The NBA starts off the week with just four games on the schedule Monday. However, there will still be plenty of playoff implications with the Thunder, Blazers and Jazz fighting for seeding and the Magic trying to get up to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. There's also another opportunity to win some money on Yahoo, so let's examine some players to target and avoid while creating your lineup.
Damian Lillard, POR vs. BKN ($46): The loss of C.J. McCollum (knee) hasn't slowed down the Blazers, who have won all three contests since he was injured. Lillard has put the team on his back, averaging 30.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 12 assists and 1.7 steals during that stretch. Expect him to continue to see elevated assist totals due to him handling the ball more, making him one of the top options for this limited slate when combined with his 29.4 percent usage rate.
Seth Curry, POR vs. BKN ($10): Curry hasn't started with McCollum out, but he did log at least 25 minutes in all three contests. That's a significant boost from his season average of 18 minutes per game. He's scored at least 23.5 Yahoo points in back-to-back contests and should continue to be in line for added playing time Monday. While his upside isn't off the charts, he's someone to consider at the minimum price in tournament.
Guard to Avoid
Terrence Ross, ORL vs. PHI ($18): There's no question that Ross can score in bunches. However, he's a streaky shooter, which makes him a bit of a risky option. The good news is that he's scored at least 31.6 Yahoo points in four of his last eight games. The bad news is that he scored 21.6 Yahoo points or fewer in each of the other four contests. Since he's not that cheap, the risk might not be worth the reward here.
Jimmy Butler, PHI at ORL ($34): The Sixers don't have much depth, which is part of the reason that Butler has logged at least 34 minutes in five straight games. He scored at least 45.7 Yahoo points in four of those contests and should be locked into heavy minutes with the Sixers trying to wrap up the third seed in the East. Despite all of the top-talent around him, Butler's 22.4 percent usage rate with the Sixers is nearly identical to his 23 percent usage rate when he was with the Timberwolves. Add in his ability to contribute rebounds, assists and steals and he's a fairly safe option at this reasonable price.
Mikal Bridges, PHO at UTA ($16): Injuries are piling up for the Suns. Kelly Oubre Jr. (thumb), T.J. Warren (ankle) and Tyler Johnson (knee) are all out for this contest while Josh Jackson (ankle) is listed as questionable. They've been forced to give Bridges all of the minutes that he can handle, which has enabled him to score at least 27.5 Yahoo points in three of his last four games. If Jackson is ultimately ruled out, it's hard to pass up Bridges at this price.
Forward to Avoid
Caris LeVert, BKN at POR ($17): LeVert has bounced in and out of the starting five lately as he struggles to remain productive. He's shooting just 34.3 percent from the field across his last 10 games and has grabbed three rebounds or fewer in three of his last four contests. With the Nets mostly healthy outside of Allen Crabbe (knee) being out, don't expect LeVert to see a significant increase in playing time for this contest.
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM vs. OKC ($30): Being traded to the Grizzlies has done wonders for Valanciunas' value. After only averaging 19 minutes a game with the Raptors, he's averaged 27 minutes per contest since being dealt. His usage rate has also increased from 25.8 percent to a whopping 30.4 percent. He's scored at least 37.1 Yahoo points in six of his last seven games and should continue to be an excellent source for production down the stretch.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. BKN ($27): The cheap center options aren't very appealing Monday, so this might be the position to splurge. As good as Valanciunas has been lately, Nurkic might have an even higher ceiling at a slightly cheaper price. He scored 46.9 Yahoo points the last time he faced the Nets, which should come as no surprise since they allow the fourth-most Yahoo points per game (42) to opposing centers. Look for him to feast again in their rematch.
Center to Avoid
Deandre Ayton, PHO at UTA ($28): While Luka Doncic and Trae Young have dominated the headlines from this year's rookie class, Ayton has been a consistent source for production for the Suns. On many nights, he'd be a prime target at this price. However, facing the Jazz and Rudy Gobert is no easy task. With Nurkic priced a dollar cheaper and having a much more favorable matchup, stay away from Ayton.