Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 2/23/17
Basketball is back! After a grueling week off, we return to a completely different NBA. With DeMarcus Cousins being traded to the Pelicans, we will have a lot to look at moving forward. Today is also the trade deadline, so make sure you keep an eye out for news. This is a 6 game slate with plenty of option sat all positions and plenty of different value options. There shouldn't be too much ownership overlap, which always makes things a bit more fun in tournaments. Let's take a look at the top options at each position!
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Collison is still a member of the Sacramento Kings as of Wednesday night, though we're unsure if that lasts through tomorrow's deadline. The Kings come into the game extremely shorthanded, with just Lawson and Collison as the two point guards. Tyreke Evans could see some minutes at point guard, but will likely come off the bench with the 2nd unit and jack up a bunch of shots. Collison saw over 40 minutes in 3 of his last 4 before the ASB and while I don't think he gets there tonight, he should get to at least 36. The Denver Nuggets offer a solid match-up, as Jameer Nelson is not a guy to be scared of. He hasn't been able to guard a good scorer in 5 years, let alone a guy like Collison who can shoot off the dribble or drive to the rim. Make sure you keep an eye out for trade news up until 3 P.M, which is when rosters will be set in stone. If Collison remains on the Kings, he is a solid play in both cash games and tournaments. His floor sits around 25 here with a ceiling that exceeds 40.
Kemba finished off the first half of the season with 2 fantastic games, scoring 43 fantasy points in each. Walker was struggling for a bit there, but it looks like he got his groove back before the break. Walker has been playing huge minutes as well, topping 35 in each of his last 12 games. The Pistons have been below average against point guards, giving up over 22 points and 9 assists per game. Walker will have to score tonight, as Batum will be covered by KCP, who is one of the better defenders in the league. Walker is fairly priced on both DK and FD, needing you about 38 in cash games and 45 in tournaments. I think he gets there pretty easily in this one, as it should be competitive and rather high scoring. Neither of these teams play incredibly fast, though there is still an over/under of 207. While that is low compared to the rest of the games, it still offers plenty of points for Walker to destroy value. This is a game with a lot of value, though there are a couple ways to pay up as well. Walker is a great play on all sites, though I don't think he's a must on sites where the price is inflated.
Jameer Nelson FD - $5600 DK - $6500
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 16.21 DK - 17.79
Coach Malone announced that jammer Nelson will hold his starting lineup, with Emmanuel Mudiay heading to the bench indefinitely. Nelson has been spectacular for the Nuggets in multiple different ways. He has always been an extremely good pick n roll player, as he showed plenty of times in Orlando with Dwight Howard and Shaq. Jokic is getting his turn now and is certainly taking advantage. Nelson has been on the same page as Jokic consistently, which has been one of the driving factors in the development of Jokic. Nelson will continue to see at least 30 minutes on a nightly basis, which should mean a solid 25 fantasy points, at the bare minimum. The upside has been flashed as well, with multiple games over 35 fantasy points this season. Darren Collison isn't a great defender, giving up nearly 48 FP per game to opposing point guards. While he may not have the highest ceiling in his price range, his floor is tremendous. Nelson can be used in all formats, though cash games is where most exposure will stem.
James Harden FD - $12600 DK - $12500
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 59.32 DK - 66.05
Harden comes in as the most expensive guy on both sites, by a pretty good margin. He faces off with the Pelicans, who have just traded away 3 guards. Solomon Hill and E'Twaun Moore are the only guys who will be playing the 2 and I'm not too sure who ends up on Harden. I expect Solomon Hill to start on Harden, but I don't think anyone on this team holds a chance. Harden is going to absolutely obliterate whoever the Pelicans throw at him. Harden has been getting as many minutes as he wants and I see no reason to believe he sees less coming off of a week break. He should be in for another one of his solid 60 fantasy point games, in which he flirts with a triple double going into the 4th quarter. This is a game I have a ton of exposure to, mostly due to the crazy 227 over/under and small -3.5 line. Harden is a lock for 50 here and has the upside to hit 90. I know that might sound crazy, but he did it earlier this year. With all of that being said, you do have to consider the price. I will likely end up with Harden in my cash games tonight but do see the merit in fading solely due to price.
Both Hield and Evans were shipped over in the Cousins trade, which completely changes the dynamic of both teams. The Kings have already made us aware of what they think of buddy Hield comparing him to Stephen Curry just a day after the trade. While that is obviously quite an idiotic statement for multiple reasons, it shows the promise thy believe he has. He should immediately stepped in and taken over the 2 in an offense without a leader. With Cousins out of town and Rudy Gay out for the season, the Kings will be looking for a guy to initiate on offense. While Hield may not have the most polished tools just yet, he has the ability to score and shoot. As for Evans, he will come into the game with a 27-minute limit, his highest yet of the season. Evans has always been a guy who accumulates FP very quickly while on the floor. Returning to Sacramento, he should have the green light. He will be joined on the second unit with guys like Aaron Afflalo, Malachi Richardson, and Skal Labissiere. This is a bench that's going to run into some serious scoring woes, which will come when Evans goes cold. They will rely on his spark off the bench, which should be no problem against the Denver Nuggets. They sport a pretty bad bench themselves and don't have much to throw at Evans. With Gallinari and Chandler both questionable, we could see Gary Harris and Will Barton forced into big minutes. All in all, Hield is the safer of the two and has just as much upside. Evans is a bit more expensive, but has upside and is safe for 20.
