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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Sunday Picks

Sasha Yodashkin

Sasha Yodashkin writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Sunday's NBA slate is a meager one, with only eight teams in action. Owners looking to get in on the action for Sunday's 3:30 p.m. Eastern slate should note the players below. Some stand out as options to target while others should be avoided.


DeMar DeRozan, TOR vs. SAC ($37):
DeRozan's the only guard priced at $22 or more who's averaging more fantasy points per game (38.9) than he costs in dollars ($37). Toronto's top scoring option is likely to provide plenty of value once again, as the Kings allow 108.1 points per game on the road. He just dropped 41.1 fantasy points in Sacramento on Dec. 11 as part of a stretch in which he's scored at least 39.0 fantasy points in eight consecutive games while averaging 44.1, so DeRozan's recent form further boosts his bang for the buck.

Jose Calderon, CLE at WAS ($11):
Calderon's earned a bump in playing time the last four games, averaging 28.9 fantasy points in 28 minutes per game in the last two after contributing 17.3 fantasy points in 25 minutes per game over his previous two appearances. The veteran Spaniard's passing ability and sweet stroke from deep make him a perfect complement for LeBron James, and Calderon should continue burying the easy looks that LeBron creates for him. Wizards point guard John Wall will probably torch Calderon on the other end, but defensive deficiencies aren't reflected in the fantasy box score.

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Guard to Avoid:

Elfrid Payton, ORL at DET ($28):
Payton's been in a major slump lately, averaging 21.4 fantasy points in his last six games while failing to top 26.3. The pass-first point guard hasn't stepped up his own scoring with a number of Orlando's top offensive options sidelined, while the injuries around him mean more assist opportunities end in missed shots. Plenty of point guard options priced lower than Payton bring greater fantasy upside.


Jonathon Simmons, ORL at DET ($24):
Simmons has thrived with an increased recent role thanks to a plethora of injuries to Orlando's wings. Evan Fournier (ankle), Arron Afflalo (back spasms) and Jonathan Isaac (ankle) likely will be unavailable again, which means Simmons should thrive against a scuffling Pistons team that's dropped seven of its past nine games. He's played at least 33 minutes in each of his past 10 appearances and averages 39.2 fantasy points per game over the past three.

LeBron James, CLE vs. WAS ($60):
LeBron obviously doesn't come cheap, but he's worth paying for. He dropped a season-high 92.7 fantasy points and 57 points on the Wizards on Nov. 3 and is primed for a similar performance in this rematch after averaging 64.2 fantasy points in his last five games. The lack of selection of players in his price range makes James the obvious candidate to build around in this slate.

Forward to Avoid:

Markieff Morris, WAS vs. CLE ($17):
With four single-digit fantasy-point efforts in his last nine games, Morris has displayed too low a floor to trust at $17. Power forwards have found success against the Cavaliers, but Morris only contributed 10.3 fantasy points in the first meeting between these two teams, and it wouldn't be surprising if he contributed even less this time around.

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Myles Turner, IND at BKN ($28):
Turner's turned it on over the last five games, averaging 37.8 fantasy points while twice topping 40.0. The third-year center gets a great opportunity to stay hot against a Nets team that allows the ninth-most PPG (19.3), fourth-most rebounds (13.8) and sixth-most blocks per game (1.9) to centers.

Jonas Valanciunas, TOR vs. SAC ($16):
Valanciunas averaged a double-double of 19.0 PPG and 10.3 RPG in the last three games, yet remains priced at an affordable $16. The Lithuanian big man should continue his recent success here against the Kings, who have been the league's most favorable matchup for centers with 45.2 fantasy points surrendered to the position per game. This is the epitome of a low-risk, high-reward play.

Center to Avoid:

Andre Drummond, DET vs. ORL ($47):
Drummond's put forth back-to-back efforts of more than 50.0 fantasy points, but was held below 25.0 in each of his previous two games. That level of inconsistency makes Drummond tough to trust, especially with $41 alternative Nikola Vucevic averaging more than 56.0 fantasy points in his last five games. There's too much uncertainty with this choice to justify using Drummond given other available lineup options.

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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. Sasha Yodashkin plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Youngsash, DraftKings: Yashdogg,Yahoo: Sasha, Fanball: Yashdogg.