The NBA starts the week with eight games on the schedule Monday. The race for the playoffs will once again be a key storyline, but the MVP race will also take center stage when Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets host Joel Embiid and the 76ers. Let’s dig into the Yahoo slate and highlight some players to consider, as well as a few to potentially avoid.
Kyrie Irving, DAL at IND ($41): Coming off another loss to the Hornets, the Mavericks are currently outside the Play-In Tournament. To complicate matters for this game, Luka Doncic won’t be available while he serves his suspension for receiving his 16th technical foul of the season Sunday. His absence should lead to plenty of shot attempts for Irving against a Pacers team that has played at the ninth-fastest pace in the league.
Shaedon Sharpe, POR vs. NOP ($15): The Trail Blazers have started to rest their top players, and, as a result, Sharpe has taken on added playing time and shot attempts. That has helped him score at least 31.8 Yahoo points in the last three games.
Guard to Avoid
Jrue Holiday, MIL at DET ($27): Holiday has been quiet, scoring 26.7 Yahoo points or fewer in four of his last six games. Part of the problem is that he has seen limited minutes often with the Bucks involved in so many blowouts. This is another significant mismatch, so Holiday could once again find himself with added time on the bench in the second half.
Julius Randle, NYK vs. HOU ($40): The Knicks might be shorthanded for this game with Jalen Brunson (hand) listed as questionable. If he sits out, Randle could shine in a leading role. Even if he plays, Randle has the potential to excel against a Rockets team that has the second-worst defensive rating in the league.
Terrence Ross, PHX at UTA ($12): Ross has given the Suns a spark off the bench, scoring 37.5 and 29.4 Yahoo points, respectively, in the last two games. One was a favorable matchup against the Kings, who have the sixth-worst defensive rating in the league. The Jazz are similar in that regard, posting the seventh-worst defensive rating. At near the minimum salary, Ross could be worth the risk in tournament play.
Forward to Avoid
Kenyon Martin, HOU at NYK ($20): If the Rockets have one thing going for them, it’s that they’ve been pretty healthy down the stretch. Martin continues to start, but he doesn’t always see a significant number of shot attempts. That has contributed to him scoring 24.1 Yahoo points or fewer in five of the last six games.
Joel Embiid, PHI at DEN ($57): If Embiid wants to win the MVP, putting up a solid stat line against Jokic would help his cause. He had a huge night against the Nuggets when these two teams met in January, scoring 47 points on his way to 85.1 Yahoo points. He’s questionable with a calf injury, but if he plays, there’s a case for building your entire lineup around him.
Jonas Valanciunas, NOP at POR ($25): With Jusuf Nurkic (knee) possibly done for the remainder of the season, the Trail Blazers have been rolling with Drew Eubanks and Trendon Watford at center. Watford hurt his ankle in Sunday’s matchup with the Thunder, so they could be even thinner in that area for this game. Good luck trying to slow down Valanciunas, who has averaged 19.8 points, 15.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over his last five games.
Center to Avoid
James Wiseman, DET vs. MIL ($19): The Pistons are healthy up front again since Wiseman, Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley are all available. That’s good news for them, but not for fantasy, as they eat into each other’s playing time. That situation has factored in Wiseman scoring 24.3 Yahoo points or fewer in three of the last four games. In two of those games, he played fewer than 24 minutes.
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.