Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/12/18

With just 4 games on this Monday, we have a lot to look at. Do we go James Harden or Russell Westbrook? Where exactly do we look for value with LaMarcus Aldridge and half of Memphis out? Let's take a look at the top plays at each position!

Now’s your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our NBA optimizer and our new player lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.

First time with NBA? Be sure to read our free NBA Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.

Point guard

Chris PaulChris Paul FD - $8300 DK - $7700
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 39.72 DK - 40.17

Welcome to NBA Monday! We have a solid 4-game slate on our hands with each contest deserving attention. We’ll kick things off in Houston, where the Spurs will face the Rockets in what is the best real-life game of the slate. We know both teams will take the game seriously (the Spurs are very much at risk of missing the playoffs) and Paul only saw 30 minutes on Sunday evening. He’ll be out there for another 30+ minutes and deserves attention in all formats. His price is down on both sites and you’re seeing a huge discount from both Russ and Lillard. If Paul hits his stride, he’s a 45 FP producer every night. He’s always extremely consistent and being on the Rockets hasn’t changed that a bit. He’s not afraid to shoot with Harden on the floor and looks very comfortable controlling the ball. The match-up on paper is average, but you have to think Paul sees 34+ minutes if it’s a nail-biter throughout. I don’t necessarily love him against the Spurs, but he’ll be on the floor and the price is just too low for a healthy Chris Paul. Paul is an elite option in all formats and you can pay up for him everywhere.

Eric BledsoeEric Bledsoe FD - $7500 DK - $6800
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 37.32 DK - 37.21

When you have four games and three of them involve the Spurs, Heat, or Grizzlies, you're not working with the best of options. With that being said, there are a few solid plays at each position. Eric Bledsoe is just a bit cheaper than Chris Paul and will come in very low-owned against the Grizzlies. He's playing the best basketball of his season and did put up a stretch of 40+ fantasy performances. With Tyreke Evans, Andrew Harrison, and Mario Chalmers all out, I don't know who they will throw at Eric Bledsoe. My guess is a combination of Kobi Simmons, Xavier Rathan-Wayes and Wayne Selden. Neither have a chance of staying with an Eric Bledsoe that's hot from both the perimeter and inside. He is a super streaky player and you want to target him when he's attacking consistently and not passing up easy opportunities.

Goran DragicGoran Dragic FD - $6500 DK - $6300
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 28.76 DK - 29.95
Tyler JohnsonTyler Johnson FD - $4900 DK - $5200
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 19.21 DK - 19.29

We now get to a set of guards in Miami who have remained relevant all season long. Both of them going through ups and downs (welcome to your 2018 Miami Heat), they have stayed healthy and both getting substantial minutes. Along with Josh Richardson, these two guys are the only consistent players in this lineup. We now have Dwyane Wade out as well, so the available minutes are plentiful. I'm sure Wayne Ellington will grab a few at the two, but so should Tyler Johnson and he's already seeing 25+ a night. He should get up to 30 at least tonight and can be played in all formats at right around $5k. As for Dragic, he's obviously more expensive, but one of the more consistent PG's in the entire league. Outside of the outlier last game, he's putting up 25+ every night and 35+ in most. His price is great around $6k and you're only needing that 25-30 he always gets. The Blazers are an average defense at best and have no problem giving up to guards. Both of these guys are in play in both cash games and tournaments. Personally, Paul and Dragic are my 2 favorites on the slate for the price.

Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $11200 DK - $10700
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 50.93 DK - 52.81
Eric GordonEric Gordon FD - $5500 DK - $5200
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 22.06 DK - 23.47

James Harden took last night off in hopes of being fully healthy for this big match-up with the San Antonio Spurs. Assuming the game goes to plan and it isn’t a blowout, it’s safe to assume 34-38 minutes out of Harden and at least 50 fantasy points. He’s always a lot more effective in big games and it’s because he’s needed so much more. This Rockets team often relies on the secondary options against subpar teams and it allows the likes of Harden and Paul to sit back. Tonight, not the case. While Vegas is yet to drop a line, I’m willing to bet the line is within 10 or 12 points. If the game stays close, there’s no reason to expect less than 50-70 FP out of the beard. His price is up there, but there are only a couple ways to pay up on this slate and Harden has the upside to bring you to the top of a tournament. Personally, he’s in 80% of my lineups as a guy I think has a solid 60-ish FP on the night. I included Gordon, too. He’s not going to kill you with a fade, but could easily put up 30 fantasy points on the cheap. He’s shooting an absolute ton and can be relied on for at least 5-7 looks from behind the line. There is always upside in that case and this position isn't all that exciting.

Ben McLemoreBen McLemore FD - $4800 DK - $5300
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 25.7 DK - 26.14

McLemore has picked up 30+ minutes in 4 of the last 5 games and has seen 35+ in 3. With Harrison, Evans, and Chalmers all out, they don't have an option but to play McLemore big minutes. He's one of the only guys left that's capable of creating a shot as well as distributing and not just a 1-dimensional shooter or passer. In those games with 30+ minutes, he matched with 30+ fantasy points in every single one. He now sees a match-up against a Thunder squad that is struggling against the 2. Corey Brewer has helped a bit, but they may be playing small with him at the 3 and George at the 4. McLemore is still cheap enough on both sites and you're only needing 25 out of him in cash games. He has immense upside if the game stays close and is still safe if it happens to go the blowout route. Shooting guard isn't all that fun and I highly doubt any of the above 3 options will kill you in any format.

