NBA DFS picks: Yahoo plays and strategy for Tues., Dec. 20

Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz travel to Detroit to face the Pistons for Monday’s first matchup of the night at 7 pm ET.

Tuesday brings a modest five-game schedule in the NBA. Jimmy Butler will take on one of his former teams with the Bulls, who are off to an 11-18 start that could make them surprise sellers at the trade deadline. The Warriors will once again be in action without Stephen Curry (shoulder) when they travel to New York to take on the red-hot Knicks. The marquee matchup of the evening features two Western Conference teams with championship aspirations with the Nuggets taking on the Grizzlies. Let’s delve into some of the more appealing options on Yahoo, as well as some players to possibly avoid.


Tyler HerroMIA vs. CHI ($31): This is a matchup to attack given the Bulls’ problems on defense. Their issues on that end of the floor are the main reason why they have lost seven of their last nine games. They particularly struggled defending the 3-point line, allowing the second-highest shooting percentage in the league from behind the arc. Enter Herro, who is averaging a career-high 3.3 three-pointers per game. He’s been providing great overall production, too, with 21.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

Quentin GrimesNYK vs. GSW ($13): Grimes has settled into the Knicks’ starting five, which has left him to average 32 minutes over their last 14 games. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, he’s scored at least 21.2 Yahoo points in six straight games. That at least makes him worth considering at such a cheap salary.

Guard to Avoid

Zach LaVineCHI at MIA ($27): LaVine doesn’t look right this season. Coming off offseason knee surgery, he hasn’t shown the same explosiveness that has been the calling card of his career. He’s shooting 44.3% from the field and 36.5% from behind the arc, both of which would be his lowest marks since the 2017-2018 season, when he only played in 24 games. The Heat have the seventh-best defensive rating in the league, which doesn’t exactly help LaVine’s chances of getting back on track.


Lauri MarkkanenUTA at DET ($29): In what was a very difficult matchup Monday against a Cavaliers team that has the best defensive rating in the league, Markkanen finished with 24 points, six rebounds and two steals. Now he’ll be playing a team at the opposite end of the spectrum, as the Pistons have the second-worst defensive rating. As one of the scoring leaders for the Jazz, look for Markkanen to exploit this favorable matchup.

Bojan BogdanovicDET vs. UTA ($22): There could be plenty of scoring on both sides of this game with the Jazz having the sixth-worst defensive rating. Bogdanovic has stepped up on a young Pistons team to average a career-high 21.3 points per game. Not only has his usage rate shot up to 25.5%, but he is shooting 49.7% from the field.

Forward to Avoid

Deni AvdijaWHAT at PHX ($20): Avdija has stepped up his production when Bradley Beal has missed time this season. During a recent stretch in which Beal missed six straight games, Avdija scored at least 29.2 Yahoo points five times. However, he only scored 15.1 Yahoo points over 21 minutes in Beal’s return Sunday. Expect him to remain in that limited role for as long as Beal can stay healthy.


Nikola JokićDEN vs. MEM ($56): Talk about a monster stat line. Jokic put up one for the ages Sunday against the Hornets, finishing with 40 points, 27 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals across 40 minutes. He has picked up his scoring production lately, averaging 29.6 points over the last 13 games. The Grizzlies have played at the 10th-fastest pace in the league, which should afford Jokic with plenty of opportunities to stuff the stat sheet.

Jalen DurenDET vs. UTA ($14): It didn’t take long for the rookie Duren to take over the starting center job for the Pistons. He may not relinquish the role for years to come, given that he’s averaged 8.6 points, 13.8 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks over five games as a starter. For those who want to fade Jokic and spend down at the center spot, Duren and his cheap salary stand out.

Center to Avoid

Steven AdamsMEM at DEN ($19): The Grizzlies don’t ask for much offense from Adams, resulting in his 14.3% usage rate. They want him to play defense and gobble up rebounds, which could be a problem in a matchup against Jokic. Add in the potential for foul trouble and it’s difficult to justify rolling with him in DFS, especially when Duren is available at a cheaper salary.


Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and

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