Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Ben Shushan

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/31/16

Short(er)-Slate Thursday – my favorite night, for some odd reason. There are six games on tap, up from the usual 4 on the typical unofficial start of the weekend (for those of you still in school or young enough to have those). Regardless, it’s a small number of games. I think one of the reasons I like shorter slates is there are fewer opportunities to screw up. When you do, though, it has a much bigger impact. They’re not actually less risky, they just feel that way. Anyway… There’s no line on two of the six games, and only a couple with higher O/Us. You’d think it’d be a pretty tricky night for DFS picks, but several positions are pretty locked down (especially for cash games). As always, review these, and check back tomorrow…

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Shane LarkinShane Larkin - FD 3900 DK 4100
Opponent - CLE
FD Proj. Pts - 21.86 DK Proj. Pts - 22.99
Fair warning: this will not be pretty. Think train wreck – you know you should look away because it’s going to be ugly, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it. After blowing Tuesday’s game, I suspect LBJ will be back in the lineup and the Cavs will be motivated. Still, the Nets will be in the gym, someone has to man the point for them, and it’ll be Larkin. That means passing (maybe even assists), shooting (maybe some will go through the hoop), defending (could pick Kyrie’s pocket, who does have a propensity to play a little loose some nights), and generally the opportunity for fantasy production. That’s good in DFS. At his price, he has a very high floor and lots of upside (think 8x – just don’t count on it). Pretty nice play, especially on FD where you need 2 PGs and exactly 2 stand out.

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook - FD 10600 DK 10500
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 58.37 DK Proj. Pts - 60.22
I love it when I get to recommend Russ and it’s not just because he’s Russ. The DFSR system likes him for a 4.5x _floor_. At this salary, that, well, Russ-diculous. The Pace will be high, the Clips DvP on PGs is average, and the O/U is in the mid-210’s. Did I mention it’s Russ? On FD, save some cash on Larkin, spend it on Westbrook. On DK, just spend the money on Russ. He’s the top PP$ option at PG.

Elfrid PaytonElfrid Payton - FD 5900 DK 5900
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 28.81 DK Proj. Pts - 29.32
Because we give you three picks a night. Seriously, the drop-off in projection from the other two guys is huge, but on most nights Elfrid would be a very solid play, priced in between Larkin and Westbrook. His salary is up 20% in a week, and even at here he’d have done no worse than 5x. The game log is pretty (not pretty good, just pretty). The matchup isn’t bad in terms of Pace or DvP. Honestly, I think you have to look at the lack of a line on the game, conclude the game’s not only hard for Vegas to predict, but also the good folks at DFSR, and so they’ve discounted him some. If I need the right salary for lineup construction, I won’t hesitate to plug him in, and he’s definitely on the tournament radar.

Consider Austin Rivers even though he stinks

DFSR 705x90


James HardenJames Harden - FD 10900 DK 10600
Opponent - CHI
FD Proj. Pts - 53.21 DK Proj. Pts - 55.97
If you haven’t thrown all your money elsewhere, the Beard is a pretty good place to do so. You are reading the numbers right (if you actually read them), he’s _projected_ for over 5x on DK. In this price tier, that’s nearly unheard of. The Bulls aren’t a particularly good or bad matchup – above-average in both Pace and DvP. The rotations are a little uncertain, but Harden’s touches really don’t depend on the opposing 5 guys. He cooled off a little last game, having previously put up a 6x, a 7x, and a 5.5x. You can definitely save in the front court, so Westbrook/Harden should be doable. And a lot of fun to watch (happily, back-to-back on TNT!).
C.J. McCollumC.J. McCollum - FD 6900 DK 6900
Opponent - BOS
FD Proj. Pts - 32.44 DK Proj. Pts - 34.37
McCollum is a scrappy overachiever, which is great, right? He’s just not very aesthetically pleasing. For DFS, who cares? The C’s play at breakneck speed and are just a little above average in DvP terms. The game is expected to be close and has the highest O/U at this stage. Lots of shots to go up, and we know McCollum will get his share. His price dipped a bit after a sub-par performance last time out, so this is also a bit of a buy-low opportunity. He’s a very nice mid-priced alternative for roster construction, or a fade of the top two options.

Strongly consider Jamal Crawford with the rest of the Clipper backcourt resting

Baseball season is almost here. Check back soon for our MLB ebook on setting daily fantasy baseball lineups as well as our MLB DFS strategy articles coming in the next couple weeks.



