Yahoo DFS Basketball: Saturday Picks

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Joel Bartilotta
·6 min read
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I have never felt overwhelmed by sports at any point in my life, but this weekend is pushing it. We have full slates in NBA and MLB all weekend long while getting the Final Four as well. That doesn't even include some of the other obscure sports going on, but we're totally zoned in on the NBA right now with the season winding to an end. There's a lot to talk about on this slate, though, so let's get into it!

Guards

Luka Doncic, DAL at WAS ($54)

What if I told you one of the best players in fantasy gets the best matchup possible? That happens to be the case here, with Luka facing a Washington team that bleeds fantasy points to opponents. In fact, they currently rank 27th in defensive efficiency and first in pace while surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing PGs. That's horrific news against a beast like Luka, with the Slovenian point guard scoring at least 42 Yahoo points in 11 of his last 12 games while generating a 50-point average in that span. He's done a lot of damage in hard matchups, and it's scary to think what sort of line he could post in a stupendous matchup like this. 

Theo Maledon, OKC at POR ($15)

I don't necessarily believe Maledon has enormous upside, but he's way too good to be this cheap. What's allowed him to thrive is his expanded role, stepping up with so many Thunder players out of the lineup. They're expected to be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Al Horford, Darius Bazley, and Luguentz Dort, leaving Maledon to feast. Theo has a 34-point average over his last four fixtures in this expanded role, taking 16 shots a game in that span. He's actually shooting terribly in that stretch, and it means that average could be even higher if he knocked some of those down. This matchup could definitely lead to just that, with Portland sitting 29th in defensive efficiency while surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. 

Guard to Avoid

Malik Beasley, MIN at PHI ($23)

I consider myself a pretty good shooter, and as someone who took a long time off amid the COVID crisis, I can tell you that your shooting stroke disappears when you're not playing competitively for a long period of time. That certainly seems to be the case with Beasley, building brick houses in his return from a 12-game suspension. In fact, Malik is shooting 28 percent from the field in his four games since his return, providing just 18 Yahoo points per game in that span. That's no surprise when you see that Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards are swallowing up so much usage, making things even more challenging on Beasley. Not to mention, Philly is a Top-5 defense and enter this game as a massive favorite. 

Forwards

Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at SAC ($55)

I hate to do this after recommending Luka, but these two guys are really tough to fade on this slate. On the contrary, I'd try to fit in both of these guys and take the guaranteed 100-140 fantasy points. It will swallow up a ton of your salary, but it feels like the optical strategy with so many good cheap options out there. We like Giannis for all the same reasons as Luka, averaging nearly 60 Yahoo points per game since the beginning of March. That puts him in play against anyone, but Sacramento currently owns the worst defensive rating in the NBA as well. 

Otto Porter, ORL at UTA ($10)

It's just weird to see a talented guy in such a good role being priced at the minimum. We genuinely believe that Porter is one of the best players on this new-look Orlando roster, and it's likely just a matter of time before he's treated as such. In his last two games, Porter has 43 combined fantasy points in 42 total minutes. That might not sound like much, but a 22-point average is a heck of a total from a $10 player. We also need to find some cheap options with Antetokounmpo and Doncic in our lineups, and there's no better fit out there than Porter. 

Forward to Avoid

Joe Ingles, UTA vs. ORL ($23)

We expect Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley to play here, and that means Ingles is off-limits. That forces him into a bench role, and it takes a lot of his ball-handling opportunities. That's clear when you see his 30-point average in his 12 starts and his 21-point average in his 32 games coming off the bench. That's an alarming trend, and this game has blowout written all over it. If that's the case, it'll be had to imagine Ingles playing more than 20-25 minutes, making him impossible to trust at $23. 

Centers

Myles Turner, IND at SAN ($22)

Turner has had his fair share of duds recently, but this pricing is silly. Look no further than his season average, providing 34 Yahoo points per game. If you look at the other seven active players averaging between 33 and 35 fantasy points, none of them are below $28! That makes this $22 for Turner difficult to understand, especially when you see that he's scored at least 29 fantasy points in seven of his last 10 games. San Antonio could be a great matchup for Turner, too, with his block potential being extremely high, with the Spurs having one of the highest percentages of two-point attempts in the NBA. 

Nerlens Noel, NYK at DET ($13)

Now that Mitchell Robinson (foot) is likely out for the remainder of the season, Noel should step in as the starting center one again. He's averaging 24 Y! points per game in that role so far this year in 20 games played. That's a monstrous total from a $13 player, and it's clear that Yahoo hasn't adjusted to this expanded role. Two of those games happened to come against this disastrous Detroit defense, with Noel having his two highest-scoring games of the year, combining for 72.4 fantasy points. 

Center to Avoid

Joel Embiid, PHI vs. MIN ($52)

Embiid is expected to make his return from a four-week absence here, which makes him really hard to trust. It would be hard to imagine him playing more than 25 minutes because Philly will use kids' gloves when handling him for the rest of the season. That makes him a tough sell at $52, especially considering we love Doncic and Antetokounmpo. If we're going to use Luka and Giannis, there's simply no room for another expensive guy like this!