NBA Monday: Damian Lillard leads daily fantasy basketball plays
The NBA starts off the week with six games on the schedule Monday. The Eastern Conference will take center stage with the Celtics, Cavaliers, 76ers and Heat all in action. Let's get to the task at hand and highlight some players to consider on Yahoo, as well as a few to potentially avoid.
Damian Lillard, POR at DET ($50): Lillard doesn't have much support right now with the Trail Blazers dealing with injuries. He has put the team on his back, scoring at least 41 points in three of the last five games. He also averaged 6.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 steals during that five-game stretch. The Pistons have the third-worst defensive rating in the league, so don't expect them to be able to slow down Lillard.
Derrick White, BOS at CLE ($22): The Celtics played a hard-fought double-overtime game against the Knicks on Sunday night. Five players logged at least 39 minutes in that game, with three playing at least 46 minutes. They might rest a player or two for this matchup, which could mean more opportunities for White. He has already been playing well, scoring at least 25.2 Yahoo points in four of the last five games.
Guard to Avoid
Marcus Smart, BOS at CLE ($21): Smart is one player on the Celtics who could sit this game out. He played 39 minutes Sunday, shooting just 4-for-13 from the field. He is also not too far removed from missing 11 straight games with an ankle injury. Even if he does play, the Celtics have enough guard depth that they could at least limit his minutes.
Jerami Grant, POR at DET ($27): With Anfernee Simons (ankle) out, Grant is the top secondary scoring option for the Trail Blazers behind Lillard. He has responded by averaging 21.5 points and 2.5 three-pointers over the last four games. His salary won't deal nearly as much damage to your budget as Lillard's will, and he also has a solid opportunity to take advantage of this favorable matchup.
Hamidou Diallo, DET vs. POR ($15): The Pistons have already ruled out Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles), which should afford more playing time for Diallo. Diallo has started to spend more time on the floor, logging at least 27 minutes in three straight games. He scored at least 26.9 Yahoo points in two of those games, making him a potential value option at his cheap salary.
Forward to Avoid
Aaron Gordon, DEN vs. TOR ($25): Gordon hasn't looked the same since returning from a rib injury. The 27-year-old hasn't done much offensively, averaging 10.0 points on 8.7 shot attempts across three games. He also didn't play more than 29 minutes in any of the three games. Add in all the length he'll have to deal with on the Raptors, and getting too excited about his prospects of producing a good stat line is difficult.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. TOR ($57): Jokic has been pretty much automatic at home. He has recorded 10 straight triple-doubles at home and is averaging 24.7 points, 13.0 rebounds and 11.3 assists there for the season. Fantasy managers don't need to make much of a case to deploy Jokic in DFS whenever the Nuggets are on the slate, but he especially stands out when he plays in Denver.
Marvin Bagley, DET vs. POR ($19): The Pistons are running out of healthy players up front. They have ruled out Isaiah Stewart (hip) and Jalen Duren (ankle), while James Wiseman (knee) is questionable. Their extended absences have left Bagley in a prominent role since returning from an injury of his own. Over the last four games, he has averaged 17.5 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. For those who want to fade Jokic, Bagley stands out as a top value-play target.
Center to Avoid
Jakob Poeltl, TOR at DEN ($26): With Jokic at the helm, the Nuggets have allowed the fewest rebounds per game in the NBA. Poeltl could secure fewer rebounds and may find himself in foul trouble trying to slow down Jokic. There's too much risk to feel good about deploying Poeltl in DFS.