Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 2/9/17
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What to do with the Cavs?
Ty Lue said LeBron, Kyrie and Love will "likely" rest tonight, though he isn't 100% sure yet. I fully expect all 3 of these guys to sit, and there will be a ton of ways to look. With Iman Shumpert already out for a few weeks, the backcourt will be very thin. I expect Jordan McRae to be a playmaker and should be leaned on against the fast-paced Thunder. Kay Felder and Richard Jefferson will also see big minutes, and make very good plays in all formats. While Channing Frye is a lot better with LeBron on the court, he should get enough minutes to produce plenty. In conclusion, Jordan McRae, Kay Felder, Richard Jefferson, and Channing Frye all hold cash game appeal. Everyone else can be played in tournaments, as they will only have 8 active players and everyone has a chance to see big minutes.
With news of the big 3 likely sitting for this one, it changes everything. First of all, the Thunder will likely shift to favorites, and the projected total will go down a few points. I don't think it hurts Westbrook too much, though, as the Cavs should still remain competitive. Even without the big 3, I expect some guys to step up and give the Cavs a chance to keep it close going into the 4th. With Irving and Shumpert both out, it will be Kay Felder, DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae that will be forced to cover Westbrook, and it could get ugly. Tristan Thompson may be the only guy that stands between Russell Westbrook and a monstrous triple-double. If Westbrook is able to out-battle Thompson for a few boards, Westbrook will have a monster game. This is one of the thinner days of the year at PG, so I could see some ownership being pushed onto Westbrook. He can be used in both cash games and tournaments, across the industry. I personally slightly prefer him to Harden, but love them both.
Damian Lillard and Isaiah Thomas will face off tonight, in what figures to be an extremely fun game to watch. When first looking at this slate, this price immediately jumped off the page. There is no chance Lillard should be $2k cheaper than Thomas, and I know exactly what side I will be on of that. While Thomas is obviously a fantastic option and can easily hit 60 fantasy points, I can't in my right mind pay $2k more for Thomas when I can have Lillard, who I like more for even raw points. Isaiah Thomas is one of the worst defenders in the league, and he should struggle here against Lillard. This game will also be played in Portland, where Lillard has put up much better numbers and has most of his huge games there. Lillard will be a staple in my cash games and tournaments.
Kemba is a guy who has disappointed many recently, and he should take an ownership hit for it. People will also look at this match-up and immediately think Patrick Bevereley, who has been nowhere near the same defender he used to be. Multiple point guards have had a huge night against Bev, and Walker could easily add to the list tonight. The Hornets will host the Rockets, who love to play fast and increase the amount of possessions. That will greatly benefit Walker, who derives his upside from rebounds and assists. He has shown the ability to have a 60 point fantasy game and could go less than 10% owned tonight. With that being said, there are ways to pay down. If you like this Cleveland value, you can look at Kay Felder. He should see a good amount of minutes and will have the ball in his hands a lot. Somebody has to score.
James Harden FD - $12600 DK - $12300
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 58.54 DK - 62.9
Harden comes in as the only other superstar and is priced very similarly to Westbrook. While Harden is projected for a few fewer points than Westbrook, he is still a very good play. You can fit both Westbrook and Harden on FanDuel pretty easily, though it's more of a challenge on DraftKings. With that being said, this newfound Cavs value should definitely help you get the job done. Harden will get matched up with a lot of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist & Nicolas Batum, and it will be a fun match-up to watch. While Batum is a great, physical defender, he lacks the speed to stay with Harden. I could see the pick n roll working extremely well here, and wouldn't be surprised to see Batum get in early foul trouble. That will bring MKG to the table, who like Batum, isn't fast enough to cover Harden. Harden is as consistent as they get, and will almost never sink you. On a slate where there are 2 guys so far above everyone else, it's probably a good idea to just get both in cash games.
