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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Friday-Saturday Picks

Andre' Snellings

Andre' Snellings is a Neural Engineer by day, and RotoWire's senior basketball columnist by night. He's a two-time winner of the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals is Friday while Game 3 of the Western Conference finals is Saturday. The biggest question of the slate is about the availability of Kawhi Leonard, who left Game 1 after re-injuring his ankle, and he has been unable to practice after sitting out Game 2. If Leonard plays, with the game in San Antonio, the Spurs have a chance to be more competitive than they were in the blowout loss in Game 2. If not, it changes the value propositions of all involved. Let’s explore some of the available options, knowing that there is uncertainty.

GUARD

Stephen Curry, GS at SA ($47):
Curry has been the best player in this series, and the only one that has had great performances in both games. His average of over 56 fantasy points per game not only indicates that he’s playing at a high level, but also that he can put up big numbers in a close two-point game and a 36-point blowout. This gives him a robust expected value Saturday, whether Kawhi Leonard is able to play or not.

Marcus Smart, BOS vs CLE ($16): There are no elite shooting guards Friday, based upon their recent play. Celtics teammates Avery Bradley and Smart have produced higher averages at home over their last five games than any other shooting guard on the slate, and Smart has done so with a price $9 cheaper than Bradley. They both make nice balances between price, production and unlikelihood to throw up a goose-egg compared to the other options on the board, but Smart may be the slightly better value.

Guard to Avoid

Klay Thompson, GS at SA ($28):
Thompson has only scored more than 25 fantasy points once in his last seven games, and he averaged fewer than 25 fantasy points in his four games against the Spurs during the regular season. Put together, his expected value for Saturday is solidly lower than his price.

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FORWARD

LeBron James, CLE at BOS ($59):
James is the highest-priced player, but he is also by far the most reliable. Kevin Durant is $11 cheaper, and he has turned in games of 23.9 and 33.7 fantasy points in blowout wins in two of his last three. Kawhi Leonard is also only $11 less, and it’s no guarantee that he even plays. James has scored more than 53 fantasy points in every playoff game this year, with a high over 80.

LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs GS ($33): Aldridge is risky because he has been down for much of the playoffs, then hit a great stretch only to lay an egg in Game 2 with Kawhi Leonard sidelined. It is unknown whether Leonard will play Saturday, but either way the Spurs will have had time to implement a plan to take advantage of Aldridge’s strengths in the five days since Game 2. There are only three reliable options at power forward, and Aldridge is the cheapest with equal upside.

Forward to Avoid

Kawhi Leonard, SA vs GS ($48):
Uncertainty is not a good thing, especially at a max price. Leonard may or may not be cleared to play Saturday, but he couldn’t play in Tuesday’s Game 2 nor practice Thursday. Meanwhile, Leonard is the exact same price as Kevin Durant and only $11 less than LeBron James; even if he plays, there’s a reasonable likelihood that he is limited in output or minutes, and he risks re-injury like what happened in Game 1.

CENTER

Al Horford, BOS vs CLE ($29):
Horford has moved between solid/useful games in the upper 20s of fantasy points to legitimately dominant with games in the mid-40s. He is the only even semi-elite center option and has a high enough floor to be a fairly safe pick.

Tristan Thompson, CLE at BOS ($17): Thompson had 20 points and nine rebounds in Game 1, and he averaged a solid 12 points and 12 boards per game against the Celtics in the regular season. His physical style matches up well against their more finesse interior players, and his aggression is likely to produce again Friday.

Center to Avoid

Pau Gasol, SA vs GS ($17):
Gasol played great when he first moved into the starting lineup against the Rockets last series, but their success at small ball limited him to 19 and 20 minutes in Games 4 and 5. He broke out with 35.7 fantasy points in 30 minutes of Game 6, but the Warriors are a better small-ball team than the Rockets and have limited him to only 14.5 fantasy points in 16 minutes per game in the first two of the series.
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.