This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This Saturday slate features just one game, with the Los Angeles Clippers playing host to the Utah Jazz. This marks Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals, with Utah taking care of business with a 2-0 series lead. That means the series swings back to LA, though, and both of these clubs should be hungry in this Game 3 with so much on the line. Teams that go down 0-3 have actually lost all 162 occurrences in NBA history, which means the Clippers need all hands on deck. The first two games have gone down to the wire, and that's fully expected to be the case again here. With that in mind, let's kick things off with the early MVP of this series so far!
Donovan Mitchell, UTA at LAC ($39)
If you're fading Mitchell, you probably haven't been watching enough playoff basketball. This guy's eyes light up like the sun when the games matter most, with Mitchell scoring at least 40 Yahoo points in five straight games. He's also got an absurd 50-point average in that span, which is the exact same average we saw against Denver in last year's playoffs as well. The usage might be the most important thing when talking about Mitchell's value, averaging 23 shots and a ridiculous 38 percent usage rate in that same span. All of that makes him worthy at any price, and it's clear the Clippers have no answer for Spider Mitchell right now.
Joe Ingles, UTA at LAC ($15)
Ingles has been in my articles more than anyone else this season, trading off between the value and fade section all year. It's actually a simple distinction, too, with Ingles being a vivacious value when starting and being a fantastic fade when he's coming off the bench. The absence of Mike Conley has forced Jingles back into the starting lineup, with Ingles averaging 28 Y! points per game in his 33 starts this year. That trumps his 20-point average in 41 outings coming off the bench, making him one of the best plays on the board if Conley is out again.
Guard to Avoid
Paul George, LAC vs. UTA ($38)
The "Playoff P" notions can be silly at times, but there's just something off with PG-13 when the lights are the brightest. Amazingly, he hasn't reached 50 percent shooting in six straight fixtures, shooting 36 percent from the field in that span. That's a horrific average from an All-Star player, and it's sadly right on par with his career averages in the postseason. That shooting slump is likely to continue in such a tough matchup, with Utah owning a Top-5 defense in nearly every metric out there. This guy will eventually find his stroke in the playoffs, but we can't bet against it with how poor his stroke is right now.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. UTA ($45)
Much like Mitchell, you simply can't fade Kawhi. The Claw has scored at least 35 Yahoo points in all nine playoff games this year, averaging over 53 Y! points per game. That's a crazy floor and an even more absurd average, making him impossible to avoid on a one-game slate. When he's at home in these playoffs, something is different about Leonard, too, averaging 56 fantasy points per game across 42 minutes a night. We anticipate him playing at least 40 minutes in this must-win Game 3, and you better believe he'll be as voracious as ever to get this series back to even in LA.
Marcus Morris, LAC vs. UTA ($16)
It's tough to pick anyone outside of PG and Kawhi for the Clippers, but Morris has quietly been their third-best player for most of the year. After dropping 28 Yahoo points across 37 minutes in Game 2, Morris is now averaging 27 Y! points per game across 37 minutes a night in his last five fixtures. That's a brilliant total from such a cheap player, and he makes for a brilliant pairing with Mitchell and Leonard. We also can't overlook that he's taken double-digit shots in all of those games, which makes him even more valuable with the 37-minute average we mentioned before.
Forward to Avoid
Nicolas Batum, LAC vs. UTA ($12)
This plays into our next selection, with Batum being relegated to bench duties on Thursday. That alone makes Batum a scary option, but we hate how little he's doing in this series. He's actually taken just four shots in each of the first two games against Utah, posting a nightmarish 9.3 percent usage rate. That essentially means that he's not touching the ball, and it's hard to accrue fantasy points when that's the case. What makes it even scarier is that he has to face Utah, with the Jazz surrendering the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing forwards this year.
Ivica Zubac, LAC vs. UTA ($10)
It would be easy to sit here and recommend Rudy Gobert at this spot, but we're not going to have the salary after using Kawhi and Mitchell. That means we want to save some dough and go with Zubac. He's actually needed for bigger minutes in this series to match up with Gobert, receiving the start in Game 2. He was held down because of some foul trouble, but he still had 37 combined Yahoo points across 34 minutes in the first two games of this series. That's all you can ask for from such an affordable player, and he could be a double-double threat if he stays out of foul trouble. If that happens, you've found the best value on the board.
Center to Avoid
Derrick Favors, UTA at LAC ($10)
We don't necessarily want to fade Gobert because of his monster upside, but Favors is an easy guy to stay away from. He looked completely lost in Game 2, finishing with negative fantasy points! Yes, he scored below the minimum in over 10 minutes! That's actually the second time he's failed to crack 3.0 Yahoo points in his last three games, making him an easy fade. To put it in perspective, you can use Zubac at essentially the same price, but there's no way these two will finish anywhere near one another in terms of production.