Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/12/17

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Early game - Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics

There is a game at 3:30 between the Bulls and Celtics that isn't included on the main slate. I kept these guys out of the article as they will be irrelevant for most. If you are playing the early slate, there are a couple of ways to go here. On the Bulls, Jimmy Butler is the only guy I have interest in. He may draw Avery Bradley defense in the 4th quarter but should do just fine in the end. On the Celtics, I have interest in Al Horford and Avery Bradley. Horford has a great match-up with Robin Lopez and is still underpriced. As for Bradley, he's ridiculously under-priced and will be a lock for any cash games I have in the early slate. Make sure he's playing as he is coming off a lengthy injury.

Point Guard

Damian LillardDamian Lillard FD - $9000 DK - $9000
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 43.21 DK - 46.49

We have a 5 game main-slate on our hands tonight, with 5 pretty interesting games from a DFS perspective. This affair between the Blazers and Suns is certainly one of the games we will be targeting a ton as it holds a 230 over/under with just a 1 point line. Lillard is the top offensive option for the Blazers and should shoot at least 20 times. The Blazers did play last night, which is a tad bit concerning. However, Lillard has played over 30 minutes in every back-to-back set this year.  Eric Bledsoe will likely draw the match-up and have trouble covering Lillard all game long. Bledsoe is a decent individual defender, but struggles with on and off-ball screens. This Blazers lives and dies off of off-ball screens to get open, so this could be trouble. Lillard is the 2d highest price PG on FD so I could see his ownership being a little lower than expected. Lillard is one of the safer options on the slate in both cash games and tournaments.

Derrick RoseDerrick Rose FD - $6500 DK - $6300
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 33.47 DK - 35.41

D-Rose had his first off-game in a while yesterday, finishing with just 14 fantasy points on just 11 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. He only played 27 minutes and should be good to go for a full load in this one. He should also return to form and end up around 30 to 40 fantasy points. For a 5 game slate, there are some crazy over/under's, with the game included at 221.5 There are going to be a few guys on the Knicks that will destroy value and I expect Rose to definitely be one of them. The Nets have been absolutely atrocious against point guards, which everyone already knows. Rose is still a guy who excels in fast-paced games, so it'll be interesting to see how the best match-up in basketball plays out. I will have Rose in both cash games and tournaments, as I see his floor around 28 and a ceiling of 50.

Tyler JohnsonTyler Johnson FD - $5500 DK - $5300
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 23.78 DK - 24.9

Goran Dragic left last game with an eye injury and never returned. Nothing has been released on his status just yet for tonight, but I'm going to assume he sits. If he does, Tyler Johnson comes in as one of the top value plays on the entire slate. Even with Dragic in, Johnson has been seeing healthy minutes and producing. With Dragic out, he will likely see around 35-37 minutes and have a projected FP total around 35. This match-up with the Pacers is a good one, as they tend to play fast and can give it up to guards. While Jeff Teague is a fine individual defender, he takes a hit due to the pace in which the Pacers splay their games. Johnson should be able to hit value with ease in all formats if Dragic is out. If Dragic plays, look elsewhere.


Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $11700 DK - $11800
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 57.34 DK - 61.87

Now for the highest projected total of the night, we have the Rockets and Cavs at 232.5. The Rockets are favored to win by 5 at home, although I think that line is a bit off. Still, there will be a lot of scoring either way. On the Rockets, most scoring runs through one guy, James Harden. Harden has shown his ability to dominate the Cavs, putting up monster numbers against LeBron over the last couple seasons. Harden will face off with either Iman Shumpert or J.R. Smith, with LeBron likely switching on to him down the stretch. Harden is arguably the best DFS player in the league and can score an insane amount of point no matter the match-up. With all of this being said, he is very expensive. Sitting close to $12k on both sites, Harden will need to go off in order for you to have a chance in tournaments. However, I don't think it's crazy to see an 80 point fantasy game here. While not expected, certainly possible.

Devin BookerDevin Booker FD - $6200 DK - $6600
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 30.81 DK - 33.21
C.J. McCollumC.J. McCollum FD - $7200 DK - $7600
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 37.78 DK - 40.77

These 2 guys will face off in a game with a 230 over/under. Due to that fact alone, I'm fine with both of these guys in cash. They are both the 2nd option on their respective teams and have a ton of safety. McCollum is more expensive and also played 42 minutes last night, so I would be a little more careful with him. As for Devin Booker, he is a guy I will have a ton of exposure. As a guy who is one of the more streaky shooters in the game, I look to target Booker when his shot is falling. He should be able to hit value easily at mid-$6k in a fast-paced match-up with the Blazers, who don't play much defense at all. ith over 23 real-life points in 3 straight, Booker looks to be finding a groove. He is a phenomenal play in all formats. As for McCollum, I will personally only have exposure in tournaments. He chased Bradley Beal and John Wall around for 42 minutes last night, which can be more than tiring.

