Friday brings a packed slate in the NBA with nine games on the schedule. With so many options to wade through, let's get right to and it and discuss some players to target on Yahoo, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
C.J. McCollum, POR vs. NO ($26): The big news for this game is that Damian Lillard (groin) will be out. His 30.6 percent usage rate ranks inside the top-15 in the league, so his absence should open up a ton of scoring opportunities. Enter McCollum, who averaged 29.5 points, five rebounds and 7.5 assists across the two games Lillard missed earlier this season. Add in the Pelicans playing at the third-fastest pace in the league and McCollum is too good to pass up at this reasonable price.
Malik Beasley, MIN vs. BOS ($16): This isn't exactly an ideal matchup for Beasley since the Celtics boast the third-best defensive rating. However, it helps that this game will be played in Minnesota and Beasley has a clear path to heavy playing time. Not only that, but the Timberwolves will be looking for him to score more with Karl-Anthony Towns out. Beasley has scored at least 37.7 Yahoo points in two of the last three games and could be in for yet another productive evening.
Guard to Avoid
Ricky Rubio, PHO at TOR ($19): The Raptors have been even better than the Celtics when it comes to defensive rating since they rank second in that category. That could spell trouble for Rubio, who isn't exactly at the top of his game after scoring fewer than 30 Yahoo points in each of this last 11 contests. With so many other viable options to pursue, it might be best to keep Rubio out of your entry.
Zion Williamson, NO at POR ($34): Outside of Hassan Whiteside, the Blazers possess very little size up front. That was part of the reason why Williamson dominated them in their last meeting, scoring 31 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and one steal across just 28 minutes. Don't expect the Blazers to be able to slow him down in their rematch.
Juancho Hernangomez, MIN vs. BOS ($12): The absence of Towns creates significant ripple effects across the Timberwolves' roster. They really don't have a backup center, so they started James Johnson in place of Towns in their last game against the Hornets. That left Hernangomez to log 38 minutes at power forward and cash in with 36.4 Yahoo points. Much like Beasley, while this matchup isn't ideal, the potential for a heavy workload combined with a cheap price makes Hernangomez a viable option.
Forward to Avoid
Jerami Grant, DEN at OKC ($18): The Nuggets have dealt with a ton of injuries up front, which has forced Grant to take on a significant role. However, Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr. and Mason Plumlee are all expected to be available coming out of the break, so Grant likely won't be required to log heavy minutes. Add in a tough matchup on the road against the Thunder and rolling with Grant is too risky.
Serge Ibaka, TOR vs. PHO ($27): Even with added time off during the break, Marc Gasol (hamstring) is still not ready to make his return. Ibaka has thrived with him on the sidelines, scoring at least 31.7 Yahoo points in four of his last five games. Deandre Ayton isn't exactly a defensive juggernaut, so Ibaka should once again carry a high floor relative to his price tag.
Naz Reid, MIN vs. BOS ($10): OK, this is the last player on the Timberwolves I'll discuss, I promise. While Johnson will likely gain another start at center, Reid now takes over as the primary backup at both power forward and center. That resulted in him playing 22 minutes against the Hornets and scoring 25.2 Yahoo points. The Celtics don't have a ton of depth up front, so Reid might be worth a look in tournament play.
Center to Avoid
Derrick Favors, NO at POR ($18): The Pelicans come out of the break with all their key players healthy. As great as that is for the team, it's not for Favors' production. His numbers have been on the decline since Williamson returned from injury, leaving him to score 23.9 Yahoo points or fewer in six of his last eight contests. The last time Favors faced the Blazers, he only scored 21.4 Yahoo points. Since he's not overly cheap, it's difficult to justify adding him to your entry.