Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Ben Shushan

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 2/24/16

Busy Wednesday in the Association. I always find that to be good news, especially if I’m looking for some tournament action. Lots of options, which means lots of choices for diversification. I also noticed that our offshore friends have a lot of games projected to be not that close, and about half have a decent (210+) O/U. I think sometimes people read too much into these numbers, but tonight they speak to a couple of things. First, they suggest a good bit of blowout risk. Then again, with the Sixers and Lakers on the same slate, that’s sort of a given. They also indicate there should be a fair amount of up-and-down the court action. Let’s look for some value and upside.

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Warning: There are a LOT of PG options tonight, mostly clustered in the same price range. The following particularly stick out.

Mike Conley - FD 6700 DK 6900
Opponent - LAL
FD Proj. Pts - 36 DK Proj. Pts - 38.19
With Marc Gasol done for the year, the burden on the next-best Grizzly is only increasing. We aren't fully aware what the impact on their pace may be, but it’s likely to tick up as well (hard not to). Notwithstanding the dud the last time out where he ran awful from the field, he has a high projected floor relative to price.  Playing against the Lakers will do that for a guy as their defense is essentially a bunch of parking cones and folding chairs.

Deron Williams - FD 6000 DK 6100
Opponent - OKC
FD Proj. Pts - 31.56 DK Proj. Pts - 33.78
D-Will is almost a mirror image of Conley value-wise, just at a slightly lower price point. He’s also been ridiculous the last several games, averaging roughly 6x per outing (some OTs thrown in there, but also a buzz off thanks to a blow out against Philly). Dallas is going up against OKC and 2 guys who could blow the game open at any time, which always makes me a little nervous. But the line’s close, the O/U is pretty high, and I just don’t see it getting ugly. Plus, the Mavs are no slouch themselves (see what I just did there?).

Reggie Jackson - FD 6800 DK 6700
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 32.66 DK Proj. Pts - 33.89
Going back up slightly in salary, our projections like Reggie almost as much as the guys above. He’s coming off a couple of really good games post-ASB. There’s the ever-present Philly Blowout Factor to consider. But that’s offset by the ever-present Philly Sucks Factor, though this is less true against PGs in terms of DvP (7th in the league). Those combine for another really-high-ceiling possibility, though the floor’s a little lower due to opponent. Strong play on a night of strong plays.

In terms of other options, Rickey Rubio could easily be fully written up, Kyrie Irving is a great value slightly below an elite price point (a touch moreso on FD), and Russ is playing (which has a roughly 1.0 correlation with being in my cash lineups).



Jamal Crawford - FD 4900 DK 5700
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 26.4 DK Proj. Pts - 29.02
Yes, I’m going here. Games against the Suns simply don’t count (right?). He has been producing so well, so consistently, yet remains criminally underpriced on FD, while still representing good value on DK. Both teams are just above average in terms of pace, and there’s some blowout risk in the game (per offshore – double-digit spread). Still, Jamal runs with (and quite a bit against) the 2nd unit and usually gets his minutes regardless. So, again, yes, I’m going here.

Zach LaVine - FD 4900 DK 5300
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 25.19 DK Proj. Pts - 26.28
While the Timberwolves' brilliant double-starter rotation suggests Lavine’s technically coming off the bench, he should be fine in terms of run. His minutes have fluctuated lately a little more than is comfortable (an eight minute range is sub-optimal), but that hasn’t been related to his starting/non-starting role. The Raptors backcourt is really, really good in the real world, but statistically just below average in defending 2's. This is another mixed-news matchup – decent O/U, but larger spread than one would prefer. With plenty of options to spend dollars elsewhere the bottom line is that this is a strong lower-end investment.

E'Twaun Moore - FD 4500 DK 5400
Opponent - WAS
FD Proj. Pts - 22.71 DK Proj. Pts - 24.08
On FD this one’s a straight value play with upside. On DK it’s a little tougher to explain, but even at a slightly higher price point he’s spent the better point of the month above 5x production (spiking well above that a few times). This game is expected to remain close and his starter minutes project as safe. He can contribute in several categories and typically doesn’t turn the ball over. It all adds up, from a narrative standpoint, to what feels like a nice, safe play. The numbers agree.

Have to mention J.R. Smith in passing



Tobias Harris - FD 5700 DK 6000
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 30.03 DK Proj. Pts - 31.79
Tobias has a high floor, high ceiling, locked minutes, and a coach in young love (though not particularly young). That combination is hard to pass up. Then there’s the Sixers. That’s the extent of what I have to say against this pick. There are some options at SF tonight, but many more at every other position. I’ve got to call this a plug-and-play, cash and tourney. Move along.