Josh RichardsonJosh Richardson FD - $4200 DK - $4000
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 17.06 DK - 18.4

With Dragic expected to miss, Josh RIchrdson becomes an interesting play off of the bench. he should see an uptick in minutes to around 30, and at his price, you have to give him a long hard look. Richardson is one of the guys the Heat have in future plans, so they will continue to see what they have and make sure he is progressing. Richardson will face off with Monta Ellis off the bench, which is fantastic news. Ellis was one of the worst defenders in the league when he had healthy knees. Without, he is one of the worst defenders I've ever seen. Richardson will dominate Ellis until the Pacers put someone else on him, but it may be too late by then. Richardson is close to minimum-price on both sites, so he'll only need you about 20 in cash games to hit value. I think he gets that with ease and the upside for much much more is there. Richardson is a guy who should go overlooked and makes for an elite play if Dragic is out.

Small Forward

Carmelo AnthonyCarmelo Anthony FD - $7600 DK - $7600
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 39.27 DK - 41.36

Carmelo comes in at our top SF option, facing off with the Nets in a game that figures to be high-scoring and competitive. Since the nets traded away Bojan Bogdanovic, they have ranked dead last in the league to SF's. RHJ and Caris LeVert will both see some time on Melo and neither will have success. if Melo has his shot falling, this is one of the games where he can score 40 and nobody will blink. The game currently has a 221 over/under with the Knicks favored by just 1. I am willing to bet on Vegas and bet on a very close game here. If this one stays close throughout, I expect 3 or 4 Knicks to demolish value, with Carmelo included. Carmelo will be highly owned, though I am completely fine with that. He is one of the top options on the slate and I see no reason to fade him outside of large-field tournaments.

LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $11400 DK - $11300
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 53.31 DK - 56.58

When LeBron is an underdog in a game with a 232.5 over/under, sign me up!!! There is nobody in the league that can cover LeBron James, let alone Trevor Ariza. Ariza has seen his best defensive days behind him and LeBron will eat him alive in this one. The Cavs are coming off of a back-to-back, though they played early in the day yesterday. I am not at all worried about LeBron's minutes, as he should see close to 40 if he plays.  The Cavs rarely give him a short amount of minutes. He plays big minutes when he plays and will then take a game or two off to completely rest. The Cavs should get up for this game as the Rockets are one of the more exciting teams in the Western conference. While Carmelo is preferred for his price, I'm a huge fan of James tonight. He makes sense in all formats as his price is fair and has a floor of 50 if he plays.

Maurice HarklessMaurice Harkless FD - $4800 DK - $5600
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 23.52 DK - 24.9

Harkless has been a spectacular value option for a few weeks now and he just keeps coming through. Regularly sitting between 20 and 30 fantasy points, he does more than enough for his price on FanDuel. While I do think there are better ways to go on DK, he is still a decent value play. On FanDuel, he is going to be highly owned and rightfully so. The Suns play extremely fast-paced, which is when Harkless excels. HE will see the defense of T.J. Warren, who is a very good individual defender. Luckily, Harkless isn't an offensive player and doesn't rely on scoring points for fantasy. While Harkless may not have the upside to win you a tournament, you can get crazy elsewhere. He will get you a solid 25-30 points for a solid price. If you can figure out how to make that work, plug him in.

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Power Forward

Dario SaricDario Saric FD - $7600 DK - $7900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 36.38 DK - 38.92

Saric has shown his capability to play big minutes, so him playing 35 yesterday doesn't concern me at all. He should jump right back in and play close to 35 minutes against the Lakers. Saric has been extremely impressive lately, consistently sitting a top 35 fantasy points. This match-p with the Lakers is an ideal one for Saric, as the Lakers struggle mightily to cover the paint. Saric should be able to dominate on the inside and I don't know anyone on this team that can stop him. Randle will more than likely match-up, but he's not really a defensive minded player. The Lakers have ranked 6th worst against PF's over the last 30 days, allowing nearly 43 fantasy points per game. Saric is a great cash game plays and has plenty of upside for tournaments.

Julius RandleJulius Randle FD - $6700 DK - $7300
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 32.8 DK - 34.81

Staying in the same game, we have Julius Randle. Randle and Saric will match-up, which will be one of the more exciting individual match-ups of the slate. While Randle isn't a good defender, neither is Saric. He is far too weak to stay with Randle and I expect Randle to use that to his advantage. Julius has done a good job of late, staying out of foul trouble and putting up some consistent numbers. He has also flashed the upside quite often lately, hitting 50 twice in the last 7. Randle is one of the safer options at this position for his price and makes sense in all formats. I don't see too many paths to failure for Julius Randle tonight, especially at his very fair price tag around the industry.

