Tuesday brings another modest schedule consisting of just six games. A matchup that stands out will feature the Kings hosting the Celtics, who should be getting back a few key players from injury. Another matchup with playoff implications will take place in Los Angeles when the Clippers take on the Thunder. Let’s discuss some players to consider targeting on Yahoo, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Jaylen Brown, BOS at SAC ($36): Brown continues to be a reliable source for production, scoring at least 38.8 Yahoo points in eight of his last nine games. His usage rate is up to 31.2%, which is on pace to be the highest mark of his career. The Kings rank inside the top-10 in the league in pace of play and inside the bottom-10 in defensive rating, setting up Brown with plenty of potential.
Malaki Branham, SAS at NOP ($12): This is the first game of a back-to-back set for the Spurs, so they won’t be at full strength. They’ve already ruled out Devin Vassell (knee), Jeremy Sochan (knee) and Zach Collins (rest), while Tre Jones (hamstring) is doubtful. That should leave plenty of playing time for Branham, who has averaged 20.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists over eight games in which he has played at least 30 minutes.
Guard to Avoid
Marcus Smart, BOS at SAC ($18): After sitting out Saturday against the Jazz, Smart is not on the injury report for this matchup. That was the second game of a back-to-back set for the Celtics, so it was just a situation in which they wanted to get him some rest. Still, even with him playing heavy minutes lately, Smart has scored 22.2 Yahoo points or fewer in five of his last seven games.
Kristaps Porzingis, WAS at ORL ($39): Porzingis is not on the injury report after sitting out Saturday against the Kings because of an illness. The Wizards certainly need him with Kyle Kuzma (ankle) having already been ruled out. In the last two games that Kuzma missed, Porzingis scored 52.1 and 52.4 Yahoo points, respectively. With added shot attempts coming his way, another juicy stat line could be forthcoming.
Marvin Bagley III, DET at ATL ($18): Bagley recently missed three straight games with an ankle injury. He jumped right back into the thick of things Sunday, playing 30 minutes against the Heat. Another heavy dose of playing time should be coming his way in this game with Jalen Duren (head) set to sit out. His numbers haven’t been off the charts, but Bagley has averaged a respectable 13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks since the All-Star break.
Forward to Avoid
Harrison Barnes, SAC vs. BOS ($18): Barnes is a valuable member of the Kings and he plays a lot, logging 33 minutes per game. However, he only has a 16.9% usage rate and contributes very little in the way of assists and defensive stats. That has contributed to him averaging just 24.4 Yahoo points per game. It’s better to take a chance on Bagley, who has the same salary and a higher upside.
Jonas Valanciunas, NOP vs. SAS ($22): Valanciunas comes into this matchup hot, scoring 54.4 and 44.4 Yahoo points, respectively, the last two games. He excelled against the Rockets, who have the second-worst defensive rating in the league, in both of those games. Now he’ll face the Spurs, who have the worst defensive rating and will be without Collins. Expect them to provide little resistance for Valanciunas.
Sandro Mamukelashvili, SAS at NOP ($10): Collins isn’t the only big man who will be sidelined for the Spurs. They will also be without Charles Bassey (knee), who is out for the remainder of the season. Mamukelashvili has scored at least 21.4 Yahoo points in all three games since Bassey was injured. At the minimum salary, he’s worth the risk in tournament play.
Center to Avoid
Nic Claxton, BKN vs. CLE ($27): This is more about the quality of the other center options than it is Claxton. He doesn’t exactly have the easiest of matchups against a Cavaliers team that has the best defensive rating in the league. Valanciunas has a much better matchup and a cheaper salary. The same can be said for Clint Capela ($21) and Ivica Zubac ($20), who will be facing the Pistons and Thunder, respectively. There’s no need to pay for Claxton’s higher salary.
Mike Barner 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.