Yahoo DFS Basketball: Sunday Picks

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Joel Bartilotta
·5 min read
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Sunday slates tend to be smaller ones, but we're being treated to seven games. What's really nice is we have a bunch of close contests to look forward to, with only Milwaukee coming in as a massive favorite over Sacramento. Every other matchup should be tight, and that's all we can ask for as DFS managers!  

Guards

Fred VanVleet, TOR vs. PHI ($38)

With Kyle Lowry missing another game, FVV should get another start at point guard. He's had monstrous usage in this role by averaging 38 minutes and 18 shots per contest. More importantly, he's scored at least 33 fantasy points in all five of those outings and averaged 40 Yahoo points per game over that span. VanVleet has done that damage despite struggling with his shot, so it's scary to think how good he could be if his jumper is on point. He's also playing some of the best ball of his career right now by averaging 43 fantasy points across his last 13 fixtures. 

Dennis Smith Jr, DET at ORL ($11)

This is certainly a risky pick, but DSJ is in a great spot here. Detroit showed some faith by acquiring him in the Derrick Rose trade and should get a start at point guard with Delon Wright sitting. This is a former top pick who's never really been given a fair shake and a big workload here could be just what the doctor ordered. In an expanded role Friday, DSJ collected 28 Yahoo points in 24 minutes despite shooting 0-of-7 from the field. That's a good representation of how easily he can stuff the stat sheet. If you look at the 55 games Smith has played at least 32 minutes over his career, he's averaging 35 fantasy points per game. Those 32 minutes seem very likely here and you've got one piece of an optimal lineup if you can pick up 35 fantasy points from an $11 player.  

Guard to Avoid

Lou Williams, LAC vs. BKN ($23)

Williams has been incredible over the last week, but now's the time to start fading him. We say that because his success directly correlates with the absences of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Now that both superstars are back, Sweet Lou will return to the bench role that hampered him during the first two months. In fact, Williams averaged just 17 Yahoo points per game in his first 20 outings. That makes him impossible to trust at $23, and we expect PG13 and Kawhi to carry even bigger usages in this star-studded showdown. 

Forwards

Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at SAC ($55)

We hate to recommend someone this expensive, but it's impossible to fade Giannis on this slate. Let's start by talking about the matchup with the Kings and their league-worst defensive rating. That's scary against anyone, but Antetokounmpo is currently the best player in fantasy. The reigning two-time MVP has scored at least 65 fantasy points in six of his last seven games while averaging a 70-spot over that span. We've only seen a handful of 70-point games all year and he's amazingly notched that average during a two-week stretch. Just fit him in and build from there.

Josh Jackson, DET at ORL ($17)

With Rose out of town, Blake Griffin sitting and Wright injured, Jackson might find his way into the starting lineup here. With those three off the floor, JJ has a 27 percent usage rate while averaging 1.1 Yahoo points per minute. That's big news with him playing some of the best basketball of his career right now by averaging 29.4 fantasy points across 27 minutes a night in his last 10 outings. That looks even better with Orlando surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing SFs this season. 

Forward to Avoid

Michael Porter, DEN at ATL ($22)

Porter was handed the opportunity of a lifetime this week and he completely let it go by the wayside. Even though Paul Millsap, Will Barton, Gary Harris, JaMychal Green and PJ Dozier all missed time this week, Porter continued to provide dud after dud. In fact, MPJ has scored 31 or fewer fantasy points in 11 of his last 12 outings while only averaging 24 Yahoo points per game. That's terrifying with players slowly returning, so one has to wonder if Porter is good with this team.

Centers

Al Horford, OKC at CLE ($27)

Horford has enjoyed a resurgent season for the Thunder, so it's baffling why he remains below $30. The big man has scored at least 27 Yahoo points in nine of his last 11 games since returning while averaging over 37 Yahoo points per game during that span. That's an incredible total from someone this affordable and we believe he'll be playing heavy minutes against a big Cleveland team. It's not like the Cavs are formidable on defense as they rank 23rd in defensive efficiency.  

Nerlens Noel, NYK vs. MIN ($14)

Noel is another guy who's stepped into a prominent role due to injury with Mitchell Robinson (hand) sidelined. In this expanded role, Noel is averaging 22 Yahoo points per game in 30 minutes. Those 22 points are likely to be the floor from here on out as he's been doing that damage despite never taking more than seven shots or scoring more than 10 raw points in any contest. Noel can easily record a double-double in 30 minutes, especially in a matchup versus Minnesota and their 26th rank in total defense while surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing centers.  

Center to Avoid

Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN at NYK ($41)

KAT has admitted he hasn't fully recovered from a wrist injury that kept him out at the beginning of the season, and it's definitely clear in his results. The big man hasn't surpassed 50 fantasy points in any of the six games since returning and that's pretty much what you'd need from someone this expensive. Towns is also averaging just 41 Yahoo points per game over that span while taking less than 14 shots a night. All of that is concerning, but facing the Knicks makes him impossible to use as they play at the slowest pace in the NBA while ranking second in total defense.