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The race for the BetMGM NBA Yahoo Cup is heating up. The multi-round, single-entry contest that runs nearly every Friday throughout the NBA DFS season tips off Round 9 of 23 tonight. Scoring is cumulative for the year-long points race, with your five lowest scores dropped. At the end of the season, a $50,000 prize pool is shared among the top 7,950 competitors, with a whopping $10,000 going to first. But even if you’re late to the game, the top 15 in tonight’s freeroll earn entry to the Final Round, where multiple Las Vegas trips will be up for grabs. Click here to get in on the action!
Let’s focus in on three plays to fill out your NBA DFS lineups with for tonight’s NBA Yahoo Cup contest.
NBA DFS Pick No. 1: Isaiah Stewart — $10
There is a massive 11-game slate on tap for tonight, which means get set to sort through a plethora of value plays leading up to lock. While there are a number of minimum-salary options I would be happy take some shots on — Davis Bertans, Garrett Temple and Payton Pritchard, to name a few — Isaiah Stewart sits in a class of his own. With Mason Plumlee’s late scratch on Thursday, Stewart was thrust into a starting role on Thursday and performed admirably, accruing 35.1 Yahoo points in 31 minutes of court time.
It sounds as though Plumlee has an outside chance at returning tonight, but I still expect Blake Griffin to be rested on the second half of the back-to-back. That alone should solidify Stewart’s minutes either way, as his size will be required to matchup across from Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson in the starting unit. He is producing 0.93 Yahoo fantasy points per minute this season, projects for 30-plus minutes and is virtually blowout-proof. In other words, Stewart checks all the boxes, making him by far my favorite value play to roster in your Yahoo Cup lineup tonight.
NBA DFS Pick No. 2: Luka Doncic — $54
With the abundance of value options tonight, spending up for the top tier of studs is made much easier than usual. And with the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and LeBron James all in action, we certainly have a number of them to choose from. But my clear-cut No. 1 is Luka Doncic, who projects as the highest scorer on the slate according to Awesemo (54.84).
After sputtering out of the gate in 2021, the Mavericks are winners of three straight heading into tonight’s tilt with the Pelicans. Doncic has erupted for at least 59 fantasy points in three of his past five, displaying the elite upside we knew was coming despite the early-season struggles. His 35.9% usage rate is tops amongst all active players on this slate, and his 1.52 Yahoo points per minute rank third. Not that you need me to tell you, but Doncic is an elite option tonight and should be rostered in your NBA DFS lineups without a second’s thought.
NBA DFS Pick No. 3: De’Aaron Fox — $37
The Magic have been bit hard by the injury bug this season, especially at the point guard position. Having already lost Markelle Fultz for the season, backups Cole Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams and Frank Mason III all are questionable tonight. I think there is a legitimate chance the Magic could be without a point guard on the active roster tonight, which could turn Friday into a field day for De’Aaron Fox.
Fox is quietly putting together an incredible stretch of consistency, with zero games below 28.4 Yahoo points in his past 11 and only three below 41.6 in that same span. He’s also shown an elite ceiling within that run; he has eclipsed 50 fantasy points in four of those 11 games, including a 77.3 blitzkrieg of the Pelicans. While you would generally have to venture into the $40 or $50 range to roster that type of player, Fox is just $37. And should the Magic have no point guard to pit against him tonight, he would make for my favorite contrarian spend-up of the evening.