Welcome to the Yahoo Cup NBA DFS Picks for Round 22! It’s a large slate tonight with 12 games, and some players are already popular. Teams are missing star players, and the playoff push continues down the stretch of the NBA season, with a lot of teams fighting for seeding. Some players stand above the pack even in a large-field tournament like the NBA Yahoo Cup.
This is a free-to-enter, multi-round, single-entry Yahoo fantasy basketball contest with 24 rounds where the top 6,950 entries overall and top 540 entries per round share $50,000, with $10,000 to first overall and $100 to first per round. Scoring will be cumulative across all rounds. Your five lowest daily fantasy basketball scores will be dropped, and you can enter at any point, but enter today to give yourself the best chance to compete for the title. Make your Yahoo NBA DFS picks today and begin the chase!
The focus will be on three players — one guard, one forward and one center — for NBA DFS picks for the Round 22 NBA Yahoo Cup contest.
Yahoo Cup Fantasy Basketball & NBA DFS Picks | Round 22
Best NBA Fantasy Guard: Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz — $19
The Utah Jazz host the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, and the Jazz will be without Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic, both key players in the rotation. Mitchell is one of the best 25 players in the league, so there is a massive hole in production that needs to be filled in this game. Enter Jordan Clarkson, who has been logging 30-plus minutes in the past three games even with Mitchell. He will be popular as the day moves forward, but a salary under $20 practically demands playing Clarkson. Utah has been missing players with a carousel of injuries lately, and in two of those games Clarkson produced over 36 Yahoo points. He’s also been as low as 12.9, so the range of outcomes makes a lot of sense for the Yahoo Cup.
When Bogdanovic and Mitchell have been off the floor this season, Clarkson has 0.98 Yahoo points per minute and a 30.5% usage rate. He’s also had just a 50.5% true shooting rate compared to 53.3% overall on the season. It’s doubtful that Utah will push Mike Conley hard in this game, so Clarkson is going to be the primary ball handler through a large chunk. Additionally, Mitchell has averaged 15 drives to the basket this year, and Clarkson is at 9.9 per game. If he takes some of those plays that Mitchell typically does, there will be scoring opportunities since the Clippers are just 20th in points allowed in the paint.
Best NBA Fantasy Forward: Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers — $16
The trend of finding cheaper forwards continues tonight when the Indiana Pacers face off against the Houston Rockets. That’s been a fantasy goldmine all season long, and the Pacers were able to acquire Jalen Smith from the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline. Smith is a former top-10 draft pick that could never find a home in Phoenix, but the Pacers are giving him a lot more minutes to prove what kind of player he is. Across 361 minutes in Indiana, Smith is averaging 1.07 Yahoo points per minute despite having a usage rate of just 18.2%. Smith has the potential to enter the starting lineup since Isaiah Jackson is going to miss this game, but even if he does not, Smith will play 25 to 28 minutes. When a player faces a Rockets team that is second in pace and still dead last in defensive rating, 25-plus minutes are enough regardless of a start. Smith has averaged 13.1 rebounding chances as a Pacer and has a real shot at a double-double tonight for a reasonable salary.
Best NBA Fantasy Center: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets — $56
The first two players are cheap and are generally popular, so now it’s time to make it worth eating some chalk. Nikola Jokic is not shaping up to be popular at all tonight despite having the chance to lead the slate in scoring, just like he does every night. Jokic has simply been a fantasy monster throughout the entire year, with 1.77 Yahoo points per minute and a potential MVP award after the season. The matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers doesn’t exactly jump off the page from the season stats since Cleveland is fourth in defensive rating (107.3). However, it is still missing Jarrett Allen from its rotation, and that drops the rating to 112.1, which would rank just 17th in the league.
The Cavaliers still have rookie Evan Mobley, who has been outstanding on defense regardless of experience level. Having said that, Cleveland has allowed a 49.8% field goal rate defending the post-up game. Jokic is still second in the league in points scored from post-ups, and no player has figured out how to defend Jokic yet. Additionally, Cleveland has fallen to 22nd in rebounding since Allen has been injured, so the Cleveland frontcourt is more vulnerable than it may appear on paper. Jokic garnering hardly any attention is always notable, especially when attempting to win a large-field tournament.
In addition to Jokic being a great tournament play in Yahoo fantasy basketball formats, the Awesemo NBA projections have him slated for 24.9 points. His NBA player prop for points is a great bet, which is sitting at over/under 24.5, and OddsShopper has an expected win rate of 52% when betting the over.
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