Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

02/21/2015
James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 2/21/15

Good god. My first article since the trade deadline bonanza. Wish me luck.

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Point Guards

Ray McCallum - FD 3500 DK 3000 DFSTR 3000
Andre Miller - FD 3500 DK 3000 DFSTR 3000
Both of these guys are minimum priced, and Darren Collison's hip is just tugging away at him. Pay attention to the news as it comes in to see who will get the start, but either of them could be great plays at the barest bone prices imaginable. There's obviously blowout risk against the Clippers, but less-so with Blake still being on the sidelines. I'll likely put whoever starts on lineups in cash games, GPPs, and really any format imaginable.

Chris Paul - FD 10000 DK 9900 DFSTR 8200
And, on the other side of the coin: Chris Paul. With Blake gone, he's had the ball in his hands constantly, and now he's going to get to square off against the defensively challenged McCallum and the ancient Andre Miller. Even Miller's rump won't be able to save him from CP3's crossover, and it's hard to imagine Paul not simply having his way as long as he's in this contest. The guy's averaging 14 assists a game in his last 5 games (since Blake has been out), and now he's going to get this random back-up brigade? Come on, now.

Goran Dragic - FD 6000 DK 6100 DFSTR 6300
Normally, I'd be against playing a guy who has been traded to a new scenario, but for Dragic? I'll make an exception. He was in a nightmarish time-share situation in Phoenix, and he's coming to a team that has been logging Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole 60+ minutes per game and is in desperate need of a true #1 ball handler. And in this match-up, he'll draw a couple of offensive-first defenders from a team that's allowed 5% more scoring than league average to opposing point guards. Expect this price to climb 10% inside of a week as Dragic gets the minutes Chalmers has been getting, and Chalmers slips in to the role that Cole was filling.

 

Shooting Guards

Jamal Crawford - FD 5700 DK 5800 DFSTR
J.J. Redick - FD 4500 DK 3800 DFSTR 4600
Well, the price on Crawford has climbed to the point where you'll think twice, but the production has simply been there, even at these increased rates. As for Redick, he's been playing a fortune of minutes and producing handily on them as well. And that's been against teams that actually field a defensive player at the shooting guard position. The Kings? They've allowed 12% more scoring than league average to the position. And scoring? Well, that's just what these guys do, baby.

DeMar DeRozan - FD 6900 DK 7200 DFSTR 6800
The next time I guess right on DeRozan this season will be the first, but it seems like the Drakes' shooting guard is settling into a 35-36 minute rotation with a relatively consistent shooting load. If that stays the same, he'll be a very nice bargain on any price below $7k on FanDuel, almost independent of the opponent he's facing. For all of Harden's much-ballyhooed defensive improvements, the Rockets have still allowed 5% more scoring to opposing shooting guards than league average, and I think DeRozan will take advantage. Throw in the fact that it should be a close game, and that Patrick Beverley will be haranguing Kyle Lowry with fresh legs after the ASB, and I think DeRozan has real upside here.

James Harden - FD 10800 DK 10500 DFSTR 9300
Harden was on an otherworldly run of back to back 68+ fantasy point performances before randomly being silenced by the Clippers in the game before the all-star break. Well, Harden looked just fine in the East/West game, allaying any injury/run down concerns. With Dwight continuing to have no timeline for his return, Harden should continue to shoulder an Atlas-like load in a team that would really like to continue its winning ways in an uber-competitive West. I don't think Harden's minutes will be effected by the arrival of KJ McDaniels except in blow-outs, and I think he'll be just fine in a game that rates to be quite competitive.

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Small Forwards

Rudy Gay - FD 7200 DK 7300 DFSTR 7200
New coach and all - I get it. But the indicators out of Sacramento are that the Kings are going to play faster, and that Gay will actually be logging additional minutes at the 4 going forward this season. I don't know how he could play MORE minutes necessarily (he averaged 39 minutes in his last two games), but there really aren't any power forwards that can cover Gay - and Spencer Hawes most certainly doesn't qualify. Whether he draws Barnes or Hawes, Gay should be in a lovely spot to put up a nice number in this contest.

