Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/30/17
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Does it matter?
The NBA can be a very stressful DFS sport towards the end. When you combine the late scratches, resting superstars, and inconsistent play, it can certainly be frustrating. However, targeting teams that want to win are important. While not always necessary, I tend to roster players from these teams down the stretch, more and more as we get closer to the last game.
Something to Play for
Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers
Nothing to Play for
Los Angeles Lakers
Reggie Jackson has missed each of the last 2 games and the rumors of his season being shut down are getting louder and louder. While we don't have any official word on the status of Jackson, I do think he sits here. Smith has been playing well and Van Gundy has been trying to get him more minutes anyways. Smith has been over 30 in both games Jackson has missed, filling the stat sheet and playing a quality game at PG. He gets his best match-up yet against the Nets, who can't guard anyone. Since the All-Star break, the Nets have held the league's 2nd worst defensive efficiency, behind just the Knicks. They would probably be the worst if Jeremy Lin was playing the whole time, as he is an atrocious perimeter defender. This game has a 213 over/under, which is much higher than the regular Pistons game. The Nets play fast and PG's benefit most in pace-up affairs. As long as we can get some confirmation on Jackson, Smith is an elite play. He will see 34-36 minutes and be over 30 fantasy points at a very reasonable price tag. Smith is the top PG in both cash and tournaments if Jackson is out.
Paul and the Clippers played just last night and beat the Wizards in a high-scoring, close game. They will need to bounce right back and get ready for tonight as the Clippers are in a spot where they can slide 2 spots in either direction. Paul has been injured for a lot of the year, so his legs shouldn't be too bad. He looked amazing against the Wizards last night and won his individual matchup with John Wall. Paul will take on the Suns and Tyler Ulis tonight. While Ulis is an underrated defender, he's not great. Paul will absolutely put the kid in circles and do whatever he wants with Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan screens. My only worry here is the Clippers keeping it close. Devin Booker will return tonight and he should be a problem that keeps it relatively competitive. Austin Rivers also left last night's game and didn't return, so Paul could see an extra 3 or 4 minutes than he would have. Paul is extremely safe under $9k and has 60+ fantasy point upside. Remember who Chris Paul is. I know he hasn't been around much, but this is a guy you won't want to ignore as we move into the playoffs. He controls every game he is in and can dictate the pace at any time.
I'll be te first to admit that this guy is kind of frustrating. Even when getting big minutes, he has shown the ability to absolutely disappoint. However, he has fit into this scheme well and looks to be running the show at this point. He has great chemistry with both Devin Booker and T.J. Warren, who will do most of the scoring tonight. Ulis has consistently been around 30-40 fantasy points and I see no reason to expect anything less. Chris Paul could see some time on Ulis, but I actually think the SG ends up on Ulis, as Paul may be needed on a better scorer. Even if Paul is stuck is on Ulis all night long, I don't care. Paul is one of the better Pg defenders in the league, but that's in terms of scoring. Ulis isn't a guy who relies on scoring and will be just fine spreading the ball around and taking it in transition a few times. Ulis will once again see big minutes and you have to consider him in cash games. Ulis is a guy I will have exposure to on Fanduel, but is a little too pricey for me on DK.
Harden and Westbrook are in one of the more talked about MVP races of the past few years, with it coming right down to the wire. While I think it's pretty clearly Westbrook, I don't seem to be in the majority. Harden still has a pretty good spot of winning and it has to be in the forefront of his mind with the Rockets having no incentive to win. The Blazers don't have anyone that can cover him, obviously. McCollum is a decent defender, but not against Harden's style. Harkless is the guy who will likely draw Harden, as he matches his physicality and speed the best. Allen Crabbe could also see some minute son Harden as he has the length and strength to contest his shots. In the long run, Harden will wear out whoever ends up on him. Harden is a guy I will have a ton of exposure to in all formats as I expect plenty of value to show up as the day moves along. As for Eric Gordon, it's basically a price play. He has been getting around 30 minutes a game and will face off with very weak defenders at just around $5k. This game between the Blazers and Rockets figures to be high scoring and you have to love the game stack here. As for Harden, he is a guy you can target in all formats.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope FD - $4700 DK - $5200
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 28.04 DK - 29.65
KCP has been seeing some very nice minutes as of late, though the production has been spotty. With 30 fantasy points against the Heat, he may be hitting a stride. The Nets give up more open 3's than anyone, so he will have a huge game if he get's hot. Van Gundy is in love with KCP as a player and insists on playing him huge minutes. He is one of the strongest defenders on the Pistons and can be a very good offensive player when his shot is falling. While the floor is still pretty low against the Nets, the ceiling is humongous.KCP excels in transition as a young, athletic guard. This is a guy who has been over 50 a couple times this year and while I don't think we expect that at all, we can expect a nice 28-35 for a very fair price. This is a game with a lot of DFS promise and KCP is a way to get exposure at a very modest price tag.
