Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 2/23/18

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Point guard

Kyle LowryKyle Lowry FD - $7900 DK - $7400
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 34.69 DK - 36.29

With a jam-packed Friday slate of action, we’re looking at a lot of options in almost every single price tag at every position. Point guard is typically one of the more diverse positions and tonight is no different. Let’s start up top. Damian Lillard against the Jazz has upside, but I’m not paying the tag. CP3 is fine, but the price is high and I don’t love the upside. That takes you to the Kemba - Elfrid- Kyrie - Lowry - Bledsoe tier. They are the elite NNA PG’s who bring 35-45 on a nightly basis. With everything considered, Kyle Lowry is our favorite way to go. At home, against a porous Bucks perimeter defense, Lowry will thrive. He’s a lock for 45+ every night he takes the floor and can put up 50 without hesitation in a competitive game. Bledsoe and Middleton are nothing at all to worry about if Lowry gets going early. He’s a lock in my cash games and while not a must, you won’t do much better at the price.

Austin RiversAustin Rivers FD - $5600 DK - $5700
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 29.89 DK - 30.93
Milos TeodosicMilos Teodosic FD - $3600 DK - $4400
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 13.81 DK - 14.52

Point guard is an important position and you need to get it right. Most of the top options at the position are expensive, so these 2 cheaper options deserve a ton of attention. We know that when the Suns are on the slate, we'll be targeting that game. They play no defense and play faster than anyone else in the league. Austin Rivers is the guy who'll start and grab 34+ minutes. He has a ton of upside and is the guy I'll be on a lot more. Milos Teodsoic is a full $1k cheaper and seeing 25+ minutes a night. Both are completely in play in both cash games and tournaments. I'm personally all over Rivers, but will have some exposure to Teodosic in low-end tournaments. Rivers is going to have a big game soon and it could very well be tonight vs Phoenix. We know both of these guys will split at least 48 minutes and neither have a price high enough to fade in an ideal match-up.

Goran DragicGoran Dragic FD - $6700 DK - $6300
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 32.48 DK - 33.43

There are a lot of ways to go at point guard, so we can't cover all the bases here. If you have the funds, there's no damage in paying up for one of the consistent 40+ FP performers. However, if you're needing to save a little but off of that level and don't need to go all the way down to Rivers, Goran Dragic is a phenomenal option. He's not only inexpensive, but he's been uber consistent lately and is playing 30+ minutes every night. He's been playing a lot better as of late and typically sits around the 30 FP mark, occasionally getting into the 50's. Under $7k on both sites, you're looking for 35 in cash games. He matches up with the Pelicans and Rajon Rondo, who rank 25th against PG's. Dragic is extremely safe in all formats and his price is very easy to deal with.

Shooting Guard

Devin BookerDevin Booker FD - $7700 DK - $8000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 40.92 DK - 42.87

The top/mid-end of SG has a lot of different ways to go. Let's look at everyone after James Harden. Oladipo and Brad Beal are both extremely expensive but can put up 50 FP on any night. Jrue Holiday and DeMar DeRozan are fine, but the match-up and price aren't great and I like the other options more. We then get to the favorites in Tyreke Evans, Donovan Mitchell, and Devin Booker. Evans is a GPP gem as a necessary scorer if the Grizzlies want to keep it close. Donovan Mitchell is going to be running the offense if Rubio is out and has no issue putting up 50 FP on any night. We then get to Devin Booker, the favorite of all. He got up to 36 minutes in his last game before the ASB, so he's certainly healthy. He gets a match-up against a Clippers squad that holds Lou Williams at the 2. He's not at all a good defender and Booker will have no problem getting to whatever spot he desires. His price is extremely fair on both sites and he makes for an elite option in all formats.

Wayne EllingtonWayne Ellington FD - $3700 DK - $4000
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 19.88 DK - 21.09'

I know there are a lot of attractive options at this position, but don’t forget about Wayne Ellington. While far from flashy, 30+ wing minutes against the Pelicans is no joke at minimum price. Especially for a guy who’s proven to be lethal if given the opportunity. Against SG’s, the Pelicans rank 29th in basketball. They play at the leagues 17th fastest PACE and have no problem matching their opponent. This game won’t be too fast, but expect it to stay competitive throughout and for the starters to remain in. Ellington is a lock for 30 minutes and has been trusted for 36+ a few times already this year. I too want a lot of exposure to the like of Mitchell and Booker, but Ellington is a phenomenal savings option that’ll likely go overlooked by the masses.

James HardenJames Harden FD - $11400 DK - $11400
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 56.11 DK - 58.55

There are four superstars to pay up for on this slate, though we'll only touch on one in James Harden. The other three guys are very much in play, but just aren't at the same level as Harden. He's been absolutely dominant as of late and has figured out the offense with Chris Paul quite easily. He's sitting around 60 fantasy points in most games and always has the upside to go for what? 100? The match-up against Timberwolves is an interesting one, but there is a lot of volatility to it. Seeing Jimmy Butler isn't very fun, but Vegas has this game at a 226 over/under and the Rockets are slithy favored, so they don't think it's much of an issue at all. Harden is still going to play 35+ minutes and put up 50 fantasy points as a baseline. You don't need to know much more about Harden than what he brings every night. A boatload of upside at a position without much depth. There are some other solid options at SG, but you should pay up if you can.

