Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/7/16
Well, we're coming off one of the weirder days in the NBA. An historically great team lost to an historically bad team. Some absolutely huge performances led to lots of 400+ point lineups on a relatively short slate. Just weird. Since this is the NBA, today will probably be weird, too. The big narrative of the day will likely be: Will the Warriors go berserker mode on the poor Magic? Let's break down the top plays.
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Chris Paul - FD 10000 DK 9700
Opponent - DAL
FD Proj. Pts - 46.21 DK Proj. Pts - 48.11
Paul increased on his league leading time of possession per game from 8.7 minutes in January to 9.1 in February. The trend is clear - when Blake is out of the picture, Paul is the entire facilitator of the Clippers' offense. He's got 6 straight games with a double-double, and averaged 6 rebounds during those game as well. He's filling it up right now, and looks like a very safe 50/50 play in a league average match-up with the Mavs. After watching Mudiay get 21 shots in the air against the ailing Deron Williams, it's hard to imagine what Paul can do to him on the 2nd night of a back to back after an overtime game.
Rajon Rondo - FD 8600 DK 8000
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 38.73 DK Proj. Pts - 39.44
Rondo's been averaging 13 assists a game since the All-Star break, and he's locked into 37-40 minutes a game at the moment. He manages to have the 7th highest time of possession per game in spite of sharing the court with two huge ball hogs (Boogie, Rudy Gay), which is really saying something. The Pelicans have allowed the 10th most points per game to opposing point guards, and this has all the makings of high teens assists game for him.
Elfrid Payton - FD 5600 DK 5700
Opponent - GSW
FD Proj. Pts - 27.87 DK Proj. Pts - 28.4
Just because you commenters out there always want the more off-beat plays, here you go. This one just comes down to a straight minutes guess. Payton has put up monster numbers when he gets his full run of 33+ minutes, and the Warriors are still second in the NBA in terms of PACE. If things break right, he could be looking at an up and down game with a lot of transition opportunities, and he's still very cheap. He could also be totally embarrassed, and get pulled in the way only Scott Skiles can. Still, if you're rooting around for a guy that could be in top lineups tonight, he's definitely one to consider.
Also considered: Ricky Rubio.
Zach LaVine - FD 5500 DK 6000
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 27.9 DK Proj. Pts - 29.13
It's a drum I beat all the time, but sometimes the sites are slow to move on guys who move into larger roles. In the case of LaVine, they're moving at a snail's pace. The world's best dunker has paid 5x-6x points per dollar in each of his last 5 games, and the Hornets have been surprisingly bad against opposing shooting guards in spite of playing one of the league's slowest paces. They've allowed the 6th most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season, and the max-effort LaVine should be poised for a monster here.
Nicolas Batum - FD 6500 DK 6800
Opponent - MIN
FD Proj. Pts - 30.96 DK Proj. Pts - 32.93
After an eerie dry spell, Batum has rounded back into form over his last 3 games, including tying his season high with 22 shots against the Pacers on Friday. The Timberwolves have been a tough match-up for opposing shooting guards over the course of the whole season, but they've been awful since LaVine started playing high 30s minutes per game - they've allowed the most points to opposing shooting guards since the All-Star break. Great spot to grab Batum on the upswing.
Wesley Matthews - FD 4400 DK 4900
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 21.21 DK Proj. Pts - 23.92
LeBron James - FD 10100 DK 9600
Opponent - MEM
FD Proj. Pts - 48.05 DK Proj. Pts - 50.04
The highest points per dollar play at the position according to our projection system, and the third most expensive guy on the slate. You know what that means? He'll wind up in a lot of our optimal lineups today. LeBron has been going all out recently - the 13 rebounds he had against the Wizards were a season high, and he followed that up with 11 against the Celtics. He's put up above average assist numbers in those games as well, while maintaining his shots per game total. All of this to say - LeBron's been very active. It's basically a league average match-up, and LeBron is still underpriced relative to other stars. High floor here.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - FD 8700 DK 8200
Opponent - CHI
FD Proj. Pts - 40.49 DK Proj. Pts - 41.73
It's going to be very tough to afford both LeBron and Giannis today, and in the interest of full disclosure, most people are going to go with the Greek Freak. And, well, it kinda makes sense. He's cheaper, and he's been soul-crushing everything in sight. I mean, I dunno, can this guy continue to put up triple doubles every game and be a rich man's Oscar Robertson? It kinda seems like it, right? Well, it's a nice match-up for him - the Bulls have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season, and if Durant couldn't slow him down, there's no way Mike Dunleavy will be able to. Don't mind him in any format.
Kawhi Leonard - FD 8600 DK 8200
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 38.69 DK Proj. Pts - 40.23
Leonard has been on a mission, posting his highest three shot totals of the season in each of the last three games. Paul George is a less than welcome match-up for opposing 3s, and yes, one of those big games was without everyone else on the Spurs playing. Still, if Leonard is going to play this kind of role in the offense, his price is going to continue to climb. Seems like a safe play.
An upside play: Mike Dunleavy! High 20s minutes, and a reasonable match-up. And total basement prices.
Jabari Parker - FD 6000 DK 6500
Opponent - CHI
FD Proj. Pts - 27.7 DK Proj. Pts - 28.64
There's something really special about watching a guy with a pedigree like Parker's inherit the role he was destined to play. Parker is averaging more than 20 shots per game in his last 4 games, and his minutes look as secure as anyone in the game. And he's still $6,000 on FanDuel! He's got upside for 8x points per dollar on these prices, and looks like a high floor play even in a tougher match-up with Gibson and the Bulls.
Taj Gibson - FD 5000 DK 4700
Opponent - MIL
FD Proj. Pts - 26.88 DK Proj. Pts - 27.32
Speak of the devil! Gibson played 38 somewhat uninspiring minutes in his first game back from injury, but the good news here is that it looks like it will be Bobby Portis, and not Gibson, that's losing minutes with Mirotic back in the picture. His ceiling is higher than he's shown recently, but you're really grabbing him here for the hustle stats and the high floor that comes with tons of minutes. The Bucks have also allowed the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards this season, which certainly helps matters.
David Lee - FD 4500 DK 4800
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 25.31 DK Proj. Pts - 25.67
Price and opportunity mismatch alert! Lee put up an 18/12 in 25 minutes against the Nuggets, and while the Clips are definitely a tougher match-up, they're not starting any all-world guys at the power forward positions at the moment. Can a guy at 25 minutes ever be safe? Probably not. But the upside is clearly huge here.
Also considered: LaMarcus Aldridge.
DeMarcus Cousins - FD 10700 DK 10200
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 51.47 DK Proj. Pts - 52.09
Same story with LeBron - huge points per dollar play at a huge salary. I'm honestly not sure how the system will handle this - there's a chance it's going to try and force us to play both. Cousins has been one of the most reliable big money guys all season, and he gains both safety and upside in a match-up where A) the Kings are blessedly unlikely to get blown out, and B) they're facing a team with awful interior defense. The Pelicans have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing centers this season. Boogie might be the must play of the day.
Karl-Anthony Towns - FD 8900 DK 8300
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 42.09 DK Proj. Pts - 42.82
Mr. Upside. Karl-Anthony Towns has performances all over the map, like a lot of young players, and he's been playing a lot better against terrible players. Duh. But for real - his big games recently have come against Brooklyn, the Celtics, and the Pelicans - all bottom 7 teams against the position. The Hornets aren't as bad, but the combination of Al-Jeff and Zeller doesn't scare me. This could be another huge one.
Also considered: Pau Gasol.
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- Joey Dorsey, DeMarcus Cousins: (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)