Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/4/16
Writing this while also watching Anthony Davis head the locker room with a bloody lip. Now in his defense, it's really bloody. But man I don't know what to make of this guy. Some people are quick to call the guy soft and I get it. Though the vitriol is much more pronounced with the advent of DFS where each one of his nicks and bruises is magnified to the nth degree. That being said, this dude misses more time in increasingly unlucky and crazy ways. I hope it's just running bad and he's able to put together a long stretch of productivity. But at this point we are just waiting for the downside.
Anyway, Friday is here and that means a huge slate of games. The pricing is very soft on this slate with no player over 10K on either site. That's going to make for some interesting lineups.
If you want to grab a free trial of the winning projections that inform each and every one of these picks, check out our NBA Optimal Lineups, Projections, Player Cards and Google Chrome extension that auto-populates your lineups into FanDuel. While the seasons overlap, you'll get access to our tools for the NBA and NHL (and MLB when the time comes)! Get started for free by clicking the button below.
First time with NBA? Be sure to read our free NBA Ebook on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.
A quick heads up - we post an updates article every day in the early afternoon, EST, to catch everyone up on how things are changing as a result of whatever news has come through. We also have great talks in the comments of that article. Hope to see you there!
We've also launched a Stats and Research Page, which includes a lot of the individual statistics that we use to make our projections. It's free! Enjoy,
Ricky Rubio - FD 6700 DK 6200
Opponent - MIL
FD Proj. Pts - 35.04 DK Proj. Pts - 36.04
I get that Rubio's a bit tough to stomach in cash games because of his lack of scoring. He needs a lot to go right from the game flow and his teammates in order to hit value. And he doesn't have a super high ceiling because he's not a good shooter. But I think the floor is there especially if he's running minutes in the mid 30's. I think our system's a bit higher on him than others but he's hit just around 5x on this salary 4 of the last 6 games and doesn't project to crush your safety.
Isaiah Canaan - FD 3700 DK 3900
Opponent - MIA
FD Proj. Pts - 20.08 DK Proj. Pts - 23
Jerryd Bayless - FD 4300 DK 4600
Opponent - MIN
FD Proj. Pts - 23.13 DK Proj. Pts - 24.13
Couple of cheap options at the one position I think you can really consider going in the low tier on a light salary night. Because there aren't many big money players to spend up you won't need to go realy cheap. But Bayless and Canaan have great opportunities for their respective teams. Bayless has seen minutes thanks to MCW's absence and worked the second unit point guard duties into crunch time. Mayo may start, Bayless closes.
Meanwhile, Canaan's been starting at the two and seeing a ton of looks. Over his last three games he's putting up double digit shot attempts and averaging close to nine three point attempts per contest. I don't love the matchup against the Heat here but Canaan's price isn't close to his projected 33 minutes.
D'Angelo Russell - FD 6000 DK 6300
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 28.35 DK Proj. Pts - 30.22
Russell's really turned it on of late since entering the starting lineup and could be in line for huge run tonight. The Lakers' backcourt is banged up with Williams out, Clarkson questionable and Kobe only playing 11 minutes last game. If the stars align you could see Russell out there for close to 40. If that's the case then he's an easy cash game play.
Zach LaVine - FD 5300 DK 5600
Opponent - MIL
FD Proj. Pts - 27.44 DK Proj. Pts - 28.65
Even with the flip-flopping of Lavine in and out of the starting lineup it hasn't effected his minutes even in the slightest. In fact, dude's been out there for huge stretches over the last few games, averaging 39 minutes with a 19/5/2 line in that time. For a sometimes-PG he doesn't buoy his stats with assists, but makes up for it in scoring and rebounding. I don't think the price on FanDuel has caught up to his minutes. It's a little closer on DraftKings.
Victor Oladipo - FD 6600 DK 7100
Opponent - PHX
FD Proj. Pts - 34.09 DK Proj. Pts - 35.66
The Suns are just horrible. They're getting blitzed by everyone lately and have been turnstiles on defense. Outside of a buzz off in minutes against Dallas, Dipo's been looking at run in the mid 30's and should be good to go tonight especially if Fournier sits again. In a fast-paced game look for Oladipo's shot volume to creep back up into the mid-teens, all he needs in order to score in bunches. This is just the kind of projected game pace to take Oladipo and his price has flattened thanks to the erratic recent performance.
Devin Booker - FD 4700 DK 4500
Opponent - ORL
FD Proj. Pts - 23.57 DK Proj. Pts - 26.57
Speaking of a game I probably won't watch. Booker is one of two guys the Suns seem committed to playing bigger minutes in order to get them valuable game experience (Len is the other). And sure the Suns are in full tank mode, so why not just play some of these young guys. If you think Booker is going to see minutes in the high thirties then he's a solid play. Needs the shot to drop as he's very scoring dependent, but I also think he's a bit immune to blowouts at this point.
