Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/16/16
Welcome to a busy Wednesday night in the Association. The business has partly to do with the decent-sized slate – nine games. What’s really going to make this a crazy night is the incredible amount of injury uncertainty involved in so many games. Injury status is affecting everybody and everything (injured players, potential replacement players, and rotations in general). You’ll see a couple of reasonably sure things for each position that should be solid regardless of how things break around lineup lock. Some injury-dependent suggestions and punt alternatives will follow most positions. Also, you won’t see any Dubs, as they’re favored by 15 and the blowout risk is just too high. Good luck, and be sure to be around for lineup lock – it’ll be fast and furious.
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If I’m leading off with Collison, you know it’s a strange night. There’s a minor injury issue – he’s getting his run because Ben McLemore is out with a fractured finger. There’s a possibility the latter plays, but very small. We’re projecting Collision for the same court time he’s seen the last several games. He has been producing with the extra court time, displaying a hard 4x floor, exceeding that almost every game, and spiking as high as 9x. With the Kings hosting the Pelicans, there’s not much cause for concern in terms of matchup (low DvP, high Pace). Collison’s prices have certainly come up on both sites, but he’s playing well enough to project for well over 5x. This option is likely to remain in play however other situations work out.
Briante Weber - FD 3500 DK 3300
Opponent - MIN
FD Proj. Pts - 18.79 DK Proj. Pts - 21.56
Unbelievably, things go downhill from Collison… Briante Weber really hasn’t looked ready to run an NBA unit thus far, but he’ll be on the court for the decimated Grizz. He’s starting over McCallum (note that the DFSR system really prefers Weber here), and getting more court time. At these prices, he will almost certainly hit acceptable value. You can safely run him out and expect a score in the high teens. Pocket the cash and invest elsewhere. The only injury-related issue is Lance Stephenson, who, if he plays, may be on the ball quite a bit.
First, I’m always willing to roll with Russ-diculous. The DFSR PP$ number isn’t as high here as some of the possible bargains out there, but those punt plays will be hard to determine. There will also be so many bargain opportunities that you’ll have to spend your cash somewhere. This is as dependable a spot as there is. The matchup is mostly good. The C’s defend PGs really well (#1 DvP), but I think Westbrook is matchup-proof. They also have the 3rd highest Pace in the league, the O/U is above 220, and the game is projected to be tight (low blowout risk).
Ricky Rubio is a possible option if you want relative certainty. As for injury-dependent players, Brandon Jennings is a virtual must on FD and DK if Elfrid Peyton is still out, keep an eye on Toney Douglas if Norris Cole’s doesn’t go.
Victor Oladipo - FD 7000 DK 7400
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 34.79 DK Proj. Pts - 36.41
On a night short on sure things, ‘Dipo is a strong, dependable option. He’s the second highest PP$ option for FD and decent on DK (higher price drives him down a bit). Victor is also putting up another solid stat line as I’m typing. He has retained a high floor and ceiling even at current prices. If you don’t want to go with a punt option here, this is a solid opportunity to use some salary. My only concern is some blowout risk with Charlotte playing so well lately (the line’s still in single digits, but just barely).
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - FD 5200 DK 5300
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 24.44 DK Proj. Pts - 26.74
KCP is a nice value proposition everywhere. He’ll get his minutes and his shots, he has a pretty solid 4x floor, and went off for an 8x two games ago. The game won’t be fast, but it should be close, and the Hawks are well below average in DvP on the shooting guard position. Again, bargains will emerge, but this will be a solid play regardless of late-breaking developments.
As far as other options, the system loves Wes Matthews (I won’t personally endorse him – definitely avoid him in cash games) as the highest PP$ option on FD and DK. Additionally, the projections look good on both sites for J.R. Smith (also streaky). Randy Foye is a pure punt option for DK only. On the MASH front, don’t overlook E’Twaun Moore if Rose remains out.
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Kevin Durant - FD 10300 DK 10300
Opponent - BOS
FD Proj. Pts - 49.5 DK Proj. Pts - 52.49
KD is the epitome of safe options, scarce tonight, and always crucial for high-dollar targets. The DFSR numbers show a really high floor and more upside than you typically see for an elite player. On a night where you almost have to go studs-n-duds, he is one of the prime alternatives for the former (only the Brow has a higher projected PP$ among top-end options). Where the Celtics excel at DvP on point guards, they’re very much below average against small forwards. I covered the rest of the matchup (good news) above.
