Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/16/16 Opening Round


Now’s your chance to get DFSR Pro with NBA Optimal Lineups, Projections, Player Cards and Google Chrome extension that auto-populates your lineups into FanDuel. Or try a free trial of our base package with projections for every player. While the seasons overlap, you'll get access to our tools for the NBA and NHL (and MLB when the time comes)! Get started for free by clicking the button below.

First time with NBA? Be sure to read our free NBA Ebook on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.

A quick heads up - we post an updates article every day in the early afternoon, EST, to catch everyone up on how things are changing as a result of whatever news has come through. We also have great talks in the comments of that article. Hope to see you there!

We've also launched a Stats and Research Page, which includes a lot of the individual statistics that we use to make our projections. It's free! Enjoy.


Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors

The Pacers come into Toronto a little beat up but there's a chance the four days off for most of their guys gets them back to about 100%.  Toronto on the other hand was able to rest a bunch of their key guys down the stretch and should be firing on all cylinders coming into this series.

This first game (and the series in general) projects to be much lower scoring than any other matchup. The opening over/under at 195 is about ten points lower than the next lowest matchup. It makes sense. Indiana comes in as the third best team in defensive efficiency this season. Meanwhile Toronto was 11th and played at the second slowest pace in the league this year. It's going to be a grind it out series for sure. The Raptors are favorites to win, but not as much as a typical 2-7 matchup.

Top Plays
Paul GeorgePaul George - FD 8800 DK 8400
Opponent - TOR
FD Proj. Pts - 42.24 DK Proj. Pts - 44.84
It stands to reason that we'll see big minutes out of PG13 in this series. He's played limited run leading into the playoffs as he nursed some ailments. But dude should be good to go in this one. I suspect you see most of the offense run through him and the Pacers will need it. My only concern with him is that among the guys in his price range, he can pull disappearing acts from time-to-time and the Raptors defense is tough.

Kyle LowryKyle Lowry - FD 8500 DK 7200
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 40.04 DK Proj. Pts - 42.37
He's more of a DraftKings play for me where he's coming in significantly cheaper than FanDuel. The Raptors have shown a willingness to run him major minutes and I think you'll see that again in this series. Lowry is a bargain on DK and considering how tight the pricing is for the playoffs, he's creeping to must play status over there.

Jonas ValanciunasJonas Valanciunas - FD 6000 DK 5200
Opponent - IND
FD Proj. Pts - 30.44 DK Proj. Pts - 30.95
Remember that our top plays are based on price. Jonas could be on the court for long stretches because though Ian Mahinmi is decent, he isn't an offensive dynamo. Jonas' big issue is defense, but it'll be tough to overexpose him here. Plus center is incredibly weak on this first slate of games.

DFSR 705x90

Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

Well the Warriors did it and frankly, they made setting the record for wins in a season seem pretty easy. I know they made it by one with a couple of hiccups down the stretch. But this team was just so dominant all season long. Now they'll play host to the Rockets who had, well, issues. Houston won their last three but it was against the Kings, Lakers and T-Wolves. Not exactly running through a buzzsaw. They'll rely a ton on Harden who I suspect plays well over 40 minutes a game in this series. Other than that? Houston can't hang with this squad. At least not over a series.

Top Plays
Stephen CurryStephen Curry - FD 11200 DK 10600
Opponent - HOU
FD Proj. Pts - 50.12 DK Proj. Pts - 54.14
Duh. He's Steph and I don't need to go into a ton of reasoning about why he's in consideration for your lineups. Honestly, it's almost easier to make the case against. The Warriors are big favorites in this matchup and series. They still might blow teams out and get buzzed off minutes. I like Steph a lot, but think that in the same price tier that Westbrook is a little safer.

James HardenJames Harden - FD 10800 DK 10800
Opponent - GSW
FD Proj. Pts - 55.45 DK Proj. Pts - 58.42
The aforementioned Beard is a top DFS play if for no other reason than he projects for the most minutes of anyone going today. This isn't to say other players don't see similar run, but he's the only guy with a regular season track record of major court time. He's a scoring machine and Houston will be forced with trying to keep pace with the Warriors.

Trevor ArizaTrevor Ariza - FD 6200 DK 5700
Opponent - GSW
FD Proj. Pts - 30.05 DK Proj. Pts - 33.45
He falls into the same minutes category as Harden. Ariza will go over 40 easy in this one as I can't see any scenario in which the Rockets don't need him on the court a ton. For that almost alone he's worth heavy consideration. He's DraftKings price especially solid. The worry with Ariza is if the three ball isn't falling it's tough for him to completely hit value.


Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks

One of the more intriguing first round match-ups, and in my opinion, one of the games with the least blowout potential today. If safety is your thing, at least. It also creates space for some interesting daily fantasy basketball plays. The Celtics played the 3rd fastest PACE in the league this season, and have allowed top 10 fantasy point totals to both power forwards and centers (and they're 11th against small forwards). They're a black hole for guards, though, featuring the devastating Avery Bradley and the underrated Marcus Smart.

The Hawks, meanwhile, played the league's 8th fastest PACE, but only allowed better than league average fantasy totals to opposing centers. Let's dive in.

Top Plays
Paul MillsapPaul Millsap - FD 8900 DK 8300
Opponent - BOS
FD Proj. Pts - 43.98 DK Proj. Pts - 45.86
Millsap is the top over all points per dollar guy at power forward today if our projection system is to be believed, and at this price tag, that likely means he'll show up in all of our optimal lineups. He destroyed the Celtics for 33/16/3/2/5 on April 9th, and it'd be shocking if he weren't a chalk play in every format until his price rises dramatically. And even then!

Jae CrowderJae Crowder - FD 5800 DK 5600
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 29.07 DK Proj. Pts - 30.66
Crowder was the Celtics' second leading scorer in the aforementioned game on April 9th, and he scored 30 fantasy points in spite of the Celtics getting generally run out of the gym. Crowder can be an up and down fantasy player, but he should be relied upon quite a bit more in the playoffs unless the C's need Evan Turner's offensive infusion. Given Crowder's success in their last meeting, I think he'll at least get a chance to put up the same fantasy totals he did in their last meeting.

Kyle KorverKyle Korver - FD 3500 DK 3000
Opponent - BOS
FD Proj. Pts - 19.03 DK Proj. Pts - 22
I can't see you right now but I know you're looking at me like I'm crazy. I'm not. Korver is on here because he's about as close as you can get to a punt play on this slate. He's the minimum on DraftKings and FanDuel, and I'd guess that it's nearly a lock that Avery Bradley will be shadowing Jeff Teague. That means Korver will draw Isaiah Thomas, and be the Hawks' primary perimeter weapon here. I guess you can't call it "safe," but there's upside here to be sure, and the floor might be higher than you think given the minutes Korver should play.

Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder

This one has the potential to be incredibly lopsided. The Mavs have been burning the candle at both ends trying to squeak into the playoffs, and the Thunder have been resting their stars for better than a week. The Mavs have serious injury concerns, the Thunder are healthy. The Mavs have a bunch of old, tired dudes, and the Thunder's stars are at the peak of their powers with something to prove. Definitely blowout potential here, but if there is, it just mean's OKC's stars have gotten theirs.

Top Plays
Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook - FD 10700 DK 10700
Opponent - DAL
FD Proj. Pts - 53.77 DK Proj. Pts - 55.73
Just a terrific big money play today. The Mavericks were a little tougher than league average against opposing point guards this season, but that's not accounting for the fact that Deron Williams is seriously banged up and that Wes Matthews has been playing absurd minutes to try and keep the Mavs' playoff hopes alive. Westbrook, meanwhile, has gotten a ton of rest in the last few weeks of the season. I think we see his highest minutes total in a month, and the huge fantasy performance we've come to expect.

Dirk NowitzkiDirk Nowitzki - FD 7200 DK 6200
Opponent - OKC
FD Proj. Pts - 33.53 DK Proj. Pts - 35.4
Nowitzki only played the Thunder 3 times this season, and his performances were a mixed bag. He was dominant in his most recent performance (33 and 6) but was generally awful in the other two. He's also looking pretty tired out there right now. This feels a lot less safe than I'd like for cash game purposes, but I think he has considerable upside given that he's easily the Mavs' best offensive option at the moment.

Wesley MatthewsWesley Matthews - FD 5000 DK 4400
Opponent - OKC
FD Proj. Pts - 26.96 DK Proj. Pts - 30.6
We've been mocked more for selecting Matthews than any other player this season, and possibly for good reason. Casual players tend not to understand that not every basketball player will put out the same, consistent production from game to game. Like Korver above, Matthews is highly dependent upon his match-up. But this just creates a price opportunity. He's put up several 30+ fantasy point games recently, and contributed plenty of duds as well. So what will this series hold? Well, shooting guard is one of the Thunder's worst defensive positions - they've allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards this season - and they've got some good defenders at PG, SF, and PF. I think Matthews has a higher floor than most think, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him shut down either.

