Daily Fantasy

NBA DFS Picks: Yahoo Plays and Strategy for Jan. 20

RotoWire strategizes the best way to structure lineups in Yahoo daily fantasy contests for Friday night's slate.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Thunder travel to Sacramento to face the Kings at 10 p.m. ET.

There will be no shortage of action across the NBA on Friday with 18 teams set to play. One of the better matchups figures to be the Mavericks hosting the Heat, though Dallas will be missing Christian Wood (thumb). Another game that stands out features the Kings hosting the Thunder with both teams hoping to make it to the playoffs. With so many options, let’s get down to business and highlight some players to consider for your Yahoo lineups, as well as a few to potentially avoid.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC at SAC ($46): Gilgeous-Alexander has used his 32.5% usage rate to average 49.8 Yahoo points per game for the season. He’s the centerpiece of the Thunder, so his role isn’t going to diminish anytime soon. With both the Thunder and Kings ranked inside the top-six in the league when it comes to pace, Gilgeous-Alexander should have plenty of opportunities to shine.

T.J. McConnell, IND at DEN ($18): McConnell had a rough stat line against the Thunder on Wednesday by finishing with 10 points, six assists and two steals over 25 minutes. Still, he’s averaged 16.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 2.3 steals over four outings since Tyrese Haliburton (knee) went down. At this salary, McConnell is still worth the risk.

Guard to Avoid

Tyus Jones, MEM at LAL ($21): Ja Morant is healthy, which means Jones will remain in a limited role off the bench. That has left him to produce 27.0 Yahoo points or fewer in each of the last four games. Jones represents a great option whenever Morant is unavailable. But with the star playing, it’ll be difficult for Jones to provide value at this salary.


Julius Randle, NY at ATL ($44): The Knicks already play Randle a lot, and they’re going to need him even more now that Mitchell Robinson (thumb) is set to miss at least the next three weeks. Randle will be asked to help control the glass in his absence, which shouldn’t be a problem since he’s managed at least 15 rebounds in six straight. The last time he played the Hawks, he produced 34 points, 17 rebounds and five assists over 33 minutes.

Jalen Williams, OKC at SAC ($20): The Thunder have no choice but to play small because of the injuries they’ve suffered at center. Williams has been locked into significant playing time while averaging 31 minutes in his last 19 games. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, he’s posted 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals during that stretch. Williams’ ability to contribute in multiple areas makes him a great option in what should be a fast-paced battle.

Forward to Avoid

Kawhi Leonard, LAC at SA ($40): The Clippers are expected to have both Leonard and George available for Friday. With the Spurs sporting a 14-31 record, the Clippers could get off to a strong lead early, not having so many injury issues. If that happens, Leonard could find himself with added time to rest during the second half. Randle is a much safer option and comes in with a similar salary.


Bam Adebayo, MIA at DAL ($35): The Mavericks are missing two key frontcourt players with both Wood and Maxi Kleber (hamstring) out. That will leave Adebayo to battle with the likes of Dwight Powell and JaVale McGee. He’s already scored at least 43.6 Yahoo points in 10 of his last 11 games, so don’t expect Dallas to be able to slow him down.

Walker Kessler, UTA vs. BKN ($17): Kessler, a rookie, is already showing a lot of promise, especially since moving into the starting lineup averaging 13.4 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in his last five. Kelly Olynyk (ankle) is still sidelined, so Kessler should continue to see added minutes.

Center to Avoid

Onyeka Okongwu, ATL vs. NYK ($24): Okongwu boasts plenty of talent, and it looks like he’ll be a productive center for years to come. However, he’s in a crunch for playing time right now with Clint Capela. In two games since Capela has returned from injury, Okongwu has registered 15.6 and 18.5 Yahoo points, respectively. As long as Capela remains healthy, it’ll be difficult for Okongwu to live up to this salary.

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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.