Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/20/16 Opening Round
Wednesday’s three game slate brings us increased options compared to the two played on Tuesday. Technically that’s 50% more, a great example of Mark Twain’s explanation of the increasing magnitude of falsehoods: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Just because there are more options doesn’t translate to many options, so there's still not a lot of margin for error. Even in cash games, lineups will be similar. This is when playing late-night cash games with reduced slates during the regular season pays off. As usual in the first round of the playoffs, the biggest concern is court time. Examining blowout risk is a major theme below.
Note that this article’s format changed when the playoffs started. Additionally, there won’t be a separate update article. Come back to this article throughout the day Wednesday and review the discussion in the comments below for updated information.
Good luck all, though the plan is that you’ll need less, armed with DFSR’s projections and analysis.
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Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat
The series began with a 32-point rout for the Heat, and the game wasn’t even that close. The real issue here is whether Steve Clifford and the Hornets can make the necessary adjustments to be competitive, given the opportunity to dig in and focus on one team. Our friends offshore upped the line just a point to 5 ½. For DFS players, that suggests a closer game and tighter rotations. Reviewing both teams’ minutes shows a pattern fairly close to what we saw in the regular season. In turn, it's reasonable to expect typical fantasy production from each of the clubs' usual suspects.
Top Value Plays
Nic Batum is the top SF on FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK) on a Pts/$ basis. In a game that wasn’t even remotely close, he logged 40 minutes and put up a 5x. If the game is more competitive, he certainly won’t see fewer minutes. With good peripheral stats like steals (and 3-pointers on DK), he keeps a very high floor. He should be a solid cash play on both sites, and with his slightly lower price and favorable scoring on DK, he comes close to a must-play for me across the board.
The top Pts/$ value of the night on both sites, Courtney Lee is a very nice, reasonably priced option. He played 33 minutes and nearly got to 5x last game, and his price dropped. The DFSR system loves his production/price point combination, and someone at this salary level comes with an inherently high floor. There are plenty of places to spend money on Wednesday. Lee is a very safe, relatively cheap option who should find his way into all of your lineups.
Dwyane Wade - FD 7400 DK 7000
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 34.92 DK Proj. Pts - 35.46
Dwyane (it always kills me to spell that) put up a workmanlike performance in Game 1. If anyone saw less court time because of the game script, it was him. A tighter game will see more run for Wade, and you know he wants the ball in his hands during the playoffs. Still capable of being an elite scorer and distributor, he remains the marquee player on a very well rounded Heat roster. I like the idea of stacking Lee and Wade on FD with the possibility of significant upside in a more competitive game. Despite the price bump on DK, Wade’s a solid Pts/$ option, and one of only two legitimate places to spend at SG. If the money is there, this is a good place to park it.
Joe Johnson - FD 4900 DK 4500
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 23.38 DK Proj. Pts - 25.45
The artist formerly known as Iso-Joe is yet another wing player from this game worthy of strong consideration. He has shed that label with the Heat, fitting in nicely with the team’s offensive structure. Johnson is another example of a high floor due to a relatively low salary, where hitting a couple from downtown gets you halfway to value. He is a particularly attractive bargain on DK, with his lower price and the bonus for the 3-ball. Perhaps most importantly, Johnson pops out of the DFSR projections both in this game and at the position. On FD you can pair him with Batum and keep your overall investment at SF to a reasonable level.
Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers
The Pistons played their hearts out in Game 1, and could have easily won. Despite that, Cleveland remains a double-digit favorite. A quick look at the box score will show that Detroit was unconscious from the floor by their standards, and there’s no reason to think that will hold up over time. If their shooting drops off and the Cavs maintain their intensity, this game could be the easier victory we all thought we’d see the first time around. It's still unlikely that the Pistons get blown off the court, so their key players’ minutes should remain safe. The DFSR projections also like the Cavs' Big 3 to get their minutes.
Top Value Plays
LeBron James - FD 10500 DK 10500
Opponent - DET
FD Proj. Pts - 50.2 DK Proj. Pts - 52.2
Where else to start than here? With the funky playoff pricing structure, if you punt, you’re really punting, and you will have salary on your hands. The King is easily Wednesday’s costliest player, but he retains a good multiple because of his ridiculous playoff Usage rate. The games count now, so you’ll see him exerting his will when he sees fit. With Kyrie healthy he won’t dominate the ball, but it’ll still be in his hands for a good portion of the Cavs’ possessions. That leads to all the good counting stats we love in DFS. You can expect LeBron to be widely-owned for the night in cash games.
