Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/19/16
It's a late night here in DFSR land. Doug Norrie, my co-founder, is off in San Diego trying to take down the million dollar prize at the fantasy basketball world championship, and I'm here updating minutes and writing the picks. Not bitter! Doug ran the DraftKings optimal line-up tonight, and got creamed by Glass Davis taking yet another early exit. In a 100 person tournament you've got to focus on upside over safety, and Davis proved why he's not priced among the elite stars. Le' Sigh. We had Boogie at .06 points worse, and a swap there would have Doug sitting in 14th place overall - but that's DFS! If I know him, he'll be back to work tonight, ready to put in more lineups and get back to it. Let's see what the Saturday landscape looks like.
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Tony Parker - FD 5100 DK 4500
Opponent - GSW
FD Proj. Pts - 26.01 DK Proj. Pts - 26.74
I don't believe I've recommended Tony Parker a single time this season, partially because I always seem to write when the Spurs are guaranteed to win by a million. Well, tonight the one team that can give them a hard time at home - those pesky Golden State Warriors. This can only mean good things for Parker, who should be a favorite to play the upper end of his minutes (low 30s) against the league's 2nd fastest team. Parker is this cheap precisely because his minutes are so erratic, but he's paid 8x+ points per dollar in 2 of his last 4 games, and this should be one of his better ones.
Russell Westbrook - FD 10600 DK 10500
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 52.32 DK Proj. Pts - 54.22
It's now been 3 games since Russ has had to play his full slate of minutes, so I'd suspect he's all systems go even on the 2nd half of a back to back here. Westbrook systematically dismantled the Sixers in every phase of the game on Friday, putting up a ridiculous 20/15/10 in just 32 minutes. The Pacers are basically a league average match-up for opposing point guards, so I'm going to get on him while his price is still a little bit depressed due to his recent minutes lull.
Patrick Beverley - FD 4900 DK 4700
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 23.85 DK Proj. Pts - 26.39
Beverley was one of our prize calls on Friday. Doug played him as an 8% start in the fantasy basketball world championship, and the 18/5/10 line he put up in the winning overall lineup. So why were we on Beverley? It's simple - his minutes had been down due to a series of bizarre circumstances, and his true minutes with Lawson out of the picture are around the 36 he played against the Wolves. If that's going to be his new rotation, we're simply looking at a price/opportunity mismatch. Beverley is probably underpriced by about 10%, and while I don't think he'll frequently flash the upside he had against Minnesota, he looks like a very safe double-up play tonight.
Also considered: Not sleeping on Steph tonight. He rarely gets the chance to play up to any competition, and our projection system likes him at 37 minutes. If he decides to put his stamp on this one above and beyond, he could wind up being the top big money play.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - FD 5300 DK 5700
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 25.01 DK Proj. Pts - 27.59
KCP has gone from "best kept secret" to "worst kept secret" in a short week, much to the chagrin of our lineup optimizer, which had been waiting for this breakout for some time. What's been going on with the Pistons shooting guard? Well, he's the perfect recipe for high floor and high upside. He's playing 8% more minutes than he has throughout the year, and he's shooting more times per minute in spite of playing more minutes. More shots means more points - makes sense, yeah? And tonight, he has a phenomenal match-up. The Nets have allowed the 6th most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season, and the very most in their last 10 games. KCP is a great play on FanDuel or DraftKings.
James Harden - FD 10300 DK 10400
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 48.42 DK Proj. Pts - 51.08
Early returns on running the lineup optimizer have us spending up at point guard for Westbrook and shooting guard for Harden, so it seems prudent to include him in the picks here. Harden has burbled along as one of the very safest big money players all season, which makes sense, considering that not a thing happens within the Houston offense that he doesn't have a hand in. And, like Beverley above, Harden's price has slowly dipped on account of an unusual string of Rockets blowouts. Houston would like to play Harden 38-42 minutes per game, and a close game with the Hawks should give him the opportunity to do just that. It's weird to call a $10,000+ player a value play, but that's what we're looking at, here. Oh, and Kyle Korver should be hopeless to stop him.
Tony Allen - FD 4600 DK 4600
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 24.06 DK Proj. Pts - 24.6
The Grizz seem to have come to their senses and remembered that Tony is their one plus defender Gasol, Z-Bo, and Conley sidelined, and he's played 33-34 minutes in each of the last 2 games. Allen's offensive game leaves a lot to be desired, but his max-effort style should easily be worth the projected total we have for him here. The Clippers have stingy against opposing shooting guards overall this season, but that's why it's so important to break down a position on a stat-based level. Allen gets a lot more of his fantasy points from non-scoring categories than most SGs, making him a fine play here in spite of the Clips' overall DvP ranking.
