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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Monday Picks

Benjamin Zweiman

Benjamin Zweiman is a copy editor and fantasy contributor for NHL.com and writes about daily fantasy basketball for RotoWire. Follow him on Twitter @BZweimanNHL.

The theme for Monday’s two-game slate is fade, fade, fade the elite. The discrepancy between the top players at each position and the bottom feeders is going to be huge, so pick and choose your high-priced studs wisely. Where you’ll win your money is in the bargain players and contrarian options, which are plentiful.

GUARDS

DeMar DeRozan, TOR at CLE ($39):
The Cavaliers can’t play defense. They had no answer for Paul George in the first round and likely won’t have one for DeRozan, who averaged 29.7 points per game in three starts against the Cavs during the regular season. DeRozan had an up-and-down series against the Bucks, but he ultimately finished with 30-plus points in two of his last three games to close Milwaukee out. Consider the Raptors superstar more of a cash-game play as a bargain compared to the high-priced James Harden ($62).

Lou Williams, HOU at SA ($18): Point guard is incredibly thin for Monday’s two-game slate behind Kyrie Irving ($40) and Kyle Lowry ($36), so buying low at the position may be wise. Williams had an impressive first-round series versus the Thunder, averaging 18.8 points per game (most behind Harden) while shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range. We all know the Spurs' defense is always stingy, but it struggled to contain the Grizzlies from beyond the arc, allowing Memphis to shoot 38.6 percent (11th among playoff teams in the first round).

Guard to Avoid

James Harden, HOU at SA ($62):
Harden’s ownership percentage will likely be astronomical. He’s the highest-priced player by $4 ahead of LeBron James, and despite the tough draw against Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, should put up his usual stat line. Harden averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 assists and 9.0 rebounds per game in four starts against San Antonio during the regular season. He’s worth fading in either scenario: A) his ownership percentage being too high or B) the off chance that Leonard shuts him down.

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FORWARD

Kawhi Leonard, SA vs. HOU ($48):
You won’t have much of a choice but to play either James or Leonard at small forward. Sure, you could opt for Trevor Ariza ($20) if you don’t like winning money. We all know James is going to have the higher ceiling and will likely outscore Leonard, but the latter's price is lower and his ownership percentage should mimic that. He averaged 47.3 fantasy points per game in the six-game, first-round win against the Grizzlies, who are no easy task.

Kevin Love, CLE vs. TOR ($36): Love should have a much easier time against the Raptors' front line than the Pacers', who limited him to fewer than 30 fantasy points in three of four games in the first round. However, Love had strong numbers against Toronto during the regular season (21.7 PPG, 12.3 RPG) in three games, plus the Cavs haven’t played the Raptors since Dec. 5. That long layoff will only play into the Cavaliers' favor at home in Game 1. Love is the cheapest of Cleveland’s Big 3 and will also likely have the lowest ownership.

Forward to Avoid

P.J. Tucker, TOR at CLE ($10):
There really aren’t any forwards that stand out as a must-fade, but if you’re considering a bargain in Tucker, think again. He was wildly unproductive despite playing over 24:00 minutes per game in the first round. He failed to eclipse 15 fantasy points in any of the six games against the Bucks and didn’t attempt more than seven shots in any contest. If you’re looking for a bargain on the Raptors, Norman Powell ($13) is your guy.

CENTER

Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. TOR ($14):
Thompson posted double-digit rebounds in each of the Cavaliers’ four games in the first-round sweep of the Pacers. Though the Raptors did a nice job of winning the rebounding battle in their first-round series against the Bucks, Thompson has better size and is more experienced than Milwaukee’s front court. The one down side of Thompson is the Cavs' ability to blow out the Raptors, which would limit his minutes.

Center to Avoid

Serge Ibaka, TOR at CLE ($26):
Expect a lot of lineups to simply play Ibaka because he’s the most clear-cut option at center. However, there are a handful of bargains at center (including Thompson) and you’re going to want to invest more of your salary cap in either James, Harden or another big fantasy point producer. Ibaka has only seen Cleveland once this season, and as mentioned above, there’s always a chance the Cavs run away with Game 1, leaving Ibaka with a low number of minutes.
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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. Benjamin Zweiman plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: Fanduel: packattack521, DraftKings: bzweiman521.