This is the first Sunday without football in months, and it’s a great opportunity for the NBA to shine. That’s why we have nine games in total, with seven making up the main slate starting at 6 p.m. EST. What makes this challenging is the numerous potential blowouts. Boston, Oklahoma City and Denver all come in as double-digit favorites, while Indiana-Charlotte appears to be the most fantasy-friendly matchup. That’s annoying due to how volatile the Pacers rotation has been, so it should be an interesting slate to navigate.
Jalen Green, HOU at MIN ($25)
It takes some talented young players time to find their form in the NBA, and it appears that’s finally happening for Green. The former Top-3 pick has posted at least 36 Yahoo points in five of his last six games with an average of 45. We’ve also seen Green score at least 51 Y! from three of his last five fixtures while playing the best basketball of his career. That makes the sub-$30 valuation tough to justify, especially since he’s registered 29 and 59 fantasy points during his last two meetings with Minnesota.
Buddy Hield, IND at CHA ($15)
It’s hard to get excited about Hield with the unpredictability of the Indy rotation, but he’s too low at $15. We’re talking about a player who’s usually $20 and is averaging over 23 Yahoo points per game. Buddy’s also logging 31 minutes across his last three appearances and dropped at least 31 Y! in two. Our favorite part about this is the matchup as Charlotte has posted the worst defensive rating. That was crystal clear when Hield went off for 42 and 34 Y! in their two previous matchups this year.
Guard to Avoid
Terry Rozier, MIA vs. LAC ($39)
We knew there would be an adjustment period for Rozier in Miami, yet it’s been worse than we could’ve anticipated. The volatile guard hasn’t produced more than 32 Yahoo points over seven straight outings while averaging 24. The reason Rozier has been so poor is his drop in usage, losing touches and opportunities to Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. That becomes even more concerning against the Clippers, who rank Top-5 on defense the last month. There’s much better ways to allocate your salary at this lofty valuation.
Brandon Miller, CHA vs. IND ($24)
This Hornets team has been stung by the injury bug as they’ve lost LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Mark Williams. The Rozier trade has only added to Miller’s value by making him one of the offensive focal points. That has led to the rookie scoring at least 37 Yahoo points in six of his last nine. That’s unbelievable upside from such a talented youngster, and Miller’s getting better each time he takes the floor. Indiana is an incredible matchup as they play at the fastest pace while ranking 26th in defensive efficiency. And when these teams faced each other a month ago, Miller racked up 35 fantasy points.
Santi Aldama, MEM at BOS ($17)
Recommending any Memphis player in this game is extremely risky, but Aldama can’t come off the floor. The Grizzlies had to sign someone just to have the eligible amount of players earlier in the week as they’re already missing Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, Xavier Tillman, and Jaren Jackson. That doesn’t even include a handful of players who are questionable, leaving Aldama as one of the only ones left. That should guarantee him 30-35 minutes and double-digit shots. In the eight games with at least 29 minutes, he’s averaging 36 Yahoo points. Good luck finding that from another sub-$20 player.
Forward to Avoid
Jabari Smith Jr, HOU at MIN ($20)
Smith is extremely talented, but he’s having a tough time figuring out his role in Houston. The emergences of Green and Cam Whitmore have made that even more complicated as Fred VanVleet and Alperen Sengun run the show. That’s left Smith with crumbs, having produced 22 or fewer Yahoo points from five of his last seven games. What’s also terrifying is that he’s seen 24 and 22 minutes in his two most recent outings while losing time to Whitmore and Amen Thompson. A matchup with Minnesota is also daunting as they sit first in defensive efficiency and points allowed.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. POR ($59)
With Joel Embiid going down, it looks like Jokic is on his way to his third MVP in four years. That tells you everything you need to know as he averages 60 Yahoo points per game. Facing Portland’s horrible defense only adds to Joker’s value because they’ve given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers. In their last four head-to-heads, he’s averaging 31.3 points, 13 rebounds, and 10.5 assists with at least 55 Y! in all. If you want a guaranteed 50-60 fantasy points, there’s no better player out there.
Nick Richards, CHA vs. IND ($18)
We just discussed how widespread the injuries have been for Charlotte, though it’s led to a career year for Richards. He’s been starting for Williams while averaging 28 Yahoo points across his last 18 starts. Richards also showcased a 47-point upside last week and needs to do more on a shorthanded Hornets’ side. Facing the Pacers is the icing on the cake as they sit 28th in points allowed while playing at the fastest pace.
Center to Avoid
Walker Kessler, UTA vs. MIL ($16)
It’s hard to understand why Utah is holding Kessler back because he was one of their best players during his rookie season. His sophomore campaign has been a major letdown as he’s been shifted to the bench for most of it. In the 29 games where Kessler isn’t starting, he’s only averaging 25 Y! points across 22 minutes. He’s also never scored more than 34 since this demotion, and that limited ceiling isn’t great for a player in this salary range. And in three meetings with Milwaukee, Kessler is only averaging 16 Y! from 17 minutes.