NBA DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Saturday, December 31

NBA DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Saturday, December 31

How wild is it that 2022 is ending today? Hearing 2023 doesn't even sound real, but time flies when you're having fun! That's what we're doing every day with DFS, and we have another exciting slate to close the year. We have nine total games, with eight making up the main card. We have the hottest player in the NBA in the best possible matchup, so let's start there.


Luka Doncic, DAL at SAS ($59)

Doncic would be a disastrous matchup for any opponent, but he should dominate San Antonio. The Spurs sit dead last in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. They're regularly allowing 130 points a night and will have a tough time limiting Doncic. The MVP candidate leads the league with 61 Yahoo points per game, scoring at least 42 Yahoo points in all but one outing this year. His recent form is even more ridiculous, averaging 44.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and 10.5 assists across his last four fixtures. This might sound outlandish, but a 50-point triple-double is not out of the question in this spot.

Immanuel Quickley, NYK at HOU ($21)

The Rockets and the Spurs have been the most fantasy-friendly matchups in fantasy. Houston has been especially poor against guards, surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing point guards this year. That's big news for Quickley, who has started the last two games for Jalen Brunson. Quickley posted 41 and 57 Yahoo points in those two starts, and he's always been capable when given a full allotment of minutes. If Quickley gets another start at point guard, he's the best value on the board at just $21.

Jaden Ivey should be the primary ball-hander with Killian Hayes suspended and shouldn't have any issues against a 23rd-ranked Minnesota defense.

Guard to Avoid

Tyrese Maxey, PHI at OKC ($30)

It was exciting to see Maxey return Friday night, but that puts him in a tough spot here. It's rare for a player to play back-to-back games after an injury, especially when they were out for over a month. Even if he does suit up, we have to assume his role will be limited. Maxey came off the bench in his first game back, dropping just 11 fantasy points across 19 minutes. The Sixers will treat Maxey with kid's gloves until he's fully ready to go, and we'll avoid him in DFS until he's back to a full-time role.


Julius Randle, NYK at HOU ($41)

Randle got off to a rough start this season, but he's rolling right now. The big man has scored at least 43 Yahoo points in eight of his last nine games, scoring 55 or more in each of his previous four outings. That's one of the highest rates in the NBA, but it's no surprise since he's being asked to do more with Brunson and RJ Barrett both nicked up. Getting to face Houston is the icing on the cake, with the Rockets ranked 28th in defensive efficiency ratings.

T.J. Warren, BKN at CHA ($13)

Warren missed nearly two years of action due to a foot issue, but he's starting to carve out a nice role with the Nets. The former bubble star has scored at least 26 Yahoo points in three of his last four games, playing at least 26 minutes in back-to-back outings. That's what matters most because a player this talented getting 25-30 minutes needs to be closer to $20. Facing Charlotte is sensational, too, with the Hornets ranked 26th in defensive efficiency and 28th in points allowed.

With Devin Vassell likely out, Keldon Johnson should get 20-plus shots for San Antonio.

Forward to Avoid

Jarred Vanderbilt. UTA vs. MIA ($18)

Vanderbilt is amid a career year, but he's tough to trust with this Utah roster at full health. The versatile forward has scored 18 or fewer fantasy points in seven of his last 14 games. You need at least 25 Yahoo points for Vandy to be a good value, and we can't take that 50 percent chance that he won't even reach his price tag. A matchup with Miami makes that even more challenging, with the Heat ranked fourth in points allowed and sixth in defensive efficiency.


Nic Claxton, BKN at CHA ($24)

Yahoo needs to step up its algorithm when it comes to pricing Claxton. This guy has turned into a dominant center, scoring at least 27 Yahoo points in 11 of his last 15 games. The big man has also averaged 36 fantasy points per game in that span, flashing 40-point upside in five of those. That ceiling is undoubtedly in play against Charlotte, with the Hornets allowing the most fantasy points to opposing centers this season. Claxton has compiled a 34-point average against this subpar Charlotte defense in their two meetings this year.

Mitchell Robinson, NYK at HOU ($19)

This is another egregious price tag by Yahoo. Robinson has finally established a 30-minute role as New York's starting center, averaging 30 Yahoo points per game across 29 minutes a night across his last 17 games. Robinson has also scored at least 42 Yahoo points in two of his last three outings, doing more in the absence of Barrett and Brunson. Getting to face Houston is the best part of this, though, with the Rockets ranked 28th in total defense. Not to mention, Robinson registered 36 Yahoo points in their most recent meeting.

If Rudy Gobert is out again, don't forget about Naz Reid at just $19.

Center to Avoid

Jonas Valanciunas, NOP at MEM ($23)

We love Valanciunas as a player, but he's no longer one of the go-to options with how this roster has shaped out. CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson are the focal points of the Pelicans' attack, leaving JV with crumbs. The Lithuanian has 30 or fewer Yahoo points in 11 of his last 13 games, playing just 26 minutes a night in that span. He's only played 30 minutes once in that stretch, and this coaching staff doesn't trust the big man to play big minutes. Facing Memphis won't make things any easier, with Valanciunas combining for 9.7 Yahoo points in their two meetings this season. No, that's not a typo, 9.7 fantasy points in two games!