Small forward

Jimmy ButlerJimmy Butler FD - $9200 DK - $9000
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 44.65 DK - 44.18

You’re also looking at LeBron and Giannis here, so don’t let me talk you off of them if you had different plans. I just personally adore Jimmy Butler tonight. You can go with a Wiggins or Teague on the wing, but I think most damage runs through Jimmy Buckets tonight. He’ll be facing off with a Rockets team in a game with a 226 total and 8 point spread. The Rockets will have Trevor Ariza back, which doesn’t mean a whole lot for a squad that’s sitting 26th against the position. Butler is going to have to go off here if the T-Wolves want a chance and Thibs knows that. If this game is relatively close, I’ll guarantee 36+ minutes out of Butler with the possibility for 40. This game is one I want to target a ton and Butler gives me a 45 point floor with a ceiling that’s well over 80 in the right game. I’ll have some exposure to LBJ as well, but Butler is the way I’m paying up in most cases here at SF.

Royce O'NealeRoyce O'Neale FD - $4600 DK - $4700
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 24.11 DK - 24.01

To be clear, you have to make sure Ricky Rubio is ruled out. He's currently questionable to play and I don't think he'll be rushed back after the break. Royce O'Neale started at PG for Rubio over the last 3 games and has played 33, 35, and 38 minutes. He's put up 10, 33, and 36 fantasy points in those games. He's obviously volatile as  a guy who's just making his name, but he's going to have the ball in his hands for 30+ minutes and is in a phenomenal match-up against a Blazers squad that likes running. Lillard is also a very bad defender and O'Neale has a huge size differential over him. As long as we can confirm Rubio is out, we can lock O'Neale in there for 33+ minutes and at least 25 fantasy points. His price is fair on both sites and you're only looking for 20-25 in cash games. That shouldn't be tough if given the start. Update: Downgrade O'Neale with Rubio back in the mix Friday. 


Power forward

Tobias HarrisTobias Harris FD - $7000 DK - $6900
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 34.84 DK - 35.52

I'm very happy to see Tobias Harris playing like this and having an offense somewhat focused on him. He definitely isn't the focal point of the offense, but he's surely getting more intentional action than he was in Phoenix. He's been over 36 fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 games and just barely missed in that 4th game. He now sees an insane match-up against a Suns squad that plays absolutely no defense. Against power forwards, the Suns rank 25th with 42.1 FPPG allowed. Bender and Chriss are interesting youngsters on offense, but they play no defense and the Suns play too damn fast for them to keep up. Harris is one of the more versatile PF's in the league and this match-up against the Suns will only magnify that. He's a safe bet for 30 fantasy points with the upside 50 if the game stays close. Power forward is one of the 2 worst positions on this slate and Harris will likely be in 100% of lineups.

Frank KaminskyFrank Kaminsky FD - $3700 DK - $4200
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 13.9 DK - 14.2

I was on Kaminsky last night too and he ended up with 19 fantasy points in 22 minutes. Not necessarily what I was looking for, but also not the worst thing in the world. He played exactly like he always does and put up over 1 shot every 2 minutes while on the floor. Remember, this is a guy who was $7k last season. He can put up FP with ease and all it takes is a few made jumpers to get into the groove. He’ll jump into a match-up tonight with the Wizards, with both teams sitting on a B2B. Kaminsky will see at least 22 minutes tonight and it’ll be against a friendly Wizards interior that’s allowed he 6th most points in the paint vs opposing power forwards. Kaminsky isn’t a must by any means, but he’s one of the best spots on the slate to derive value.


Alex LenAlex Len FD - $4500 DK - $4800
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 29.74 DK - 30.45

With Tyson Chandler all but ruled out, it looks like Alex Len will be running the show at Center. He played 37 minutes and put up 46 fantasy points You can never expect all that much out of Len, as we know he can put up 15 FP on any given night with any given opportunity. Tonight, we'll be looking at the Clippers and DeAndre Jordan. Ranking 24th against the position, it won't be much of an issue for Len to grab at least a double-double. The price is extremely fair and you only need 25 fantasy points. It's a near lock for cash games and I will have a ton of exposure in tournaments as well. Without Chandler in the mix, Len is one of the safest best on the entire slate. He's a mainstay in all of my lineups.

Marc GasolMarc Gasol FD - $8000 DK - $7600
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 36.75 DK - 36.99

I have a suspicion that Marc Gasol will be very necessary if the Grizzlies want to keep it close with LeBron and Cleveland. I think you can say the same for Tyreke Evans, but he just may end up drawing that LBJ defense we’re wary of. Gasol is the steadiest player on the team and one of the more consistent options in the league. The Cavs have struggled against big men for years now and Thompson has gotten no better under the rim. Assuming the game stays close, Gasol will reign in 40-50 fantasy points. His price is perfectly fair on both sites and you can attack in both cash games and tournaments. If you think this game gets out of hand, get away from Gasol completely and go towards another safe option. Let’s take a look at who I could possibly be talking about.


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