Nicolas Batum - FD 6200 DK 6600
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 30.78 DK Proj. Pts - 32.88
Strongly consider Batum who may just end up in lineups because of the soft pricing on the day.
LeBron James - FD 9800 DK 9600
Opponent - WAS
FD Proj. Pts - 48.94 DK Proj. Pts - 51.1
Since so many of the big boys played last night there is an absence of big money guys you can trust on this slate. That's going to make is a Lebron-everywhere kind of night for the Dougster (wife loves when I call myself that). Washington's getting shredded by just about every position this season, especially small forward. Now I know Lebron doesn't fit into any kind of traditional mold there, so it's fine enough to just look at Washington's defensive inefficiency and project the King for more-than-typical production. There are no players over 10K on FanDuel or DraftKings today. That's very rare for such a big slate which will make Lebron a huge cash game start. It's just too easy to fit his salary and I wouldn't look to fade this matchup.
Paul George - FD 8500 DK 8100
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 40.73 DK Proj. Pts - 43.27
I see George as somewhat of a necessarily today. Among the bigger salary guys he is projected for the fourth most raw points overall at a position that doesn't have a ton of value popping off the page. George is tough to trust as his shooting performances have varied wildly over the short term. If he's struggling from the field then you could be in trouble with him. But since you are getting good points/$ projections at the other positions and SF is a bit thin after Lebron, I think you can consider stacking these two (on FD) and rounding out your lineups with cheaper options elsewhere.
Kent Bazemore - FD 4800 DK 5300
Opponent - LAL
FD Proj. Pts - 24.57 DK Proj. Pts - 26.05
If you do decide to go cheaper then grabbing the Baze on a mid tier salary against the Lakers has a nice ring to it, especially if you make your contractual-obligate "Baze" play on words. His minutes trended up in the right direction in the last couple of games and he's been able to add the scoring/rebounding punch that raises his floors. The Lakers are, of course, the worst. Some blowout risk here, but Bazemore's floor is high in a fast-paced game.
Consider Robert Covington
Kevin Love - FD 7000 DK 7000
Opponent - WAS
FD Proj. Pts - 36.25 DK Proj. Pts - 38.83
I have no problem stacking Love and James on this slate with them facing the fifth fastest team in the league who've been just about below average against power forwards this season. Love's seen some up and down performances of late thanks to both some erratic shooting and variable minutes in blowouts. But I love the shot volume he's seeing per minute as the Cavs under Coach Lue are working the ball more in his direction (especially early in the game). If Washington can just keep this one within reach then Love and LBJ are easy cash game plays.
Thaddeus Young - FD 7100 DK 6900
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 34.93 DK Proj. Pts - 36.29
I love Thad on this slate against Denver. In what's become a yearly tradition, the Nuggets are horrible against opposing power forwards and have very little in the way of interior size of defense. That's just the kind of matchup for Young who isn't much of a bruiser. He's better in the open court and some one-on-one isolations. He's close to a double-double projection and his knack for heavy defensive counting stat games gives him upside in this matchup.
Markieff Morris - FD 5200 DK 5400
Opponent - CLE
FD Proj. Pts - 25.23 DK Proj. Pts - 26.09
I still think you can take a chance on him in a tournament. Thought he was a solid cash game play the other night, but early foul trouble destroyed his projected minutes. He still sticks with me as a guy to throw out there in tournaments in the event the Wiz start him and think they can keep him out there for long stretches if the Cavs go smaller.
Consider Ed Davis
Alex Len - FD 5300 DK 5700
Opponent - ORL
FD Proj. Pts - 29.84 DK Proj. Pts - 30.37
Here's to hoping Earl Watson sticks to his word and keeps Len's minutes in the upper register. The Suns haven't been concerned with blowouts lately and he's played Len big time run over the last three. If it continues Len is a mid 6K-low 7K player. That means we are still very much buying low. At a 33 minutes projection he's the highest projected pts/$ play on the slate and a must start in cash games. It's made even easier because there isn't much in the way of top end value coming out of center. Make this an easy call.
I'm hesitant to really recommend anyone beyond Len simply because I think he's close to a must start if you think his role and run is relatively unchanged. But if you want to spend up here I'll go bullet list the other considerations with a plus and minus for each.
Plus: Can score in bunches and the minutes top out from time to time
Minus: He's real expensive
Plus: Huge upside
Minus: Coming off bench plus threat of blowout make him too risky for cash games at this price.
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.