Jordan HamiltonJordan Hamilton - FD 3600 DK 3400
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 19.42 DK Proj. Pts - 20.3

Another value pick, this one essentially a punt. Hamilton has played two games, played an average of 22 minutes, and registered an average of 20 fantasy points. It seems like the Pelicans had someone stick Voodoo pins in their entire roster, so there’s no reason to expect him not to play similar minutes again. Accordingly, he’ll get some touches. He showed last game he’s versatile enough to get his fantasy points in a variety of ways, so even if he only gets a handful of shots, he should be (more than) good. I won’t waste your time with game analysis. With so many options to spend elsewhere, take these savings and go on a shopping spree.

LeBron JamesLeBron James - FD 10100 DK 9800
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 50.9 DK Proj. Pts - 52.88

Looking for spending options? As mentioned above, LBJ should be back and angry. That’s a scary combination. His price has gone up on DK and FD, yet he remains underpriced (on DK especially). He’s had a pretty hot stretch the last few times out, so if he sees the minutes, the floor looks quite solid. On the upside, we’re looking at 6x+. Blowout risk is of course in play here, but otherwise the matchup is irrelevant. I haven’t done the math, but I’m pretty sure Russ/Harden/LBJ is legitimately doable on both sites Thursday. If not now, when?



Aaron GordonAaron Gordon - FD 5700 DK 5500
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 28.74 DK Proj. Pts - 29.74
Like James had said before last game, Aaron's lines were unnaturally depressed because of blowouts and random Ersan-related pieces. Had him going as a fantastic play into last game but again the blowout reared its ugly head (on the Magic side) and he saw limited run. Even so, dude put up a 20/4 in only 27 minutes and was looking dominant in short stretches. The Magic are playing well right now with Elfrid Payton running an offense that gets guys like Gordon into advantageous situations. I love him tonight at a weaker position and the idea that he'll see minutes in the low 30's.

Kevin LoveKevin Love - FD 6800 DK 7100
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 34.96 DK Proj. Pts - 37.54
Power forward is a terrible position and I don't feel great about this play simply because I don't think there's a ton of upside on it. For a 50/50 I think Love can hit his mark, though if there's any semblance of a blowout then it gets a little dicey. With Lebron back I don't think he sees any extra looks, but the Cavs have made explicit attempts to work him into the offense early which can help set a line. The price won't kill you, but I'm far from calling him a lock. It's more a play out of necessity.

Strongly consider Thad Young if you think he plays 36+ minutes



Alexis AjincaAlexis Ajinca - FD 3900 DK 3700
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 21.44 DK Proj. Pts - 21.8
If you can believe anything about the Pelicans at this point, and at this point nothing can be believe about the Pelicans, then you think Ajinca will play decent minutes tonight. Hell, he ran close to thirty against the vaunted Spurs last night right? He's a lock right? No, this is Alvin Gentry we are talking about and my man can lay carnage to even the thinnest of rosters when given the opportunity. Now, at even a moderate minute projection Ajinca is going to show up just about everywhere in lineups. Our system will have trouble factoring in Gentry-cide. But at these prices against a weak Denver front court I think the risk is worth it.

Ian MahinmiIan Mahinmi - FD 5200 DK 5200
Opponent - ORL
FD Proj. Pts - 26.76 DK Proj. Pts - 27.21
The Magic are working with a makeshift frontcourt featuring the likes of Dedmon, Nicholson, Smith and a couple of other folks who are generally undersized. Not to say Vucevic is some kind of defensive stalwart, but the Magic can get worked inside. Mahinmi is in and around 30 minutes a game though the "in" and "around" piece does make difference for him. If you think he's in the 29 range then I'd say stay away. But 34? Getting close to a must play in terms of safety. It's tough to know this going in, but splitting it down the middle at 32 has him as a safer look at C.

Pau GasolPau Gasol - FD 8500 DK 7300
Opponent - HOU
FD Proj. Pts - 40.73 DK Proj. Pts - 41.4
He was a turnover machine against the Pacers the other night and still managed to hit value and exceed it on DraftKings. I'm really only recommending him over there as the price is so much lower and has him darn near a must play considering the price point. It's rare to see this kind of salary disparity between the two sites, but Pau represents a natural hedge.

Strongly consider Cole Aldrich with DeAndre out

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.



