Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and DraftPot - 11/23/15
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Kemba Walker - FD 7500 DK 6900
Opponent - SAC FD Proj. Pts - 33.44 DK Proj. Pts - 35.09
Kemba is like your unsexy cousin... as I'm typing this analogy, I'm realizing it's probably not where I want to be going with this one. Let's try again. When you're reading off your FanDuel or DraftKings' lineup to whoever your lineup-setting buddy is, he never says something like "LOVE IT!" when you read Walker's name. He plays on one of the most boring teams in the league, and isn't a particularly exciting player as far as modern point guards go. But have you seen the production recently? He's shooting 43% from the field this season (as opposed to last season's 38%), and he's actually incrementally better on a per minute basis in every single category. The result is a guy who's paid this price handily in his last 5 games, with no sign that that won't keep being the case. The Kings are playing the 2nd fastest PACE in the league this season, and I believe Walker will get his against the offensively-minded Rajon Rondo.
Tony Parker - FD 5300 DK 4900
Opponent - PHX FD Proj. Pts - 24.63 DK Proj. Pts - 25.33
Parker is locked into a 32 minute rotation right now, and his worst performance in his last 4 games was 5x points per dollar. Phoenix is playing the 3rd fastest PACE in the NBA this season, and more possessions should mean even more production for the Spurs' point guard. Seems like a great play in all formats, and I expect his price to climb about 10% once the sites realize that this seems to be what we can expect from him minutes wise going forward.
Matthew Dellavedova - FD 4200 DK 4500
Opponent - ORL FD Proj. Pts - 19.62 DK Proj. Pts - 21.44
With Mo Williams looking doubtful for Monday's contest with the Magic, it's very likely going to be Delly-time around the DFSR offices. Dellavedova arguably hit his floor in reduced minutes in a game that was headed blow-out way with the Hawks, and still paid nearly 5x points per dollar on his FanDuel price. This is not a testament to Dellavedova's true NBA talent level. It's actually not the greatest sign that he can only put up 20-25 fantasy points in these minutes. But daily fantasy basketball is all about price vs. opportunity AND talent. On these prices, with this opportunity, even if he misses it's hard for him to miss. Orlando has allowed the 12th most points to fantasy point guards this season, but this is a side concern for me today.
A note on the big boys: Westbrook rates out as a fine points per dollar guy in our projection system, even on his relatively absurd prices industry wide. The issue is that, unless you find some choice punts, he might tear into your price flexibility in a way that's tough to recover from. Utah has allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to opposing PGs on the back of the league's slowest PACE and some great interior rim protection. Meanwhile, Rajon Rondo has basically been priced up to his current ceiling. I think Collison will eat into some of his usage as well. The Hornets are a sneaky bad match-up for the same reason the Jazz are - they play SLOW. I can picture a scenario where I play Westbrook, but I won't touch Rajon.
Also considered: Darren Collison. If Rudy Gay is still out, Collison should be in line for extended minutes once again. He didn't turn that into great fantasy production last time around, but he shot 2/11 from the field and was a lot less involved in the offense than many expected. He may covered my Jeremy Lin in this game, making this an excellent buy-while-still-low opportunity. I also like Rubio as an upside play.
Evan Fournier - FD 5900 DK 6800
Opponent - CLE FD Proj. Pts - 29.86 DK Proj. Pts - 32.86
If there's a steadier option in the mid-tier at shooting guard, you'll have to post it in the comments. It's worth point out that Fournier's price is way better on FanDuel, but I'll consider him on both sites for a couple of reasons. First of all, you've been able to set your clock by the production recently. He's playing high 30s/low 40s minutes, has scored 5x points per dollar on this FanDuel price in 3 of his last 5 games, and 6x+ points per dollar in the other two. He'll also have a terrific match-up with the less than focused JR Smith. Love him in all formats, but he's basically a must for me in FanDuel 50/50s and double ups.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - FD 7000 DK 7100
Opponent - DET FD Proj. Pts - 31.72 DK Proj. Pts - 32.82
I also went with D-Wade in the upper/middle price tier here, but I went with Giannis for ceiling purposes. Wade played 36 minutes in the Heat's last game to avoid breaking Philly's winless streak, and I doubt he'll touch those numbers tonight. Meanwhile, the Greek Freak is a player on an upward trajectory. He's shooting 18% more per minute than he did last season, and just taking over in the right match-ups. The Pistons represent exactly that. They've allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards this season. Giannis, though, is a particularly bad match-up for them. Their options to defend him are either way too small (KCP) or way too slow (Marcus Morris). This has all the makings of a big game.
