Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 3/13/15

NBA baby! Another nice Friday slate, lots of games, lots of injuries, medium amounts of fun. Let's do it.

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Point Guards

Elfrid Payton - FD 6200 DK 5800 DFSTR 4800
A lot of people will be on Payton here because he just put up a tremendous game against Boston a short while ago, and it makes sense. He put up nearly a triple double while getting his way in 42 minutes out there. Most of Payton's perceived risk comes from the fact that the Magic kinda suck and could get blown out at any moment, but these two teams are evenly matched to the point where I think he'll get all the run he wants. I think it's another big game brewing.

Chris Paul - FD 10600 DK 10300 DFSTR 8400
While perhaps not the best play on a points per dollar basis, Paul deserves a nod as the best big money play at the position (and one of the best on the board) tonight. With 4 50+ fantasy point games in his last 6 games, Paul's production with Blake out has been indisputable. And this is a particularly good match-up. It should be a hotly contested game, which mitigates Paul's blow-out risk. Dallas' back-court has also played some particularly porous defense this season, allowing 8% more scoring to opposing point guards this season. All in all, a great investment of 10k+ salary if Paul's ankle injury is only minor.

Marcus Smart - FD 5000 DK 5200 DFSTR 3900
Smart, like a lot of young ball handlers, is absolutely maddening to watch when you've got him on your squad. 35% shooting! But it actually winds up raising his floor, because all of that terrible shooting is priced in already. With Smart, you get significant steals upside, something like 4/4 in boards and assists, and whatever shots happen to fall in the basket that night. His game log contains plenty of 5x and even a near 7x points per dollar performance (against Orlando!) in recent times, and while there's some risk here, I'm not sweating it too much tonight. Why? The opponent. The Celtics should be able to hang here, and the Magic's young back-court should give Smart ample opportunity to wreak havoc. I like it for all formats.

Update: Shaun Livingston is starting for Curry and is a fantastic play

Also considered: Reggie Jackson, but I'm sweating the blow-out risk here.

Shooting Guards

Klay Thompson - FD 7200 DK 7100 DFSTR 7100
4 straight 20+ point performances from Thompson, and he'll walk into a lovely match-up with Randy Foye tonight. Thompson is basically a rich man's Kyle Korver, and the Nuggets had no luck containing him, either. Thompson can be a match-up dependent play, but this is the sort of match-up where you're happy to roll him out there. Update: Klay is out tonight. Justin Holiday will get the start

Kyle Korver - FD 5000 DK 5000 DFSTR 5600
Speaking of the all-star himself! Korver, like Thompson, is pretty match-up dependent, in that he seems especially prone to disappearing against very tough defenders and particularly apt to abuse less than willing defenders. Phoenix is one such group of unwilling defenders. For all of Bledsoe's athleticism, the Suns have allowed 8% more scoring and 9% more rebounding to opposing two-guards this season, making them one of the very best fantasy match-ups in the league. Throw in the fact that the Suns are a team that can hang with the Hawks, and Korver should be able to do this thing for his full run of minutes as well.

Dwyane Wade - FD 8000 DK 7200 DFSTR 6300
In his last two games, Wade has taken 25 and 23 shots. These are his 3rd and 5th highest shot totals of the season. And what are you going to do? This is just what the Heat have planned while Bosh is out. They still want to make the playoffs, and Wade is going to shoulder the load. The Raptors, for their part, have allowed slightly better than league average production to opposing shooting guards this season, making Wade seem like a very safe play in cash games, and one with sneaky upside in larger tournaments as well.

Also considered: Eric Bledsoe.


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Small Forwards

Tobias Harris - FD 6600 DK 6700 DFSTR
I don't know what to say, other than Harris should probably be priced ~%5-%10 higher on any given night based on the match-up. He's on four straight 30+ fantasy point nights at this point, including a great game against the Celtics. No need for over-analysis here, it's a great cash game play with upside for more.

Danilo Gallinari - FD 5700 DK 5700 DFSTR 3800
Back to back blow-outs for the Nuggets leave us with a rather unrepresentative sample for our Nuggets players, but since Gallo happened to crush the Hawks in one of those games, we'll use them! I kid. But for real - like Harris, Gallinari's usage warrants a higher price these days. It's a bad match-up with Golden State, but our projection system is looking past that and seeing the increased usage and low salary.

