Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

03/10/2018
Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/10/18

There are five games in the Association today, but the sites are largely ignoring the late afternoon game that sees the Suns heading into Charlotte, so we will be directing our focus to the four game main slate that tips off at 7:30PM ET with the Wizards/Heat contest. Let’s go position by position to check out our projection system’s top plays of the day.

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Point guard

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $12000 DK - $11500
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 54.87 DK - 58.1
We’ll open things up with Russell Westbrook. Russ isn’t the overwhelming draw tonight that he tends to be on most slates, going up against a Spurs team who play the second-slowest pace in the NBA and are ranked top five defending against the point. But he is the only player commanding over $10K tonight which will make locking him in rather easy to do. The Spurs are allowing just 34.5 FP to opposing point guards on average this season and Westy has had a tough time justifying this price tag down the stretch. Over his last seven games, Westbrook has paid 5X PPD or better just once. As a cash game play, I’m fine with Westbrook just because I think the ownership percentage should be high enough to justify the price, but I’ll pass in tournaments.

Goran DragicGoran Dragic FD - $6500 DK - $6400
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 32.51 DK - 33.71
Dragic has been a solid option in daily fantasy NBA this season due in part to the Heat dealing with several injuries throughout the course of the season, but also due to his ability to put together a complete game and build up those fantasy points by whatever means necessary. Even with Miami being pretty much at full strength at this point we can count on the Dragon to see steady minutes. In his last six, he’s scored in double digits five times, while averaging 4.2 boards, 5.3 assists, and 1.15 steals. The Wizards backcourt just hasn’t been the same since losing John Wall, and are ranked 18th overall defending against the position on the season. Dragic’s price is currently on a downswing, and we get him tonight at a point where we only need to ask for 30-35 FP to get the job done. Dragic should pair nicely with Westbrook in cash lineups, with potential tournament upside.

Austin RiversAustin Rivers FD - $6400 DK - $6200
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 30.48 DK - 31.45
Sindarius ThornwellSindarius Thornwell FD - $3600 DK - $3300
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 24.96 DK - 23.91
We’ll close out with Rivers and Thornwell. Since returning from injury in early February, Rivers has been a steady scorer posting double-digit points in all but one game while building steady totals in rebounds, assists, and steals. Sure he can put up a real dud from time to time, but in the right matchup, he can be counted on to get the job done. The Magic have the fourth-worst team defensive rating in the NBA, as well as the fourth worst DvP at the position. The other two guys are my plays in cash, but as a GPP pivot, I’ll be giving strong consideration to Rivers.
Thornwell drew the surprise start on Friday against the Clippers, moving Milos Teodosic to a secondary role and the former put up a respectable 14 point, four rebound performance while throwing in a block and an assist. If he sticks in the starting unit (likely considering the Clippers won) then taking his saving as a punt play is fine. Fair warning, it took him 37 minutes to accumulate those stats. He needs all the court time he can get considering he's not a prolific fantasy scorer.

Shooting Guard

Bradley BealBradley Beal FD - $8300 DK - $8800
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 40.2 DK - 41.43
This is probably the strongest positions of the night. We have three solid plays at varying price points and each is worth consideration for a spot in our lineups tonight. We’ll begin with Bradley Beal. Since losing John Wall in late January, the Wiz have had to rely heavily on Beal to lead the offensive game, and for the most part, he has delivered. Beal saw just 29 minutes in a blowout of the Pelicans last night. In his last three games heading into Friday Beal has averaged 42 minutes of court time, and scored 75 total points, including a 30 point outing against this same Miami defense. Vegas has yet to release an opening line for this game, but I anticipate the O/U to be on the higher side of things (update: O/u set at 205), with little blowout concern. Beal is an excellent play in all formats if this one does indeed stay close.

Ben McLemoreBen McLemore FD - $4600 DK - $5400
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 24.93 DK - 25.35
Dropping down to the lower end of the pricing spectrum, we find Ben McLemore. The Grizzlies are hurting, and McLemore has benefitted greatly from their injuries. In an instant, he’s gone from 8-20 minutes a game, to 30+ in his first three games of March and has been crushing it. He’s still priced well below where he should be if these type of minutes are going to be the norm, and we get to take full advantage of it. We only need to see 23-27 FP from McLemore to hit value, and he’s been over thirty in three of his last four starts. The Mavericks are average defending against the two, ranked 14th overall. Despite that, and the slow pace of play this game promises to deliver, I still plan to have plenty of exposure to McLemore in all formats.

Lou WilliamsLou Williams FD - $8000 DK - $8500
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 40.45 DK - 42.18
Back to the top tier, we have Lou Williams. Sweet Lou consistently picks up starters minutes despite coming in with the second unit, and was a late addition into the starting rotation on Friday night. He’s seen no fewer than 29, and as many as 40 minutes in a game since the calendar flipped to 2018. He’s posted 21 points or better in each of his last three games heading into Friday's contest, and double-doubled with 11 assists on Tuesday against the Pelicans. Williams and the Clippers have had the good fortune of facing some bad defenses in their last handful of games, and that will continue tonight when they Welcome the Magic to town. Despite the Clippers being favored by 10.5 points, Williams minutes should remain secure tonight, and he makes for a fantastic play in a game with a 221 projected total coming from Vegas.

