Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 3/7/15

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Point Guards

Ricky Rubio - FD 8100 DK 7900 DFSTR 5900
If you're looking to invest a decent chunk of salary safely tonight, I'm looking squarely at Ricky Rubio. Rubio has paid 5 points per dollar on this FanDuel salary in 4 of his last 5 games, he's playing 40 minutes a night, and Portland has allowed 6% more points and 19%(!) more rebounds than league average to opposing PGs this season. And while the Wolves aren't "good" now by any means, they're not nearly as horrible as they were earlier this season - making Rubio's minutes fairly safe even in a tough match-up with Portland at home.

George Hill - FD 6400 DK 6500 DFSTR 5300
Random foul trouble ruined Hill's night against Chicago, but I wouldn't let that worry you in this one. In just 27 minutes against the Knicks a few nights ago, Hill put up an easy 21/3/6 as the Pacers blew out the Knicks. It was clear that he could do whatever he wanted in that game, and it wasn't an aberration. Hill's been producing at solidly more than 1 fantasy point per minute in his last five games (including the egg he laid against Chicago), and I think he'll have no trouble topping 30 fantasy points again in this one.

Shabazz Napier - FD 3500 DK 3000 DFSTR 3000
Tyler Johnson - FD 3700 DK 3000 DFSTR 3000
Both of the Heat point guard qualifiers played huge minutes and produced handsomely on what are effectively minimum salaries on Friday night, and with Dragic likely to miss Saturday's game (and Chalmers' status still uncertain), both of these guys are top of the charts punt against the Kings. Sacramento, having officially given up at this point, happens to allow 5% more scoring and 7% more assists to opposing 1s. If Chalmers should make a reappearance, he'd make a fine play as well.

Also considered: Patrick Beverley. He's been punching the clock at delivering 22 fantasy points a game, and on these salaries, that's a fine cash game play in a favorable match-up with Denver.


Shooting Guards

Quick add
Arron Afflalo - FD 4500 DK 4100 DFSTR 4000
It stands to reason that with Matthews out of the picture because of the Achilles injury that Afflalo will now step in as the starting shooting guard, playing a bunch of minutes for the Blazers. He's a proven player whose value diminished only because of the trade away from Denver. The price reflects this and you are now grabbing him at a great value. Unclear exactly how he'll mesh with the first unit, but this is a great play.

Rodney Stuckey - FD 5300 DK 5800 DFSTR 4400
Stuckey continues to compile his 30+ minutes per game off the bench, and it's going just fine for his daily fantasy NBA owners. In his last 7 games he's put up nearly 8x on this FanDuel price twice, 6x on this price once, 5x twice, 4.5x once, and one stinker. That's pretty darned good odds for a bench guy. While his last game against the Knicks was the 2nd worst of those games, it wasn't on a points per minute basis. He actually topped a fantasy point per minute in that one, and if this one stays a little bit closer (and it should - the Pacers shot the lights out en route to 65 first half points - not the norm for them), Stuckey's as good a bet as any shooting guard on this slate to pay his price off nicely.

James Harden - FD 11000 DK 10500 DFSTR 9200
In back to back games against the Nuggets earlier this season, Harden averaged 32/7/10 - and that was before the usage bump he's seen with Dwight out. Harden's been a little spotty by his standards recently (especially on these huge prices), but the minutes have been there, and he's been insanely unlucky from the field. He hasn't topped 44% shooting in a game since February 10th, and he's a 45% career shooter. The good will balance out the bad at some point, and it stands to reason that a team that has no one who can remotely contain him might be a good opportunity for that to happen.

Henry Walker - FD 4200 DK 3300 DFSTR 3200
Tim Hardaway Jr. - FD 4600 DK 4000 DFSTR 4400
To be honest, I don't love love either of these options. Hardaway has put up some huge games on this price recently, but 3 of his last 7 have been total duds. Walker is even more erratic than Hardaway, but he did get starter's minutes when Deng unexpectedly missed Friday's game. And in 30+ minutes a few games ago, he did put up 23+ fantasy points on back to back occasions. If I knew he were starting, I'd be very tempted to play him against the Kings. Otherwise, I might roll the dice with Hardaway. But both of these are speculative plays - I'd rather have Harden and Stuckey, and even Korver (listed below) for cash games.

Also considered: Our projection system would like you to acknowledge that Kyle Korver has been steady, if not spectacular, against Philadelphia this season, if you'd like to deploy him in a cash game.


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Small Forwards

Rudy Gay - FD 7400 DK 7200 DFSTR 7600
Here's what we wrote about Gay before last night's contest:
Gay has been fantastic in several of his games recently, and bad in a few others. But two of those games were against the Spurs, and one of those was against the Clippers. In his games against non-great opposition, Gay has been a marvel. I'd say a gimpy Tobias Harris counts as "non-great opposition." Orlando is a team that the Kings could hang with, and if so, Gay will be in a position to get his full assortment of minutes. Our projection system is incredibly bullish if that's the case.

