This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
These weekend slates have been destroyed by the NBA In-Season Tournament the last two weeks, but we're in for a treat here. This is the inaugural championship of the tourney, and it should be fun to watch these teams battle for the trophy and $500,000 cash prize. Indiana has made a surprising run to get to this point, and it'll be exciting to see if they can take down the Lakers. With that in mind, let's take a look at it from a DFS standpoint!
Tyrese Haliburton, IND vs. LAL ($48)
It's shocking that Hali isn't the most expensive player on this slate. The Pacers point guard has been one of the best players in DFS, averaging 53 Yahoo points per game. He's been even better recently, scoring at least 61 Y! points in five of his last seven outings. Many of those were In-Season Tourney games, and it's scary to think what Hali could do here in 40-45 minutes in this championship matchup. Not to mention, he's got 48 and 60 fantasy points in his two most recent matchups with the Lakers.
Buddy Hield, IND vs. LAL ($19)
Hield entering the starting lineup has been massive for his fantasy value. The sharpshooter is seeing a bump in playing time and shot attempts, which is amazing since he plays for the fastest-paced team in the NBA. That's led to Buddy scoring at least 28 Yahoo points in five of eight games since becoming a starter. That's all you can ask for from a sub-$20 player, and we don't mind that Hield had 27 Y! points in his most recent meeting with the Lakers.
Guard to Avoid
Bennedict Mathurin, IND vs. LAL ($14)
Mathurin showed us some flashes in his rookie season, but he doesn't look the same this year. Haliburton taking all of the usage has crushed Mathurin's fantasy value, and he's averaging just 18 Yahoo points per game across his last 11 outings. That directly correlates with a demotion to the bench, and we haven't seen Benny crack 28 Y! points in any game since that shift to the pine. This kid has the talent to be a $20 player, but we can't trust him in DFS until we see more consistency.
LeBron James, LAL vs. IND ($43)
It's hard to believe what this guy is doing. LeBron has been in the NBA for over 20 years, and he's as dominant as ever. James had 70 Yahoo points in the In-Season quarterfinals and backed it with 48 Y! points in the semis. The 48-point outing looks even better since he did it across just 23 minutes in a blowout victory, and we wouldn't be surprised to see LeBron play 40 minutes here. That's awesome against the fastest-paced team in the NBA, with Indiana allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing SFs.
Obi Toppin, IND vs. LAL ($14)
It's going to be challenging to find cheap players we want on this single-game slate, but Toppin is a good punt play. He's been starting for Indiana, averaging 22 Yahoo points per game. He's going to provide value as a 30-minute starter for the fastest-paced team in the league simply because he's one of the most athletic players in the NBA. He's also been getting better as the season progresses, averaging over 27 fantasy points per game across his last eight outings.
Forward to Avoid
Rui Hachimura, LAL vs. IND ($12)
Rui is usually productive when he's out there, but he really doesn't do much outside of scoring. Over his last eight games, Hachi is averaging 10.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.3 steals and zero blocks per game. That's terrifying even in 25 minutes a night, because that lack of ancillary statistics makes him impossible to trust in DFS. He's one of the only players in this price range who could play 30 minutes, but the only way he could provide value is if he shoots 60-70 percent in his low-usage role.
Anthony Davis, LAL vs. IND ($50)
Davis is the most expensive player on the slate, and it's easy to understand why. The Brow has his season average above 52 Yahoo points per game, scoring at least 51 fantasy points in five straight fixtures. Like LeBron, AD was held to just 31 minutes in their most recent blowout win, but Davis still dropped 52 Yahoo points. If he keeps that per-minute production going against the Pacers, Davis could be the game's most productive player across 35-40 minutes. In two meetings with Indiana last year, Davis scored at least 55 Yahoo points in both of those.
Center to Avoid
Christian Wood, LAL vs. IND ($11)
Wood carries name value because of some monster stat lines in the past, but he's not a major part of this team right now. In fact, he was out of the rotation in the semis but only played because the Lakers won by 40 points. His usage has been trending like that for a while now, and he's averaged just 17 minutes a night across his last 11 outings, including 20 total minutes over the last two games. It's clear Wood is not one of the cheap plays you want to gamble on for this single-game slate.