Small forward

Mario HezonjaMario Hezonja FD - $4800 DK - $5600
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 33.77 DK - 33.72
Jonathon SimmonsJonathon Simmons FD - $6200 DK - $5400
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 29.45 DK - 29.95
We’re going to look at two duos at small forward, beginning with the combo of Jonathon Simmons and Mario Hezonja from the Magic. Aaron Gordon missed last night’s game while going through concussion protocol, and there’s a strong chance he will miss out on tonight’s game against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Both Mario Hezonja and Jonathon Simmons benefit from Gordon’s absence from the court. Per NBAWowy.com Hezonja sees his usage go up 1.4% with Gordon off the court, while Simmons’ usage jumps 4.2%. Over the last ten games the Clippers have been a bottom three defense against small forwards, and despite Orlando coming in as 10.5 point dogs, I’d expect with all of the injuries, Simmons and Hezonja should see a full compliment of minutes and make for strong plays in all formats.

Justise WinslowJustise Winslow FD - $5000 DK - $5100
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 24.49 DK - 24.32
Josh RichardsonJosh Richardson FD - $5600 DK - $5500
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 26.71 DK - 26.14
Our next duo comes from Miami. Josh Richardson Leads the Heat in minutes this season, though he has seen his minutes clipped in two of his last three games. When he is seeing his full run of 30+ he’s been a consistent threat providing daily fantasy value on a regular basis thought much of the season. Justise Winslow also saw his minutes clipped Thursday against Philly due in part to the return of Wayne Ellington, but he still managed to do more than enough with his 27 minutes to pay value. While he loses any upside value if the plan is to keep him in the 20-25 minute range moving forward, he still makes for a strong option in cash games where he only needs to put up 25FP. The Wizards have been a bottom five defense against the position all season long and are a perfect target for tonight’s short slate. As long as Gordon remains out all four of these plays are strong considerations, and ultimately which ones I end up using will depend on how the rest of my lineup plays out, and salary needs. If Gordon is cleared to play, I’ll lean more heavily on the duo from Miami.

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Power forward

LaMarcus AldridgeLaMarcus Aldridge FD - $8700 DK - $8400
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 40.15 DK - 39.89
This position is a nightmare. The only solid play comes in the form of LaMarcus Aldridge, mainly because Pau Gasol remains questionable after missing Thursday night’s game against the Warriors with a shoulder sprain. Even if Gasol plays, Aldridge is one of the more appealing options at the four tonight, but he missed Friday’s practice so it looks safe to say he’ll remain inactive. Aldridge saw one of his better outings since the All-Star break with Gasol out on Thursday going for 30/17/4 in 36 minutes, those 17 boards a season high. Tonight he will be tasked with a Thunder team ranked similarly to Golden State defending against the position. LMA is a solid cash play, and will have upside through the roof if we get word that Gasol will miss another one tonight.

Markieff MorrisMarkieff Morris FD - $5500 DK - $5600
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 26.6 DK - 26.86
After LMA, I almost don’t know what to tell you. Gordon is likely out again. Tobias Harris is way overpriced, you can consider JaMychal Green on FanDuel, but not on DraftKings (though that changes a bit with Marc Gasol ruled out). So, let’s talk about Markieff Morris. Morris has been seeing a pretty hefty workload for the Wizards. He logged 42 minutes in an OT win against the Heat on Tuesday and was over 30 in three of the four games prior to that. Since the All-Star break, the price on Morris has been on the decline, and he currently sits at a point where 25 FP is a good night, which isn’t asking much given the minutes. Despite being a top-five defense against power forwards, the Heat have fallen off and have surrendered the most fantasy points to the position over their last ten games, nearly double their season average. Given the other options out there, I’ll take a flier on Morris in cash games with the best odds of hitting that 5X mark.

 

Center

Nikola VucevicNikola Vucevic FD - $9100 DK - $8700
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 44.77 DK - 46.02
With just one option at center sitting around the $9K mark, we can easily pay up at the position, and we’ll look at two ways to do just that. We start off with Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic is a fine play regardless but becomes even more appealing if Aaron Gordon remains out with a concussion. Vucevic sees a 1.8% increase in usage when Gordon is off the court. Vucevic was excellent in 34 minutes against the Lakers on Wednesday, picking up his third double-double in four games. After a trip to Sacramento last night, the Magic return to L.A. tonight to take on the Clippers. The Clips are 21st overall defensively against opposing centers in their last ten games and haven’t been much better on the season overall. If we get word that Gordon is out, Vucevic becomes my top play at the position and I’ll do what I have to to make sure he fits into all of my cash lineups.

DeAndre JordanDeAndre Jordan FD - $8300 DK - $7800
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 36.91 DK - 38.43
Jordan demolished the Cavaliers on Friday night with a 20 point, 23 rebound performance thanks in large part to Cleveland's lack of any real size in the front court. DeAndre is an slightly better DraftKings play where the double-double bonus comes into play. Nikola Vucevic isn't any sort of of reasonable defender with a career's worth of evidence to support it, but most recently crushed by Kosta Koufos on Friday. You may need to take the DFS savings (albeit small) from Vuce to Jordan on this slate and the latter appears to have a high floor in the matchup.

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image sources

  • Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11: By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Russell Westbrook) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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