Well, as you know by now, all of that came to fruition and then some. Gay got all of his minutes, and tortured an Orlando team that was ill-suited to cover him. In this Miami game? We're just rolling all that back for round 2. Who's going to cover him here? Gimpy Luol Deng, if he returns? Henry "don't call me Bill" Walker and his 10 day contract? Shabazz Napier (bless his heart)? GMAFB. Gay is going to blow up again in this one.

Danilo Gallinari - FD 5300 DK 5700 DFSTR 3900
We've been seeing some ridiculous point totals in the daily fantasy basketball industry recently, and a lot of that is because the sites just refuse to budge on the price of guys like Gallo. In non-blowout contests Gallo is a lock for 25+ fantasy points on 32+ minutes. This is just not production that's commensurate with a $5,300 price. So, day in and day out, he's going to be a recommendation until his price climbs another 10% where it needs to be given his current role in Denver. Houston's league average against opposing small forwards, but this is a price/opportunity thing more than anything else.

Trevor Ariza - FD 5700 DK 5700 DFSTR 5000
And, on the other side of this one, there's Trevor Ariza. As a full disclaimer, this is more a testament to how tough the small forward position is tonight than it is a praise of Ariza, but here we are. I'll almost certainly play the above guys, but Trevor brings a certain safety that other guys at the SF position just can't. He just gets left on the court for 37 minutes a game almost no matter what is happening, and Denver's allowed 6% more points and 12% more rebounds to opposing small forwards this season. A high floor here, with perhaps upside for more.

A lot of people will play Lebron. And I don't hate it. I just like Harden better, and I'm hard pressed to believe that you'll be able to get both in.

Power Forwards

Ersan Ilyasova - FD 4500 DK 4700 DFSTR 4100
I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of writing up Ilyasova on DFSR before, but here we are! The Bucks' enigmatic big man has enjoyed his first stretch of consistent playing time this season, and has put up 27.5 fantasy points or more in 4 of his last 6 games. In case math isn't your thing, that's a great total on these salaries. Jared Dudley got the start against the fast paced Warriors, but Ilyasova went on to play the most minutes he'd played all season, and Dudley is banged up yet again to go with is general terribleness. Washington is no walk in the park for opposing bigs, but this is just the wrong price for the right player.

Kenneth Faried - FD 6100 DK 6100 DFSTR 5500
Faried's price is on a steady climb upward now that Shaw is out of Denver, but it still hasn't reached where our projection system believes it should be based on how much he's playing right now. Faried is a great bet for a double double on a nightly basis right now, and should bring his max-energy game to bear against the Rockets again here for 30+ fantasy points as the industry continues to adjust to his new role.

Terrence Jones - FD 6700 DK 7000 DFSTR 5000
For a while it looked like Terrence Jones would be the starting 4 on James' team of "guys I never play on the right night" alongside Arron Afflalo and Jeff Green and a handful of others. But recently? I've played Jones on the right nights, you guys!! It hasn't been hard to do, or anything. Since returning from his most recent injury, Jones hasn't dipped below 27.4 fantasy points on any given night, and has been solidly in the mid-thirties in 6 of 8 of those games. Denver has had a hell of a time with opposing 4s this season, too - ranking as worse than league average in all 6 fantasy categories - giving Jones a chance to put up the higher end of his newly established fantasy range.


Marcin Gortat - FD 6300 DK 6100 DFSTR
Our projection system seems to love Gortat when his price is in this range, but I frequently wuss out on playing him because I think I know better. Stupid James. Stupid, stupid James. Gortat has averaged 14 rebounds a game in his last 8 games, and has been solidly in the mid-teens in scoring to go with a block or two a game as well. That's just a lot more production than his mid-tier salary would have you believe he's been producing. 17 rebounds in 2 of his last 3 games! Milwaukee, for their part, has allowed 2% more scoring and 6% more rebounding than league average to opposing centers this season, and I think Gortat puts it on these dudes tonight. My favorite center play for safety and upside.

DeMarcus Cousins - FD 10600 DK 9600 DFSTR 8700
Cousins finally got back up to his full slate of minutes on Friday, and promptly put up 50 fantasy points once again. If he's fully healthy again, I think we'll see a 5% increase in the price in the not too distant future. With Miami looking clueless as to what they want to do at the Center position, this could be a trademark Boogie devastation game. While Whiteside is an excellent help defender, I'm not sure he's really capable of tracking a guy like Cousins on the block. Make sure Boogie's got the green light for his full minutes here, but if he does, we could be looking at a huge game.

Also considered: Marc Gasol.

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