Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/10/16
Let's get the awkward bit out of the way to start - if you play the all-day slate today, you're simply a masochist. Not that there aren't strategies one could employ. You could theoretically stack the early teams in 50/50s and double-ups and go for the gold with some late game speculation, but I'm not sure it's going to be for me. Okay, I'm sure I'll just wind up gambling and being mad afterward. But still. Today, as it has been recently, is completely bananas. If you've been following, though, you'll know we've been making some pretty decent banana splits with them. For now the time of bad puns has passed, and on to some actual analysis!
We have our usual smattering of teams with nothing to play for who seem safe (Milwaukee, for instance), the teams who actually have something to play for that seem safe (Dallas, Houston, Utah), and then... everybody else. If you're building a cash game strategy today, it makes sense to simply take guys from teams with very well established minutes patterns. Anything else seems crazy. As for the rest? Let's jump in.
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Raymond Felton - FD 4800 DK 4600
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 25.05 DK Proj. Pts - 26.75
Seems like it makes sense to start with one team that has positively everything to play for - the Dallas Mavericks. With Barea ailing and Williams looking like a long shot, the Mavs' playoff hopes will lie in the potentially capable hands of Raymond Felton. He's been fairly solid when pressed into service running the point this season, at least from a fantasy perspective, and on a day filled with uncertainty, he's the best I can present to you. He racked up 14 assists when Barea went down against Memphis, and while he's not a favorite for 40 fantasy points today, I'd certainly say 30+ is easily in play. I'll play him everywhere.
Elfrid Payton - FD 6000 DK 5600
Opponent - MIA
FD Proj. Pts - 29.49 DK Proj. Pts - 30
Another fella who should see big minutes and usage thanks to an injury, Payton played 37 minutes in the Magic's victory over the Heat in their last go-round. With Oladipo already ruled out of this one, it frees up a lot of scoring and assist potential for Payton. While the Heat are never a good match-up on account of their slow pace and great rim protection, the gaping hole left by Oladipo opens up value across the board in Orlando.
George Hill - FD 4500 DK 4100
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 22.98 DK Proj. Pts - 24.71
Jerian Grant - FD 4000 DK 4100
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 21.32 DK Proj. Pts - 22.13
It is, quite simply, not a day to spend up at point guard. Curry's minutes look uncertain (and it's a bad match-up), and Chris Paul could wind up playing any amount of minutes (including zero) today. So, here are a couple super-cheap, much more speculative plays than the ones listed above. George Hill has a great match-up with the Nets, who have allowed the 6th most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season. He's played 32 minutes in each of his last two games, and while he hasn't done much, that's a lot of minutes for a primary ball handler to put up some numbers.
Jerian Grant is also getting more minutes recently, though his story is quite different. The Knicks seem to be trying to get a sense for what they have in him, and the combination of back to back solid fantasy totals and increasing minutes have him looking decent against the Raptors today. Still a very speculative play, but he should at least be out there for a bunch of minutes. Beware of him losing usage if Carmelo gets his full run, though.
James Harden - FD 10600 DK 10800
Opponent - LAL
FD Proj. Pts - 56.78 DK Proj. Pts - 60.22
Every damn lineup, no question about it. It's pretty hard to spend up effectively today, and with the Rockets still white-knuckling in the playoff race, he's being worked harder than any player in the NBA. And did I mention the Lakers have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season? Not going to go crazy with more details here - I'd be stunned if he weren't a nearly universal play.
Wesley Matthews - FD 5000 DK 4900
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 26.66 DK Proj. Pts - 30.09
It seems like only yesterday that we were getting daily heat for recommending Matthews, but in the last few weeks he's become one of the most consistent daily fantasy basketball commodities. Until his last game, he had gone weeks without paying 4.6-7x points per dollar on these prices, and with the Mavs' back court even shallower than it had been already, 40+ minutes seems like something of a lock. He'll be getting at least some piece of the Clippers' inferior 2nd unit defense, and he's plenty safe on a very reasonable price point.
Rodney Hood - FD 5500 DK 5200
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 27.94 DK Proj. Pts - 30.45
Sensing a theme at shooting guard? We've given you all three shooting guards that have something to play for today. Of the three, Hood might have the highest raw points per dollar upside. Denver has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season, and the Jazz aren't afraid to play Hood huge minutes when the need calls. With their playoff hopes on the line, he'll be out there for high 30s minutes tonight. In a similar match-up with Phoenix last week Hood nearly reached 7x points per dollar on these prices, and I think his above projections are something like his floor today.
