Who To Play, Avoid for Wednesday, Jan. 11

We have a solid eight-game ledger on tap Wednesday night, one that features some higher-end players at guard and forward in particularly appealing matchups and a pair of mid-salary centers that could well overdeliver in terms of return on investment.

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.

Guards

Ja Morant, MEM vs. SAN ($44): Morant has been cleared to make his return from a two-game absence due to thigh soreness, and a rested Ja in a tantalizing matchup is a recipe for a potentially prolific performance. The star guard scored 41.2 to 55.1 Yahoo points in seven straight, a stretch during which he’s averaging 30.1 points, 8.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. The Spurs make for excellent targets, as they’re allowing an NBA-high 31.2 offensive efficiency rating to point guards, along with the most Yahoo points to the position in the last 15 games (55.8).

De’Aaron Fox, SAC vs. HOU ($33): Fox may be less rostered than usual Wednesday after turning in somewhat of a clunker versus the Magic on Monday night, but it bears noting the talented guard still managed a solid 25.4 Yahoo points in 29 minutes. However, Fox had scored 43.5 to 54.6 Yahoo points in his three previous games, and he’s put up more than a Yahoo point per minute on the floor in 24 of 36 contests overall. The Rockets also check in allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency rating to point guards (29.5), along with an NBA-high 55.2 Yahoo points per game to the position on the season.

ALSO CONSIDER: Jalen Brunson, NY vs. IND ($33)

Guard to Avoid

Desmond Bane, MEM vs. SAN ($28): As just mentioned, Morant is back in the fold for the Grizzlies on Wednesday, and Bane, who’s already been fairly inconsistent since returning from his long layoff due to a toe injury, can likely be steered clear of at his salary. The third-year wing scored just 19.4 Yahoo points in 29 minutes against this same Spurs squad Monday as well with Morant sidelined, and he’s shooting a miserable 37.5 percent in his first eight games back in action.

Forwards

Giannis AntetokounmpoMIL at ATL ($55): Antetokounmpo is the highest-salaried player on the slate, but he could well prove worth it if the Bucks-Hawks tilt turns into a wire-to-wire affair. The big man’s ceiling is naturally above question and has most recent been demonstrated with the three consecutive tallies of more than 70 Yahoo points he sandwiched around the turn of the calendar to 2023. Antetokounmpo also has one effort of 61.4 Yahoo points against Atlanta already this season , and the Hawks come in allowing a robust 50.4 Yahoo points per game to PFs in the last seven contests, along with the fourth-most rebounds per home game (54.4).

Jaren Jackson, MEM vs. SAN ($35): Jackson comes into Wednesday’s rematch against the Spurs in fine fashion, having scored 34.4 to 54.5 Yahoo points in a six-game stretch where he’s exceeded the 50-Yahoo-point mark on three occasions overall. The big man just put up 39.2 in 30 minutes against San Antonio on Monday as well, and the Spurs check in having allowed a Western Conference-high 29.2 offensive efficiency rating to power forwards thus far this season, along with an NBA-high 48.3 Yahoo points per game to the position (including 51.5 in the last seven games).

ALSO CONSIDER: Julius Randle, NYK vs. IND ($44); Harrison Barnes, SAC vs. HOU ($17)

Forward to Avoid

Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. NOP ($38): Brown is rarely listed as an Avoid candidate, but there’s a case to be made Wednesday. The talented wing is sporting an elevated salary on a night where a pair of forwards in teammate Jayson Tatum ($48) and Julius Randle ($44) can be had for just a few more dollars and offer a markedly higher ceiling in most games, and in which there are also a couple of alternatives with lower salaries that could offer a similar or even better return. To that point, Brown has averaged less than a Yahoo point per dollar of Wednesday’s salary in four of his last six games alone, and on 14 occasions overall this season.

Centers

Rudy GobertMIN to DET ($26): Gobert’s production has admittedly fluctuated at times this season, but the big man is still averaging 34.3 Yahoo points per game and checks in with tallies of 46.9 and 51.2 Yahoo points in two of his last three games. The Stifle Tower draws a solid matchup as well, considering the Pistons are giving up the third-highest offensive efficiency rating to centers (35.4) and have yielded a whopping 58.7 Yahoo points per game to fives in the last seven games. Then, Detroit has also conceded the third-most blocks per game at home (5.9), certainly a relevant metric when considering an elite rim protector like Gobert.

Alperen SengunHOU at SAC ($22): Sengun is enjoying a breakout season during which he’s putting up a well-balanced 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 54.9 percent. The emerging big has put up a pair of sub-20-Yahoo-point efforts recently, but he’s also scored over 30 Yahoo points in seven of his last 10 and 28.6 in one of the three games in the sample in which he fell short of the mark. Sacramento is also surrendering just over 56 Yahoo points per game to centers in the last 15, upping the chances of Sengun overdelivering on a modest salary.

ALSO CONSIDER: Domantas Sabonis, SAC vs. HOU ($43)

Center to avoid

Kristaps Porzingis, WAS vs. WHO ($37): Porzingis is actually in a very attractive matchup in his current power forward role against a Bulls team that’s struggled badly versus the position all season, but he’s highly questionable to play due to sore ribs. If the big man does try to gut it out, there’s no guarantee he’ll see his normal allotment of minutes or be as effective as he otherwise would, especially working down low where he’s likely to endure heavy contact. Given his elevated salary and injury concerns, it’s likely safest to avoid the typically appealing Porzingis on Wednesday.

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