This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
A lot of people were saying good riddance to 2020, but I just want to say good riddance to the last week. That was arguably the most dysfunctional week of basketball in NBA history, with a record 15 games postponed. That doesn't even take into consideration we had a blockbuster trade with James Harden, Caris LeVert and Victor Oladipo throwing the whole week into chaos. For this slate, we have just four games, with the Cleveland-Washington game being postponed. With that in mind, let's get into it!
Ben Simmons, PHI at OKC ($34)
With Joel Embiid missing, we're going to be riding plenty of Sixers. The reason for that is because that opens up about 35 minutes, 20 shots and a 30 percent usage rate. Simmons is happy to be the primary ball-handler in his absence, combining for 21 points, 26 rebounds, 21 assists and three steals over the last two. He's been doing that damage despite a 19 percent usage rate with Embiid off the floor and one would have to believe he'll be closer to 25-30 percent here. We're certainly not worried about him facing a Thunder team surrendering the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards either.
George Hill, OKC vs. PHI ($12)
This is definitely a GPP play, but Hill looks way too undervalued. We're talking about someone who's averaging 22 fantasy points per game in 26 minutes a night. While that doesn't sound special, it's really all you can ask for from a $12 player. Hill has been a fantasy-point-per-minute producer throughout his career and recording 33 minutes in his most recent game is an even more encouraging sign. Anytime you can use a $12 player with a 20-point floor and 40-point upside, it's a great fit with studs like Simmons, Tobias Harris, Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard.
Guard to Avoid
Tyrese Maxey, PHI at OKC ($20)
Since we're endorsing most of the Sixers, there has to be a few we don't like. That happens to be Maxey, with the rookie taking a major hit over the last two games. Simmons, Tobias Harris and Shake Milton have all returned over the last few days and it's killed Maxey's role. In fact, he's averaging only 13.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists across 25 minutes since those guys returned. That's obviously terrible and one has to believe the ticker will keep pointing down on him going forward.
Brandon Ingram, NOP at SAC ($39)
Ingram really doesn't get the credit he deserves. A lot of people called him a bust after his disappointing start in LA, but he's been astounding ever since donning a New Orleans uniform. In fact, he's averaging 42 Yahoo points per game for the season and scoring at least 34 fantasy points in all but two contests. What adds to Ingram's value here is the fact Lonzo Ball is out, thereby opening up more ball-handling opportunities. With Ball off the floor this year, Ingram has a 28 percent usage rate while leading the team in shot attempts. We haven't even discussed this matchup, with the Kings ranked last in total defense.
Tobias Harris, PHI at OKC ($29)
We already discussed how the absence of Embiid opens things up and it really allows Harris to feast in the frontcourt. Dating back to last season, Toby has a 30 percent usage rate with Embiid off the floor while averaging 1.4 Yahoo points per minute. That's an incredible rate for someone who plays 33 minutes a night and it looks like 40-50 Yahoo points isn't far from a stretch. The matchup might be the best part of this play though, with Oklahoma City surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing PFs this season.
Forward to Avoid
Marvin Bagley III, SAC vs NOP ($19)
Bagley is in the Top-5 in terms of salaries at the power forward position and that's laughable the way he's been playing. While 31 fantasy points in his most recent game might look encouraging, it's anything but. We say that because he did most of that damage in garbage time, with many of the other starters resting. That tells you a lot about his role with this team, failing to crack 26 Yahoo points in 11 of his first 12 games. That doesn't even take into consideration that he has a tough matchup and enters this game questionable with a wrist issue.
Dwight Howard, PHI at OKC ($10)
This is probably the easiest play of the day. Howard represents the direct beneficiary to Embiid's absence and started for him on Saturday. In that role. Howard played 33 minutes and collected eight points, 18 rebounds, three assists and three blocks in his best game in a long time. That equates to 40 Yahoo points and that's obviously a stupendous number from a minimum-salaried player. We all know Howard has this sort of potential and remains an absolute lock if he's going to keep playing 30-plus minutes. To put it simply, he'll be in every lineup and he needs to be in yours.
Isaiah Roby, OKC vs. PHI ($10)
It's crazy we're able to find two minimum centers, but both are excellent plays. Much like Howard, Roby will start for his counterpart Al Horford. In the last two games without Big Al, Roby has played at least 24 minutes in both while providing at least 23 Yahoo points in each. That's an amazing floor from a bargain player and it's becoming evident that he offers double-double potential if he continues this amount of court time. Riding Howard and Roby as your center and utility is a great way to start your lineup, and it could help get pretty much anyone else you want in there.
Center to Avoid
Serge Ibaka, LAC vs. IND ($19)
Ibaka simply hasn't looked right all season. While averaging 25 Yahoo points per game, he's failed to crack 23 fantasy points in three straight. They've been leaning more on Ivica Zubac off the bench and playing more small-ball, which is evident when you see Ibaka has averaged fewer than 24 minutes a night during that stretch. The thing that really scares us here is the matchup, with Indiana ranked top-10 in both points allowed and defensive efficiency.