Rudy Gay - FD 6200 DK 6200
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 30.01 DK Proj. Pts - 31.29
Evan Fournier - FD 5600 DK 5900
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 26.98 DK Proj. Pts - 29.79
These guys are mirror images in terms PP$ projections, both among the best at the 3, and neither’s value is injury-dependent. Recommending Gay may seem weird coming off two awful performances, but those were driven by poor shooting. I generally advise that you not let short-term swings scare you off (he’s over 47% from the floor on the season). The projections are high floor/high ceiling and he’s playing some hodgepodge of players who will have the word “Pelicans” on the front of their jerseys. Fournier is Fournier. Double-digit shots every night, tons of minutes when the Magic aren’t being blown out of the building, and you just saw his absolute floor a couple of nights ago. I think you can start either of these guys with confidence if you don’t like the punt or late-breaking options.
Speaking of said options… If Pau Gasol sits again, you literally have no choice but to play Nikola Mirotic, all sites, all games. Also, Luke Babbit has seen a ton of minutes the last couple of games and is a strong punt play on FD and DK.
Tobias Harris - FD 5800 DK 6100
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 30.53 DK Proj. Pts - 32.18
The only reason Harris saw his usual mid-to-high-30’s minutes buzzed last time out is because the Pistons were massacred by 40 at the Wizards. SVG still loves him, and he simply churns out 5x value (or more) every night. The Hawks are bottom-3rd DvP against PFs, the game’s at pick ‘em, and I can’t think of a safer play than this. He’s also at the top of the board in terms of PP$ value. See below for the only real (potential) alternative on DK.
Kevin Love - FD 6700 DK 6900
Opponent - DAL
FD Proj. Pts - 34.24 DK Proj. Pts - 36.73
I hate Kevin Love. He seems like a decent enough guy, it’s just that he barely puts up a 4x every time I play him and pops over 6x when I don’t. The DFSR system really likes him Wednesday on DK and FD. The Mavs are 26th in DvP on power forwards. He’s good for 30+ minutes when the game’s not out of hand, but therein lies the problem. The Cavs are favored by 9 ½ (read: blowout risk). If you like him to get his minutes, his salary is reasonable and he definitely has upside. On a night without lots of certainty, you could do a lot worse.
Anthony Davis - FD 10100 DK 10000
Opponent - SAC
FD Proj. Pts - 51.05 DK Proj. Pts - 51.83
There’s nights with uncertainty, then there’s (sometimes) walking uncertainty. The Glass Brow has been healthy and playing fine lately. He’s the top elite ($10K+) option on a PP$ basis on both DK and FD. There’s not much game-specific risk here, just Brow Risk. If you’re willing to run him, tonight is a very good time. I personally reserve him mainly for tournaments just because he is who he is, but he’s a viable cash game play too if you’re not subject to the same bias.
On the injury front, if Gasol remains out, then you have to play Taj Gibson. Same as Mirotic – too much value to leave on the board. Find other ways to differentiate your lineups for tourneys. Bobby Portis, for example, for the not-faint-of-heart.
Al Horford - FD 7000 DK 6500
Opponent - DET
FD Proj. Pts - 35.65 DK Proj. Pts - 36.27
This is one position that has a clear-cut front runner in Al Horford. He’s far and away the best PP$ option on DK and FD, no matter what injury developments may occur. He’s also reasonably priced for a very good player, so you can lock up your center without spending too little or too much (just right). If you look at certain gauges (such as DvP) and the matchup (he’ll be battling Andre Drummond on the boards), you could make an argument to look elsewhere. Nonetheless, the DFSR system says this is the place to go, and that’s what I’m planning to do.
Andre Drummond - FD 7900 DK 7800
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 38.96 DK Proj. Pts - 39.68
Speaking of Drummond, if you want to spend up a little, he’s next in line behind Horford on a PP$ basis. The DvP scenario is actually much better (perhaps an example of the limitations of DvP, though it’s generally a very useful metric) as the Hawks are 26th defending centers (compared to the Pistons 13th-ranked DvP). Most nights, this would be the go-to option, and if you prefer a walking double-double or the salary doesn’t quite fit right, going with Andre is a very reasonable alternative.
DeMarcus Cousins - FD 11100 DK 10600
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 53.06 DK Proj. Pts - 53.7
And finally, right up there with Drummond, if you want or need to spend really high at Center, Boogie is a fine choice. The team matchup has been covered (+220 O/U, high Pace, low spread), and while there’s always plenty to say about the Big Fella’, there’s not much from a DFS perspective to add. If you’re on the West Coast or staying up later, it’s always fun to watch Cousins rack up numbers for your team.
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- Kevin Durant: AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki