Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/21/17
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Tyler Ulis FD - $6400 DK - $7300
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 34.1 DK - 36
With their cascading injury woes the Suns seem committed to the Tyler Ulis experiment, and while that may not work out spectacularly for their long term prospects, we still have a lot of DFS opportunity before us on this FanDuel price. He might be out of range on DK, but he's averaging more than 40 minutes a game in his last 3 contests, and has been paying 5x+ points per dollar on these prices with his eyes closed. Miami is a bottom 5 match-up for opposing point guards thanks to their slow pace and good interior defense, and the increased price makes Ulis less than the huge upside guy you might want for big tournaments. For cash games, though, he looks like about as safe a bet as you can hope to have right now.
Mike Conley FD - $8200 DK - $7600
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 39.35 DK - 41.73
The price has climbed into the $8,000s for Conley on FanDuel, but that's largely because he's now an $8,000+ player. With 40+ fantasy points in each of his last 4 games (and an even longer streak like that at the end of February), Conley is in play from night to night in even league average match-ups. Tonight he'll draw a world class match-up with the Pelicans, who have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. Conley's time of possession (per SportVU data) has climbed from 6.9 minutes per game heading into February to 7.6 minutes per game in March, and the increased amount of time with the ball in his hands has paid off handsomely for his game-to-game fantasy value and consistency. Seems like a terrific cash game option tonight, particularly on DK, where his price remains very affordable.
Jordan Clarkson FD - $5800 DK - $6400
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 29.37 DK - 31.61
Clarkson isn't in the best match-up here to be sure, but there's really no arguing with the opportunity recently. The Lakers seem to hate D'Angelo Russell (or want to send him some kind of message?), and Clarkson has been playing nearly 40 minutes a night regardless of the game script and opponent. If you believe in that level of opportunity, it's hard to imagine him not putting up 5x points per dollar in this match-up with the Clips. It's not quite so clear cut as that for me, though, because him randomly dipping down to 33 minutes could cause some serious problems for you. With a gun to my head I'm a believer in the minutes, though, and think that makes Clarkson a fine cash game play tonight.
An interesting punt possibility: Spencer Dinwiddie. Jeremy Lin left Sunday's game early, and Dinwiddie responded with 32 fantasy points in 30 minutes. If he's named the started in Lin's place, he becomes an excellent option in all formats. On the other side of the ball, Reggie Jackson has a phenomenal match-up with Brooklyn, but the minutes are too speculative for me to consider him a must-include cash option.
C.J. McCollum FD - $7100 DK - $7100
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 34.17 DK - 37.03
It's hard to find safety at the shooting guard position tonight, but I'm willing to throw McCollum into that discussion. In the last week CJ posted one dud (in reduced minutes against New Orleans), 1 average game, and 3 excellent games where he paid 5x-6x points per dollar. It's basically a league average match-up with the Bucks, so there's not much to see there. The big issue is the price. McCollum was priced at $7,700+ for much of the season, and was playable even then. One tough stretch saw his prices dip down into the high $6k to low $7k range, and they just haven't corrected back into what his truly fair value is. I'll be happy to play him at these prices going forward until given a reason not to, and expect to play him in cash games tonight unless some excellent value pops up elsewhere.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope FD - $4700 DK - $5600
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 27.35 DK - 28.99
Detroit's minutes have been all over the place recently thanks to some insane game scripts, but the price on KCP is about as low as I expect to see for a guy whose true rotation has him seeing North of 35 minutes per night. He put a beating on Phoenix, posting a 23/8 line that had DFS owners celebrating. The consistency is absolutely suspect here, as he's been on and off in terms of both minutes and production recently, and it's not like he was the most reliable producer even when the minutes were coming more readily. Still, the match-up (league best) is so solid here that I have to think this winds up being the best spot to roll him in terms of price, opportunity, and match-up that we'll see for quite a while.
J.J. Redick FD - $4300 DK - $4500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 22.32 DK - 24.55
Tony Allen FD - $4100 DK - $4100
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 20.2 DK - 22.02
I mentioned potential cheap value in McCollum's write-up, and these two are among the top candidates for that spot. Both have been readily providing 5x points per dollar on their current prices, both have been playing consistent minutes, and both have excellent match-ups tonight. The fly in Redick's ointment is the blowout risk. He's one of the first guys on the chopping block when things get out of hand. With Allen it's more the whims of his coach. He's a player of the particularly infuriating variety that can occasionally draw enough ire that he loses minutes randomly. But, that's why he's cheap. While I'm not sure I want to twist your arm to play these guys in cash games, I'm a sucker for value (and I don't mind variance), so I might do just that.
Jimmy Butler FD - $8900 DK - $8900
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 43.12 DK - 45.42
Jimmy Buckets has put up better than 45 fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games, and has notably done so in each of the games since D-Wade went down for the season. His usage with Wade off the court this season has been about 25% higher, and while we can't expect that to continue in perpetuity, the fact remains that he's just going to have the ball in his hands more when Wade's significant usage is redistributed among the team. The 46 fantasy points Butler put up against the Jazz are a reasonable proxy for what we can expect here. Utah is the worst possible match-up for opposing fantasy small forwards in the league, whereas the Raptors rank merely 5th worst. The slow pace of this game limits Butler's upside, but he's a great 50/50 play.