Rodney Hood - FD 4700 DK 5000
Opponent - OKC FD Proj. Pts - 23.61 DK Proj. Pts - 25.7
Hood is a guy who's a lot like Dellavedova, listed above. He's not one of the league's most talented shooting guards, but he's getting unreal minutes on the Jazz right now (about 35-37 minutes per game), and he's typically paying better than 5x points per dollar on these prices. Perhaps more importantly, he allows you to escape a generally lousy position cheaply. The Thunder are a phenomenal match-up for shooting guards as well, thanks to the Dion Waiters/Andre Roberson duo. They've allowed the 5th most points to opposing shooting guards this season, making Hood an even more attractive option than usual.
Another good cheap option: Arron Afflalo. Lots of minutes, and lots of recent shots. He's back up to the shots per minute he was shooting with Denver (about 33% higher than he was with Portland), and won't be priced this cheaply for long. Super high floor here, and potentially some serious upside as well.
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LeBron James - FD 10100 DK 10100
Opponent - ORL FD Proj. Pts - 44.63 DK Proj. Pts - 46.41
LeBron will be one of the very best big money points per dollar guys against Orlando today, and I wouldn't be surprised if he comes out in my optimal lineups when the projections are all said and done. Mo being out of the lineup has impacted Bron's game in ways you might not expect. He's not actually taking more shots, but he is dishing more assists, as Mo's absence means one fewer guy who can create shots for others. As long as Orlando stays close enough, James looks like a lock for 4.5x points per dollar, with upside for plenty more if he winds up trading buckets in a game that has some chance to stay close.
Kawhi Leonard - FD 8500 DK 8200
Opponent - PHX FD Proj. Pts - 39.35 DK Proj. Pts - 41.12
Leonard hasn't had any huge ceiling games in recent memory, but he's almost totally without duds as well. This makes him a great 50/50 play, if not a great big tournament play. His shots per game have tailed off since his torrid early season pace, but he's playing more minutes, so it all comes out in the wash. The Suns have been a middle of the pack team in terms of allowing fantasy points to opposing small forwards, but their combination of fast pace and bad track record from last season has me figuring that Leonard will be the same high floor guy he normally is in this one.
Tobias Harris - FD 6800 DK 6300
Opponent - CLE FD Proj. Pts - 29.6 DK Proj. Pts - 31.26
A considerably better play on DraftKings, but a reasonable play on FanDuel as well. Harris has quietly transitioned into a high 30s minutes guy, but has sprinkled in some bad performances with his good ones, leaving his prices a bit too low. He's had 42+ fantasy points in 2 of his last 4 games, and while this is a less than ideal match-up against LeBron, I think that eats into Harris' top end upside more than it lowers his floor.
A great big money option: Wiggins - lots of upside in a great match-up with the Illadelph.
Derrick Favors - FD 8100 DK 7600
Opponent - OKC FD Proj. Pts - 39.3 DK Proj. Pts - 39.82
Our projection system is positively giddy about Derrick Favors' chances in this match-up with Serge Ibaka. I've written this before, but Ibaka is a much better rim protector and help defender than he is a straight up post defender, and the Thunder have allowed the 10th most fantasy points to opposing power forwards in the league. Really, the trick to projecting Favors properly is getting the minutes right. The major threat to Favors' minutes is always foul trouble, and I just don't see Ibaka as the type of offensive player that could get him in trouble. I don't think he has huge upside here, but love him as a 50/50 play.
