Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 2/28/16
Sunday, Sunday, Someday! A little double-slate today, but I'm going to focus mostly on the late slate since that's what the super-majority of you will be playing. After a truly wild Saturday slate, this one is quite a bit more subdued. I mean, Damian Lillard is the most expensive guy on a 5 game slate. That's... kinda boring. But! Boring can be where our bread gets buttered. So, let's get buttering. Or something.
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Ricky Rubio - FD 6900 DK 6400
Opponent - DAL
FD Proj. Pts - 34.85 DK Proj. Pts - 35.87
The top guy at the position from a points per dollar basis, and it's not even close. On DraftKings in particular. What's going on with Rubio? Well, he's got to be one of the only guys who can average 5 shots per game over a 3 game stretch but also top 35+ fantasy points in each of those games. So what's up? Well, the Wolves are finally trusting Rubio to simply run the offense on every possession. To great effect! He's averaged better than 12.5 assists per game during that stretch. Dallas is a league average match-up under normal circumstances, but they've been playing a ton of overtime games in a short stretch, so I like Rubio to carve up their fatigued defense.
Goran Dragic - FD 6300 DK 6400
Opponent - NYK
FD Proj. Pts - 28.47 DK Proj. Pts - 29.93
Dragic has frankly been great recently, thanks to all of the injury troubles plaguing the Heat. While some of that is unsustainable (Dwyane Wade should play more than he has), Bosh's absence still leaves a lot of room in the offense for everyone. In this game, Jose Calderon will the primary man tasked with chasing Dragic around. Which is to say - this is a nice spot for Dragic. The Knicks play slow, but their defensive disinterest should make it another nice spot to deploy Goran.
Reggie Jackson - FD 6700 DK 6900
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 31.65 DK Proj. Pts - 32.79
A DFSR classic this season for whatever reason. I think Jackson's price remains depressed because he just doesn't play a lot of minutes. But what he does play is consistent minutes, and he has consistent production as well. You see, Jackson is 2nd in the league in drives per minute this season (thanks, SportVU data), which tells us a few things. First of all, the ball has to be in his hands a lot. Second, he's involved in a lot of high impact situations. Drives often end in a shot attempt or assist attempt. Toronto is a bad match-up for point guards, but on a short slate, I think he's a solid 50/50 play if you have this much money to spend.
Early slate special: Kyrie as an against the grain bounce back candidate in a nice match-up with the fast paced Wiz.
Dwyane Wade - FD 7500 DK 7000
Opponent - NYK
FD Proj. Pts - 36.33 DK Proj. Pts - 36.86
I nodded to this in Dragic's write-up, but Wade has been the real beneficiary of Bosh's absence. He's averaged 20 shots a game since Bosh went down, as opposed to the 16 he was averaging to that point. And his price is basically stagnant. This is a tremendous buying opportunity - the rare chance we get to get a bigger money guy with a price/opportunity mismatch. The match-up is sort of neither here nor there, as the Knicks have been league average against the position this season. High floor with lots of upside to boot.
Victor Oladipo - FD 6800 DK 7100
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 34.07 DK Proj. Pts - 35.63
Evan Fournier - FD 5400 DK 6000
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 26.17 DK Proj. Pts - 28.89
I got burned by this combo the last time around, but that makes it a nice buying opportunity from where I'm sitting. Skiles did his classic "sit the starters while I pout" thing, which I guess is now officially a risk we need to keep our eyes out for. But on a short slate, I'm not sure we can be so picky. What we know otherwise is that Dipo and Fournier were playing a lot of minutes and jacking a lot of shots after Tobias Harris left town, and I don't see why that shouldn't continue here. The Magic stink, but it stands to reason that even they would have a tough time getting blown out by Philadelphia. Looks good in any format for me.
If he starts again, Zach LaVine is a great play. But, the Wolves are insane, and it might be Tayshaun Prince again. Wait until you get confirmation there for cash games, but his minutes have been relatively consistent regardless. Eyes peeled, here.
Also considered for the early slate: JR Smith.
Paul George - FD 9000 DK 8700
Opponent - POR
FD Proj. Pts - 39.89 DK Proj. Pts - 42.4
You're going to have to spend up somewhere today, and my gut's telling me that it's likely going to be at the small forward position. In fact, if you just want to go by recent game log, George looks like the best play at the position, and possibly the slate. He's been shooting a TON since the all-star break, averaging 24.5 shots per game in his last 3 contests. Normally I'd consider this as potentially statistical noise, but teams often do intentionally re-calibrate during their mid-season week off. So, what you're seeing here is a combination of steady minutes and increased usage on those minutes. Great value at a good price tag.
