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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Saturday Picks

Sasha Yodashkin

Sasha Yodashkin writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

The NBA postseason kicks off Saturday, with the night's final two games making up the evening slate after 8 p.m. EDT. While the Clippers and Spurs hold home court advantage, the tough Jazz and Grizzlies defenses should serve as equalizers from a fantasy perspective.


Tony Parker, SA vs. MEM ($15):
While the Spurs, Jazz and Clippers all finished among the six stingiest defenses against point guards, Memphis was in the middle of the pack with the 17th-most fantasy points allowed to the position. Parker is far from his prime self, but the rest-related limitations that plagued his fantasy stock throughout the regular season should be gone now. The past three games in which he topped his season playing time average of 25:11 resulted in 26.3 fantasy points per contest, so living up to his $15 price shouldn't be difficult in this situation.

Troy Daniels, MEM at SA ($10): With Tony Allen (calf) out after getting hurt in the season finale, his playing time is likely to be split by a combination of Daniels and Vince Carter. There are only so many minutes the 40-year-old Carter can eat, so expect a heavy dose of Daniels against a Spurs team that allowed more fantasy points to shooting guards than any other team in action Saturday. The sharpshooter averaged 27.1 fantasy points in 32 minutes per game during a three-game stretch from Mar. 31 to Apr. 4, and he will likely see a similar workload.

Guard to Avoid

Chris Paul, LAC vs. UTA ($46):
Paul costs $10 more than the next most expensive guard and twice as much as the top option after that. That gap in price wasn't reflected by his season average of 40.8 fantasy points per game, and a Jazz team that allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to point guards has the ability to hold him well below that average. Paul's two regular season home games against Utah produced an average of just 27.9 fantasy points per contest, so he'd need to experience a dramatic improvement just to live up to his hefty price.

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Kawhi Leonard, SA vs. MEM ($48):
While Paul isn't a smart choice, it certainly makes sense to stack your lineup with expensive options given the limited number of alternatives. Leonard is one such player, and his value should be buoyed by facing a Grizzlies team that will be adjusting on the fly to losing its best perimeter defender. The two-way star was able to hang 59.9 fantasy points on Memphis with Allen out of the lineup during their last meeting on Apr. 4, so the sky's the limit for him in this higher-stakes contest.

Joe Johnson, UTA at LAC ($11): All four teams in action ranked no worse than league average at defending every position during the regular season except the Clippers when it came to small forwards. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the ghost of Paul Pierce will likely be overmatched by starter Gordon Hayward, but Johnson won't make life any easier for them off the bench after averaging 16.0 points per game in his final five before playing limited minutes to rest up in the season finale. Johnson is the logical choice for managers without the funds to pick up Hayward or simply looking to take on less risk while exploiting the matchup.

Forward to Avoid

Derrick Favors, UTA at LAC ($18):
Favors averaged just 9.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this season while finding himself in a timeshare with Boris Diaw. While extended minutes have generally led to Favors outperforming those numbers, there's little reason to expect that outcome given the potential for foul trouble and limited rebounding opportunities that come with facing the Clippers' frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Los Angeles' defense surrendered the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to power forwards this season, so Favors wouldn't be the first such player to underperform against this opposition.


Rudy Gobert, UTA at LAC ($41):
Prior to the season finale against the Spurs in which no Utah player played more than 29 minutes, Gobert had outplayed his $41 price in eight of 13 games while topping 50.0 fantasy points five times. His combination of scoring, rebounding and blocked shots during that stretch was head and shoulders above any alternative, as he recorded double-doubles in all but one of those contests while chipping in 3.5 blocks per game. Los Angeles ranking 15th in fantasy points allowed to centers further raises his value relative to other options since the other teams in action were the three stingiest when it came to defending Gobert's position. Paying the few extra dollars for the Frenchman should go a long way.

Marc Gasol, MEM at SA ($28): If you just can't afford Gobert, Gasol isn't the worst cancellation prize. While he undeniably faces a much tougher matchup, the Spaniard should be able to exploit his older and slower brother whenever he takes the floor. Allen's removal from the lineup also helps Memphis space the floor better, leaving more room for Gasol to score inside or demonstrate his elite passing skills by finding perimeter targets who can actually sink open 3-pointers. Gasol costs just $28 despite averaging the most fantasy points per game among available centers, so there's certainly value to be found.

Center to Avoid

Dewayne Dedmon, SA vs. MEM ($10):
Don't let Dedmon's status as the Spurs' starting center fool you. While he opens games for San Antonio, the minimum-priced big man costs only $10 for a reason. He played just 17:29 per game this season, and even matching his meager averages of 5.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game would be an accomplishment against Marc Gasol's Grizzlies. The available selection just isn't accommodating for those hoping to go dirt-cheap at center.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.