Brandon Ingram FD - $4500 DK - $5000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 22.87 DK - 25.1
I never thought that Brandon Ingram would be the answer to my needs for reliable small forward production, but doggone it, he has been recently. In his last 8 games he's scored between 19 and 30 fantasy points in each of them, and has paid 5x points per dollar in 7 of them. Given the insane nature of the Lakers' minutes distribution and their game scripts in general, this is quite a feat. I mean, the man played 39 minutes and scored 28 fantasy points in a 39 point loss to the Rockets. If he's going to get opportunity and production like that in the worst possible game script, we can't worry about point spreads very much. The Clippers have been ridiculously bad at defending the small forward position for years, and their insistence on running 3 guard lineups (or complete bums at SF) has them allowing the 8th most fantasy points to opposing SFs this year. Love Ingram for cash games, and he frankly might just have big-tourney upside as well.
Harrison Barnes FD - $5800 DK - $6300
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 28.14 DK - 29.78
If you trust this game to stay somewhat close, Barnes continues to drift through the DFS season in "slightly too cheap" status. The Warriors are still playing the 2nd fastest PACE in the league, and going from Durant to Patrick McCaw on the defensive end is a huge blow to their ability to defend opposing SFs. Barnes is a known commodity, and sort of nothing special from a fantasy perspective, but the man brings such an incredible consistency that it's hard to ignore him when he gets in these fast paced match-ups. He's averaged about 29 fantasy points over the course of the season, and if he puts that together in this one you'll be doing just fine for your double-up purposes. Not the most exciting write-up, I know, but exciting doesn't always win DFS cash games. There's inherent risk here if the game gets out of hand, of course, but the position is shallow enough that it might wind up being a gamble I'm willing to take.
In the cheap but erratic class we have Vince Carter, who has switched between total bum and rock-star on and off since he started playing 30 minutes a game. Totally reasonable option in all formats, but you should be aware of the risk you're taking on.
James Johnson FD - $6400 DK - $6300
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 30.32 DK - 32.1
James Johnson has fallen out of fashion for DFS purposes recently, but he's quietly put up 5x points per dollar in 4 of his last 6 matches in spite of sprinkling in some very slow paced match-ups. Johnson went off for 24/7/5/2/2 against Portland, showing that he's still got plenty of upside even at these relatively high prices. Phoenix has been basically terrible against opposing power forwards all season, allowing the 4th highest fantasy points per game to them, and Marquess Chriss taking over the starting job there hasn't really changed anything. The Suns are playing the league's 3rd fastest pace in the league this season to boot, and Johnson looks like a high floor, high ceiling option that will likely be highly owned on both major sites.
Tobias Harris FD - $5400 DK - $6000
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 29.59 DK - 31.12
Jon Leuer FD - $4200 DK - $4200
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 22.49 DK - 23.73
Playing anyone on the Pistons right now requires a pretty steady hand, but there is simply a ton of potential here in a phenomenal match-up with the Nets. Harris has actually been playing steady minutes (and doing nothing with them, admittedly), and Leuer has put up 5x points per dollar on these prices in spite of playing just 24 and 29 minutes. The Nets have played the league's fastest PACE with some of the league's worth defensive efficiency, so this is a great spot for the Pistons to get back on track. I'm not sure yet if I want to trust this for cash game purposes, but if we're ever going to play Pistons again, tonight would be the night.
Blake Griffin FD - $9300 DK - $8000
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 43.45 DK - 45
Blake has been all kinds of inconsistent recently, but I'm cautiously optimistic given the incredible match-up here. The Lakers have allowed the very most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season, and in this case I think the cross towns rivalry is a real thing. The Clippers have been oddly sleepwalking through their last two weeks, but I think this game lights a spark under Blake that gets him solidly back on track. The only risk here in my mind is the blowout, but I also think this might be the cheapest we see Blake for the rest of the season.
Also considered: Dirk against Golden State, but game script issues certainly have me a little concerned.
Andre Drummond FD - $7800 DK - $7900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 40.12 DK - 42.14
Marc Gasol FD - $7900 DK - $7500
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 40.16 DK - 41.62
There are two tiers of centers tonight - expensive more reliable options, and cheap high upside guys. These two are in the expensive but more reliable category, at least nominally. The joke here of course is that while both are the same price, they bring very different packages to the table. Drummond has put up some great games recently in spite of insanely erratic minutes - the 18/18 in 28 minutes against Phoenix being the most recently example. Our projection system has longed dreamed of what Drummond could be capable of in good match-ups with consistent minutes, and we might just get a chance to see that tonight. Brooklyn has allowed the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers this season, and Brook Lopez can't hope to hang with Drummond athletically. And, Drummond could just get in foul trouble, too. If you want consistency, Gasol is more your man. He's been playing 37-39 minutes a game on lock recently, and has a plenty good match-up with New Orleans, who rank 9th in futility against opposing Cs. I'll take Drummond because I think his average points per game just winds up being higher, but I don't mind people who elect to go in the direction of Gasol.
Ivica Zubac FD - $4300 DK - $5300
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 25.29 DK - 26.17
Alan Williams FD - $5700 DK - $5900
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 31.25 DK - 32.61
The cheap, high upside guys. Both of these guys are going to get significant run tonight, and for good reason. They're cheap for their current per minutes production, and are consistent minutes away from being 20% more expensive. But that consistent minutes thing? It's sort of a real problem. These guys who put up huge per-minute stats are at much greater risk to minutes inconsistency, because missing 5 minutes for them means a 20% decrease in production in some cases. Still, the upside for both of these guys is too good to ignore, even in less than plus match-ups.