Evan Fournier FD - $5400 DK - $6000
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 27.79 DK - 29.9
Fournier got in a pretty nice rhythm before the ASB, after returning from injury only a couple weeks before. With Ibaka gone, Fournier is going to be forced into a larger and distributing scoring role. He may also have to grab a few more rebounds, which always helps the upside a little bit. C.J. McCollum is a fine defender, but he's nothing to write home about. Fournier will be able to score just fine against him and I have no doubt he will have success. He could also see some Allen Crabbe defense, which will be when Fournier can rack up the points. His price has definitely increased, but it's still not back to where it should be. Fournier is also locked into pretty big minutes, playing 34 or more in 6 of his last 8 games. I expect Fournier to be in the $7k's on both sites before it's said and done. I'm a fan in both cash games and tournaments, though I do think Hield is a tad bit safer for his price.
Kevin Durant FD - $10300 DK - $9400
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 50.35 DK - 52.91
Small forward is a position that lacks much appeal, wth only a few guys expected to top value. There are a few positions with some excellent value positions (SG, PF, C) that will make it hard to pay up. Without an amazing value option at SF, it is much easier to pay up for the safety of Durant. The upside is obviously still there as well and nobody will be surprised when he goes for 70 fantasy points on any given night. I'm not sure who the Clippers end up putting on Durant, but it won't work. I guess Wesleey Johnson has the best chance, but he still doesn't have much of one. Durant is just way too fast, agile and long for anyone on this team. Chris Paul could also return tonight, whhich could result in Stephen Curry drawin g atough match-up. Durant is a guy who is very safe in cash games and has a ton of upside in tournaments. His price is also way down and won't cost you too much elsewhere.
With Serge Ibaka out of Orlando, both of these guys will gain some responsibility. Aaron Gordon will move over to the 4 and play about 32 minutes per night there. Jeff green will slide into the 3 and is still around minimum priced. His price will rise quickly and we want to make sure e play him hile he is so cheap. He should be a lock for 30 minutes and has always been a guy that produces when on the court. Terrence Ross could certainly steal some minutes, but I don;t see him getting more than 20 in his first game. Jeff Green is the safer option between the 2, as he is guaranteed to hit cash game value at his price. The tournament upside is there for both of them and I will have a ton of exposure. They will help you pay up elsewhere and still give you the opportunity for 40 fantasy points. This game with the Blazers is one that will be fast-paced and highly competitive. With Ibaka being traded, we will look to the Magic side of the ball, though the Blazers have a lot of plays with appeal as well. Small forward in general is a bit weird, so both of these guys can be played everywhere.
Trevor Ariza FD - $5300 DK - $5600
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 26.46 DK - 28.44
The Rockets made a very interesting move by acquiring Lou Williams from the Lakers. While Williams could eat into a couple of Ariza minutes, I think it hurts Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, and Sam Dekker much more. Even then, I doubt Williams sees big minutes in the first game. Ariza is the lockdown defender the Rockets need on the court each night and they won't limit his minutes. With Harden out there and Beverley not performing on the same level, Ariza has been the only guy they can consistently count on to play defense. That should result in him playing at least 34 minutes here. The Pelicans are a team that lacks much perimeter defense and the only somewhat decent guy they have will be on Harden. That will leave E'Twaun Moore or Solomon Hill for Ariza, which should result in easy fantasy points. Ariza has been extremely consistent in the mid range at SF this season, topping 25 fantasy points on a consistent basis in good match-ups. Ariza does lack a bit of upside, which gives him more appeal in cash games. In tournaments, I would much rather go with a guy like Aaron Gordon or Jeff Green.
Channing Frye FD - $5400 DK - $5500
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 28.31 DK - 30.98
Channing Frye will be a mainstay in both this article and the Cavs lineup with Kevin Love out. Well, at least until FD and DK fix his price. Sitting in the mid $5k's, you almost have to play Channing Frye. He figures to play at least 30 minutes here with the ceiling for much more. Frye is heavily reliant on LeBron, as he is a shooter who gets open with spacing. LeBron attacks the rim and looks for Frye a ton, which can result in a monstrous game. He has shown 45 fantasy point upside earlier this yea, though I wouldn't expect that on a regular basis. He will match-up with Kristaps Porzingis and Guillermo Hernangomez tonight, who are both average match-ups. Porzingis is tough to score on down low, but gives up open shots and rebounding opportunities. Hernangomez doesn't stand a chance on the outside, though he will dominate Frye down low. The ASB came at a good time for Frye, who will be forced to man some healthy minutes for a few more weeks. Frye is a guy who will be in 100% of my lineups tonight, unless some news comes out that drastically changes things.