Evan Fournier FD - $5400 DK - $5900
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 28.1 DK - 30.56
Fournier had a pretty nice game against the Rockets, finishing with 28 fantasy points. That's a pretty average game for Fournier, though it's nice to see after returning from an injury. It looks like the Magic are ready to play him good minutes, and he's ready to score. He should have his will in this match-up, as the 76ers have nobody that can cover on the perimeter. Covington would be able to guard Fournier, but I highly doubt the would take him off of Aaron Gordon/Jeff Green. That means we will likely see Nik Stauskas. Stauskas has been a horrible defender, and Fournier will have no problem driving past him. Fournier saw his price go way down during the injury, and it has yet to recover. Make sure you take advantage and play this guy in an ideal match-up with his price $1k too low.
Gerald Henderson FD - $3500 DK - $3200
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 18.61 DK - 19.68
Jordan McRae FD - $3500 DK - $3000
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 5.03 DK - 5.54
We have 2 cheap guys to look at here, and 1 that jumps off the page. Gerald Henderson got the start last game and played 23 minutes. While that isn't great, he finally saw over 20 minutes, and I could see his minutes start to trend back up. Make sure he is starting once again, and he will be a low owned guy you can put in some tourneys. As for McRae, I think he's cash game viable. While the Thunder have some guys that can cover guards, they play fast and reckless. McRae has shown his ability to make plays, having a couple big games earlier this year with Kyrie Irving out. He is one of the only guys that can create a shot for these Cavs and will be leaned on in crunch times. McRae will likely be very popular by the end of the day, but I'm fine with that.
Aaron Gordon comes into this one questionable, so make sure you keep an eye out for the injury article that will come out at 4:30. You can also look on Twitter if the news is announced closer to game time. Gordon is going to dominate if he plays, as his athleticism and speed will be too much for this Embiid-less 76ers team. The Magic will be the team we target most tonight, and it makes sense. The 76ers should stay close, and they give up a lot of peripherals. The Magic have a lot of guys who derive upside from peripherals, and both of these guys are included. If Aaron Gordon ends up being ruled out, we can expect 30 minutes from Jeff Green. He has been a big scoring presence off the bench, and won't mind bearing more of the responsibility. This match-up is a cakewalk for him as well, as he only needs about 2 feet to feel open. I'm a big fan of whoever gets the start here.
Maurice Harkless FD - $3800 DK - $4000
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 14.18 DK - 15.07
This projection is way low for Harkless and will go up once the optimizer processes the Evan Turner injury. Turner has been seeing 30 minutes and the start recently, which means things will be very shook up. Harkless has played 35 minutes many times in the past and could just replace the entire role of Evan Turner. Harkless regularly plays around 22 minutes, and wouldn't be surprised to see him almost hit 40 tonight. The Celtics offer a pretty good match up to experiment, as Harkless matches up well with Jae Crowder. Crowder is a bit bigger, but Harkless is faster and more agile. I like Harkless in both cash games and tournaments and could go overlooked with all of this Cleveland Cavaliers value on the board.
Trevor Ariza FD - $5400 DK - $5600
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 25.82 DK - 27.84
Trevor Ariza is a cash game king, often paying off in solid match-ups. This match up with the Hornets sets up well for Ariza, against a Hornets team that has been very lackluster against small forwards. MKG is a very solid defender, but the team isn't very efficient, and give up a ton of easy baskets. Ariza should see plenty of open looks, as I expect Kidd-Gilchrist to be helping on Harden all night. Ariza does a great job of finding open 3's, and Harden is great at finding him. He may not have the upside of a guy like Aaron Gordon, but his floor is nice, and he won't ever sink you. Ariza can definitely be used in cash games, and I don't hate him in tournaments. As long as you roster some other contrarian guys, he is a solid option.