Enes KanterEnes Kanter - FD 4500 DK 5300
Opponent - DAL
FD Proj. Pts - 21.13 DK Proj. Pts - 21.72
One of the great round 1 fantasy questions - what are the Thunder planning to do with Enes Kanter? He's put up simply eye popping points per minute numbers this season, but he will also play 18 minutes a game occasionally. The biggest thing he's got going for him, in my opinion, is the center problems in Dallas right now. The Zaza is looking pretty run down, and while Salah Mejri does some interesting things to protect the rim, he should struggle against Kanter's refined post game. I'm prepared for anything here as well (and will likely seek safety elsewhere), but don't be surprised if he goes off here.

The KD problem: Listed, I love Durant in this game. He could literally destroy Justin Anderson, or whoever has to guard him. It's just that you can't spend up at every position given the relative lack of punts, and I sort of have my heart set on Westbrook and Harden. There's also more cheap value at SF (thanks to Justin Anderson, actually) than PG as well. That means KD will be on the shelves for my 50/50 purposes, though I'm prepared to change this opinion after game 1 for sure.

An interesting play: Justin Anderson is showing up in a lot of our optimal lineups for this opening slate, and while he's been somewhat hit or miss, it makes sense. The Mavs were playing for keeps down the stretch, and Anderson inherited a lot of the minutes that Chandler Parsons left behind. He could disappear in this one for sure, but he's cheap, and should play 30 minutes. I'll likely be playing him.

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.



And Daily Fantasy NBA Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings every day!

image sources

64 Visitor Comments

  1. Theres players as cheap at 2k? wow

    • Seriously. I just noticed that b/c of your post. Must be the increased rosters.

  2. I stopped hoops when baseball started because it was a shit show towards the end of the season. I was so excited for the playoffs but what happened to your original style of picks!? I can’t complain as its a great analysis I just prefer your positional breakdown… Will you be doing it this way for the playoffs or back to the old style?


    • I have to agree that the old style is way easier to comprehend.

  3. I agree. You guys do a fantastic job night after night. I understand it’s tough to pick which star is going to go off on a given night but this format of projections basically just picks the star players from every team. Playoffs are a different animal for sure. Thankfully I have the optimizer lol.

  4. Thanks guys! I love this way because of the breakdown and analysis..

    But I have to agree… for DFS purposes the old format is easier to break down and use for lineup building purposes… But I guess when you have the optimizer it doesn’t matter.. lol

  5. Ok guys here’s the first lineup I love for the day, hope this helps **all I play are huge tourneys
    J. Crowder
    Draftkings obviously, I’ve made 3 so far this is the one I like best, notice that it doesn’t contain Westbrook, Durant, Harden, or Curry. I have lineups with them in it, but this one I feel best about. Thoughts??

  6. lowry
    paul george

    what you guys think of this line up on fandeul

    • Great gpp lineup, for cash games you have to roll Harden, Westbrook I think.

  7. ANY other suggestions over Patterson? Lol isn’t scola starting? And he’s been resting down the stretch. Should have more minutes. ANYBODY but Patterson lol. Even when resting starters he wasn’t getting BIG minutes down the stretch

    • I’m confident in Patterson getting his projected 28-29 minutes. He’s a sixth man that they rested along with the starters down the stretch. Remember, this is the playoffs and there simply aren’t punt plays like the regular season. It’s a different animal now.

  8. Millsap- Olynyk or Nowitzki- Valanciunas, any thoughts?

  9. Heads up guys. Powell is starting for the raptors

  10. Igoudala over Anderson? Thoughts?

  11. What do you guys think about this gpp lineup?

    • Get rid of teague, lowry,and bazemore. Instead go Westbrook, iggy, and felton( or Matthews?? lol)

  12. GPP
    Westbrook / Bev
    Hard / Powell
    Ariza / Crowder
    milsap / Johnson
    Any help please ?

  13. No love for Amir? Dude goes ham against Atlanta

    • If I was confident he’d play 27-28 minutes then yes, all day. But I just don’t trust Celtics’ rotations.

  14. And that’s why I play tournaments ^_^ I’ll drop some lineup recs in a minute

  15. is the system updated to the powell start?

  16. I’ve got 3 GPPs today as follows:



  17. you know it’s going to be an interesting day when the optimizer spits out 7 line ups with less than a half pt between #1 and # 7! Good luck out there today ladies and gentlemen!

  18. If you guys start Powell today…… good luck lol he’s kind of a low/low today from my perspective. Tough matchup against PG and Ellis, and you’ve got Lowry and DeRozan to pick up points against Hill.

