Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

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 FeltonRaymond 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 PaytonElfrid 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 HillGeorge Hill - FD 4500 DK 4100
Opponent - BKN
FD Proj. Pts - 22.98 DK Proj. Pts - 24.71
Jerian GrantJerian 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.

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James HardenJames 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 MatthewsWesley 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 HoodRodney 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.

Baseball season is here! Check out the bottom of the article for our MLB ebook on setting daily fantasy baseball lineups as well as our MLB DFS strategy articles coming in the next couple weeks.


Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis 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 FournierEvan 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 AndersonJustin 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 ParkerJabari 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 FavorsDerrick 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 WilliamsDerrick 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 NurkicJusuf Nurkic - FD 4700 DK 4000
Opponent - UTA
FD Proj. Pts - 38.11 DK Proj. Pts - 38.63
Nikola JokicNikola 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 HowardDwight 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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50 Visitor Comments

  1. I have to say that NBA players and coaches are absolutely lazy and unthankful for the lives they live. I used to be a professional athlete so I know how tiring a “season” can be but come on..these nights off for REST are a joke. And on top of that, the coaches 75% of the time announce critical information 5 minutes before tip-off. Think of how you’d feel if you spent $700 to go see Rajon Rondo play only to find out he needs REST 5 days before he goes on vacation for 5 months. PLAY THE GAME! Players 20 years ago NEVER took a night off.

    • Yup…..Rondo “resting” cost me some $$$ last night, as the rest of my LU did really well.

      I’m really considering leaving FD after this most recent BS. If they absolutely have to stick with this no LU adjustment crap, then the least they could do is automatically assign the next ACTIVE player at the same price, or lower, at least that way you still get some points for that spot.

      But who am I kidding, that makes way too much sense, and would be considered…..gulp….fair, can’t have that now can we?

      • Yeah he cost me a ton too. It’s bullshit. Baseball to with postponing games. I lost 40 bucks on Fanduel before the games even started. No more

        • Justin anderson paid off. And jurkic 0 for 8 within 5 feet. Took Felton out with williams starting. Ennis screwed after middleton starts when every update i read said very doubtful. I’m getting fed up with this game. What will i see. 50 people winning with people like jr smith last night.

      • Why the fuck would anyone play on FD just got that reason… Go to DK duh!

      • greg for that very reason alone i play yahoo dfs. They give you notifications if a player isnt going to go before game start and give you the option to sub out players that will be inactive….so line ups dont lock till the game actually starts whether it be a 7pm game or 9pm game give it a shot

  2. Thanks for the advice I can’t seem to win anything on fanduel I spent quite a bit of money on there over the last few months and won little tournaments but I honestly think the big tournaments are rigged or something. I LOVE playing but I have a sick kid so can’t spend money on there anymore. If someone wants to put a little bit of money on my PayPal account Billyfarmer2016@gmail.com I would greatly appreciate it but I don’t expect it. Thanks for looking and God bless everyone that reads this.

    • Know what you mean about feeling like FD is “rigged”, I can’t seem to get anywhere on that site either, but I do get pretty close sometimes.

      On the other hand, I know that coming in #1 is possible, as I have done it on Yahoo, albeit in a small NHL Tourney (1400+ entries). Still, I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to actually win a tourney, no matter how small.

      If you are being honest about your child, then I hope he recovers soon, no parent should have to endure that kind of pain.

      However, IF you are using a non existent sick child as a way to manipulate folks into giving you a handout, then you are lower than a curb.

      Trusting it’s the former, and not the latter, I wish you all the best, but I do agree with Ben, I think your time would be better spent away from this daily fantasy stuff.

  3. Cmon really? I mean this with all respect. But if you have a sick kid, gambling on basketball is the last thing you should be doing. Let alone asking others to find it for you. I could go on. But it’s lecturing and I don’t know you and it’s not my place. But I know this isn’t the place to ask for money either.

    • Actually, if you ever meet anyone in need of money you will often see them turn to gambling. Even wealthy people who are in need of more turn to gambling (wallstreet, stock market) It is really a natural instinct especially when someone is desperate. Vegas and Daily Fantasy Sports gambling sites and those sites that promise to help you strike it big would not exist otherwise, and here we are making them rich while we gamble(throw) our money away. Yay fun!

  4. Dude is begging for change ??

  5. Lol is this what it’s come to. Get a job you bum.

  6. For the first time in a long time I had a very positive night. Optimizer helped a lot. $12 in $40 out isn’t much, but when you’re only winning 2 dollars a day it was something. LOL. I like the tool for Basketball, just got to figure out how to utilize it for Baseball.