Jamal Crawford FD - $3600 DK - $3900
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 20.72 DK - 22.71
Austin Rivers left last night's game and never returned, so I'm assuming he will sit out the second leg of the B2B. If Rivers makes an unlikely return, Crawford definitely takes a hit. The Clippers have started giving Crawford more minutes recently, as it's pretty evident he is a necessary scorer off of the bench. Crawford should see an extra 6 or 7 minutes without Rivers end up close to 30. Crawford is another guy you will see Doc Rivers getting more involved, as he becomes a pivotal piece down the stretch. Crawford will have a few huge game and ut up 25-30 real life points off the bench. While I don't think that's tonight, we don't need anywhere near that. Sitting near minimum on both sites, Crawford only needs about 20 to appease you in cash games. He can do that with ease against the Suns, who play extremely fast and don't play much perimeter defense. The Suns have mailed it in and there is no chance they will be contesting unblockable Jamal Crawford pull-up jumpers and fadeaways. If they are, you know why they have the record they do.
T.J. Warren FD - $6600 DK - $7500
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 32.13 DK - 33.53
Warren has been quite the player this season, albeit going through some intense cold-stretches. That's expected for a 23-year-old with a lack of experience. Warren has been phenomenal as of late and has taken a big step up on offense. Topping 40 fantasy points in 2 straight, Warren has been initiating offense while also spreading the ball around. He has looked great in both games and I think Hornacek plays him for another 40 minutes. The Suns don't have any other options and Warren is one of the only guys who will be able to do anything against this Clippers team. Jamal Crawford and Mbah a Moute will cover Warren and neither should have success. Crawford is way too small and weak, while Mbah a Moute is simply too slow. Warren has been shooting well and could have another monster game if that continues. Warren is an elite SF option in all formats on both sites. His price is way too low on FanDuel and it will be extremely difficult to not just lock him in.
Andrew Wiggins FD - $7000 DK - $7100
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 36.6 DK - 38.48
Don't tell Tom Thibodeau that the T-Wolves are out of contention, because he doesn't care. He's going to ruin his entire young team and there is absolutely nothing any of you soft people can say about it. These kids have to learn how to play 40 minutes a night so they can have constant knee injuries for the rest of their life. Stepping off of my soap box, we have to keep playing these guys if they're gonna play 40 minutes. Wiggins has gotten a bit of his swagger back, playing much better over the past week or so. Topping 40 just twice recently, the upside does worry me. However, I don't have any clue who the Lakers will play on him. David Nwaba is the guy who probably fits best, though Brandon Ingram has the length if he plays. Wiggins has a big advantage over anyone the Lakers have and should be able to put up 30 real-life points if he wants to. His price is fair on both sites and needs about 40 in cash and 46 in tournaments. This is a slate with a lot of interesting options, so you should be able to get Wiggins rather low-owned. He makes sense in all formats if he's going to get run into the ground every night.
Marcus Morris FD - $4900 DK - $5100
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 28.15 DK - 29.72
Marcus Morris and the rest of these Pistons have struggled shooting lately, which is why they have dipped in the standings quite a bit. They are now hanging onto a thread and will need some big performances out of the starting lineup. While the Nets are one of the weaker teams in the league, they can put up a fight when Brook Lopez is playing well. Morris is one of the glue guys who can assure the Pistons win by putting up 20 points and 5-10 rebounds and assists. Caris LeVert will cover Morris for most of the game, as I expect Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to be on Tobias Harris. LeVert is too small for Morris and I expect him to take advantage down low. Morris is a guy who has been inconsistent as of late, but I'm willing to look past it for the match-up. Morris is a guy I have exposure to in all formats against atrocious and fast Nets team.
Blake Griffin FD - $8600 DK - $8100
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 41.85 DK - 43.67
Blake + CP3 was a duo I ended up with a lot of against the Wizards last night, after being neutral on them most of the day. Bost of them played extremely well against the Wizards and it looks like they are getting themselves ready for the playoffs. The Clippers are a team that relies on momentum, as guys like Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, and Jamal Crawford are very streaky. Griffin is a guy who can play big minutes on a back to back, already shown a few times this season. The Suns have no chance of guarding Griffin and I'm not sure who is going to cover him. Marquese Chriss will start on Griffin but he will probably have about 100 fouls 2 minutes in. Griffin is one of the only guys I account for foul trouble, as his move to the basket is basically running directly into his defender and hoping he moves enough for him to score or to get fouled. Griffin is still way too cheap on both FanDuel and Draftkings, as a player who typically sits around $9k-$10k. The Clippers have been missing various pieces all year long and now have a pretty healthy team. I expect Griffin to begin his playoff run and have a nice stretch of games. Keep targeting him at this price and especially in fast-paced games like this.