  19. Boy today’s optimal isn’t for the faint of heart lol. I’m trusting in the system but I am definitely frightened of having Patterson in there for cash games. Good luck everyone!

  20. Patterson and Anderson owned at less than 8% in all 10 of my entries. Hope we didn’t just make a huge mistake.

  21. The only people owning Anderson on any slate are from our site lol our fate to win big is on the shoulders of Anderson

    • I didn’t roster Anderson. I assumed his projection was based on JJ not playing???? and that was too risky for me since JJ was upgraded to probable.

      • We worked under the assumption Dallas would play Anderson more to guard KD. That and he fit into what they were doing at end of season independent of personnel. But yes, JJ could cut into some minutes there if they go super super small

  22. Much harder to put together a lineup than I thought it would be. No real punts obviously come playoff time but a position like SF is just brutal. Beasley’s minutes vanished when the Rockets went into playoff mode, never really can trust the GSW guys because who know what you’ll get, Durant has always struggled against DAL for some reason, Paul George in a tough match-up… just a mess. I ended up only taking one big dog.. Harden.. and still you had to sacrifice some spots with cheaper guys because across the board no punts meant higher priced “safe” guys.. Like the 4 games tomorrow MUCH better than these 4 today..

    Good Luck to everyone!!!

  23. SF is definitely a 4k-6.5k position, in regards to spending. Couldn’t go too high on someone like George, who aint nothing compared to other guys his range from a raw perspective.

  24. This is the nature of the playoffs. Teams are going to shorten their rotations and there just aren’t a lot of cheap options. To me Patterson and Anderson are worthwhile risks considering expected minutes.

  25. Lowry really has negative points right now…. that was until he hit that 3

  26. well, well, well………..slept in late and barely go a lineup into the all day slate on FD…………what do you guys think of it? am I doomed?


  27. Powell really tearing it up!! ?

  28. This game is hard to watch. 18 fouls and 13 turnovers and teams shooting around 35% and it’s not even half time. Just bad basketball.

  29. Stephen………………………..it’s funny to see your rage….LOL

  30. Brewer is starting for Hou, would you project him higher than Anderson? Especially since Carlisle is liable to really shorten his rotation like most veteran NBA coaches

  31. So annoyed with Lowry right now. Can’t even make his free throws. Wtf

  32. And if worried about Anderson, just swap him out for Iggy. Only a .50 point difference in expectation

  33. well………..I’m gonna say Allen and Patterson were not good choices to start the playoffs with……neither one of them hit 5x value……so the trouble begins already…….Allen was especially disappointing.

  34. Considering patterson got at least 4x and ended up with only 5 less FP than Lowry and derozan, I’ll take it. Still early in day.

    • I’ll take that Patterson performance any time this time of year. Remember, this isn’t your normal big slate of games. These are only good teams and no punt plays.

  35. Same old Raptors. Might be best for them to lose 0-4 and move on from Dwane Casey. Dude just doesn’t get playoff basketball.

  36. R.I.P to anyone using Harden, god he is playing awful

  37. These refs must be diehard golden state fans. I don’t think they need any xtra help

  38. Yeah harden and Beverly are sucking out loud. Though the refs are doing Houston no favors. Without an early 3rd qu run, they may both sit most of 2nd half which would be fantasy death knell.

  39. So much for the optimizer today…hope I can salvage something out of the late slate

  40. Lot of game left but pretty crazy to think after a complete no show in the first half and a monster half by Curry that by games end Harden might have more fp than Curry because of the ankle injury and big second half by Harden.. crazy.

  41. Such a HORRIBLE coaching job from Houston. They may not have a chance in this series but GSW goes small and HOU counters with Dwight and DM on the floor at the same time? and regardless what the score is you always need to push your starters mid 30s and up in the playoffs to get guys ready for shorter and shorter benches as playoffs wear on. Why guys like Barnes and Thompson are in the game late up 25 points because Kerr gets it….

  42. I take back what I said earlier………PATTERSON you are my hero….GEEEEEEEZ!!!!! What a great disaster……..put me out of my misery………QUICK!!!

  43. 5 of my 9 players done and averaging 18.08 a piece……………………………..do you think there is any hope with Westbrook, Thomas, Anderson, and Horford still to play?

  44. No hope but remember this fellas the playoffs is about making adjustments so the weak scores are sure to be big scores in the second games

  45. So far so good 220fp+ with Waiters and Kanter to go. Hoping OKC is straight up route and second unit gets tons of run.

Post a Reply




Our free NBA and MLB eBooks, and picks to your inbox every day!

Your eBooks are on their way!