Trevor Ariza - FD 5600 DK 5700 DFSTR 5700
Man has been playing minutes recently - 35-41 - and the production has followed. He's paid 5x on this price in 5 of his last 6 games (thank you, missing Dwight!), and isn't a big risk to lose any minutes in what should be a good match-up against Toronto. The Raptors have been slightly better than league average against the small forward position this year, which limits Ariza's upside. Still, I love him in cash games, and would also consider him in GPPs.

Matt Barnes - FD 4900 DK 4500 DFSTR 4200
Another solid beneficiary of the Blake injury, Barnes has averaged 33 minutes and 25 fantasy points since Griffin went down. You could do a lot worse in a lot more speculative spots today, and whiles Barnes is basically a lock to NOT blow up and have a huge game, he could very well put up some solid production catching CP3 passes and shooting set shots all game. The position is pretty thin today, but it also helps that the Kings have allowed 5% more scoring than league average to opposing 3s this season.

Also considered - Gerald Green, if Brandon Knight is also unavailable for Saturday's game. There's no word on this yet as of this writing.

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Power Forwards

Josh Smith - FD 6500 DK 6900 DFSTR 6300
Smooove seems to have found a home in Houston. At least for fantasy purposes, and really what else matters? Fo' real doe - The 30-32 minutes a game Smith has been getting have been good for a 6x payoff in 3 of his last 5 games, and plenty fine games in his other contests as well. He's seeing all the looks he needs, crashing the boards, and back to his 2 block a game self down low. I can't believe I'm writing this in 2015, but... Josh Smith seems like a safe(!) option with considerable upside against the Raptors surprisingly not-upgraded power forward corp.

Markieff Morris - FD 6200 DK 6300 DFSTR 6100
Well, I don't think any of the Suns random acquisitions should cut into Markieff's playing time, which means he'll likely get out there for his 33-35 minutes against the Bulls on Saturday. I don't expect that Phoenix is going to take any game lying down going forward, and they should be able to hang with the Bulls, even in Chicago. The Bulls had a hell of a time with Morris in their last meeting - Markieff pulled down 14 rebounds in that one. While foul trouble is a risk here, I think something like the 33.3 fantasy points Morris put up in their last meeting is a fairly safe expectation.

Pau Gasol - FD 9700 DK 9700 DFSTR 8000
While Gasol's price is starting to creep into the uncomfortable zone, our projection system just can't resist. Gasol ran terribly from the field in the Bulls last match-up with Phoenix, shooting just 5 for 14 and managing just 12 points overall. But you know what didn't slump? His rebounding. He tore down 19 boards against an under-sized Phoenix front-court that didn't change at all over the deadline. There's a potential monster Pau game lurking here.

 

Center

Center is awfully tough today. Lots of uncertainty here. Will Boogie keep up his huge minutes with George Karl in town? Whiteside played just 13 minutes in the first half against the Knicks. Ugh. Here's the best I can do.

DeAndre Jordan - FD 9300 DK 8400 DFSTR 6700
Jordan has averaged 23 rebounds a game in his last three games. That seems pretty good. He also put up 55 fantasy points against the Spurs in spite of an incredibly dismal 10-28 from the line. The bottom line is this - Jordan is seeing a ton of extra action with Blake gone, and he seems to be crashing the board with redoubled fervor. Drawing Cousins isn't the best match-up (both for foul purposes, and the fact that Cousins depresses opposing rebounds), but on a night where uncertainty is the rule at the Center position, I'll take the guy who's averaging 60 fantasy points per game in his last 3 games, thank you very much.

Alex Len - FD 4400 DK 3000 DFSTR 3600
With Plumlee out of town, the Russian is going to be shouldering a much larger load. He put up some fantastic games from the starter's role earlier this season, and it stands to reason that he should build upon that success going forward. This is a fairly tough match-up for Len (Joakim Noah is no picnic), but this is just a case of the price being wrong. When his price rises 10-15% you can nit-pick about match-ups, but in cases like these, you can just plug him in.

Spencer Hawes - FD 3800 DK 3700 DFSTR 4100
Let me be real with you - our projection system likes Hawes' chances to produce on these prices even at 22 minutes a game. If he plays 30+, like he seems to in close games these days? It could be a very, very nice day to own him. Just throwing it out there, if you're trying to make the money work and he would help you do so.

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