Also considered: Klay Thompson, for much the same reason we considered Curry. The one potential fly in his ointment is if Leonard chases him around at all, which could cause him serious problems. But he should be a part of any attempted Spurs/Dubs stacks.
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Otto Porter - FD 4800 DK 4900
Opponent - NYK
FD Proj. Pts - 24.4 DK Proj. Pts - 25.27
With Beal looking doubtful for this game, it sure looks like we'll get the healthy 33-36 minute dose of Otto Porter Jr. that we're once again becoming accustomed to. Recently, that's meant paying 5x-7x in each of his last 4 games while flashing a great 3 point stroke and solid across-the-board contributions. He cost about $6k in this role earlier this season, so taking him at a 20% discount seems like a fairly easy decision in 50/50s in particular. Throw in a little indifferent defense from Carmelo, and he might have some upside to spare here.
Marcus Morris - FD 5200 DK 5100
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 25.72 DK Proj. Pts - 27.91
It looked like Morris was going to be the play of the night on Friday, as he went off for nearly 30 fantasy points in the first half against the Kings. And then he... did nothing at all in the 2nd half. But! He still paid 6x+ points per dollar, and not a whole lot has changed for him from one night to the next. Morris has shown that it really just comes down to the minutes for him. If he plays his normal high 30s minutes, he's a high floor high ceiling guy. If the Pistons are involved in a blowout, he'll hurt but not kill you. This might be a blowout with the Nets, for sure, but it's a good enough match-up that I'm willing to weather the risk.
Michael Beasley - FD 4100 DK 4400
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 26.69 DK Proj. Pts - 27.93
Just have to include him here because he's such a sexy punt option. Beasley has been a points per minute animal since joining the Rockets, finally seeming to cash in on the natural talent that made him the 2nd overall pick in the draft so many years ago. His rebounding has been off the charts, and that's led to a lot of easy buckets and a greater involvement in the offense than he may have had otherwise. But, frankly, it all looks sustainable, and it's allowing Houston to give Ariza some much needed rest. I'm not sure he's totally "safe" just yet, but the upside here is undeniable.
Derrick Favors - FD 7400 DK 7300
Opponent - CHI
FD Proj. Pts - 36.21 DK Proj. Pts - 36.67
Taj Gibson - FD 5100 DK 5100
Opponent - UTA
FD Proj. Pts - 24.64 DK Proj. Pts - 25.06
I've decided I'm going to do groups of players at power forward today, largely just because it's late and I feel like it. And frankly, I'm recommending them for almost totally different reasons. Gibson is a straight value play. He's underpriced with Gasol out of the picture, and his price will certainly rise once the Bulls play a game where he actually plays a full run of minutes. Favors, on the other hand, should benefit greatly from the Bulls present lack of big-man depth (which seems crazy considering where they started the season). The Bulls have allowed the 4th most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards in their last 10 games, and Favors should be their toughest power forward match-up by far in that stretch. Both of these fine young men have huge upside here.
JaMychal Green - FD 6000 DK 5700
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 29.42 DK Proj. Pts - 29.87
Tobias Harris - FD 6000 DK 6400
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 29.59 DK Proj. Pts - 31.18
And I pair these two together because they're pretty much the same price and have similar projections. Harris is clearly the safer of the two, if only because Memphis will have blowout risk in basically every game they play as currently constructed. But JaMychal Green has shown true stat-stuffing upside when things break right, and the Clippers have big-man depth problems of their own. Still, Harris' better match-up and more attractive DraftKings price swings the pendulum in his favor for me, making JaMychal more of a tournament play than anything else.
Robin Lopez - FD 5600 DK 5400
Opponent - WAS
FD Proj. Pts - 28.47 DK Proj. Pts - 28.97
Robin Lopez has quietly turned into a cult hero in both New York City and in daily fantasy hoops circles. And the beautiful thing is, we can keep paying him on account of his price staying affordable for us. There's good reason for that, of course - he completely disappeared against the Warriors - but he also paid off 5+ points per dollar in 5 of his previous 6 games before that, including a monster 45 fantasy point outburst in a tough match-up with DeAndre Jordan. Marcin Gortat is no slouch, but Lopez is a solid enough value play that the fast pace of the game should make up for Gortat's strong interior presence.
Andre Drummond - FD 7900 DK 8000
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 40.9 DK Proj. Pts - 41.66
Another guy who just hasn't been able to get his full run of minutes due to weird situations, Drummond tops our center projections today on the back of a top 5 match-up with the Nets and a depressed price the result of him not playing a normal game script in the last week and a half. If the things are going as planned, Drummond will normally play about 34 minutes. That's what we have him projected for here. He should be able to abuse the softish Lopez down low, and I'd be satisfied to have him in any format.
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