Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 3/20/15

NBA picks for Friday! We're like the UAB of the daily fantasy basketball picks world. Or maybe we're the Kentucky. Or something. Maybe I should just write the picks.

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A quick word before we start. It's a HUGE slate tonight. That means that, inevitably, we aren't going to be able to list every single decent play. These are just the creme de la creme. If you want more, you should go grab a free three day trial of our projection system. Cool? Cool.

Point Guards

George Hill - FD 6400 DK 6600 DFSTR 5700
Hill left Wednesday's contest with a little back injury, but came back and looked OK upon his return. As we haven't heard any updates since then, one would have to imagine that he's all-systems go for this Cavs game. Kyrie Irving's defensive indifference is well known at this point, and Hill dropped a triple-double for 49 fantasy points in their last meeting. So, yeah, you could say this is a good spot to play him.

Damian Lillard - FD 8200 DK 7600 DFSTR 7900
Since we tend to get our picks out before a lot of other fantasy sages, I'll be curious to see if the industry is on Lillard as much as our projection system is for Friday's game. The cons seem obvious - Lillard would have skunked your lineup in each of his last two appearances. But the pros, I think, are worth considering. First of all, Orlando is a great matchup - they allow 2% more scoring, 5% more rebounding, and 9% more assists than league average to opposing point guards this season. And while he does have some stinkers in his game log, there are some real gems there, too - with 4 40+ point fantasy games (including one 52.6 point game against the Wolves) in his last 10. My suspicion? Lillard will be a modestly off-board play that pays off nicely.

Langston Galloway - FD 5000 DK 4800 DFSTR 4700
Galloway's minutes seem to be back - and if they are, he looks like a hell of a play against Philadelphia's sub-par wing defense. Not much else to point out here, other than we're looking at back to back 40+ minute games for the young Knicks guard.

Rajon Rondo - FD 5900 DK 5900 DFSTR 5900
Rondo has been something of a pinata this season - a popular whipping boy for fans for coast to coast due to his bizarre post-trade comments and generally lousy attitude. But recently? He's kind of been producing. At least on these prices. He's put up 5x points per dollar on these prices in 3 of his last 6 games, and should have a very favorable match-up against either a gimpy Mike Conley or a full-strength Beno Udrih. With double-digit assists in each of his last two games, I think we're seeing an upward trend in Rondo's role in the Dallas offense, and this could be something of a break-out game.

If Conley sits again Beno Udrih becomes a must play. He flashed 7x points per dollar upside on this FanDuel price in his last go around, and there's no reason to believe he can't do that against an up-tempo Dallas team.

Also considered: Steph Curry. It stands to reason that Golden State should have a harder time blowing teams out without Klay, and Curry's usage should increase as well. I'd need to know Davis was playing to make this pick, though, because if he sits, this one will get ugly quick.


Shooting Guards

Dion Waiters - FD 4300 DK 4100 DFSTR 4000
Waiters has yet to really produce on his new role as a starter with the Thunder, but it's not for lack of opportunity. He's been ice cold in both games, but he has averaged 15 shots per game (up 50% from his season average of 10) and he's playing his greatest minutes of the season. And it isn't like he's been horrible on these prices, either - he's posted 21.5 fantasy points per game, which is ample production for what you have to pay. At some point, though, he's going to seriously break out - and given that the Hawks have allowed 4% more fantasy points than league average to opposing shooting guards, I think tonight is the night. Waiters is a must play for me in all formats.

Dwyane Wade - FD 8400 DK 7900 DFSTR 7400
Wade's usage has just been through the roof recently - 44 shots in his last two games, a 13 shot "off night, and then a two game stretch where he took 48 shots. The Heat's one man offense has produced on those shots, as well - averaging better than 40 fantasy points per game in the month of March. That sort of production usually costs more than Wade does, as his price has been depressed by his relatively low minute totals. But don't be spooked - if Wade's putting the ball in the air this frequently, he almost can't help but have an incredibly high floor. Randy Foye is about as good a match-up as Wade could ask for, as well. Foye's offensive game is decent, but his lack of a defensive game has kept him out of starting lineups for his whole career. This could be Wade's biggest game of an already great month.

Giannis Antetokounmpo - FD 7200 DK 6900 DFSTR 5600
If you're looking for a little bit of safety, I kinda like the Greek today. He looked great against the Pelicans and Spurs in his last two games, and gets by far his most favorable match-up tonight against Joe Johnson (also a decent play) and the Nets. "By far?" you ask. By far. The Nets have allowed 6% more scoring and 4% more rebounding than league average this season. And, sure, that is real bad. But a crazy number? They've allowed 22% more assists to opposing two guards. Johnson's just been so bad on defense that his teammates have had to stray off of their guys to help, and willing passers have wrecked them. I'm thinking Giannis will go out there and do some real damage in his 37+ minutes tonight.

Also considered: Arron Afflalo.


Small Forwards

Gerald Henderson - FD 5400 DK 5300 DFSTR 4800
Oh, man. It's not easy to look at the two single digit performances Henderson's put up in his last 5 games. But I can explain those, to some degree. Those were the two worst blow-outs of the season for the Hornets, and that shouldn't be the case in this game against the Kings. In fact, Henderson dropped 40 fantasy points against these same Kings a little more than a week ago. So while it might feel a little awk, I think you can deploy Henderson with great aplomb in all fantasy formats tonight.
You can also double-up on Hornets and grab Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - he also torched the Kings the last time around, but he feels a little less safe given the higher price tag.