  7. The comments section gets funnier and funnier! Bankroll management… I get asking for money because your child just got sick, setting up a gofundme, whatever. But I will not ever understand asking for money to PLAY daily fantasy! It’s a game. They have FREErolls. Just do that and be happy with it, and take care of your family

    • It is not really a game. It is a multimillion dollar wealth distribution machine. And we are feeding it. This is no game, boy.

  8. I think baseball just has to settle in a bit scoring in these games have been unusually high but everything will come back to normal and the optimizer should be better with baseball

  9. The optimizer was again great for basketball and horrendous for baseball. Why ? Is it me ? I barely break 100 in baseball and had more than half of my basketball lineups go well over 320.

    • Kelly, Outside of the rainout what was horrendous about baseball? Was on Colon, Kemp, Myers, etc. The problem with the optimal lineups was it had BAL game in them and that was called well after lock. Are you factoring that in or was there something else that didn’t add up?

  10. Thanks for the Teague projection. Even with Korver playing terrible and D Rose basically looking like he didn’t even want to be out on the court, continued a great run of cashing in 50/50s. Hard to believe D Lillard was 1% owned

  11. I agree Doug. I went against the daily picks and lost. You didnt need the line up optimizer to place in baseball yesterday.

  12. Doug, is it possible in the future to set the optimizer for tournament play and/or cash games?..really interested to know.

  13. I used to baseball optimizer last night. I excluded the teams I thought could rain out. Ended up scoring 216 and turning $2 into $18.58. No complaints here.

    As far as the NBA optimizer, for the third night in a row I didn’t trust it and it cost me. It’s been really solid the last few days.

    • I disagree. I used the optimizer for basketball last night for the first time. Worked out great for me.

  14. One feature I’d love for you to add in for the basic users is being able to filter the games. I know its in Pro, but don’t want to spend the extra 10 just to filter out games. Doing some lineups now and wan to be able to just use the Main Slate on FD. I’ll wait till later I guess when the 3:30 games drop off.

    All and all had a great night last night for the first time playing Fanduel using the optimizer.

  15. These comments made my Sunday morning! LOL!

  16. Doug,
    I saw yesterday in the comments that the optimizer is mainly designed for 50/50 but can be used for tournaments. I’m just curious, is there a league type to go after? They range from 3 to 100. Just wondering if it would be better to enter a league vs a tournament with 1,000+ people. Pay outs aren’t nearly as big but “winner takes all” wouldn’t be a bad pay out. Would the optimal be good for this or would a tournament approach (stacking/using “risk”) players be better. This site is awesome by the way, really enjoying reading the comments every day. Thanks!

    • Shane,

      I signed up for the optimizer a couple days ago. My advice is play about 3-4 lineups a day if you have the bankroll for it. Out of those lineups I play 1 50/50, 1 5x tourney, and one big tourney. That way if one of your lineups end up getting 290 pts or more, you hedge your bets. You won’t end up losing money.

      So far it’s worked out great for me with Basketball. A lot of times too you have to make gut calls. Where the optimizer says a guy is worth 20 pts, you might think differently.

      All in all the tool helps a lot and the 15 dollars a month pays for itself if you play daily fantasy smart.

      • Thanks, I appreciate the response! Going to give that a try.

  17. The optimizer was good to me last night, even with Boogie having an “off” night, and Ajinca getting hurt. Millsap and Barnes were great plays.. Thanks for the suggestions yesterday!

  18. For what it’s worth…

    I consider myself a lifelong basketball junkie and like to think i know what’s going on in the sport. I’ve been playing daily fantasy basketball for a little over a year now. Historically i’ve always just played by “feel”. No spreadsheets, no system whatsoever. I just looked at the player pool on my computer screen and clicked names until i filled out a roster that i liked.

    Somehow I managed to break even, actually probably made $50 or so, during that time. But then like a month ago i signed up for a free trial of the pro optimizer tool. I feel like it put me on a level playing field against the rest of the industry. Now i know where the smart money should go and the optimizer often helps me build well rounded lineups. After a year of scraping by and breaking even, i’m now plus $900 in 3-4 weeks with the optimizer. You still need to know your basketball (i.e. fading Korver last night because he had a date with Avery Bradley despite him showing up in the Optimizer), but the writers at this site and their player projects are very, very good.

    It’s worth it.

