Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and DraftPot - 11/16/15

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Russell Westbrook - FD 11400 DK 12200
Opponent - MEM FD Proj. Pts - 52.39 DK Proj. Pts - 54.15
Westbrook's already high 35% usage climbs to a downright absurd 39% with Durant out, and even at these sky-high prices, he's looking like a terrific play. As for Memphis, they're just kind of a mess this year. They're playing the fifth slowest PACE in the league, but have still given up the 11th most points to opposing point guards. Against the world's best point guard, it stands to reason that that number will look even worse.

Brandon Knight - FD 6900 DK 7000
Opponent - LAL FD Proj. Pts - 33.81 DK Proj. Pts - 36.02
What to make of Brandon Knight? The guy was a part of big tournament winning lineups against the Clippers, but that performance was book-ended by two performance that had his users coming in dead last place. Ugh. Knight's been a feast or famine guy since he entered the league, but the thing about feast or famine guys is that they often feast in the best possible match-ups. The Lakers? They're that. They play the league's 9th fastest PACE, and have the league's 3rd worst defensive efficiency. The prices have declined to a point where you could even make a case for him in 50/50s, even if it feels a little scary.

Marcus Smart - FD 5300 DK 4500
Opponent - HOU FD Proj. Pts - 22.57 DK Proj. Pts - 24.23
Smart played 30+ minutes in back to back games, and came alive in a tough match-up with OKC. As of this writing, he's got a 25/8/3 line, and represents a healthy profit on what you needed to invest in him. I love him against Ty Lawson, who's looked downright lost out there this season. This is a simple case of price potentially not being totally synced up with current opportunity, especially on DraftKings.

Some speculative picks: Our system still believes in George Hill, but the baffling decline in both assist and rebounding rate has me troubled. Mike Conley has been pretty steady (and is arguably a better 50/50 play than Knight), but I'm a little concerned about him getting swallowed by Westbrook. Good luck picking!


Eric Bledsoe - FD 8700 DK 8400
Opponent - LAL FD Proj. Pts - 37.51 DK Proj. Pts - 38.9
I'm starting to wince, just a little, at the ever-increasing prices with Bledsoe. But I mean, when you look at the game log, the prices sure look justified. He's on three straight games with 44+ fantasy points, and lost playing time in the Denver game because he had beaten them so thoroughly into the ground. Bledsoe is shooting an incredible 30% more shots per minute than he did last season, and has a terrific match-up here with the Lakers. I mean, who is supposed to cover him here? The Ghost of Kobe? Swaggy P? Jordan Clarkson, bless his heart? "I only shoot" Lou Williams? The only danger here is that a blow-out goes down, but if one does, it'll likely be because Bledsoe has systemically destroyed another team.

James Harden - FD 10200 DK 10300
Opponent - BOS FD Proj. Pts - 45.99 DK Proj. Pts - 48.72
How long can Harden continue to play 40 minutes a night? I suppose time will tell. Harden's pairing increased minutes with increased usage, shooting 12% more per minute than he did last year, even with the arrival of Ty Lawson. He should probably priced 5% higher or so while this usage and minutes continue, so this is a great, high-floor way to invest a ton of salary. The only trick will be finding enough punts to be able to pair him with Westbrook tomorrow. Harden might be getting chased around by a pretty good defender tonight (Avery Bradley, if he's playing the second half of this back to back), but Harden's the type of guy who is unlikely to dramatically reduce his load due to match-up. I still like him in any format.U;

Wesley Matthews - FD 5000 DK 4600
Opponent - PHI FD Proj. Pts - 21.44 DK Proj. Pts - 24.13
Semi-speculative, because it's hard to say where the minutes will shake out. He did play 31 and 33 minutes in his last two starts, albeit of varying effectiveness. Still, he shot 12 shots per game in those match-ups, and he's still priced in the Kentavious Caldwell-Pope/Alec Burks range. When he's right, he'll be priced something like 20% higher than he is now. I don't normally recommend trying to catch a falling knife on an injury guy, but this is truly a fantastic spot against the defensively reluctant 76ers, who have the 4th worst defensive efficiency in the league.

A DraftKings must: Monta Ellis. Increased minutes if Stuckey is out again, and the price is just great there. A guy you can also consider on FanDuel if you have a SG spot to fill and don't have the cash to spend up.


Trevor Ariza - FD 5600 DK 5500
Opponent - BOS FD Proj. Pts - 26.05 DK Proj. Pts - 29.08
Ariza rises to the top of this sort of by default. George is very expensive (and there are other positions where you might need to pay up), and the rest of the guys have tons of different issues. Kawhi is coming off a nasty upper respiratory infection. Aminu will be covered by Kawhi. Evan Turner lost his starting gig to Marcus Smart. So, Ariza has won the war of attrition at the small forward position. Ariza, to his credit, had been pretty solid before letting foul trouble cause a relatively no-show against the Mavs. Now, Ariza is just never going to win you a big tournament because there are so many mouths to feed in Houston. But just standing on an NBA court for mid-high 30s minutes is going to pay 4x points per dollar more often than not on these prices, and if you want safety for your 50/50 purposes, he's looking like your guy. Side note: Ariza probably shouldn't hire my as his hype man.