Kristaps PorzingisKristaps Porzingis FD - $6400 DK - $6900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 35.56 DK - 37.62

Porzingis comes in a little too cheap on both FD and DK, sitting below $7k on both sites. Porzingis hasn't been horrible since coming off of the injury, totaling 24 or more fantasy points in each game so far. This is the best match-up he will see yet against the Nets, as they rank 28th against power forwards and 30th against centers. Porzingis will see time at both spots tonight and ill have no problem producing anywhere. While Kristaps usually struggles rebounding the ball, I doubt that happens tonight. Brook Lopez is probably the only other big man in the league who is a worse rebounder than Porzingis. He will face off with Jahlil Okafor and Dario Saric tonight, who are both very bad defenders against a 7 foot 2 3 point shooter. Porzingis is extremely safe and makes sense for every format. I don't see any chance he is the guy who burns you tonight.


Jusuf NurkicJusuf Nurkic FD - $7200 DK - $6800
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 35.98 DK - 38.37

Nurkic went absolutely CRAZY 2 games ago against the 76ers, finishing with by far the best game of his career. Ending up at 77 fantasy points on FanDuel, Nurkic put together a stat line of 28 points, 20 rebounds, 8 assists, and 6 blocks. While we may not see that again for a long time, he should continue to produce. The Blazers did play last night, which usually gets me off the big men the following night. However, they only player Nurkic 28 minutes last night, so they definitely had tonight in mind. The Blazers will need Nurkic and his size here, especially when Alan Williams is in the game. This is arguably the top game on the slate and I'll be targeting it in a ton of different ways. Both offenses are rather concentrated and somewhat under-priced.

Alan WilliamsAlan Williams FD - $5600 DK - $6700
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 30.33 DK - 31.65

If you want to pay down a little bit and stay in the same game, you can take a look at Alan Williams. Williams has bene one of the more consistent players in the league, topping 20 fantasy points in every single game he has gotten the minutes. He will be forced to see a good amount of minutes tonight against Nurkic, who matches up well with Williams. They should both be able to produce, as neither are great at defense and both are great at finding weird, scrappy ways to get fantasy points. Williams has nowhere near the upside of Nurkic, but his floor is probably better for the price. Williams is an elite option in cash games and a pretty good one in tourneys.

Guillermo HernangomezGuillermo Hernangomez FD - $5800 DK - $5400
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 29.14 DK - 30.95

Willy Hernangomez has seen 28-minutes in 2 straight, finishing with 28 fantasy points in each. Hernangomez has been very productive when given the opportunity this season, regularly putting up more than 1 FP per minute. This match-up with the Nets is one Hernangomez should be drooling for, as he has the ability to absolutely dominate. With Brook Lopez questionable, he will be an even worse defender than usual if he plays, which is saying a lot considering the Nets are one of the worst teams in the league against centers. Williams and Nurkic are a bit safer, but Hernangomez is still too cheap and has the upside for a huge game if he sees the minutes. Make sure you get some exposure to this game as a few players will surpass value with ease.



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6 Visitor Comments

  1. Some other guys I like are:
    Jeremy Lin a great pts per dollar guys, revenge game if you buy into that narrative, and at $1k less than Rose who he gets to face (great DVP) Lin is borderline cash for me.

    Tyler Ulis. For better or worse Earl loves this guy. At $4,300 I love Ulis tonight. When Ulis gets 20+ minutes he has gone 5X+ in 4 out of 5 games. 7X to 8X is not out of the question here great cash and GPP for me.

    Allen Crabbe $3,800/Sean Kilpatrick $4,200: Both GPP plays but if you plan on playing both Harden and LBJ tonight together I think picking one of these guys in a GPP should be considered. Crabbe L3 has hit 6X and while his game is volatile in the L3 he has been averaging 25 minutes per game. On the other hand you have Kilpatrick who has been playing the 6th man role and gets to face the Knicks guards. Besides his last game against the Mavs were he only hit 4.5X he was smashing it w/ 3 straight 8X+ value.

    RHJ $4,300. Defiantly a GPP option but a guy who can easily put up 30+ fantasy pts when he is rolling. This year against the Knicks he has gone 4.8X and 6.8X. Again I think Harden and LBJ are a must so getting one or more of these high upside guys like RHJ makes sense.

    Last but not least Zubac at $4000. Totally a GPP play and with Nurkic and Williams playing who I both love and I think will be chalk I think Zubac will have low ownership. Magic Johnson has said he wants to SEE if Zubac is 30+ minute per game starter. Zubac is back from injury and last game but only layed 17 minutes but dialed in 23.6 FD pts. Is this the game that Zubac starts and get 25+ minutes? DFSR always talks about being a day early for basketball success and Zubac for me is that guy.

  2. Thank you sir! I do want to play LBJ and Harden

  3. Why doesn’t everything say play zubac but when u look it says he’s been put into the D-league?

  4. Portland didn’t have their eyes on tonight’s Phoenix game. Nurkic only played 28 minutes because he was in foul trouble the whole game.

  5. Keep reading the Zubac info. It says his D League stint will be short lived. I expect him playing for Lakers tonight.

  6. I have a feeling Courtney Lee is on his way to burning me. I went with Hernangomez at center, so I’m hoping that works out.

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