Marcus Morris - FD 5200 DK 5400
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 26.33 DK Proj. Pts - 28.71
After a run of 5x+ pretty much all month long, I decided he was a must-play coming out of the ASB. Thanks Marcus. With Stanley Johnson now shelved for a couple of weeks the good Morris twin's minutes are even safer. I’ve already covered the matchup. The DFSR system really likes him on FD, and is infatuated on DK where he’s the highest Pts/$ play of the night. He’s got a slightly lower floor than Harris, but a slightly lower salary to match. This is another solid play in all formats.

LeBron James - FD 9900 DK 9600
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 45.02 DK Proj. Pts - 46.85
For those looking to spend up The King is always a sound option (the rule-proving exception occurring on Monday, when he turned the ball over a bunch and his running mates picked up the slack). Big dollars need big floors, and his is high. Frankly, he’s been underpriced almost all season with a slight downtick on DK for Thursday. If you’re saving elsewhere then this is a good place to go. Mind the light blowout risk, but LeBron is so efficient that I’m not thrown off by it.

On a big night, I have to note that the system loves Matt Barnes. I just have a hard time pressing the argument.


Zach Randolph - FD 6400 DK 6900
Opponent - LAL
FD Proj. Pts - 32.77 DK Proj. Pts - 33.37
Z-Bo is the unquestioned top option at PF on FD and a strong value on DK (chalk that up to salary discrepancies). Getting further along in the picks, I’ve already covered the matchup (mixed messages). His range the last several weeks has been 4x to 7x. That’s pretty strong. No reason to think he falls out of that here. Very solid cash option, and I can easily see him in a mid-tier (as opposed to pay-and-punt) tourney lineup as well. The Grizz have to be committed to his run simply because they are so short on big men.

Kevin Love - FD 7500 DK 7400
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 36.85 DK Proj. Pts - 39.55
Where Randolph is tops on FD and only almost so on DK, Love is the reverse. It’s not just possible but likely he goes well above 5x on DK. I hesitate to endorse all of the Cavs’ Big Three on the same night, but tonight’s apparently an exception. This guy has been tremendous coming off the ASB. While Charlotte can no doubt play some defense, Love’s position (Stretch 4? Elbow? Post-up?) will play some havoc with their matchups. Floor’s solid and upside presents itself.

Patrick Patterson - FD 3700 DK 3900
Opponent - MIN
FD Proj. Pts - 17.95 DK Proj. Pts - 19.88
Punt of the night, pure and simple. Sub-$4k salary and good run sounds like a sale to me. Don’t let his clunker against the Knicks scare you off – PatPat just didn’t get his touches. There’s no evidence of a trend developing. Minnesota is atrocious against PFs, and he should produce.

This is another stacked position. Any other night would demand full write-ups for Tristan Thompson, Serge Ibaka, and LaMarcus Aldridge, in case you’re wondering why they’re not here.



Zaza Pachulia - FD 5800 DK 5900
Opponent - OKC
FD Proj. Pts - 31.73 DK Proj. Pts - 32.34
I’m almost all-in (that should be an oxymoron, but I don’t think it technically is) on Radio ZaZa tonight. He managed a 4x in 19 minutes against the Sixers. He’s hardly the only one to do that this year. As long as he gets his minutes he’ll generate fantasy production. In OKC he’s up against a solid interior D, but the game should be close, and accordingly the minutes should be there. In addition to being the biggest center value on the board, he’s not terribly expensive (it feels wrong mentioning a certain PG with a mere single syllable, in passing, so I won’t – but if you do happen to find savings somewhere…).

Andre Drummond - FD 8600 DK 8000
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 41.9 DK Proj. Pts - 42.66
Here’s where the “almost all-in” comes from. An opportunity to spend $8k+ and maintain a high floor is not easy to come by. This walking double-double presents one. The Philly caveats are there, but he could get 10 and 10 by the end of the first. If you don’t want to spend up elsewhere (again, I won’t mention any names), this is a viable place to do so.

If you’re looking for a tourney play, consider Timmy D. here.

So yeah, basketball season! And we've got some goodies you can take with you. At the end of the post, we have our NBA eBook that you really ought to check out before setting even a single daily fantasy NBA lineup. It's free, below.



