This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
As someone who's addicted to basketball, this opening week has been the fix I needed. There have been some epic games and some surprising rotations, which has led to some chaos in DFS circles. The good news is that it's opened up a ton of value across the board, and we certainly have plenty here. Without further ado, let's go ahead and break down this Saturday slate on Yahoo.
Ja Morant, MEM at LAC ($34)
Morant looked like a different player in the preseason, and if the opener is any indicator, he's a full-on beast. The star point guard finished the opener with 37 points, six rebounds, and six assists en route to 57.2 Yahoo points. While we can't expect lines like that every night, we expect his usage to be sky-high. That was clear when he had 29 shots in that first game, generating a ridiculous 36.4 percent usage rate. All of that has him looking like a breakout into superstardom, and it's not like the Clippers defense is scary with Patrick Beverley and Kawhi Leonard out of the picture. In fact, they just allowed Stephen Curry to drop a 45-point double-double on them in their first game.
Terance Mann, LAC vs. MEM ($13)
This price tag makes no sense. We just mentioned that Kawhi and Beverley are off the radar, which should force Mann into a much more significant role. That was certainly the case in the postseason, with Mann averaging 25 Yahoo points per game in his final seven outings last year. He carried that momentum into the opener, dropping 27 Yahoo points across 39 minutes of action. That 39-minute total might be the most important thing here because someone flirting with 40 minutes should never be $13.
Guard to Avoid
Josh Jackson, DET at CHI ($18)
Jackson is one of those guys who thrives when everyone is out, but that's not the case right now. Detroit is fully healthy coming into the year, and they have too many weapons for Jackson to be successful. His best-case scenario would be the primary ball-handler off the bench, but he has to battle Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, and Hamidou Diallo for touches in that unit. Those are just the bench players he has to compete with, omitting starters like Jerami Grant, Frank Jackson, and Killian Hayes from the discussion.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL at TOR ($25)
Porzingis looked lost in the Mavs' first game, and it looks like Yahoo might be overreacting to that here. Paying $25 for someone this talented is something we simply can't pass up, as Porzingis was regularly a $30 player in the past. This is a guy who's averaged nearly 40 Yahoo points per game since 2019, providing numerous 50 and 60-point gems in that span. That's a heck of an average, and an even more impressive ceiling, making Porzingis a great GPP target at this diminished price. Not to mention, Toronto is looking like a relatively appealing defense to target early on.
Jaden McDaniels, MIN vs. NO ($10)
Yahoo always seems to miss the boat with some of these minimum-priced guys, and McDaniels is undoubtedly one of them. The sophomore forward only provided four points and four rebounds in his season debut but compiled four steals and three blocks in a defensive showcase. That led to a 30-point masterpiece for McDaniels, which is a monster total from a guy sitting at the minimum. That sort of defensive upside gives him a high floor because four points and four rebounds will inevitably improve over time. The Pelicans also project to be among the most fantasy-friendly defenses this season.
Forward to Avoid
DeMar DeRozan, CHI vs. DET ($33)
I always try to include higher-end guys in the fade section because all of you know when to avoid someone cheap. My first inclination was to write up Thaddeus Young at $18, but he wasn't even in the rotation in the opener and might be on his way out of San Antonio. We'll go ahead and ride DeRozan at this avoid section because I feel like he's going to be a $25 player by the end of the season.
The simple fact is there are too many weapons in Chicago for DeRozan to be a $33 player. Zach LaVine was one of the league leaders in usage rate last season, and that doesn't even take into consideration that DeRozan has to battle Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball for touches . All of that means that DeRozan will have to do more with less usage, and that's a challenging task.
Jonas Valanciunas, NO at MIN ($31)
What if I told you that JV dropped 30 Yahoo points in the opener, despite shooting 3-of-19 from the field? Some people might be discouraged by that, but I absolutely love it. That means he's one of the focal points of the Zion Williamson-less offense, generating a 31.3 percent usage rate in that game. Being able to drop 30 fantasy points on a shooting night like that shows just how dangerous Valanciunas can be. He's a 56 percent shooter from the field for his career, so Wednesday's game was obviously an anomaly. If he made even a few more of his shots, we'd be talking about 40-50 Yahoo points. That makes him a heck of a value at $31, and we certainly don't mind that he faces off with one of the worst defensive centers in the NBA on Saturday.
Jakob Poeltl, SAS vs. MIL ($22)
This is a new-look San Antonio team, and it appears that Poeltl will be one of its primary contributors. Poeltl provided 12 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists in the Spurs season opener, playing a Nikola Jokic-type role in the post. If that usage and playmaking continues, it'd be hard to see Poeltl remaining below $25. He's shown this sort of ability in the past as well, and there's really not much behind him in terms of depth that will take him off of the floor. Milwaukee is also without its top two centers in Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis.
Center to Avoid
Chris Boucher, DAL at TOR ($23)
This saddens me because I love Boucher as a player, but his role just isn't there right now. He dealt with a hand issue throughout the preseason, and it's looking like the Raptors are easing him back into action. Not only is Boucher coming off the bench, but he's also playing just 18 minutes per night thus far. Anytime a role player sees fewer minutes than his price tag, you need to stay away.