Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

03/15/2015
James Davis

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

NBA baby! So precious little time remaining in the best daily fantasy sports season. But still dollars to be won! So let's do it.

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Point Guards

Alexey Shved - FD 5800 DK 5800 DFSTR
Well, I'm writing this before the Golden State game has begun, so I don't have any new information that I didn't have last night when I wrote this: "Zee Russian has put together back to back double doubles (points and REBOUNDS) in 33 and 41 minutes, and is positively a steal if we can count on him for 30+ minutes." And tonight's match-up is way better than last night's - Phoenix has allowed 7% more scoring and 3% more rebounding to opposing point guards than league average this season. The blowout risk is here, of course, but a fantasy explosion is in play as well.

Elfrid Payton - FD 6400 DK 6100 DFSTR 4900
I gave you Payton before the Boston game, and he did exactly what we expected, putting up 20 points and 9 assists en route to a 38 point fantasy day. Payton's been playing a ton of minutes recently, and Kyrie's defensive struggles are beyond well documented at this point. With how much Kyrie's been handling the ball recently, Payton might also have turnover upside as well. I'm considering him a high floor, high ceiling play today.

Jeff Teague - FD 6800 DK 6700 DFSTR 6800
This one feels a little bit strange, since Teague really hasn't paid this price consistently recently. So what gives? Well, our projection system would have you acknowledge that the Lakers have allowed a staggering 18% more points to opposing point guards than league average this season. It feels a little weird to recommend him given the recent track record, but he's got as much upside on a points per dollar basis as any of the other guys at the position tonight.

Early slate spending: Russell Westbrook. Our projection system somehow loves him even at $13,000 on FanDuel. We may never see a fantasy player like this again.

Keep an eye on...Tyreke Evans and Ty Lawson. If Evans is out, Norris Cole becomes the play of the day. If Lawson is out, Nelson is close.

Shooting Guards

Victor Oladipo - FD 7600 DK 7800 DFSTR 6500
A couple of off days for Oladipo has some of the twitterverse soured, but it's all just noise. Oladipo made 13 of 43 shots in his last three games, leading to declined fantasy totals, but he's shot 45% from the field otherwise this season and 43% for his career. If he keeps up with this amount of opportunity, he's just not going to score 30 or fewer fantasy points on any given night. Before the last three games, he had put up 153 total fantasy points. With JR Smith manning the SG defense for the Cavs, this should be a get-right game for Oladipo.

Arron Afflalo - FD 4300 DK 4600 DFSTR 5500
Afflalo's price is still severely depressed given his current role on a Matthews-less Blazers team. It's tempting to think that the Blazers haven't utilized him the way he's been used elsewhere, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of his poor fantasy performance is grounded in some poor shooting. When the shooting percentage catches up, this price will climb 10%-15%. Toronto has had a tough time against opposing shooting guards this season, allowing 3% more fantasy points to them than league average. Afflalo should get some great looks, and if he capitalizes, he could be on some happy cash game lineups this season.

Eric Gordon - FD 6100 DK 5800 DFSTR 4900
Some random blowouts recently have cut into Gordon's minutes, but it's clear that the Pelicans will play him 37 minutes in games that are contested. This game against the Nuggets should be just that. And this really is a terrific match-up. Randy Foye's defense is what has kept him out of starting lineups for his career, and the Nuggets have had a hell of a time defending opposing two-guards as it is. They've allowed 3% more points, 4% more assists, and a ridiculous 22% more rebounds than league average this season. Could be a great spot, if you're spooked about Oladipo's blow-out risk.

Also considered: Wayne Ellington. He'll play a ton of minutes if it's close, and he's had some huge games in situations like that. But they might get blown out. Feels like a GPP play.

 

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Small Forwards

Kawhi Leonard - FD 8500 DK 8500 DFSTR 7100
Leonard has been the picture of consistency recently, and his price has followed. He's averaged 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals in his last 6 games, and if you've watched him out there, it seems like it could have been even more. Minnesota has been a wreck against opposing small forwards this season, allowing 11% more scoring to them on the season. Even if the Spurs blow them out, Leonard should be the one who makes it happen - making him a pretty safe play even if there isn't a ton of points per dollar upside.

Danilo Gallinari - FD 5900 DK 6000 DFSTR 3900
From two nights ago: 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."

All that's changed here? A better match-up for Gallinari. The Pelicans have allowed 8% more points to opposing small forwards than league average this season, making this a choice spot to take the Nuggets small forward.

LeBron James - FD 10900 DK 10900 DFSTR 8700
Tobias Harris - FD 6600 DK 6900 DFSTR 5800
Our projection system loves both of these guys, but I like the above two considerably more. With Kyrie's increased usage, Lebron has show a little bit more risk than he had previously. And while Harris has been extremely consistent recently, there's some minutes and performance risk that I feel a little uncomfortable here. But I did feel like both of these guys were worth mentioning.
 

Early slate play: Our projection system likes Ariza against the Clippers, who have struggled to defend small forwards all season.

Power Forwards

Marcus Morris - FD 4500 DK 4800 DFSTR 4000
With Brandon Knight ruled out for Sunday's game, this is just a case of the wrong price for Marcus Morris. He's got two games in a row where he's paid about 6 points per dollar on these prices, which would make him a guy who could be on winning GPP lineups in back to back games. And in this game? He gets his best match-up yet. New York plays slow, but there isn't a plus defender in the group of guys who will defend Morris. I'm looking for another monster game.

Anthony Davis - FD 11700 DK 11000 DFSTR 8900Anthony Davis
After leaving Tuesday's game early, Davis has been cleared as all-systems-go for Sunday's tilt with the Nuggets. And this, my friends, is just a mismatch. Davis has been playing 41 minutes a game, and just stomping people since he returned from injury. And while Denver has only been a little bit worse than league average against opposing PFs this season, they aren't running the lineup that achieved that result for them. Wilson Chandler can't cover him, and Faried has been covering opposing 5s. Nurkic's minutes will likely be limited again, and Davis could really go off.

Andrea Bargnani - FD 5500 DK 6100 DFSTR 5100
Big gap between the top two and Bargs, but our projection system just loves the guy, so it feels silly not to include him. Phoenix really hasn't been great at defending stretch big men this season, and against centers in general they've allowed ~4% more fantasy points than league average. Bargnani could be a great GPP separation play, or could be a decent play if for some reason you choose to fade Davis and spend up elsewhere.

Early Slate: Nikola Mirotic. With Gibson out, Mirotic should get his minutes. With Ibaka out, Mirotic will have a seriously + match-up against Mitch McGary. But I like him regardless of who the Thunder trot out.

Pay attention to Mitch McGary. If Ibaka is out and McGary gets another start, there's potential for a monster game there.

 

Center

Gorgui Dieng - FD 6200 DK 5700 DFSTR 5400
Justin Hamilton - FD 4100 DK 4000 DFSTR 3000
Pick one and run with it. With Pekovic out, both of these guys are priced incorrectly. Hamilton has obviously been putting up the transcendent upside, but Dieng is clearly safer just because of his longer track record. The Spurs are far from an ideal match-up here, but it's just a case of wrong price for the wrong players/opportunity. I'd play them in all formats if Pek were out again.

Nikola Vucevic - FD 8200 DK 8300 DFSTR 7500
Vucevic was back to his pre-injury minutes in his last two games, and provided a solid 4.5 points per dollar in both of those. Cleveland's been roughly league average against opposing centers this season (very similar to Milwaukee, actually), so I expect another workman like performance and very solid numbers from Vuc for your cash game purposes tonight.

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