cautious route and sit Tatum on Friday. If that were to happen, Brown would have free rein against a Trail Blazers squad that lists the fourth-worst defensive rating. And even if Tatum goes, Brown is red-hot, averaging 29.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals over his last seven games.
Jaden Hardy, DAL at LAL ($18): Luka Doncic (thigh) has missed the last three outings and has already been ruled out for Friday. Kyrie Irving (foot) is questionable after also missing three straight. With them sidelined, Hardy has started and posted at least 28.9 Yahoo points each time. His salary is climbing, but it’s still low enough for him to provide value.
Guard to Avoid
Devin Vassell, SAS vs. MEM ($22): Vassell is not on the injury report after sitting out the second game of a back-to-back set Wednesday against the Mavericks. He hasn’t been the same since returning from injury, having only averaged 12.2 points while shooting 37.9% from the field across five games. On a busy slate, there’s no need to take a chance on adding Vassell to your lineup.
Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM at SAS ($33): This is a great matchup for the Grizzlies with the Spurs entering with the worst defensive rating and playing at the fifth-fastest pace. The two times Jackson previously faced them this season, he scored 39.2 and 42.9 Yahoo points, respectively. Combine that with Ja Morant (suspension) still being out, and the sky is the limit for Jackson.
Dillon Brooks, MEM at SAS ($14): For those who can’t squeeze Jackson and his salary into your budget, Brooks is another good way to gain some exposure to this matchup. He’s much more of a streaky shooter, and his last four games are a perfect example of what he brings to the table with at least 33.8 Yahoo points twice but no more than 20.5 in the other two. Brooks represents a viable option in tournament play, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him produce significant value.
Forward to Avoid
Gordon Hayward, CHA vs. PHI ($23): Hayward has gone cold with 26.7 Yahoo points or fewer in six of the last eight games. Playing time is not an issue, but he only averaged 11.6 shot attempts per game during that stretch and that’s in line with his season mark. Hayward’s limited offensive role against a 76ers team that has the eighth-best defensive rating doesn’t bode well for fantasy success.
Joel Embiid, PHI at CHA ($56): Embiid is rolling right now, averaging 36.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.1 blocks across the last seven games. The Hornets are down to Nick Richards and Kai Jones at center, so this is a significant mismatch. The only fear with deploying Embiid is that he could spend added time on the bench in the second half if Philly races out to a big early lead.
Kevon Looney, GSW at ATL ($17): Draymond Green received his 16th technical foul of the season Wednesday against the Clippers, meaning he will be suspended for Friday. That’s a tough blow for the Warriors, who are already playing without Andrew Wiggins (personal). The Hawks boast a lot of size up front, so Looney could receive a significant increase in minutes.
Center to Avoid
Christian Wood, DAL at LAL ($21): Wood exploded for 47.1 Yahoo points over 28 minutes against the Spurs on Wednesday. However, he didn’t reach higher than 25.1 in each of his previous six outings. And during that span, Wood logged fewer than 20 minutes three times. His playing time has been inconsistent, thereby making him a risky option.
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.