3 Fantasy Basketball Players to Avoid on 1/17/19

JaVale McGee's move to the bench plummets his fantasy value. What other players are we staying away from in NBA DFS on Thursday?

In daily fantasy basketball, finding players you want to roster is a lot easier than finding players to avoid.

You can find a ton of great information and research on guys you might want to include in your DFS NBA lineups, but what about guys you may want to lessen your exposure to, or even fade altogether?

Avoiding players whose matchups or situations aren't as great as they seem can often be just as important as finding the best targets. After all, it takes only one player to sink a lineup. Searching for the landmines could mean the difference between winning and losing your contests. Which players should we avoid tonight?

Zach LaVine, SG, Chicago Bulls

FanDuel Price: $6,800

Just like the Chicago Bulls' offense, Zach LaVine has been a disappointment offensively over the last few weeks. After putting up a 25.0-point scoring average in the first 23 games, the once-explosive scorer has looked quite pedestrian recently. LaVine has seen an 18% drop off in production as he is averaging just 20.6 points per night in last eight games. For someone whose fantasy value is tied directly to his scoring ability -- 65.7% of his FanDuel points come from scoring -- the drop off has hurt his fantasy value tremendously.

In those last eight games, LaVine is averaging 28.7 FanDuel points per game. The guard has failed to reach 25 FanDuel points in half (four) of those games as well. Facing an unfavorable matchup on top of his scoring slump, LaVine is one to stay away from on Thursday.

The Bulls come into Thursday’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets carrying the lowest implied point total of the day (100.0). The Nuggets' tough perimeter defense will make life miserable for LaVine and the Bulls, as Denver holds opponents to just 33.8% shooting from deep, the third-lowest rate in the NBA. They also clamp down on shooting guards in particular, allowing 0.81 FanDuel points per minute to the position, the fifth-lowest rate in the league this season.

Buddy Hield, SG, Sacramento Kings

FanDuel Price: $6,400

Another player off to hot start this season but has seen their game fall back to Earth has been the Sacramento Kings' Buddy Hield. In his last five games, Hield is posting just 17.4 points while taking only 13.0 shots per night, nearly a 15% drop off from his average of 20.4 points over his first 39 games played this season. He is attempting 3.3 fewer shots per game, while his usage rate has dropped from over 25% in the first 39 games to 22.4% since January 7. Both Bogdan Bogdanovic and Iman Shumpert have been carving into Hield’s playing time too, with Hield playing over three minutes less per game.

As expected, his fantasy output has fallen off, with Hield averaging just 22.2 FanDuel points per night in the last five games. He has three games with sub-20 FanDuel points during the dip, something he did only 5 times in the first 39 games.

One of the league’s best three-point shooters, Hield may have a harder time getting his shot off against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. Charlotte has held opponents to 35.0% shooting on threes, a below average rate in the league this season. The overlooked perimeter defense of Nicolas Batum will likely slow down Hield too. Batum is holding those he defends to a 31.6% accuracy from behind the arc, 3.9 percentage points lower than expected.

JaVale McGee, C, Los Angeles Lakers

FanDuel Price: $5,400

The Los Angeles Lakers' starting center for his first 37 games played, JaVale McGee found himself in the unfamiliar place of coming off the bench on Tuesday. With the Lakers slumping, Luke Walton switched up his starting lineup, with Tyson Chandler getting the start in the middle against the Bulls.

While McGee posted solid production with the second-unit -- 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks for 24.3 FanDuel points -- he was on the court for just 14 minutes, a season-low. In the 10 games he has played fewer than 20 minutes, McGee has averaged only 8.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks for 22.1 FanDuel points per game -- a significant drop off from his season averages.

With the potential that McGee sees similar court time against a much more difficult opponent on Thursday, the big man should not find his way into many lineups.

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Steven Adams have been a problematic fantasy matchup for opposing centers, posting the second-best offensive rebound rate in the league (30.5%), while allowing a below league average number of blocks per game (5.1). Overall, centers are averaging 1.09 FanDuel points per minute, the third-lowest rate on Thursday's slate.

Dale Redman is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.