Nikola Mirotic FD - $5200 DK - $5800
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 24.56 DK - 26.64
Mirotic has been a huge player for the Bulls recently and I will basically be locking him in tonight. The Bulls and Cavs are both playing for something and I expect to see a fantastic game here. While a lot of individual players are secondary plays, the game stack as a whole is a great move. Mirotic ill see around 30-35 minutes against Kevin Love, who is a pretty weak defender as a whole. Mirotic has been running a lot of plays with Jimmy Butler and Butler has been trusting him a ton, rightfully so. I expect another solid performance out of Mirotic and I don't see why he doesn't hit 3 fantasy points again. With that being said, I feel like this is a nightmare. One too many times have I had supreme confidence in Nikola Mirotic, only for Bobby Portis to come off the bench and have a career night. In all seriousness, I think Mirotic has cemented his role here and makes for a very solid play in all formats against a Cavs team who struggles against the 4.
Gorgui Dieng FD - $5200 DK - $5900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 30.1 DK - 31.25
Dieng isn't a guy that will likely be in the future plans for the Wolves, so Thibs doesn't force him into preposterous minutes. He does let him play 40 minutes if playing well, though he usually sits around 33-35. This match-up with the Lakers is an elite one, as they have ranked 27th in the league against PFs since the All-Star Break. Dieng is one of the lengthier power forwards in the league and I expect Julius Randle to struggle with him down low. Dieng has ben over 30 fantasy points in 3 straight and the Wolves have done a good job of getting him involved more on offense. His price is still depressed, sitting under $6k on both sites. While he may end up being highly owned, I'm willing to eat the chalk in cash games. He is a near lock for 20 fantasy points and has a 45 point ceiling. This game should end up being close and we know there is no such thing as a minutes cap for these guys.
Karl-Anthony Towns FD - $10600 DK - $10900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 50.3 DK - 52.39
James Harden or Karl-Anthony Towns is a decision a lot of people will have to make tonight. You may be able to fit both on FanDuel, as the salary is a bit looser there. Towns makes for an elite play and I don't think anyone would flinch if hee somehow outscored Harden. The Lakers are possibly the best match-up fro a guy like Towns, who relies on bad defenders to score. While that seems somewhat obvious, not all guys are the same. A guy like Marcin Gortat or Steven Adams is far more reliant on facing a guy who struggles boxing out and containing the paint, while a guy like Dwight Howard is better against stagnant big men who have trouble keeping up with him. Zubac and Tarik Black are both putrid defenders and I don;t see any chance Zubac doesn't have 2 fouls in 2 minutes here. Towns is going to take the ball directly at him and either score or get fouled every time. If the Lakers find a way to keep this game close, Towns is going to go off. It's as simple as that, ou can fade this who game if you're betting on a blowout, but I certainly won't be doing that.
Andre Drummond FD - $7500 DK - $8000
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 38.13 DK - 40.03
Drummond has finally shown a level of consistency over the past week or so, though the performances haven't been as good as expected. Sitting around 30-40 fantasy points, Drummond hasn't shown us that monster game in almost a month. With that being said, this is the best match-up he can possibly have. The Nets have given up a league-worst 51 FP per game to centers over the last 20, mostly due to Brook Lopez not caring at all. The Nets have been out of contention since game 1 and Lopez is far more concerned about getting his numbers for next contract time. With the Pistons still having an incentive to win, Drummond should see big minutes. He gives the Pistons the best chance to win against Brook Lopez, as he will be able to absolutely abuse him down low. Lopez is extremely weak in the paint and Drummond is quite the opposite. If Drummond wants to have a big game tonight, he will. He is the only player that will stop him on that court.
Jusuf Nurkic FD - $7500 DK - $8000
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 34.14 DK - 36.28
Jusuf Nurkic, king of revenge. Nurkic obliterated his former team 60 fantasy points last game, finishing with 33 points and 15 rebounds. While that hasn't been what he's doing on a nightly basis, he's been great for the Blazers. They definitely made the right move here and the front office deserves a ton of praise. Nurkic has worked with Lillard and McCollum well, grabbing over 5 assists regularly. You will see a lot of similarities between Jokic and Nurkic, mostly with their low-post nuances. Both had the same coach for 2 years and developed some similar moves. This is a pretty interesting match-up for Nurkic and I can see it going one of two ways. One, the Rockets get out hot and want to play small. This will force the Blazers to play Crabbe at the 3 and Vonleh at the 5, which kills Nurkic. Two, the Blazers and Rockets battle it out in the first quarter and Nurkic plays his full compliment of first quarter minutes. That will turn into a full game and a very nice game, as the Rockets play fast and offer up a ton of missed shots. Nurkic is one of the most intriguing plays of the night and it'll be interesting to see how much attention he gets throughout the day. I don't expect the ownership to be crazy with center so deep.