Rudy Gay - FD 8200 DK 7600 DFSTR 7600
It's a theme tonight, but our projection system is seeing it well. Basically everyone in the NBA is match-up dependent, and Gay is certainly no exception. A couple of off-nights against the Hornets and Hawks, and back to greener pastures against the Sixers tonight. Let's not forget, either - Gay put up 105 total fantasy points against the Heat and Magic just last week. Philly has been league average at defending opposing scoring at the small forward position this season, but has allowed 2% more rebounding and 14% more assists. And a lot of those stats were taken when the Sixers were fielding more competent defenders at the small forward position (KJ McDaniels, for instance), and it's hard to imagine any of their current cast hanging with the over-sized Gay.

Also considered: Chandler Parsons.


Power Forwards

Nikola Mirotic - FD 6400 DK 6800 DFSTR 4700
Mirotic is one of the league's most intriguing stories on this side of Hassan Whiteside. He's come from out of nowhere to playing 30+ minutes per game on an NBA title contender, unseating a lottery pick who had just won the Wooden award, and putting up double-doubles with ease. At this point, I'm just not questioning it. With great games against Memphis, Washington, and OKC recently (to say nothing of great games against crappy opponents as well), it's clear that he's not going to get swallowed up by less than ideal match-ups. And Charlotte, for their part, will be short on big-man depth in this game in a big way.

Marcus Morris - FD 4400 DK 4600 DFSTR 3900
Marvin Williams - FD 4200 DK 4000 DFSTR 3400
Not a whole lot to see here, other than the fact that it's the wrong price for Williams if he's going to be starting in Zeller's place, and likewise for Morris. Williams put up 28 fantasy points against the Kings in the same situation last game, and I see no reason to think he won't put in a similar performance against the Bulls. It's a worse match-up, sure, but he could shave 5 fantasy points off that total and be a tremendous cash game play. High floor, high ceiling - a fantastic play all around. 30 minutes of Marcus was all you needed against Minnesota, and I imagine it's all you'll need against the Hawks, as well. Just the wrong price for the playing time - no more analysis needed really.

Kenneth Faried - FD 6500 DK 6700 DFSTR 5400
Like Gallinari, Faried's price just hasn't quite climbed to where it ought to be after Bryan Shaw's departure. Also like Gallo, Faried's numbers in his last two games are skewed by unbalanced results. That's absolutely in play tonight as well, but Golden State has actually allowed 3% more scoring and 13% more rebounding to opposing power forwards this season - a result of their unabashed small-ballery of playing Draymond Green at the 4. Rebounding happens to be Faried's thing. I think he goes back to posting the 5x+ he had been putting up consistently before the last two games.

Update: David Lee is starting for the Warriors tonight and is nearly a must start at his prices

Also considered: Serge Ibaka, and Nerlens Noel.



Nikola Vucevic - FD 8200 DK 8000 DFSTR 7300
Vucevic was back to his pre-injury minutes in the game against Milwaukee, and the performance followed. There's really nothing that's "what have you done for me lately" the way daily fantasy basketball can be, but let's not forget that Vucevic had some truly amazing games before going down with injury. He's had 13+ rebounds in 4 of the last 5 games that he's played his normal 37+ minutes, and our projection system thinks he is going to have his way with the depressing big man duo of Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller.

DeMarcus Cousins - FD 10500 DK 9500 DFSTR 8300
Keep an eye on the injury report here - you'll want to make sure he's at 100%. But he may not need to be at 100% to put it on the Sixers tonight. They've allowed 11% more rebounding and 4% more scoring to opposing big men this season, and Boogie will be among the very best that they'll face. While Noel is a promising young defender, the strength mismatch here is considerable, and Noel's great help defense will be neither here nor there as it pertains to his ability to defend Cousins on the block.

Punt possibility: Bismack Biyombo. Guy is a total foulbox, so it's hard to trust him, but if last game is any indication, there's serious upside here. I'll probably play him quite a bit, but I like to live dangerously.

Keep an eye on Gorgui Dieng. If Pek is out, he makes an interesting play against Enes Kanter.
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