    • hey reid good to see you….believe it or not chatting with you via these comments and seeing what the writers have to say as far as lineups has been very helpful with my lineups! Came close to hitting big a few times this week with the help of you guys!

  19. Turned $27 into $250 last night. Would still be counting money if D Rose would stop trying to ruin my life. Once again, you guys rule. Beers on me

  20. Last night brought up an interesting conflict I’d like others opinions…
    Do you take a player who is a scorer who struggles with peripherals or a player who can fill peripherals but isn’t a natural scorer?
    I went with half Rubio and half Teague last night (close on pricing) but results weren’t close.
    Guys like Rubio/Payton/gobert etc all struggle to score so naturally ppl call them GPP types but I’m leaning to just excluding them on most slates unless the matchup is prestine (high paced , turnover sloppy games)

  21. @joe, which contests did you play? 50/50, multipliers, fd or dk?

  22. With wall out again, who gets major bump? Sessions or Beal in today’s matchup? Leaning toward Beal

  23. @ben cure I played the $27 crossover on DK and won 250. Also 2 $25 50/50s on DK and won both too (wasn’t mentioned before). I did fade Boogie, Ajinca, and Korver from the optimizer but u have to make those calls sometimes. I wouldn’t use fanduel at this point in the nba season unless u were trying to take down a large tourney which isn’t realistic. Their lineups lock at the start of the 1st game and there is too many last minute lineup changes to take that risk for me.

  24. Doug, et al. Yesterday I was finally able to purchase the pro edition of the optimizer, and with 1 small exception it would seem everyone on my rosters performed to or above expectations. It’s too bad Ajinca apparently suffered some injury or we would have been talking serious dollars on the ROI. I played a few GPP’s and several more cash games on FD and won 27 dollars.

    I doubled my money and who knows how much higher that could have been. So, yes it would seem the pro optimizer will pay off and I hope big time soon.

    Now if we can get a firm grasp on MLB….

    • MLB is so far my enemy. I never watched basketball before playing daily and was able to pick it up. Now using the optimizer, its putting me ahead of the game.

      I plan on playing NBA till the season runs out and then getting back into MLB once more games have been played.

      Ultimately my goal is to be well prepared and to build up my bankroll for NFL. That’s the sport I love to watch and play. Plus the weekly tourneys leave for some nice bank if you hit it right.

  25. DK is def where it’s at. I’m in NY and can’t play either but have had huge success on DK.

  26. Way to go Derrick Favors…way to be there for your team in the middle of a playoff race. He must have hurt his pinky finger putting on his jock strap…these guys are amazing.

  27. Resting players and information from coaches that are lies cuz they change it 2 minutes before tip. These websites need to give an option to take a guy out if he doesnt play one minute. Game is already so much luck and we are all getting angry. I score 280 points almost every night and I’ll have 3 or 4 guys play 25 minutes with blowouts and inadequate information. Kris middleton gets me again today. Very doubtful they say. Plays and is getting every point for the giard position. Couple weeks ago he is going to play and 11 seconds before tip its updated that he is out and i had him. Aggravating.

  28. Does anyone know a reliable website for player updates? This game has seriously just turned into finding out who will play and getting them cheap. Nothing else matters it seems.

  29. Rotowire newscenter is about the best I’ve found. Now a days, it’s just pure luck picking who actually plays on FD. I absolutely love playing DFS and will never ever complain when all my players actually play. But when lineups change 45 seconds before tip is when it hurts. However, I will say I’m considering going to DK for all of these reasons but I actually like FD so I’m giving it every chance I can. I just feel bad for the people that pay good hard earned money to go see certain NBA players only to get to the arena and find out all D-League players are playing because players need rest. My question is what do the players do with there time the other 21 hours of each game day?

    • The biggest flaw in the whole league is obviously how incentivized teams are to lose late in the season. Tanking for draft picks is the biggest issue.

      I don’t mind a team resting guys as they prepare for a long push into the playoffs. That’s the nature of the beast.

      But teams just trying to lose is a problem. Make the top pick in the draft the first team to miss the playoffs and then cycle down the list. Incentivize teams to play until the end. That would fix a ton of this late season mess.

  30. Teams trying to lose is bad. I agree. But its the information available that is screwing with fantasy. Nfl has it right. very strict rules about injuries. This crap ive seen for months in the nba is aggravating. I’ll see the info, and/or hear it right out of a coaches mouth, and its false. We cant do much about it. But the fantasy sites can do something.

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