Kevin Love - FD 7300 DK 7400
Opponent - DET
FD Proj. Pts - 37.57 DK Proj. Pts - 40.21
Another Cavs star on this list, Love is the best Pts/$ alternative at PF on FD, and brings good value on DK as well. He put up a strong double-double in the first game of the series, hitting the boards hard. He also hit consistently from range. When he diversifies his game like that, he’s hard to defend. We can’t project another 7x, but the possibility is there, and expecting a 5x is pretty reasonable. He’s one of only two legitimate high-price alternatives at this position. If you want to spend at PF, this is the safest place to do so.
Andre Drummond - FD 7800 DK 7200
Opponent - CLE
FD Proj. Pts - 42.89 DK Proj. Pts - 43.69
Andre Drummond puts up a double-double during player intros, giving him a hard floor every single night. When he turns his attention to defending as well as rebounding, the potential for a difference-making multiple is there as well. We mercifully only had to see him at the line twice, where he bested his season percentages and hit one of two! That suggests his activity level could rise further, and if it does he could really pay off. The chalk play of the night, he’s your Center on FD. You really have to play him in all of your lineups on both sites.
Tobias Harris - FD 6600 DK 5900
Opponent - CLE
FD Proj. Pts - 32.29 DK Proj. Pts - 33.88
A very attractive mid-tier PF option, Tobias Harris is essentially the Pts/$ play of the night on DK, and he’s near the top of the list on FD. You know he’ll get his usual haul of minutes. He simply goes out and puts up a 5x every night, so the floor is ridiculous. He makes a good Pistons stack with Drummond on both sites, and a nice game stack with Love if you pair them on FD. At the price on DK, he is pretty close to a must regardless of your roster construction.
Reggie Jackson - FD 6600 DK 6500
Opponent - CLE
FD Proj. Pts - 34.79 DK Proj. Pts - 36.14
Reggie Jackson is the top Pts/$ PG on both sites, and it’s not even close on FD. He’s the leader of his team and plays every one of his mid-30s minutes like it’s his last. You can count on him to hit value, and we saw against Washington what can happen if he gets hot from downtown (that’d be a 9x). He’ll be in a lot of lineups, but this isn’t the place to differentiate. With his value and mid-level price, you really need to roster him. On FD, you can pair him with one of the elite-price options (see below) and the spending won’t be outrageous.
Keep an eye on Marcus Morris as a nice value opportunity on DK.
Portland Trailblazers at Los Angeles Clippers
Game 1 ended up as a laugher, but closer examination shows it was tight at intermission. The guard-centric Blazers went cold from outside during the second half, and the game went south. If Lillard and McCollum hit their shots, the deeper, better Clippers still won’t be able to run Portland off the court. The line remaining in single digits supports this idea. From the Clippers’ perspective, their three stars logged low-30s minutes despite some extra bench time towards the end of the contest. If Game 2 remains close throughout, look for high-30s minutes and some serious fantasy production.
Top Value Plays
Chris Paul - FD 9800 DK 9600
Opponent - POR
FD Proj. Pts - 49.92 DK Proj. Pts - 52.06
Damian Lillard - FD 8400 DK 8400
Opponent - LAC
FD Proj. Pts - 41.94 DK Proj. Pts - 45.11
Those high-end PGs mentioned above can both be found in in this game. They’re projected for virtually identical Pts/$ output (behind Reggie Jackson and way ahead of everyone else). You should pair one of them with Jackson on FD (if you really don’t like Jackson, you could punt elsewhere, and run them both). If you’re making a choice, it mainly comes down to salary constraints. Paul has a slightly higher floor, while Lillard comes with a bit higher ceiling. I always like being able to spend big dollars and keep value, and these guys are your best choices to do so on Wednesday.
Blake Griffin - FD 9300 DK 8200
Opponent - POR
FD Proj. Pts - 44.06 DK Proj. Pts - 44.73
Going back to the PF position, Mr. Kia is back and rounding into form. The Blazers really don’t have anyone who can move with him from the interior to the perimeter and back, so the ceiling here is really a function of how the Clippers distribute the ball and how Griffin continues to meld back into the offense. His salary is on the rise, but still hasn’t caught up to his production, particularly on DK where he’s an even better value than Love. If you want to spend up at PF on DK, this is where you go.
J.J. Redick - FD 4500 DK 4700
Opponent - POR
FD Proj. Pts - 21.94 DK Proj. Pts - 24.79
And finally, returning to where we started on the wing, J.J. Redick is the second-best SG value on FD, and it’s not really a contest. You should pair him on the cheap with C. Lee and spend your money on the myriad options at other positions. On DK, despite the friendly scoring system, the DFSR projections show better value alternatives at SG. You only need one SG (Lee), so cramming Redick into your lineup there shouldn’t be a top priority. If your roster structure calls for it though, he’d certainly be a decent play.
On DK, think about C.J. McCollum, where his lower price really raises his Pts/$ value.