After back-to-back nights of In-Season Tournament quarterfinal-round play, the rest of the league checks back in with a flourish Wednesday in the form of a typically expansive mid-week 11-game slate.
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.
Tyrese Maxey, PHI at WAS ($42): Maxey is off the injury report ahead of Wednesday after missing the 76ers’ most recent contest due to an illness, and he’ll walk back into a premium matchup. The talented guard, who’s scored 40.7 Yahoo points or more in five of the last six contests, faces a Wizards team he already hung 45.7 Yahoo points on in the first meeting Nov. 6, and one that’s allowed an Eastern Conference-high 32.5 offensive efficiency rating to point guards overall. Washington is also surrendering 52.4 Yahoo points per contest to the position, as well as an NBA-high 29.7 assists per game.
Mike Conley, MIN vs. SAN ($19): Conley’s salary stands out in light of his recent performances, which include five straight games between 25 and 38.8 Yahoo points. The veteran guard has been considerably inefficient from in front of the arc during that span but has curiously shot 40% from 3-point range, and he now gets a shot at a Spurs team allowing an NBA-high 33.7 offensive efficiency rating to point guards, as well as an NBA-high 53.2 Yahoo points per game to the position. Moreover, San Antonio is yielding an NBA-high 30.8 assists per road game as well, setting Conley up as a potentially fantastic value play Wednesday.
ALSO CONSIDER: Coby White, CHI vs. CHA ($19)
Guard to Avoid
Jeremy Sochan, SAN at MIN ($17): Sochan’s production always fluctuates some to begin with, and Wednesday, he runs into a tough matchup against Conley’s defense. The T-Wolves are allowing the second-lowest offensive efficiency rating to point guards (22.1) while giving up just 40% shooting to ones. Sochan does carry an appealing salary for his ceiling, but he’s frequently had trouble reaching it, with the fact he’s scored 7.9 to 20.6 Yahoo points in three of his last four games the latest evidence of such.
Jimmy Butler, MIA at TOR ($37): Butler will once again take the floor without Bam Adebayo (hip) and Tyler Herro (ankle) on Wednesday, a scenario in which he sees a team-high +4.6% usage bump and averages 28.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per 36 minutes. The Raptors make for an ideal matchup, as they’re allowing an NBA-high 28.2 offensive efficiency rating to small forwards, partly a byproduct of conceding 51.2% shooting, including 42.2% from 3-point range, to the position. Toronto is also surrendering 43.4 Yahoo points per game to threes, while Butler checks in with tallies of 50.7 and 45.5 Yahoo points in his last pair of contests, even with Adebayo playing in the first game of that sample.
Jabari Smith Jr., HOU vs. OKC ($20): Smith seems to be perpetually undervalued in terms of salary, with the most recent evidence being the figure he carries Wednesday despite having scored between 31.8 and 39.5 Yahoo points in five of the last six contests. The second-year big continues to show significant improvement as a shooter – his percentages are up to 50.7 overall and 35.7 from distance after respective 40.8 and 30.7, respectively, as a rookie – and he’s been even better of late with a 56.7% success rate from the floor over his last seven. The Thunder have been vulnerable to frontcourt players all season as well and have surrendered 47.2 Yahoo points per game to power forwards specifically.
ALSO CONSIDER: Santi Aldama, MEM at DET ($21)
Forward to Avoid
Evan Mobley, CLE vs. ORL ($36): It’s not that Mobley can’t pop for big games, but the matchup Wednesday combined with some of his inconsistency and his salary all make me a bit dubious about rolling with him. The big man is coming off one of his downturns, having scored just 18.7 Yahoo points against the Pistons on Sunday. He’s scored under 35 Yahoo points in nine of his 20 games overall, and the Magic check in allowing a relatively modest 44.6 Yahoo points per game to power forwards, along with the fifth-fewest rebounds per contest (8.9) to the position.
Alperen Sengun, HOU vs. OKC ($38): The Thunder has been even more vulnerable to centers, giving up several massive individual performances to the position, the most recent to the player we’ll spotlight after Sengun in Lively. OKC holds a No. 22 ranking in offensive efficiency rating allowed to fives (33.6) and is surrendering 57.3 Yahoo points per game to the position overall. OKC is also giving up the third-most rebounds per game overall (54.9), including a Western Conference-high 16.97 per game to centers. Meanwhile, Sengun has taken his game to another level this season and has his average up to 42.9 Yahoo points per contest after scoring 50.8 or more in three of his last four contests.
Dereck Lively II, DAL vs. UTA ($15): Lively generated a whopping 61.2 Yahoo points in the aforementioned performance against the Thunder, a game in which he produced a 20-point,16-rebound double-double with seven blocks. The matchup Wednesday isn’t quite as tantalizing but far from prohibitive, giving the rookie a chance to over-deliver on a very modest salary once more. Utah is allowing 50.4 Yahoo points per game to centers and the second-most blocks per road game (6.9) overall, setting Lively up for what could be his 11th game of over 20 Yahoo points this season.
ALSO CONSIDER: Joel Embiid, PHI at WAS ($55)
Center to Avoid
Zach Collins, SAN at MIN ($22): The Spurs draw a tough defensive matchup overall against the T-Wolves, so Collins is the second San Antonio player we’ll suggest staying away from. The big man is dealing with a thumb sprain but expected to play, yet he draws an unenviable matchup against Rudy Gobert down low. Collins was held to 22.9 Yahoo points across 24 minutes in the first meeting between the teams this season, and with the T-Wolves allowing the league’s lowest offensive efficiency rating to centers (25.1) and Collins having scored just 17.3 to 21.6 Yahoo points in three of his last four contests, he can be avoided.