This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
The NBA begins the week with a small five-game slate. As we dig into what Yahoo has to offer, here are some players to consider for your lineups, as well as a few to potentially avoid.
Cade Cunningham, DET vs. WAS ($31): Cunningham jacked up 26 shots versus the Pacers on Friday, finishing with 31 points, three rebounds and five assists. It was a great matchup, given that the Pacers have played at the fastest pace and have the third-worst defensive rating in the league. This is also a stellar matchup versus the Wizards, who have played at the second-fastest pace and have the worst defensive rating.
Shaedon Sharpe, POR at IND ($21): We just mentioned the issues that the Pacers have, so targeting players from the Trail Blazers could also be key. While Sharpe is only shooting 39.9 percent from the field, his 36.6 minutes per game have helped him average 16.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists. This is the second game of a back-to-back set for the Trail Blazers, so with the potential that Malcolm Brogdon is rested, Sharpe could end up being one of their leading scorers in the game.
Guard to Avoid
D'Angelo Russell, LAL at PHI ($24): Russell has the ability to go off any given night. However, his role on the Lakers has made those occurrences few and far between. He has scored 28.1 Yahoo points or fewer in four of the last five games. Part of the problem was that he logged 29 minutes or fewer four times during that span. Sharpe has a more secure role, a great matchup and a cheaper salary, so there's no need to take a chance on Russell.
Jerami Grant, POR at IND ($29): With the Trail Blazers rebuilding and dealing with injuries, there has been no shortage of shot attempts for Grant. His usage rate has jumped up to 26.8 percent, compared to his 22.8 percent mark last season. His contributions outside of the scoring column have been disappointing, but with the fast pace at which this game should be played, he can still provide value.
Bruce Brown, IND vs. POR ($18): The veteran Brown is averaging a career-high 31 minutes per game. His numbers don't jump off the page, but he has scored at least 26.3 Yahoo points in three of the last five games. There aren't many appealing forwards with cheap salaries for this small slate, so when you factor in Brown's secure role, he is at least worth considering.
Forward to Avoid
Deni Avdija, WAS at DET ($20): The good news with Avdija is that he is shooting 51.0 percent from the field. The problem is, his usage rate is a paltry 17.8 percent. Oddly enough, that is actually the highest mark of his career. He has scored 19.5 Yahoo points or fewer in four straight games, and his limited role within the Wizards' offense should continue to cap his upside.
Nikola Jokic, DEN at LAC ($59): Outside of a game in which Jokic was ejected after playing only 15 minutes, he has put up insane numbers. For the season, he is averaging 60.8 Yahoo points per game. The Clippers are rolling with the duo of Ivica Zubac and Daniel Theis at center, neither of which can hang with Jokic. Look for him to at least threaten to record another triple-double while carrying the load in the scoring department for the Nuggets.
Jalen Duren, DET vs. WAS ($23): Duren came off the bench in his return from an ankle injury Friday against the Pacers. He still played 29 minutes, finishing with 13 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. The Wizards don't have much size outside of Daniel Gafford, which has contributed to them giving up the most rebounds per game in the league. For those looking to fade Jokic, Duren is a great option.
Center to Avoid
Jonas Valanciunas, NO at UTA ($25): With Zion Williamson back, Valanciunas has seen his production take a hit this season. After averaging 14.1 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, he has provided 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds this season. On the bright side, he is averaging a career-high 1.4 blocks. Still, after scoring 21.4 Yahoo points versus the Jazz on Saturday, it's difficult to justify playing him over Duren.