The NBA returns Friday with a packed 14-game schedule. One of the more intriguing matchups will feature the Celtics hosting the surging Kings. A battle between two tough defensive teams will take place when the Cavs face off with the Bucks. The Bulls, who defeated the Celtics and Bucks in consecutive games, will continue their current road trip in OKC. The Warriors will also be in action at home against a Jazz team that is off to a surprisingly strong start. Let’s dig into all of the matchups and highlight some players to target on Yahoo, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. SAC ($36): Usually an efficient shooter, Brown has been even better this season by going 50.0% from the field and 80.2% from the free-throw line, both qualifying as career-highs. He also plays a lot having logged 36 minutes per game. That has left Brown with robust averages of 25.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Another juicy stat line could be coming against a Kings team that ranks sixth from the bottom in defensive rating.
Shake Milton, PHI at ORL ($15): A myriad of injuries on the 76ers have forced Milton into a prominent role. He’s started and participated for at least 36 minutes in three straight outings. And Milton hasn’t let his opportunities go to waste with at least 29.7 Yahoo points in each one. This is a great matchup for him to remain productive given the Magic and their fifth-worst defensive rating.
Guard to Avoid
Tre Jones, SAS vs. LAL ($20): For as poor as the Lakers’ record is, they have actually been solid on defense with the seventh-best defensive rating. Jones already doesn’t receive many shot attempts with just a 19.1% usage rate. If he can’t rack up assists because his teammates are struggling to score, it’ll be difficult for him to provide value.
Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. SAC ($48): Pairing Tatum with Brown isn’t a budget-friendly strategy, but there are other value options to help offset the duo. Tatum has been as good as it gets by registering 30.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. This matchup is too good to pass up.
Paul Reed, PHI at ORL ($16): Reed was excellent off the bench again Wednesday producing 30.1 Yahoo points over 22 minutes. While he only scored six points, he chipped in eight rebounds, two steals and three blocks. Joel Embiid (foot) isn’t ready to return yet, so Reed will have another favorable opportunity to provide value at a reduced salary.
Forward to Avoid
Harrison Barnes, SAC at BOS ($19): Barnes is an important veteran for the Kings and he’s still playing a lot by averaging 31 minutes. However, his usage rate is down to 16.1%, which is nearly three percentage points lower than last season. Add fewer shot attempts to facing a difficult Celtics’ defense and Barnes could struggle to be productive.
Nikola Vucevic, CHI at OKC ($30): The Thunder have added some intriguing young players to their roster, but they still lack talent and depth at the center position. It’s one of the main reasons why they have allowed the most rebounds per game. Look for OKC to have a difficult time slowing down Vucevic, who’s averaging 15.7 points, 11.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists so far.
Clint Capela, ATL at HOU ($22): It looks like the Rockets are going to be shorthanded at center with Alperen Sengun (groin) listed as doubtful. Bruno Fernando (knee) is questionable after having been out for over a month. So even if he does return, his minutes might be limited. Their lack of size could be a problem against Capela, who’s managed at least 33.9 Yahoo points in four of his last five games.
Center to Avoid
Marvin Bagley III, DET at PHX ($19): Bagley is starting for the Pistons and will likely remain in that role for a while with Isaiah Stewart (toe) and Saddiq Bey (ankle) not yet close to returning. The problem is, Bagley hasn’t logged more than 23 minutes in any of the last five games. His limited playing time resulted in him posting modest averages of 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds. Until Bagley starts to consistently see more actions, he’s too risky for DFS.
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.