Marvin Williams - FD 5100 DK 5700
Opponent - SAC FD Proj. Pts - 24.35 DK Proj. Pts - 26.38
Williams is underappreciated as a fantasy asset because he's not much of a scorer, but he does enough around his scoring that he more often than not makes it work. He's paid 5x points per dollar or better on these prices in 6 of his last 8 games, and he's the power forward version of Rodney Hood or Matthew Dellavedova. Minutes, baby. With Zeller continuing to be banged up, and Frank Kaminsky not really posing a minutes threat off the bench, I think you can count on Williams for his typical 35 minutes here. The icing on the cake is those Sacramento Kings - they've allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this year. Love Williams anywhere on a thin night for the position.
Chris Bosh - FD 8100 DK 7700
Opponent - NYK FD Proj. Pts - 34.85 DK Proj. Pts - 36.59
As big a fan I am of Kristaps Porzingis, I'm still not totally a believe in his ability to defend a true inside/outside threat in Chris Bosh. Bosh has been locked into a 35 minute rotation recently, and has put up 5x points per dollar on his fairly expensive price in 4 of his last 6 contests. You can't call him an upside play here simply because the Knicks play so damned slow, but don't be surprised if Chris brings it to the league's hottest young commodity in this one.
Let's talk Kristaps. It really comes down to what you think about the minutes. Our system loves him if you think he's going to get 30 minutes or more. But... is he going to get 30+ minutes here? He'll go as low as 20 minutes in some recent contests, and even coming off his highest minutes total of the season, I'm just not sure you can trust it. One thing you can be sure of, tough, is that other people will trust it. The Heat have also allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season. Man, this will be a tough fade - I might just wind up rolling him out there.
DeMarcus Cousins - FD 10600 DK 10300
Opponent - CHA FD Proj. Pts - 49.86 DK Proj. Pts - 50.5
If you're looking for possible "abusive relationships of the day" candidates, you might not need to look further than the Cousins/Jefferson match-up here. Big Al has been a mandatory double-team since he joined the league with Boston, but he's also needed help defending just about every center in the league. And Boogie, well, he's something more than your league average center. He made Vucevic cry uncle in his last time out on the floor, going off for 29/12/6/3/3. Love Cousins in every format today.
Greg Monroe - FD 7700 DK 7200
Opponent - DET FD Proj. Pts - 35.27 DK Proj. Pts - 35.76
If you want a cheaper option, especially on DraftKings, I kinda love Monroe in a revenge game (if that's your thing) against the Pistons. His minutes have gotten buried in a couple of recent blow-outs, and he certainly doesn't seem to respond to MCW the way he has to other point guards, but one has to think things will regress to the mean with Monroe and the Bucks at some point in the not too distant future. The Pistons have been tough on opposing Centers this season, so I wouldn't call this a safe play, but if Monroe gets his minutes it's tough not to dream on the upside.
Jahlil Okafor - FD 6400 DK 6700
Opponent - MIN FD Proj. Pts - 30.88 DK Proj. Pts - 31.28
If the sites aren't going to adjust their prices, I guess we'll just keep recommending Okafor every night. The Sixers' promising rookie is averaging the 2nd most shots per game out of the center position this season - 16.6. His minutes floor (which happens in the Sixers' frequent blowouts) is about 31, and he's good for 36 minutes in close games. In those games, he pays something like 5x points per dollar as a matter of course. I imagine that both his shots and total production will go up in a top draft pick match-up with Towns, and I love Okafor in any format.
Also considered: Karl Anthony Towns, but you're paying more than Okafor and the minutes are more erratic.
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- Joey Dorsey, DeMarcus Cousins: (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)