A sea of random guys who could put up huge games: And it's a sea. Sasha Vujacic has been playing big minutes and has put up some huge games. Normal Powell was incredible when all the Raptors' starters sat. It's just too early to make any big declarations outside of the teams who will definitely be going all out.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - FD 9700 DK 10000
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 46.02 DK Proj. Pts - 47.19
Giannis winds up in all of our optimal lineups today for similar reasons to Harden - it's just tough to spend the money with all these value plays. The Greek Freak has been unstoppable in his last three games, putting up 50+ fantasy points in three straight before putting up 45 in just 27 minutes against the Celtics. The Sixers present a wonderful opportunity - they're unlikely to blow the Bucks out, and they really don't feature a defender that can match Giannis' size AND speed. This could be his best game of the remainder of the season, and I'm a buyer all the way.
Evan Fournier - FD 5700 DK 4700
Opponent - MIA
FD Proj. Pts - 22.55 DK Proj. Pts - 24.75
With Oladipo already listed as out, Fournier is one of the few spots of certainties on today's slate, for me. He went 28/7/7 in an identical spot against the Heat in their last game, and played almost every minute for the Magic. A clear case where price simply does not line up with opportunity, and he's a phenomenal play in any format.
Justin Anderson - FD 4200 DK 3900
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 25.65 DK Proj. Pts - 27.82
It's a little bit more speculative than the above guys, but who else is going to get these minutes for the Mavs? I'm not sure he's my favorite super cheap guy on the day, just because he doesn't have the track record of some of the other guys, but the upside here is very real. The Mavs entrusted 37 minutes to him in their last game, and there are even more minutes to go around with Barea being out from the onset in this one. I don't think I'll trust him for double-ups, but I've got my eye on him nonetheless.
Other guys the system likes a ton: Trevor Ariza and Gordon Hayward. Same boat as other players from the Rockets, Mavs, and Jazz - they'll both see huge minutes and big roles tonight. They're probably safer than any of the three guys listed above, but have slightly worse points per dollar projections overall. This is just an upside limitation - they're great plays in any format.
Jabari Parker - FD 6500 DK 6200
Opponent - PHI
FD Proj. Pts - 32.25 DK Proj. Pts - 33.28
Tough to get safety out of the big three safe teams, but Parker is easily the next best thing. Before last game's blowout he had been steadily in the 40+ minute range, and he's easily the most active guy on the team this side of Antetokounmpo. After two rough games in a row, it's easy for casual daily fantasy basketball players to forget that he had been putting up 40+ fantasy points with some regularity before that. The Sixers have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards this season, and he should have a great game here.
Derrick Favors - FD 6700 DK 6500
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 32.64 DK Proj. Pts - 33.06
With Favors banged up, it was clear that the Jazz had a strong preference to limit his exposure to big minutes. That all went out the window against the Clippers - Favors played 37 minutes (32 in regulation), and double-doubled with 4 blocks. He doesn't seem to be 100% to me, but this is the time of year when teams like the Jazz have to lay it all on the line. He'll get his minutes against a similarly hobbled Denver front-court, who might be playing guys (Nurkic, Jokic) who simply aren't quick enough to stay in front of him. I'm not sure he has a monster game in him here, but he should be plenty safe.
Derrick Williams - FD 4600 DK 4600
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 24.27 DK Proj. Pts - 25.59
It's a big fall-off, safety wise, after the top two power forwards. But I like Williams fine. It's not a terrific match-up with the Raptors, but he's got mid-thirties minutes upside here, and is a strong enough rebounder and offensive player that I think the 5x points per dollar projection here is absolutely fair. If Melo plays limited minutes again it could mean there are tremendous upside possibilities here as well, particularly if the Raptors don't run out their A team.
Also considered: Markieff is a slam dunk if you're playing that 12 oclock slate. I also like Thomas Robinson (with the caveat that he's not safe) as well.
Jusuf Nurkic - FD 4700 DK 4000
Opponent - UTA
FD Proj. Pts - 38.11 DK Proj. Pts - 38.63
Nikola Jokic - FD 6000 DK 5000
Opponent - UTA
FD Proj. Pts - 32.94 DK Proj. Pts - 33.85
Yes, you can play either of the Nuggets centers today. While these seem like huge projections when I'm giving them the eyeball test, I understand what our lineup optimizer is seeing here. Darrell Arthur is out, Kenneth Faried might also sit, and the Nugs have publicly declared they want to see what these guys can do together. And, well, they're awesome. They're points per minute guys with solid offensive games and a vicious instinct for crashing the boards. I'd be happy with either, though Nurkic obviously presents the better price point. As for the match-up, it's bad, but not enough to overcome the huge price and opportunity disparity.
Dwight Howard - FD 6400 DK 6000
Opponent - LAL
FD Proj. Pts - 30.64 DK Proj. Pts - 31.21
Just for a little fun upside. The Lakers have been horrendous against centers all season (3rd worst in the league), and as previously mentioned, the Rockets have everything to play for. Dwight has a huge athleticism mismatch with the bigs the Lakers can trot out, and as he showed against Dallas, he absolutely has a huge double-double left in him. He doesn't feel safe by any stretch, but I could see some interesting Rockets/Laker stack possibilities here.
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