Daily Fantasy

NBA DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Feb. 23

RotoWire considers the best player values in Yahoo fantasy leagues as the league returns to action Thursday.

No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic resume their season Thursday.

The NBA regular season resumes Thursday with nine games on the schedule. With teams having had so much time off for the All-Star break, we will see some players return from injury, including Jaylen Brown (face) when the Celtics take on the Pacers (7 ET, League Pass). There are also some exciting matchups, including the 76ers hosting the Grizzlies (7:30 ET, TNT). Let’s get down to business and highlight some players to consider for your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to possibly avoid.


Damian Lillard, POR at SAC ($47): In the Trail Blazers’ final game before the All-Star break, Anfernee Simons went down with an ankle injury. He doesn’t have a timetable for a return, leaving the team without one of their primary scorers. That means that Lillard should receive even more shot attempts against a Kings team that ranks inside the top-10 in the league in pace and play and inside the bottom-10 in defensive rating. The sky is the limit for Lillard in this matchup.

Talen Horton-Tucker, UTA vs. OKC ($16): Collin Sexton hurt his hamstring in the Jazz’s final game before the break, but it seemed like he wouldn’t miss any time when he participated in the Skills Challenge. However, he has been ruled out for this game, leaving Horton-Tucker with an expanded role. He has already been productive of late, scoring at least 32.4 Yahoo points in three of his last four games.

Guard to Avoid

Derrick White, BOS at IND ($28): White has been on a heater, scoring at least 33.8 Yahoo points in six straight games. The Celtics were shorthanded for most of those games, leaving White with an opportunity to take on an expanded role. They have a clean injury report for this matchup, so look for White to come closer to his season average of 25.4 Yahoo points per game.


Paolo Banchero, ORL vs. DET ($26): The Pistons are a team to target in DFS because they have the second-worst defensive rating in the league. Banchero has faced them two times this season, scoring 47.3 and 28.0 Yahoo points, respectively. While he only shot 34.4% from the field over his last eight games, this is the perfect opportunity for him to break out of that slump.

Kelly Olynyk, UTA vs. OKC ($19): Olynyk is primed to play a lot of minutes down the stretch with the Jazz depleting their depth chart at the trade deadline. The initial returns have been promising, with him scoring at least 36.0 Yahoo points in three of the last four games. Add Sexton being out now and Olynyk is difficult to pass up at this salary.

Forward to Avoid

Tobias Harris, PHI vs. MEM ($21): The 76ers enter this matchup with a clean injury report. When everyone is healthy, it’s difficult for Harris to be fully unleashed. They were mostly healthy heading into the break, which contributed to Harris scoring 21.4 Yahoo points or fewer in four of the last seven games. Olynyk has a significantly higher upside and a cheaper salary, so there’s no need to take a chance on Harris.


Walker Kessler, UTA vs. OKC ($22): Get ready for Kessler to play a ton down the stretch. Olynyk is going to spend a lot of time at power forward, meaning that Udoka Azubuike and Damian Jones will be Kessler’s primary backups. Kessler has already shown plenty of promise during his rookie campaign, including averaging 11.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks over 17 games since being named the starting center. Don’t expect a Thunder team with limited size upfront to be able to slow him down.

Kevon Looney, GS at LAL ($16): The Warriors return to action with Stephen Curry (lower leg) still on the sidelines. Over the last five games without him, Looney has averaged 7.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists. The Warriors will be even more shorthanded for this game with Andrew Wiggins (personal) out. Looney might still be hard-pressed to log over 30 minutes, but he should be able to play enough to provide value at his cheap salary.

Center to Avoid

Jalen Duren, DET at ORL ($19): Duren has looked great since being named the starting center for the Pistons. However, his situation has become more complicated after the team acquired James Wiseman from the Warriors. In his debut with the team, he logged 23 minutes off the bench, while Duren played only 24 minutes as a starter. Until we learn more about how the Pistons plan to deploy their young center duo moving forward, it might be best to avoid Duren in DFS.


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 KFFL.com.