Yahoo DFS Basketball: Who to Play, Who to Avoid for Wednesday 1/17

Yahoo DFS Basketball: Who to Play, Who to Avoid for Wednesday 1/17

We have our usual big midweek slate with 10 games on the docket, and the player pool is also relatively light on injuries. There is no shortage of big-name players to pick from, but fortunately, plenty of viable mid-range and value plays available as well, along with a pair of games with totals in excess of 240 points.

As customary, we'll highlight multiple advantageous positional matchups to exploit at each position for your Yahoo Fantasy lineups, as well as a good trio of candidates that may be best to steer clear of due to a combination of circumstances/salary.


Kyrie Irving, DAL at LAL ($48): Irving has been in peak form of late with Luka Doncic out due to an ankle injury, scoring 50 to 64.8 Yahoo points during his teammate's current three-game absence. However, Kyrie also scored 52.3 to 64.1 Yahoo points in the four games prior to that stretch, when Luka was available on three occasions. Therefore, Irving remains a consideration irrespective of whether Doncic can play through his questionable tag, facing a Lakers team that ranks 21st in offensive efficiency rating allowed to backcourt players (52.1), and conceding over 50 Yahoo points per contest to point guards and 46 per game to two-guards in the last 15.

Jaden Ivey, DET vs. MIN ($24): Ivey is another guard who's been overdelivering on salary in January, and the good news is he requires only half the investment of Irving. The second-year wing is putting up 17.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds per contest in eight games thus far this month, and he's scored 38.4 to 41.4 Yahoo points in his last four contests specifically with Cade Cunningham out of action due to a knee injury. The opposing T-Wolves have been a tough defensive team overall and stingy against two-guards, but they've yielded 36.2% 3-point shooting to the position and 3.7 made threes per game to twos in the last seven contests.

ALSO CONSIDER: Donovan Mitchell, CLE vs. MIL ($44)

Guard to Avoid

Anfernee Simons, POR vs. BKN ($29): Simons and his Trail Blazers have been through some dark times recently, suffering some massive losses that have affected the minutes and production of essentially the entire first unit. Simons was certainly impacted, as he's scored under 20 Yahoo points in four of the last six games. He bounced back nicely against the Suns on Sunday with 38.5 Yahoo points in 40 minutes, and Portland is "only" a 6.5-point underdog at home against Brooklyn on Wednesday. Nevertheless, with the risk of another abbreviated minutes total or just a rough outing in general at his salary, Simons is probably best steered clear of in favor of other options around his salary with similar/better upside and more favorable scenarios, such as Dejounte Murray ($30), Tyler Herro ($30) or CJ McCollum ($30).


(NOTE: This article was written before the postponement of the Warriors-Jazz game early Wednesday afternoon. Please pivot to the suggestions in the "Also Consider" section below)

Lauri Markkanen, UTA vs. GSW ($38): Markkanen carries the ceiling of a higher-salaried player, as he's most recently demonstrated by scoring 46.4 to 56.3 Yahoo points in five of his last six games. Markannen's January tear includes 52.8% shooting, including 47.3% from distance, in his last eight games overall. The talented big man will draw an appealing positional matchup against the Warriors, which have allowed the eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (29.1), along with the most Yahoo points per game to the position in the last 15 contests (51.8).

Jonathan Kuminga, GSW at UTA ($15): Kuminga makes for a viable value play on the other side of the Warriors-Jazz matchup, considering his salary and the fact he's scored 28.8 to 40.6 Yahoo points in four of his last five games and has a total of seven tallies in excess of 25 Yahoo points dating back to Dec. 30. The 2021 first-round pick's production persisted even with Draymond Green's return from suspension on Monday, with Kuminga generating a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double that night. With three straight totals of more than 30 Yahoo points off the bench and the Jazz surrendering the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (31.8) and sixth-highest to bench players (45.3), Kuminga could prove to be one of the most rewarding value plays of the night.

ALSO CONSIDER: Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. SAN ($47); Cameron Johnson, BKN at POR ($18)

Forward to Avoid

Scottie Barnes, TOR vs. MIA ($43): It's admittedly difficult to slot Barnes into this designation given how effective he's been on many occasions this season. However, his current salary is one that is still based on some of those performances, as opposed to his recent body of work. Barnes has averaged well under a Yahoo point per minute much more often than not of late, scoring 16.9 to 37.8 Yahoo points in all but one of his eight January games. He was limited to 32.7 over 33 minutes by the same Heat team he'll face Wednesday when he saw them Dec. 6, and Miami is essentially back to full strength in its starting five after the recent returns of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro from injury. Naturally, Barnes will very likely still produce a solid score, but suggesting him as an Avoid candidate is all about trying to maximize return on investment.


Bam Adebayo, MIA at TOR ($40): Adebayo is back to working with a healthy Butler, but even with the latter's return to action Monday against the Nets, Bam still scored 45 Yahoo points in the overtime win. The matchup against the Raptors isn't prohibitive by any stretch, as Toronto has allowed the ninth-highest offensive efficiency rating to centers (34.3), along with 58 Yahoo points per game to the position in the last 15 games. Additionally, Jakob Poeltl (ankle) remains sidelined Wednesday, giving Adebayo less resistance to production down low.

Jonas Valanciunas, NOP vs. CHA ($27): Valanciunas got into foul trouble against the Mavericks on Monday and therefore played just 19 minutes, but he still produced a solid 19.2 Yahoo points in that span. He'd also scored 32.9 to 44.9 Yahoo points in three of the previous four games, the latest snapshot of the upside he offers at his salary. The veteran big man could be in line for another higher-percentile effort Wednesday, considering he posted 54.6 Yahoo points against the Hornets in his first meeting with them this season and Charlotte comes in allowing the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to centers (37.2), along with the second-most Yahoo points per game to the position (61.6). The Hornets are also giving up the sixth-most rebounds per game in the last three contests (57.0), furthering Valanciunas' case.

ALSO CONSIDER: Rudy Gobert, MIN at DET ($25)

Center to Avoid

Wendell Carter Jr., ORL at ATL ($22): Carter makes yet another appearance in this category, as he continues to carry a salary that doesn't reflect what his season has been like. The injury-prone big man hasn't scored more than 23.6 Yahoo points since Nov. 2, and even with a long injury absence playing a role in that expansive time span, the level of upside he's demonstrated when he has been available is much closer to that of a player with a salary in the mid-to-high teens at most. Carter is arguably just as likely to give you a score below 20 Yahoo points, and with Goga Bitadze proving he's capable of offering essentially the same or better production, he'll likely earn a solid allotment of playing time again Wednesday at Carter's expense.