Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Saturday, March 18

How wild is the Western Conference right now? I’ve never seen anything like it, with almost every team in the conference battling for a playoff spot. There are actually nine teams within 4.5 games of one another, and they can finish anywhere between fourth and 12th. That’s hard to believe since only three weeks remain, and it’ll be fun to see how these things play out. With that said, we will kick things off with two Eastern Conference guards!


Bradley Beal, WAS vs. SAC ($36)

Beal started slowly this season, but the former All-Star has been rolling since the break. The sharpshooter has at least 40 Yahoo points in 13 of his last 18 games, averaging 25.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game. That’s the best month this guy has had all year, and he it’s likely to continue against Sacramento’s subpar defense. The Kings rank 28th in points allowed while surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing guards.

TJ McConnell, IND vs. PHI ($17)

McConnell will always be a personal favorite of mine because he was a pivotal piece to my largest-ever cash in DFS. He’s been stuck behind Tyrese Haliburton all year, but McConnell should be locked into a 25-minute role with the All-Star sidelined. TJ has played at least 24 minutes in 14 games this year, averaging 39 Yahoo points per game in those outings. That’s an absurd total from such an affordable player, and it looks even better since McConnell amassed 29 Y! points across 22 minutes in a reserve role against Philly just last week.

Guard to Avoid

Jordan PooleGSW at MEM ($21)

Poole has been a fantastic player at times this season, but he hasn’t been the same guy when this roster has been fully healthy. Unfortunately, that’s what we have now with Stephen Curry back in the fold, forcing JP back to a bench role. In his 29 games coming off the bench, Poole is providing just 23 Yahoo points per game. It’s no surprise that the massive drop-off in minutes, shot attempts and usage makes Poole impossible to use in this ancillary role. A matchup with Memphis makes it even more challenging, with the Grizz owning the best defensive rating in the NBA.


Jaren Jackson Jr, MEM vs. GSW ($33)

The Ja Morant situation has been a nightmare for Memphis, but JJJ has done an excellent job of filling in. The big man leads the team in usage with Ja off the floor, posting a 28 percent usage. More importantly, he’s averaging 1.3 Y! points per minute in those circumstances. That elite rate has allowed JJJ to score at least 40 Yahoo points in five of his last seven outings, and we expect another one of those against this 26th-ranked Warriors defense. They just played on March 9, and Jackson generated 40 fantasy points, despite playing just 32 minutes.

Al HorfordBOS at UTA ($21)

Big Al is nearing the end of his career, but he’s showing some flashes of the All-Star player we loved in the past. What’s allowing Horford to go off right now is that Robert Williams is sidelined. That’s guaranteeing Al more minutes, shot attempts and rebounds, averaging 32 Yahoo points per game across his last 13 outings. That’s all you can ask for from a player in this price range, but we saw Big Al average over 35 Y! points per game when Williams was out last year. Facing Utah is the icing on the cake, with the Jazz ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency while allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing big men. That’s on full display when you see Horford’s 37-point average against them in their last two meetings.

Forward to Avoid

Harrison BarnesSAC at WAS ($18)

Barnes regularly plays 35 minutes a game for Sacramento, but he’s the fifth option in this starting lineup. Over his last 23 games played, Barnes has scored more than 27 Yahoo points in just two of those. That’s a horrifying ceiling, posting a 22-point average in that span. That’s one of the worst stretches of this guy’s career, and it will continue with Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox swallowing up all of the usage. Washington can be a worrisome matchup, sitting 13th in total defense this year.


Joel EmbiidPHI at IND ($56)

Embiid has finished second in MVP voting in the last two years and doesn’t want to do that again. He’s ironically second in odds right now, but he comes into this matchup scoring at least 54 Yahoo points in six consecutive outings. He’s showcased that elite floor all year, scoring at least 39 fantasy points in all but three games. That’s hard to even fathom, but it looks even better since Indiana allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers. In their four matchups since the start of last season, Joel is generating a 58-point average against this pitiful Pacers defense.

Jakob Poeltl, TOR vs. MIN ($27)

Acquiring Poeltl from the Spurs was one of the most significant moves at the trade deadline. He’s slid right into the starting center job, averaging 42 Yahoo points per game across 30 minutes a night. The workload was the only thing holding him back in San Antonio, but Jakob needs to be a $30 player in this robust role. The matchup with Minnesota is magnificent, too, with the T’Wolves ranked fourth in pace and 18th in total defense.

Center to Avoid

Rudy GobertMIN at TOR ($28)

It’s been a rough season for Rudy in his debut campaign with Minnesota, and it’s hard to imagine things getting better anytime soon. Gobert has scored 36 or fewer Yahoo points in 13 of his last 18 games. That’s the minimum of what you’d need from a player in this price range, and it becomes even scarier since Rudy has 28 or fewer Y! points in seven of his last 15 outings by him. One of those duds is more likely against Toronto’s terrifying defense, ranked seventh in points allowed while surrendering the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing centers.

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