Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Sunday, January 22

The Saturday slate was one of my best of the year. We knew it would be good when evaluating the schedule because the picks were clear. This card is not quite as easy because we only have four games from which to choose. There are three during the day, but we’re going to focus in on the night card beginning at 8 pm EST. With that in mind, let’s get started with one of the most exciting guards in basketball.

Guards

Kyrie IrvingBKN at GSW ($41)

If you watched Irving on Friday night, you know why he’s here. He’s doing everything in the absence of Kevin Durant while posting a 33 percent usage rate. He’s also averaging 1.5Y! points per minute, which was on full display when he dropped 81 and 61 Yahoo points in his last two outings. Kyrie’s also scored at least 33 fantasy points in 24 of his last 25 while generating a 44-point average during that stretch. We expect him to be his floor in this wonderful matchup since the Warriors are ranked 25th in defensive efficiency and 26th in points allowed. They’re also surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing guards, with Irving collecting 55 Y! in their most recent meeting.

Jamal Murray, DEN vs. OKC ($27)

It was slow for Murray to get going after his ACL tear, but the bubble star looks back to full health. He recorded the first career triple-double on Friday and has managed at least 31 Yahoo points in seven of his last eight games. He’s also generating a 39-point average over that span while seeing a full allotment of minutes for the first time since his surgery. That fantastic form should keep flowing against the Thunder and their 20th-ranked defense. That’s no surprise when looking at this roster, with Murray maintaining a 35-point average against them in their last four head-to-heads.

Guard to Avoid

Anfernee Simons, ROP vs. LAL ($20)

Simons is a talented player with plenty of upside, but he’s not a great DFS option when this roster is at full health. He’s usually the third or fourth option in this offense, which isn’t great since he doesn’t do much else from a stat-stuffing perspective. He’s scored 16 and 18 Yahoo points in his last two with 31 or fewer from 13 of 15. That’s a scary ceiling since he’s logging 36 minutes a night, and we expect that number to plummet with Gary Payton II finally back.

Forwards

Jaren Jackson Jr, MEM at PHX ($35)

It’s frustrating JJJ hasn’t received the 30-minute role we’ve been waiting for, but we’re getting close with 33 in his most recent outing and he could be a $40 player in that sort of role. He’s averaging 35 Yahoo points per game in only 26 minutes a night, which is one of the best per-minute rates in the league. If the minutes keep creeping up, the salary should too. Facing Phoenix is ​​usually concerning, but this defense has been a shell of itself with all of the injuries. That’s on full display when you see Jackson has posted at least 44 Yahoo points in two of their last three meetings.

Kenrich WilliamsOKC at DEN ($14)

This is risky, but Williams has been playing much more since Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aleksej Pokusevski got injured. That’s allowed him to play at least 22 minutes in nine of his last 11 games while averaging 23 Yahoo points, and that’s really all you can ask for from such an affordable player. The matchup with the Nuggets is the best part with them ranked 21st in defensive efficiency. All we need is 20-25 fantasy points for K-Will to be a good value, and that feels like a guarantee in a 25-minute role.

Forward to Avoid

TJ WarrenBKN at GSW ($10)

We really thought Warren would go off in the absence of Durant, but things are going in the opposite direction. The talented forward hasn’t scored more than 26 Yahoo points in 12 straights with 18 or fewer in seven of those. That’s even scarier with the way Warren’s role is forming, combining for just seven shots and 25 minutes the last two games. It’s been a long road back for him after a two-year absence, and that’s making it difficult to trust him right now.

Centers

Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. OKC ($58)

Jokic sat out Friday, but it was likely to have him ready for the weekend. The two-time reigning MVP is the frontrunner for a three-peat having averaged nearly 60 Yahoo points. His recent form of him is truly ridiculous with at least 45 Y! in 27 of his last 28 games by him. Jokic also racked up at least 55 fantasy points in 15 of those while posting a 61-point average over that span. There’s no way OKC slows him down as they give up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. And in their three matchups this season. Jokic is averaging an eye-popping 24.3 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.

Jusuf Nurkic, ROP vs. LAL ($25)

It’s funny we have Jokic and Nurk together because they couldn’t play together in Denver. In any case, the move was better for both, with Nurkic taking over starting center duties in Portland. The big Bosnian is averaging 35 Yahoo points over his last 27 outings while logging nearly 30 minutes a night. That boost in playing time is what’s most important because Nurkic has been a per-minute monster throughout his career. That recent form makes him tough to fade against the Lakers, who are ranked third in pace, 22nd in defensive efficiency, and 27th in points allowed. They’re also giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers because Thomas Bryant hasn’t been great on defense.

Center to Avoid

Thomas BryantLAL at POR ($19)

It’s a beautiful thing when one write-up flows into the next so seamlessly. We just discussed Bryant’s defensive woes this year, and it’s really hurt his role. He’s been starting in the absence of Anthony Davis, but he hasn’t cracked 21 minutes in four straight fixtures. The coaching staff prefers Wenyen Gabriel’s defense with Bryant producing 21 or fewer fantasy points in five consecutive appearances. There’s no chance he plays big minutes with the way Nurk is going to dominate him down low, and it makes him an easy fade on this slate.

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