This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
We've finally hit the stretch run! We only have 2-3 weeks remaining in the regular season, and things couldn't be tighter in the Western Conference. We have nine teams sitting between fourth and 12th, and all of those clubs are separated by just 3.5 games. I've never seen anything like that, and it should make these final weeks amazing from a fan's perspective! With that said, this is the most chaotic time to play DFS. We have some of the lengthiest injury reports we've ever seen and players are resting seemingly every night. We're hoping there's not too much of that going on here, so let's get started with a guy who plays every night.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC vs. UTA ($33)
It's hard to understand why Fox is just $33. The All-Star is averaging 42 Yahoo points per game this season, scoring at least 28 fantasy points in 61 of the 63 games he's finished. That floor and average mean that Fox should be closer to $40, especially since he has one of the best matchups possible. Utah ranks 22nd in points allowed and 23rd in defensive efficiency while surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing guards. In their three matchups this season, Fox is averaging 51 Y! points per game! However, Fox departed Friday's game prematurely, so it will be worth monitoring his status ahead of the opening tipoff.
Talen Horton-Tucker, UTA at SAC ($23)
This Utah-Sacramento game is one that needs to be stacked. These are two of the worst defenses in the NBA, and it wouldn't be surprising to see each club crack 120 at ease. That's huge since THT has become Utah's primary ball-handler, stepping into that role with Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson sidelined. This expanded role has allowed Horton-Tucker to score at least 25 Yahoo points in 13 of his last 17 games while totaling a 30-point average in that span. That's sensational since Sacramento ranks 25th in defensive efficiency and 28th in points allowed.
Guard to Avoid
Trey Murphy, NOP at LAC ($20)
Murphy has been a nice fill-in for Zion Williamson at times this year, but he's not a significant part of this offense, with Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum dominating touches. The return of BI is what's really killed him, with Murph scoring 25 or fewer fantasy points in 12 of his last 18 games. That's scary since he's playing over 32 minutes a night, providing one of the worst per-minute rates around. The matchup with the Clippers is equally as concerning, with LA allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing SGs.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. NOP ($41)
Many people were panicking about Kawhi through the opening months of the season, but he's been one of the best players in the NBA since then. The former All-Star has scored at least 35 Yahoo points in 28 straight games. He's also providing a 48-point average in that span and should see more usage with Paul George suffering a knee injury earlier in the week. It's not like New Orleans will nullify him, allowing nearly 120 points per game in their current 13-25 stretch.
Kelly Olynyk, UTA at SAC ($21)
Why does Olynyk remain so affordable? He's taken on a much bigger workload since Mike Conley and Jarred Vanderbilt were traded, which is amazing since Sexton, Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen are all nicked up as well. That's led to Oly scoring at least 25 Y! points in nine of his last 10 games while amassing a 32-point average over the last month. That makes him a heck of a bargain, especially since KO dropped 44 Yahoo points against these Kings just last week.
Forward to Avoid
Aaron Gordon, DEN vs. MIL ($22)
Gordon has been a pleasant surprise for the Nuggets this season, but his role has fallen off a cliff. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr are the focal points of this offense, leaving AD with a sub-20 percent usage rate. The lack of usage has led to AG scoring 17 and 19 Yahoo points in his two most recent outings. He's also got a 25-point average in his 12 games since returning from an injury, and it doesn't look like he's fully healthy right now. Milwaukee should add to his struggles, with the Bucks owning the third-best defensive rating in the NBA.
Domantas Sabonis, SAC vs. UTA ($45)
Sabonis won't get many MVP votes, but this guy isn't too far behind. The stat-stuffing center has taken over this Kings' offense, scoring at least 37 Yahoo points in 24 of his last 25 games. He's also averaging 20.1 points, 12.7 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game in that splendid stretch. Those averages make him tough to fade against one of the worst defenses in the NBA, with Utah allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. In their three meetings this year, Sabonis has dropped 47 or more Y! points in two of them.
Jonas Valanciunas, NOP at LAC ($24)
We actually had JV as a fade just a few weeks back, but things change quickly in this racket. It's all about the workload for Valanciunas, and they've rewarded him with a 30-minute role over the last two weeks. The big man has scored at least 42 Yahoo points in four straight games, playing 32 minutes a night in that span. He's played at least 28 minutes in 25 games this year, posting a 41-point average in those outings. As long as the playing time is there, JV needs to be a $30 player! Not to mention, Valanciuns has played the Clips seven times over the last three years, averaging over 39 fantasy points per game against them.
Center to Avoid
Bobby Portis, MIL at DEN ($17)
Portis has had some massive games when this team has been shorthanded, but his role has been terrible since Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo returned. That's terrifying because Middleton rested Friday to prepare for Saturday's game. In the last 10 games that both of those All-stars have played, Portis is averaging just 21 Yahoo points per game. He's also scored 18 or fewer fantasy points in seven of those and won't play more than 25 minutes in a reserve role.