Luol Deng - FD 5900 DK 5400 DFSTR 5500
Deng hasn't inspired a lot of enthusiasm in his owners since his two game hiatus, but last game's minutes-spree has me feeling optimistic for his value going forward. I don't think he'll go out there and play 42 minutes again, but he shouldn't need to against Gallo and the Nugs. They've allowed 13% more rebounding and 7% more scoring to opposing small forwards this season, and this is great news for a guy like Deng, whose shot-creation days seem to be behind him. This looks like a high floor, mid-tier ceiling game to me.

C.J. Miles - FD 4500 DK 4400 DFSTR 4300Nothing really jumps off the page when you look at CJ Miles' game log. He's down to 38% shooting for the year, and a dismal 32% from 3. But here's the thing - everything else about his game has tracked from how Cleveland used him last year. The criticisms are valid, though. He's not getting the same looks, and he's converting them at a much lower rate. He is, however, getting those looks. So it begs the question - if he's going to take 6 threes a game, will he really be a sub-20 point per game fantasy player? Our projection system says no. My gut says... I don't know. And "more popsicles, please." But you don't care about that. Anyway, I'll probably stick with Deng and Henderson (and Holiday, if Thompson is out) - but I felt obligated to share Miles with you, since our projection system believes he's the play of the day.

If Klay Thompson is out again take a good look at Justin Holiday. Lots of opportunity there if he plays 26-34 minutes again.


Power Forwards

This is a crazy position tonight, due to all the uncertainty around a few key guys. Skip to the "keep an eye on" section of this position to read about some great plays and injury situations to watch.

Kenneth Faried - FD 6900 DK 6900 DFSTR 5800
Faried's price simply hasn't caught up to the new coaching situation yet, which is pretty remarkable, considering it wasn't exactly yesterday. But here we are. Faried's averaged 15/10 with 2 blocks and a steal for the month of March, which just isn't $6,900 production on FanDuel. And I'm particularly encouraged about this match-up - Miami hasn't really puzzled out what it wants to do about the Power Forward position with Chris Bosh out, and Faried should be poised to out-hustle them and generally make them want to do just about anything other than play basketball against him.

Thaddeus Young - FD 5800 DK 6000 DFSTR 6100
Like a lot of players listed tonight, Young has been great on these prices when his team is not busy getting blown out. Which happens, because you know, they're the Nets. But! This game against Milwaukee shows some promise. The Bucks have only won two games in March, and a blow-out seems like a pretty unlikely outcome. If it stays close, Young will likely play his 35 or so minutes, and put up better than 30 fantasy points, making him an excellent cash game play for today.

Paul Millsap - FD 7800 DK 7700 DFSTR 8100
Millsap's game log is very wonky at the moment. The Hawks have been involved in a handful of blowouts, he's missed a few games, and generally speaking, he just hasn't gathered a lot of traction in the daily fantasy basketball community this season. So why trot him out here? Well, the game rates to be close - the Hawks are awesome, and OKC is still fighting for their playoff lives. And when it's close, Millsap tends to get his minutes. More than that, though, is the match-up. While Ibaka's much-ballyhooed help defense can be tough on opposing guards, he's actually a fairly lousy post defender - allowing 11% more points to opposing power forwards than league average this season. I think this could be one of Millsap's sneaky 5x points per dollar performances tonight.

Keep an eye on Taj Gibson. If he plays, he could represent a great GPP home run play. That's a ridiculous price if he's going to grab 30+ minutes. Also looking at Mitch McGary if Kanter is out. Marvin Williams, too, if Zeller misses another game.


Marcin Gortat - FD 6700 DK 6400 DFSTR 6100
When the world wasn't looking, Gortat's minutes jumped up 20%. He's averaged 32 fantasy points on 34+ minutes per game in the month of March, which are some seriously nice totals for his $6,700 salary. "But James," you protest, "DeAndre Jordan! He plays the defense! Famously!" Well, hypothetical objector that sounds like the Doge, he actually doesn't play it as well as you might think. While Jordan gets a lot of attention for his moon-shot swats, he actually isn't great against fundamentally sounds big men. He's allowed 8% more scoring than league average to opposing centers this season, as a matter of fact. I think this is a great spot to grab Gortat as his value continues to surge upward.

Brook Lopez - FD 6900 DK 6400 DFSTR 6600
Lopez's value is a lot like Thaddeus Young's. When Brooklyn gets curb-stomped, so does Lopez's value. When they hang in there, Lopez is a super-solid play. With Milwaukee's general horridness recently, it's looking like this one will be the latter. Milwaukee's been basically league average against opposing big men this season, but this is one of those cases where a guy is overpriced against good competition and underpriced against bad competition. I like Lopez quite a bit for cash games.

Zaza Pachulia - FD 5200 DK 4400 DFSTR
Pachulia's minutes have been jerked around a ton recently, but the price is so low that our projection system likes him even if he IS splitting time with John Henson. If he gets left out there for the higher end of his minutes, he could be good for 7x. If he hits his lower end, 4x is possible. He's no cash game play, but I could totally see taking a home-run cut on Zaza if it's announced that he'll be out there in the starting lineup for Friday's game.

Keep an eye on Anthony Davis. If he's out, Alexis Ajinca makes a fine play.

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