The NBA starts the week off in fairly quiet fashion Monday with only six games on the schedule. Outside of a matchup between the Jazz and Sixers, the slate doesn't bring a lot of excitement. Let's try to liven up the night with a winning entry on Yahoo. Here are some players to target as you work your way through the options, as well as a few to avoid.
Trae Young, ATL vs. GS ($46): I won't argue against building your entire entry around Young. He's trying to put the Hawks on his back with John Collins suspended, leaving him to score at least 44.3 Yahoo points in five straight games. His usage rate is a robust 34.4 percent, which could make him gold against a Warriors team that has allowed the fifth-most points per game in the league.
Dennis Smith Jr., NY at MIL ($10): Smith has had a difficult time finding the floor this season, but he was forced to log 38 minutes against the Celtics on Sunday after Frank Ntilikina (back) went down. He made the most of his opportunity, scoring 32.7 Yahoo points. With Ntilikina listed as doubtful for Monday and Elfrid Payton (hamstring) still out, taking a chance on Smith could be well worth it since he comes in at the minimum price.
Guard to Avoid
Mike Conley Jr., UTA at PHI ($21): Conley comes into this game having scored 28.6 Yahoo points or fewer in five straight games. His main problem has been in the scoring department since he shot just 30.2 percent from the field during that stretch. Facing a Sixers' team that has allowed the sixth-fewest Yahoo points per game to opposing point guards isn't likely going to be the matchup that helps him break out.
Jabari Parker, ATL vs. GS ($29): Parker's best strength is his ability to score, so it's a bit surprising to see him register 14 points or fewer in seven of his last nine games. He has somewhat helped to offset that with averages of 7.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.2 steals during that stretch, but the Hawks need him to score if they are going to stay competitive in games With the Warriors struggling on the defensive end, this could be just the matchup that Parker needs to get back on track.
Nemanja Bjelica, SAC vs. CHI ($17): Marvin Bagley III (thumb) is still not ready to return, which means Bjelica will remain a member of the starting five. He's in a bit of an offensive funk right now, shooting 25.6 percent from the field across his last four games. That's very out of character for him since he has shot 46.7 percent from the field for his career. The Bulls have allowed the second-most Yahoo points per game to opposing power forward, potentially setting up Bjelica to provide a valuable stat line.
Forward to Avoid
Lauri Markkanen, CHI at SAC ($21): A lot has gone wrong for the Bulls to start off the season. One of the main reasons for their struggles has been their inability to get Markkanen going. His usage rate is only 21.5 percent, which is nearly four percentage points lower than last season. He's also shooting 34.9 percent from the field, leaving him with an average of 13.3 points per game. The Bulls aren't showing any signs of figuring things out, so it might be best to keep him out of your entry.
Richaun Holmes, SAC vs. CHI ($20): The Bulls haven't only been abused by power forwards since they have allowed the most Yahoo points per game to opposing centers, as well. Holmes has produced a couple of sub-par stat lines of late, but he's generally played well by averaging 12.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks across his last nine games. At this price, he could provide excellent value.
Aron Baynes, PHO at CHA ($17): The addition of Baynes has proven to be much more important than the Suns could have ever imagined. He's stepped up in a big way with Deandre Ayton suspended, averaging 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the season. He's listed as questionable for this matchup with a calf strain, but if he does take the floor, he'll have an excellent matchup against the soft Hornets frontcourt.
Center to Avoid
Willie Cauley-Stein, GS at ATL ($16): Cauley-Stein has proven to be a key addition for the Warriors with their lack of depth up front. With that being said, he's still scored 23.2 Yahoo points or fewer in five of his last six games. To complicate matters, Kevon Looney (hamstring) is expected to make his return for this contest. While he'll likely be on a minutes limit and should come off the bench, Cauley-Stein could still lose some playing time. If you want to take a chance on a cheap center, Baynes is in a much more favorable spot and is only a dollar more.