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  • Raul Neto, Deron Williams: (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

35 Visitor Comments

  1. I feel like Whiteside is a must play. The fast pace against the warriors equals a lot of rebounds for the big man. Unless they plan on moving Green to the 5 Whiteside should have his way with the warriors. Sure there is some blowout risk here but who isn’t against the warriors?

    • GS’ pace and Bogut’s defense might reduce Whiteside’s effectiveness tonight. Too much variance for me.

    • I’m only going to play Whiteside in big tournament. No reason to go there on a big slate in 50/50s, if you ask me. Just can’t project his minutes reliably IMO.

  2. Fanduel Mega Slam is tonight. He went over a lot of good names so I will add a few more he did not cover.

    Deandre Jordan vs Denver- He’s really been crashing the boards lately and I can see him having a 20/20 type game here. Throw in a few blocks and your looking at a possible monster night.

    Taj Gibson & Bobby Portis Stack vs Washington – If Pau Gasol don’t play, I can easily see both of these guys having a double double with high upside towards producing more. I also don’t see any blowout risk here either way and as thin as Chicago is up front it won’t matter anyway.

    Demar Derozan vs Twolves- SG looks like by far the weakest position on the slate. Derozan just dropped 35 vs the Wolves a couple weeks ago. If you think Minnesota can keep this one remotely close Derozan should be good for 5x PPD.

    Kentavius Caldwell Pope- Looks like He is back to form after coming back from his injury. A lock to get 35 minutes most likely more blowout or no blowout. His salary is only 5400 so a great bet to go 5x PPD.

    Danny Green @ Kings- I usually Only play DG at home but tonight at the Kings who are terrible at defending the SG position he looks like a solid cheap option. 4500 I can easily see him posting 30+ Fanduel points in what should be a close game.

    • I really like Pope quite a bit.

      I’m not sure a 7 point spread figures to be “close” between the Spurs and Kings necessarily. Green feels too risky, especially if Kawhi comes back and takes shots from everyone.

      Like your Taj & Portis take if Pau is out.

      Our system hates DeRozan. He’s only paid 5x on these prices twice in his last 10 games. I wouldn’t spend up there of all places – generally I don’t spend up at bad positions, I spend down and get safety from low salary.

      DeAndre is a great upside play.

  3. From a basketball fan’s perspective, I’d say certain match ups look good agonist the Warriors. Then the game starts. They’re so unique, and in the regular season teams have little time to prepare for individual opponents. This dynamic is even stronger in inter-conference match ups.

    As an analyst, I’m looking for value, based on salary and projected performance. Most nights, the numbers lead me where they lead me. I still apply my judgment (and biases), but the analytics generally write the story. Tonight, that’s Pachulia, unless you want to spend up to Drummond.

    Whiteside may kick ass and take names, but if you don’t follow a process, in a disciplined way, I’d suggest you will have a hard time being +EV in the long run. If you’re using one and doing that and you’re coming up with Whiteside, great, run him. If it’s a feel thing, and that’s just how you roll, that’s your call too. I just don’t endorse it.

    Good luck tomorrow whichever way you go.

  4. Problem with a lot of these matchups is the bulk of the games could get out of hand. Just always makes it hard to roster guys who might get very little run in the 4th. 7 of the games have 8+ spread and two over 10+. Not to mention you got some teams with some juicy fantasy guys going against not so great teams on back to backs ( Philly and Denver games). If Gasol sits and Leonard plays probably won’t have one spread under 8+. Going to be about getting right guys in the games that go four quarters.

    • This is why I might stretch a bit to get some guys from the Wiz/Bulls game for cash. Not sure yet, though.

  5. Side note, every time I roster Brow and Mudiay they let me down

    • Nvr will I ever pick Davis at that cost or anywhere around that

  6. Punt play of night has to be j Richardson with Heat. At 3100 and as the only back up pg left for the heat and playing against the pace of wizzards, he will get 20-25 minutes tonight. That’s reason to play any heat player tonight actualky. Regardless of blow out possibilities, deng, dragic, Whiteside and Wade are going to have to play minutes they are not accustomed to. God knows they can’t count on am are to

  7. Can you DFSR guys do a video of the new pro tool? I’m using the DFSR projections through another site and wanted to see how it works here.

    • The new video should be live on Friday. Embarrassingly, the computer with my AV software died on Monday right before the launch, so it’s not quite ready just yet.