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60 Visitor Comments

  1. Wow bizarre ending in sac. Rondo illegally takes the ball out from the side of the court after the basket. Boogie and rondo applaud the ref sarcastically and they both get T’s then rondo keeps complaing and gets tossed. All with 5 seconds left. Boogie got his 16th Technical and will be suspended next game I believe. Crazy. But hey boogie got me 60 I love that dude like Russ

  2. The link at the top of this page goes to the injury updates article from 3/26/16, just a heads up!

  3. Paul, reddick and Jordan out. That’s some early interesting news. Not many max guys left between that and potential blowout risks tomorrow

  4. Love the work guys. It’s a minefield right now and I hit some but you guys give a great base. Appreciate the help. Brook Lopez for deportation jk

  5. I planned on saying this a long time ago but I appreciate all the great work you guys put in. I spend an obscene amount of time on your website and the FanDuel Tool waiting for the next piece of news to happen, and the past 3 days I’ve gotten first in all 9 $10 50/50 games I’ve played, and I’m hoping for similar success from now to the end of the season. I only have the basic tool and I’m considering switching to pro, again thank you for all the hard work!

    • That’s great Nikolas! FanDuel’s been strong over the course of the season and the last couple of days as well.

  6. Is Westbrook still a must play assuming he doesnt play the 4th because of the blowout?

  7. Cole Aldrich is going to be the chalk of all chalk.

  8. I can’t hit water if I fell out of a boat ….. Help

    • this is my homerun lineup tonight, win or lose with me…the projection system says this one is a go
      PG Shane Larkin BKN $3,900
      PG Russell Westbrook OKC $10,600
      SG James Harden HOU $10,900
      SG Will Barton DEN $5,400
      SF Jeff Green LAC $4,500
      SF LeBron James CLE $10,100
      PF Aaron Gordon ORL $5,700
      PF Dante Cunningham NO $3,700
      C Ian Mahinmi IND $5,200

  9. Read your Ebook yesterday. A lot of good information. Going to try the strategy you discussed about the playing guaranteed players then putting in the punt plays.

    Question, when you say a player is 4.2 or 4.4 their value, what does that mean and how do you calculate that?

    • Thanks for reading! The numerical values or points/$ is simply the ratio of projected points: price. Just an indicator of projected value.

    • A $5,000 guy who returns 20 points was a 4.0 value.

      Points Returned/(Salary/1000)

  10. Hey gang, with the starters resting for the clips, does that bump Green?

  11. Weird night last night. Kind of gave up with Powell completely bombing, and Towns not playing 4Q. But Boogie and Beal saved me in cash games. Don’t expect that low of scoring this time of year. Lakes/Miami OT made some of us sweat if we didn’t have coverage in that game!

  12. With Reddick and Paul and Jordan out, would you suggest A ALDRICH, Green , Crawford?

  13. Great work on the “PRO” version optimizer! I wasn’t quite sold on the “basic” version, but now that I can calculate up to 25 lineups to pick an choose what fits my needs best it’s awesome!!
    Great work Doug and your DFSR’s over there on the seacoast of my very own state of NH! I play disc golf over at Bellamy Park all the time! Anyways, I must say I agree on loving the small slate Thursday’s, but hope I don’t mess up because of 1 player yet again…. I know I’m playing my mini violin over here, but man oh man, I’m sick of losing out on the big $ because of just one player not doing what was projected of him… Keep up the good work Doug!

  14. nickolas, I would suggest pro. I got it yesterday and am learning how to use it to its fullest. But I can tell you in one night I made triple what I paid for it. I am very impressed after one night. Great info.

    • These guys are no joke…if you read up on how these guys win youll see they make their money when they go against what everyone else is doing….Not one of those lineups he had had ABC in them….maybe we should start taking note and go against what our minds want us to believe statistacly and go with the opposite and make some money lol

  15. So who was playing the Fanduel 100K to 1st last night? ehafner took it all. It’s basically impossible to compete in these big GPPs when players have over 200 entries! I checked and he had 200 entries that won, and who knows how many others lost. (isn;t the max entries allowed 250) Like 200 x $25 is $5000.00.

  16. FIRST site I read bc you guys are always updated before anyone else…kudos my bro!

  17. I love this website. Lots of great information. I have not cashed in like I want yet, but I hope it’s coming. Keep it up guys. I’m playing 2 $5 single entries, 3 $2 50/50 and 1 $2 multiplier/DU. I’m hoping I hit tonight. I put together a pretty good tourney team I think. Should I stack tonight or is it to small a slate to do so? I fear BO risk with the clips sitting everyone. Sexy Russ is still top on the optimizer, but I’m afraid to use him in my tourney. He is a great cash guy. What do yall think?

  18. You know your spoiled when you are pouring over “only winning my money back!” Looks like a lot of point tonight. Live TNT Wednesday’s. $$BOOM$$ Money back! Had to say it!