Tobias Harris - FD 5900 DK 6400
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 28.59 DK Proj. Pts - 30.09
Harris is playing vintage 35 minutes a game Tobias Harris right now, only his price is left in his recent Orlando-minutes limbo. He's averaged nearly 5x points per dollar on these prices since joining the Pistons, and I believe he's something like 10% under-priced at these numbers. Keep in mind that his minutes haven't had a chance to normalize in Detriot just yet, and his 'normal' game script looks like a 35 minute rotation rather than the 32.5 he's played so far. Price/opportunity mismatch, even in a tough spot with the Raptors.
Carmelo Anthony - FD 9000 DK 8400
Opponent - MIA
FD Proj. Pts - 40.74 DK Proj. Pts - 42.75
Another potential spot you could spend up happily today. Melo's another guy who's playing a more active role in a change of scenery, even if his change in scenery is just a different ex-Phil Jackson player ineptly calling the shots from the bench. Still, he's playing high 30s minutes per game and shooting 20+ times per game, and the performance has followed. And he's even been running bad from the field! I love how he's rebounding, too - he's averaged double digit rebounds in his last 6 contests. I think Melo is one of the safest plays going in a league average match-up with the Heat.
Gorgui Dieng - FD 6500 DK 6800
Opponent - DAL
FD Proj. Pts - 32.72 DK Proj. Pts - 33.23
Of all the things I love in this world, Gorgui's continuing under-priced status might be first. Okay, maybe after my kids. And buffalo-chicken pizza. Where was I? Ah yes, Dieng. He remains absurdly priced largely for 1 reason - a bad game against the Knicks. This did two things - it burned his owners that night (and signaled to the sites that he was an unstable play), and then dramatically decreased his ownership the following night (thus signaling to the sites that he didn't need a price increase). Meanwhile, he's paid 6x+ points per dollar in 4 of his last 7 games, and 5x+ points per dollar in 2 of those. And one bad game. He plays huge minutes, and is a feature part of their team right now. The Mavs are a slightly above average match-up, but this one really comes down to his depressed price.
Kristaps Porzingis - FD 6400 DK 6600
Opponent - MIA
FD Proj. Pts - 33.44 DK Proj. Pts - 34.52
Meanwhile, Porzingis looks like the heir apparent to Dieng's under-owned status. It's funny - his ownership is likewise depressed by a few outlier stinkers (though more than Dieng - he is definitely not as safe), but I think it's also depressed by something very strange. The regulatory environment and how it's effected DFS in New York. I digress. Rambis clearly either loves Porzingis or has been instructed to play him 33+ minutes wherever possible, and that should definitely be a possibility against the under-sized Heat. He's a fantasy point per minute guy for his short career, and that continues tonight. Super safe, with upside.
Patrick Patterson - FD 3500 DK 3800
Opponent - DET
FD Proj. Pts - 17.61 DK Proj. Pts - 19.53
Exactly the type of cheap guy that frees up a lot of money elsewhere if no traditional punt plays are available tonight. Patterson has been playing a wealth of minutes recently, and hasn't been really doing much with them. Not that inspiring, right? Except for the fact that he's so damned cheap, and the big minutes on a base salary make him necessarily a high-floor guy. Probably not a guy that will win you a big tournament, but I can't blame you for slotting him in if you love the guys you have at every other spot.
Andre Drummond - FD 8500 DK 8200
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 41.28 DK Proj. Pts - 42.03
The big man has been a little bit under-owned recently, and has quietly returned to DFS reliability. Here's a fun stat for you - Andre Drummond has had 13 or more rebounds in every game in the month of February (as of this writing). There is only one player in the league (besides Drummond) who has averaged better than 13 rebounds per game this season. That's pretty damned awesome. I just love this match-up against Jonas Valancunias as well. JV is an offense-first center who doesn't like to contest shots or rebounds, giving this one all the makings of one of those monster Drummond games.
Ian Mahinmi - FD 5000 DK 5000
Opponent - POR
FD Proj. Pts - 23.93 DK Proj. Pts - 24.36
Quietly been super safe on these prices recently. He came back into his full starters minutes (after returning from injury) 5 games ago, and since then he's been 5x+ points per dollar in 4 of those, including one 8x monster in a tough match-up with the Thunder. Portland has allowed the 8th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers this season, which is one of the rare actual good match-ups on the slate today. Love Mahinmi in any format. Love him!
Also considered: A lot of cool upside plays today - Whiteside, Vucevic, etc. Neither has been reliable from a minutes perspective, though, so I'll probably just stick with the guys above.
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