  8. This is a fantastic website with great analysis, however I think that d rose has been critically under mentioned with jimmy buckets out. D rose has been a chalk play to the tune of 70-85% most small slate nights and at best gets a strongly consider. Now on a big slate like tonight I don’t think it’s a problem. But on those smaller nights it’s certainly been missing. IMO otherwise fantastic work going on here

    • Hey Pete! Thanks for your thoughts. Rose is an interesting case for modeling for a few reasons. Our system knows that JB is out, and it knows that Rose has the ball in his hands a lot more than usual. It’s also taking into account that there is no statistically observable reason that Rose should be shooting 55%+ from the field, like he has since the ASB. There is some narrative about this – they think he’s finally got his sea-legs under him, etc. We try to maintain the integrity of the system overall though by trying not to underrate recent sample size. Still, I do think Rose is a fine play tonight and can definitely see playing him in cash.

  9. When it comes to cash games tonight’s is anyone steering clear of russel with all the great value (reggie/conley/rubio/ and yes even williams) or is russel going to to still be a big play in everyone’s lu?

    • Definitely using Russ in some lineups, but have more that don’t include him than those that do.

    • Mentioned this in the updates thread, but optimal lineup w/Russ is just 1.5 points behind optimal lineup over all. Definitely a cash game consideration.

  10. I’m a bit surprised to see no mention of KAT vs JVal tonight for the center position. It seems like a nice play in both cash and gpp to differentiate given the high ownership and similar pricepoint of Drummond given his penchant to become disinterested in games.

    • Our system likes Towns fine, but we can only write up so many dudes. That said, it might not have been accounting for Towns’ recent usage increase as accurately as it could have. Towns received a slight usage bump, and is now a more attractive play.

  11. I dont know how you can NOT use Russ. He’s pretty much a guarantee for 50-60 points. There are so many value plays tonight, I’ve got him in all of my lineups

  12. Don’t see why CP3 isn’t at the top of the list. I’ve done Draftkings for two years and not once did I use Conley he’s a let down
    Danny green is the best play at SG if Leonard sits
    Next if Jokic terrorized the Kings he can do damage against Jordan. I’m gonna stack him with gortat.

  13. Love the new Stats & Research page for NBA. You think it’s possible to add an “Export” option to this, similar to what you have for the projection tool? Would be a life saver! Thanks as always!

  14. I’m taking a flier on Mike Dunleavy tonight. WAS tired, terrible against SF, his minutes are on the rise the last couple of games, and if Gasol is out, more front court minutes (and WAS likes to play smaller anyway).

  15. Something I read up that is very helpful is creating a value chart system. Picking a target number, say 350, dividing it by Total Dollars, and multiplying that number by how much each player is worrth.

    Ex: 350/60,000 = .005
    .005 * Player Value ( Westbrook – 10,800) = 54

    So basically, to get your moneys worth Westbrook would need to score that.

    Its helped last night except some of the players mentioned from the 2/23 report did not live up to expectations. I’m finding a lot of it is really luck of the draw but if you use a tool like above, you’re more than likely going to hit on something.

    • That’s an interesting way of looking at things for big tournaments, Brian! A lot of times we simply *need* more upside from a guy than he’s capable of producing, and many players simply should never be in a big tournament line-up with a top heavy prize structure for exactly that reason.

  16. If we have learned anything its that the 76ers are the worst team against starting centers and EVERY center knows it! Drummond in most plays today. We should see some earlier in the season production despite the BO concerns.

  17. If you had to choose between these 2 which would you take (the 6 other slots i have I love but can’t decide between these 2 for fanduel cash lineups)

    Westbrook, marcus morris and caldwell-pope
    Lebron, reggie Jackson and etwaun moore/Danny green

    Thanks guys

    • I’m not sold on Morris too tough because Harris is getting plenty burn plus Morris is score driven and not many other stats.

  18. Also does anybody else think Gortat is going to have a monster game against and already banged-up Bulls frontcourt and now gasol is going to be playing either sick with the flu or just getting over it? Almost every center and or power forward seems to be destroying them last month or so

  19. Taking the dieng towns combo i never was a fan of anybody on Memphis .. Plus randle is a great guard
    Only grizzly I might gamble on is Stephenson

  20. As a heat fan and all the off the court antics on Twitter with whiteside I’m considering him cause I know he’s motivated but I’m a little worried about bogus giving him trouble especially when I have the money to take deandre,gasoline,Drummond, or towns instead what do u think ?

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