  19. When you purchase the pro optimizer for NBA, will that include pro optimizer for MLB as well?

  20. Early LU while drinking my coffee.

  21. i know this might sound crazy but can you guys at DFSR please Take A Very Close look at D. Rose Tonight Because my research shows that for his career he’s absolutely Destroyed P. Beverley Every Single Time He’s Faced Him so i want to see what your system thinks about D. Rose Tonight aswell.

    • 30,27,37 – Those were the FTPs Rose had vs Chicago last 3 meetings – not exactly destroying Bev …Rose needs approximately 38 to hit value on FD

    • We don’t use player vs player stats because the sample size is so small as to be insignificant and altogether too noisy.

        • Historical Matchups are just that…Historical and not much else….take for example Jamal Crawford tonight,the fact that the entire LAC starting unit sitting wont show up when you look in the future at his production vs OKC which should be higher than normal since his usage will be much heavier than normal – Too many factors go into historical research

  22. Are you guys liking I. Thomas at all tonight?

  23. Looks like Kyrie and JR missed shoot around today because of illness. Both questionable for tonight.

  24. 331 last night and that did pretty well for me. Crazy low scoring, as for tonight I’m gonna have a lineup that has all 3 10,000+ players and other lineups that fade one of them.


  26. Hey DSFR, are the 2 bigs and Love good for GPP, or should I go a bit more volitale to try and take down a single entry tourney. Thanks.

  27. With Lopez out who gets the minutes/usage? Should Thomas Robinson be considered or avoided? Liking Sir Thaddeus tonight!!

    • Thomas Robinson is in 2 of my 3 lineups currently

  28. I’m partial to Thad as well. Was just researching that on the web.

  29. Hey Doug. You all about have me talked into subscribing to the pro version. If I am at least winning back twice the purchase price per month, it would seem like a worthwhile investment. Some of the advice I glean from the ‘experts’ on other websites is not bad, but it is also not complete and I think for their own personal reasons. There’s no sense in playing someone else’s suggestions if they throw you a curve. The majority of your picks above seem to always be sure bets.

  30. Anyone have thoughts on Mudiay for GPP tonight? Optimizer seems really low on him for some reason despite a tasty looking matchup vs NO.

  31. I’m rolling the dice tonight with the Superstars and value tonight:


    What does everyone think? Btw, I’ve been 0-4 using other providers lineups so this is the first time using my own.

  32. How do you guys calculate minutes projections? Was surprised you had Henson at 11 minutes last night, considering he had been playing 20+ in recent games. I know it always hard to figure what in hell Kidd is doing, but seemed low. I ran with him as low price fill in, and it worked out well

  33. I like Thomas to bring some value tonight. If kyrie and smith both out that game becomes a little more intriguing. Only thing that could potentially worry me about Thomas is if the Nets try and get Sims more min before his 10 day runs out to determine if they want to retain him at all.

    • IM new to this as well this year…best strategy ive come across is to lock in the guys youre confident with in every position then build around that! I make 3 lineups a night. if they all fail then hey only 6$ but if they all win….payday!!

  34. Quick question for you serial DFS players. Just started getting heavy into NBA last few months and as I’m getting better, playing more contests per night. For those entering mult contests are you typically sticking with one line up across the board to maximize when your line up pops and win mult times, or are you switching out 2-3 guys from a base line up in case of getting the NBA flu, or a night like Powell last night, etc

    • Everyone is going to play Rivers bc they think hes a Paul replacement and think hes worth 9K…im going with larkin bc Lopez is out and theyll need a lil more from him…the clips are a mess and the only one i see rostering is green which no one is talking about!

      • You don’t think Crawford will crush value?

  35. Rivers or Larkin tonighr? They are both on the up-bump tonight, but who would get more mins? I’m leaning tonwards Rivers.

  36. Hoping for some thoughts on this lineup…
    I. Thomas
    T. Frazier
    W. Barton
    J. Butler
    P. George
    J. Sullinger
    E. Davis
    N. Jokic

    • Vuc min will be limited, shouldnt affect gordon, will only help him..they are better when playing together!

  37. First off, let me thank you guys for the hard work you do. I became a subscriber yesterday and doubled my bankroll. Woulda been more, but I played too much ABC and Knight.

    Now to my questions…you guys are pretty high on Gordon, but Vuc and Ersan will be playing today, you think he keeps up his high level of play now that those two are back?

    Also, Why so little love for Tim Frazier today? You don’t think he can repeat last night’s performance against a better matchup?

  38. Sorry, just getting to this. Gordon was dinged down a bit today with those guys coming back.

    Frazier coming off the bench is what scares me. That’s always a dice roll in the NBA.

    Thanks for the nice words!

  39. Did Will Barton make it to the game?

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