Serge Ibaka FD - $6000 DK - $6800
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 30.37 DK - 32.02
Power forward is an absolute wasteland with Kevin Love being ruled out. Luckily, we have Serge Ibaka. he is one of the only guys at the position that gets me excited, and the upside is definitely real in this match-up. Th 76ers allow the most blocked shots, which is where Ibaka can cement a solid game. They also give up a ton of points and rebounds to big men, which is why we will be all over Vucevic as well. Without Embiid, this defense is much worse. Ersan Ilyasova will match-up with Ibaka for most of the game, and I see Ibaka doing just fine. He is way more physical than Ilyasova and should have his way in the paint. Elfrid and Fournier will look to get Ibaka the ball, who has been a focal point of the offense in recent games. Ibaka will be a cash game and tournament lock for me, as I don't see too many paths to failure.
Frank Kaminsky FD - $4900 DK - $5600
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 26.43 DK - 28.07
Kaminsky has been very productive lately, totaling 30 fantasy points in 2 if his last 3 games. He also played over 30 minutes in each of his 2 last games, which means he is fully trusted by this coaching staff. While Cody Zeller looks to return today, I don't think he will play full minutes. Kaminsky will likely see about 28 minutes, which should be more than enough against this Rockets team. Ryan Anderson is more of a shooter and is not a big fan of playing defense. Kaminsky does stay outside like Anderson, but is also bigger and willing to bang around in the paint quite a bit. The Rockets also give up the 8th most rebounds to PF's, and that number has been on the downtrend. While Kaminsky doesn't have huge upside, he has plenty for his price.
Channing Frye FD - $4300 DK - $3400
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 16.6 DK - 18.09
With the big 3 being "likely" ruled out for this game, Frye will be needed. He will be one of the only veterans available, and I would expect Ty Lue to lean on him at the 4. He can cover Sabonis and sets up well against him on offense. Frye does rely on LeBron, but has done a better job recently of creating his own shot. I do think this game ends up staying close, and Frye could be a big part of it. He can be a very good shooter, and can also get involved down low on occasion. Frye may not have the highest upside in the world, but he's super cheap and will play 32 minutes, at least. He will be a lock in all of my cash games and tournaments and can help you roster both superstars.
Nikola Vucevic FD - $7400 DK - $7700
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 36.48 DK - 37.97
Center has 3 options up top, and Vucevic is our favorite. He takes on a 76ers team that is mightily struggling against centers with Embiid out. Vucevic will look to add on here with another big game, which he already has a few of against this team. Jahliil Okafor and Nerlens Noel will cover Vucevic, and neither have a chance. Jahlil Okafor was originally benchd for his lack of defnse, and Nerlens Noel is just way too small for Vuc. Vucevic is going to eat tonight, and has a ton of upside if this game ends up staying close. There are a lot of Magic to target, and I will look to limit my exposure to 3. I will look to narrow those 3 down as the day progresses.
Steven Adams FD - $6100 DK - $5800
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 31.25 DK - 32.8
Steven Adams has seen a gradual price increase since returning from injury, though he probably still needs to be about $1k higher. He gets a match up with Tristan Thompson tonight, who is undoubtedly one of the best rebounders in the league. However, Adams has done well against him in the past, and it's likely due to the pick n roll. Westbrook and Adams run one of the most efficient PNR's in the league, and Thompson has some trouble coming to the top of the key. While Oladipo is the 2nd option on this offense, Adams has a similar usage, sitting just 1% lower. Westbrook loves to get him the ball, and he is very productive with it. While Vucevic certainly has more upside, Adams is very safe, and will certainly get close to value in cash games. He could also destroy it if this game does stay close.
Clint Capela FD - $5200 DK - $6000
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 32.51 DK - 33.75
Capela has quietly dominated over the last 2 weeks, and his price is still too low. He takes on a Charlotte team that is putrid against centers, allowing the 2nd most rebounds and 4th most points. Capela should have another great game tonight, and should easily get to 25. He has also flashed tournament upside, even in limited minutes. Capela is a guy you can count on to get it done and helps you pay up elsewhere. He certainly doesn't have the upside of Vucevic, but he's also $2k cheaper. I will have Capela in all formats, and he does make a better play on FD.
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- Russell Westbrook: (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)