Willie Cauley-Stein FD - $3800 DK - $3600
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 10.76 DK - 11.17
With DeMarcus Cousins being traded to the Pelicans, Willie Cauley-Stein should be in for a fun 2nd-half of the season. With only Skal Labissiere, Kosta Koufos and Papagiannis behind him at the 4 and 5, he is a lock for minutes. While expecting 32 minutes may be pushing it, I think WCS is locked into at least 25, with the ceiling for 35. The Nuggets have one of the weaker interior defenses, as Jokic hasn't been able to transfer his offensive success to defense. Cauley-Stein is one f the only big men in the league who can match the length of Jokic, who will typically use his length against immobile big men. Cauley-Stein will be out there to guard him and should fall into plenty of his own. Coming into the league, he sported one of the absolute worst offensive ratings around. Since, he has slowly improved and is now an above-average offensive talent. He has also had great chemistry with Collison and Lawson, which is great to see when they are the only 2 true point guards on the team. Cauley-Stein will likely come in as the highest owned PF, but I'm willing to eat the chalk in most cases. With that being said, there are a couple more ways you can go that are extremely solid.
Jon Leuer FD - $4700 DK - $4600
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 25.54 DK - 26.8>
Frank Kaminsky FD - $6000 DK - $6300
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 31.59 DK - 33.61
These 2 guys will face off in the battle of boring tonight. The Hornets and Pistons both play very boring basketball, with not much flash. With that being said, they still offer up plenty of fantasy value. Leuer saw 34 and 36 in his last two games, coming through for over 28 in each. He should be in for another 35 minutes against a Charlotte frontcourt that matches up well. Frank Kaminsky and Marvin Williams will both see huge minutes with Zeller and Plumlee out. We are leaning Kaminsky as he has been far more involved on offense and has shown a much higher upside. Kaminsky is a near lock for 38 minutes in this contest, which basically locks him in for at least 30 fantasy points. Leuer, Drummond, and Harris will all struggle to cover Kaminsky, who has been a match-up problem for some of the best defensive forwards in the game. His game might not be flashy, but the upside is there and the safety is as well. You can play both of these guys in all formats, though Kaminsky is my preferred target.
Jusuf Nurkic FD - $3700 DK - $4300
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 21.63 DK - 23
I was somehow all over Jusuf Nurkic against the Jazz and it paid off at minimum price. He looked absolutely dominant when on the floor, which is no surprise. Nurkic is a floor general and a guy that has a lot more upside than people may think. He plays a bit like Jokic in terms of passing and footwork, though he isn't nearly at the same level. This match-up with the Magic is a prime one, as Vucevic and Biyombo are both pitiful defenders. Biyombo is a god shot blocker, but lacks the athleticism to stay with Nurkic and all of his moves. Nurkic only saw 21 minutes against the Jazz and I expect that to go up here. I would expect somewhere around 25 minutes and 30 fantasy points out of Nurkic, which is way more than enough. Terry Stotts has said that Nurkic could start and with how Meyers Leonard has been playing, I could see it happening tonight. Nurkic has the potential to be a dominant big man and is someone who will always be an extremely efficient fantasy scorer.
Nikola Vucevic FD - $7200 DK - $7100
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 40 DK - 43.25
We will go right back to the other side of the ball here with Nikola Vucevic. Vuc will see the defense of both Meyers Leonard and Nurkic. Leonard is a very weak defender and I look for Vucevic to power through him down low. Like his ex-teammate Jokic, Nurkic also struggles on defense. Vucevic is a very polished big man who has some excellent low post moves and knows when and how to use them. He should be able to dice up both of these guys and makes for a very interesting option. I do expect him to be pretty low owned, as I think most people either pay all the way up or all the way down. Vucevic has certainly shown his upside numerous times this year and this is the type of match-up that offers up that type of upside. He is also coming off of a break, which is always good news for a guy that has trouble playing big minutes. Vucevic is a guy I will have more exposure to in tournaments, as Nurkic is a guy I will have a ton of exposure to in cash. Hernangomez is also a great cash option on DK.
Guillermo Hernangomez FD - $5800 DK - $5700
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 32 DK - 35.25
While Hernangomez is a better play on DraftKings, he can be played on FanDuel as well. He has been seeing healthy minutes lately and the production has followed. This is a guy who has proven his ability to produce over and over and I think he has done enough to cement himself in the rotation. With Joakim Noah already ruled out, you can be sure that Hernangomez will get his 28 minutes. The 30 fantasy points will follow and nobody will blink an eye. This Cavs interior is one that lacks much of a presence with Kevin love out. While Love isn't a good defender, he is a fantastic rebounder and presents a big body down low. With Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye banging down low, it has opened up more opportunities for opposing big men. Willy Hernangomez may be a bit scary to roster, but he's safe and has plenty of upside. I do prefer both of the above guys, but will still have a good amount of usage.