This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This is one of the strangest slates of the season. It's the NFL's day to shine, so the NBA is taking a backseat and giving us a limited slate during the day. We only have two games in total, starting at 2 p.m. EST. That leaves us with a thin player pool, but this is the best time to play DFS. We had a lot of deals at the Thursday deadline, and the sites haven't adjusted their valuation accordingly. These four teams actually didn't make too many moves, but we still have some great options to discuss.
Fred VanVleet, TOR vs. DET ($35)
VanVleet really struggled through the first two months of the season, but the former All-Star is cruising right now averaging 47 Yahoo points across his last 13 outings. His robust role is the reason for the resurgence as he's logged over 38 minutes a night during that span while taking 19 shots a game. As long as FVV carries that role, he should be a $40 player. The matchup with the Pistons is dandy as they're ranked 29th in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. And in their most recent matchup, VanVleet finished with 52 Yahoo points.
Killian Hayes, DET at TOR ($17)
Hayes was relegated to bench duties in his return from injury, and that hurt his production. We're willing to overlook that because he's back in the starting lineup the last two games. In his 34 starts this year, Hayes has a 29-point average across 30 minutes a night. That's all you can ask for from such an affordable player, and it looks even better since he played nearly 40 minutes in the Pistons' most recent game. Toronto isn't a terrible matchup either ranked 18th in defensive efficiency ratings.
Guard to Avoid
Tyus Jones, MEM at BOS ($15)
Yahoo has taken a stance by keeping Jones' salary high because he always goes off when Ja Morant is rested. We don't expect that to be the case here, which means Jones should be closer to the minimum. Despite his 40-point average as a starter, Tyus has gone for 19 in his 46 games coming off the bench where he only produced more than 26 fantasy points three times. Another one of those duds is more likely against Boston, who's ranked fifth in both points allowed and defensive efficiency.
Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. MEM ($48)
This Boston team is beat up right now, and it looks like they'll ride Tatum into the All-Star break. The superstar forward has posted at least 41 Yahoo points in 23 of his last 26 games while generating a 52-point average during that stretch. That's scary because the Celtics are missing half of their rotation with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford all nicked up. That should put more usage on JT's large plate, and it looks even better since he's managed at least 46 Y! points in all three meetings with Memphis since the start of last season.
Scottie Barnes, TOR vs. DET ($31)
The 2021 Rookie of the Year looked like a regression candidate through the opening month, but he's been unstoppable since OG Anunoby got injured. That's led to Barnes scoring at least 25 fantasy points in 25 straight while posting a 40-point average. His stat-stuffing ways have established that fantastic floor, and it will continue since he's receiving nearly 40 minutes a night. That 40-point average and 25-point floor should be easy to duplicate against the second-worst defense in the NBA.
Forward to Avoid
Dillon Brooks, MEM at BOS ($14)
We just discussed how Boston boasts one of the league's best defenses, but we don't want to use Brooks against anyone. The streaky shooter just fouled out across 14 minutes in his most recent outing, and that's a microcosm of how he's been playing recently. DB has registered 27 or fewer fantasy points in 18 of his last 19 games while failing to crack 16 in five consecutive fixtures. His horrific shooting is the main reason for the slump, but he's also losing minutes and touches with Ja Morant and Desmond Bane doing everything offensively.
Robert Williams, BOS vs. MEM ($21)
Williams has been one of the best per-minute producers throughout his career, and he's about to break out with his minute restriction getting lifted. The Time Lord has played at least 27 minutes in nine of his last 11 games while averaging nearly 30 Yahoo points per game. He would've been a $30 player with a 27-minute floor, and we have to assume he'll get closer to that behind his elite per-minute career averages. Memphis was a tough matchup for opposing centers when Steven Adams was healthy, but they've been one of the worst defensive frontcourts since he went down. That's scary because Rob-Will has 40 Y! points in back-to-back games against the Grizzlies.
Brandon Clarke, MEM at BOS ($16)
We just mentioned how badly Memphis has been struggling without Adams, but it's forced Clarke into a more prominent role. Over his last eight games, BC is averaging 25 Yahoo points per game across 22 minutes a night. That's the rate we've seen throughout his career, and he could be a $30 player in a 30-minute role. Boston is one of the best defenses, but Memphis needs to play Clarke 25-30 minutes to oppose Williams. Even when Adams was healthy, BC logged 31 minutes in this matchup earlier this season.
Center to Avoid
Precious Achiuwa, TOR at DET ($19)
Achiuwa is enjoying the best stretch of his career, but things are going to trend in the wrong direction. Toronto is notorious for keeping short rotations, and that's scary with the acquisition of Jakob Poeltl. We expect Poeltl to move into the starting lineup and force Achiuwa to the bench role we saw through the first three months. Precious was averaging just 17 Y! points per game across 17 minutes a night in his 18 games before moving into the starting lineup. We expect him to regress back to that role sooner rather than later, and we'll fade him in DFS until then.