Paul George - FD 9200 DK 9200
Opponent - CHI FD Proj. Pts - 40.07 DK Proj. Pts - 42.62
I only list George second here because I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to make a lineup that has him, Westbrook, AND Harden. Maybe I'll wind up going double-cheap at PG, I'm not sure. Either way, George has essentially turned precisely into his MVP level form from the 2013-2015 season, and while his price has climbed considerably since the beginning of the season, you can still consider him for 50/50s and double-ups. He's averaged 46.2 FanDuel fantasy points in his last 6 contests, and he'll be facing a Thibs-less Bulls team that's fallen off a cliff defensively. They've allowed the 9th most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season, and they completely lack someone who's both big enough and quick enough to keep pace with George. This could be a monster game.

On FanDuel, Jae Crowder is looking awfully cheap if he is going to keep playing 30 minutes a night.

On DraftKings, PJ Tucker is $3,400. I mean, that's back-up territory, and the guy is a favorite to play 30 minutes against the Lakers. Hold your nose and go for it?


Terrence Jones - FD 5900 DK 6000
Opponent - BOS FD Proj. Pts - 26.66 DK Proj. Pts - 27.3
Kudos to DFSR writer Doug Norrie, who called Terrence Jones' minutes/points breakout a game early. Well, we're back to where we've been with Jones in the past. He's a max effort guy who's a four category (points, rebounds, blocks, steals) stud, who remains perennially underpriced due to a lack of consistent playing time. Tonight he'll face the rotating cast of Boston big men, who have allowed the 8th highest field goal percentage to opposing 4s this season. With the minutes that have been given to guys like Montrezl Harrel and Clint Capella this season, my guess is that Jones will keep playing at least mid-thirties minutes and be priced something like 15% higher than this in no time.

Jared Sullinger - FD 5600 DK 5800
Opponent - HOU FD Proj. Pts - 26.28 DK Proj. Pts - 27.75
After another terrific, albeit bizarre game against the Thunder, I think we can safely say that Sullinger is just going to be a beast on these prices even if he's playing 25 minutes a game. I got a perverse pleasure out of watching him put up a 34.3 point FanDuel fantasy point night on 3/11 shooting, but it's quite simply what my man does. He seems to be a lock for a double-double regardless of his minutes played, and I certainly can't think of a reason that that won't continue against a Houston front-court that's allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season.

Jon Leuer - FD 3700 DK 3400
Opponent - LAL FD Proj. Pts - 10.11 DK Proj. Pts - 10.38
Leuer is the guy who helps you get all your big money guys in today, if Markieff Morris is still out. He's no electric talent, but his rebounding and modest scoring have made him a fantasy point per minute guy in this brief stint with Morris on the bench. He also happens to have the very best match-up for big men in the league - the Los Angeles Lakers. If he plays 24 minutes, he'll be one of the highest points per dollar guys on the slate in all likelihood.


Jahlil Okafor - FD 6700 DK 7200
Opponent - DAL FD Proj. Pts - 29.63 DK Proj. Pts - 30.08
We gave you Okafor in a "this feels weird" top recommendation against the Spurs in his last outing, and he went ahead and put up 40.7 fantasy points on 40 minutes. That's the thing with Okafor - the Sixers have shown that they're not going to be shy about leaving him out there for big minutes when the game script calls for it. He's averaged better than 20 shots a game in his last 4 games, and has averaged 17.5 shots per game for the season. For a frame of reference, Brook Lopez is second among qualified centers with 15.4 shots per game. Pachulia is no slouch on defense, but the combination of minutes and usage simply makes Okafor a guy who should be priced higher.

Dwight Howard - FD 8200 DK 7400
Opponent - BOS FD Proj. Pts - 36.5 DK Proj. Pts - 37.09
It looks like Howard will be back in action against the Celtics on Monday, and if that's the case, he looks like a pretty reasonable double-up option. Howard's been downright solid in his limited minutes this season, averaging a 17/13/1.5 and 2 blocks line that you'd pretty much be happy with on any given night, especially on DraftKings. The Celtics can make it work against most of the league's big men, but they're just not equipped to handle a guy like Dwight when he's got things cooking, as evidenced by the fact that they've allowed the 8th most fantasy points in the league to opposing centers.

Tyson Chandler - FD 5600 DK 5300
Opponent - LAL FD Proj. Pts - 28.09 DK Proj. Pts - 28.67
Chandler is turning into something of an off-beat recommendation because of some seriously wonky minutes stuff going on recently. He loses minutes for a variety of reasons, and almost never shoots. Still, he's flashed 35+ fantasy point upside when things break just so. If there were ever a time for things to break just so, it'd be this game. The Lakers have given up the most fantasy points in the NBA (by far) to opposing centers, and some injury woes have the Suns lacking back-court depth. I'm not saying this is a double-up play, but it's worth a look in a big tourney.


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