Small forward

Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $11800 DK - $10800
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 53.66 DK - 54.65

On this slate, there are 3 main parts to go on the high-end. At point guard, Russell Westbrook. At shooting guard, James Harden. We'll now get to Giannis at small forward. We ignored a $12k+ Westbrook as he just isn't necessary, but he's obviously in play no matter what can put up 70 on any night. We'll instead stick to Harden for the most part and touch on Giannis at a weaker small forward position. You're going to need 50+ fantasy points. On the surface, Memphis doesn't seem like a very solid match-up. However, they've ranked 24th against the small forward position since February 1 and isn't a team you need to avoid. Yes, when healthy, they can shut anyone down. When they have 5 or 6 guys out, that goes out the window. They turn into a slightly above-average defense that gives up a lot in the mid-range. The point is that you don't really need to avoid this Memphis squad at this point. He'll see Dillon Brooks and Chandler Parsons on defense and neither are at all scary. Giannis has been over 50 fantasy points in 4 of the last 5 and hits that 70 upside. I like Harden just a bit more, but will have exposure to Antetokounmpo in cash games and tournaments.

Kyle AndersonKyle Anderson FD - $5600 DK - $5500
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 25.12 DK - 24.02

We looked at Chris Paul and James Harden for the Rockets, so let’s get to at least a couple names from the other side. LaMarcus Aldridge has been ruled out with a sore knee, so there is a ton of opportunity and 30 minutes to go around. While I think Gasol and Bertans absorb the most, we know some of that usage will likely leak out into the guards. Anderson is trusted to run a point forward type of role and has been a lot better in his given minutes recently. Trevor Ariza is a fine defender and all, but the Rockets rank in the bottom-third against SF’s. We’ll also see Chris Paul on the listed PG, so Anderson could be uber-involved in a slow game. His minutes have been volatile, but I’m willing to bet he sees at least high 20's without LMA. I like a few of these guys at SF and Anderson is a solid as anyone if you think this game stays competitive. I sure do and will have no reservations about targeting this game.


Power forward

JaMychal GreenJaMychal Green FD - $6100 DK - $7100
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 26.91 DK - 27.4

Power forward is simply ugly. We'll touch on 2 other guys that are cheap and it may be where I end up on most teams. With that being said, you can pay up for JaMychal Green if you want to. He's been extremely good when on the floor and it just comes down to how many minutes you can get out of him. With Jarell Martin questionable, that news will likely sway me. If Martin misses, it's fair to expect 30 minutes and 1 FP per minute in this match-up. The Bucks are a below average defense at best and rank 23rd against PF's since the ASB. At $6k, Green is a very solid option that shouldn't be any more than 15 or 20% owned. power forward is extremely weak and you'll be happy to get 4.5x out of your guys. At least I will be.

Davis BertansDavis Bertans FD - $4400 DK - $4200
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 9.26 DK - 9.48

With LaMarcus Aldridge ruled out, the Spurs will have to go into this one with a much different game-plan. Personally, I think they play around Pau Gasol and Kyle Anderson, with Bertans, Forbes, and Murray spreading the floor. Bertans is never “safe” from a minutes-view, but he’s been around 20 every game and could get up to 30 with LMA out. I think he ends up closer to that 20 mark on most occasions, but that should still be fine against a Rockets squad that plays a lot faster than the Spurs are used to. It’ll leave open 3’s and peripherals for the entire team and Bertans will take advantage if open. At close to $4k, you’re happy with a 20 burger here. This is obviously an atrocious position and your almost just grasping straws here, but I don’t think anyone around him is any safer at all. I’ll have exposure for the sole reason of positional scarcity.

Patrick PattersonPatrick Patterson FD - $3600 DK - $3300
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 11.15 DK - 11.08

Steven Adams is currently questionable and it'll likely be Patrick Patterson that steps in if he's out. Patterson saw 33 minutes just a couple games ago with Carmelo out, so the Thunder are certainly willing to stretch him out a bit. He's typically effective when on the floor and it just comes down to whether or not his shot is falling. If it is, you'll find Russel Westbrook looking for him against an immobile WCS or Z-BO. It'll allow him to stretch the floor and gives Russ an open driving lane. He's basically minimum-priced and you can rely on value if Adams does indeed miss. Make sure you pay attention to the news and give Pat-Pat a go if Adams sits.

Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, and James Johnson will all pick up appeal if Whiteside is out. Who knows who ends up with the minutes, but all are in play on such a short slate.


Pau GasolPau Gasol FD - $6000 DK - $5700
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 24.93 DK - 24.9

With LMA out of the lineup a week ago, Pau Gasol put up 50 fantasy points. The offense was run around him and he looked like he threw it back to 2009 Pau that would dominate nightly. He’s now a lot older, so Popovich has to pick the spots carefully. In a game against the 1 seed Rockets without their best 2 players in LMA and Kawhi, I can’t see why Pau Gasol wouldn’t be the centerpiece of the offense. It won’t be easy with Clint Capela on the opposing side, but they’ve ranked just 22nd against C’s since the ASB and Capela is a little dinged up. It’s hard to expect another monster 50 like last time from Gasol, but I’m willing to bet he tops 35 as long as it stays close. He’s easily my favorite C at the weakened position and I’ll have close enough to 100%. I just don’t see much of a downside if the game is remotely competitive.

Marc GasolMarc Gasol FD - $7700 DK - $7500
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 36.23 DK - 36.74

Gasol rested last game on the 2nd half of a B2B and should be ready to go completely for this one. He's picked up 31 and 36 minutes in 2 of his last 3, so I don't think we're looking at a situation where Gasol will be rested. I just think he'll see a night off once every 2 weeks or so as the season winds down. This Grizzlies squad is demolished at this point and the last thing they need is Marc Gasol going down. As for tonight, he's the most expensive option on the board and certainly one worth considering. The Bucks ranks 25th against centers since the break and haven't shown any signs of life. His price is very fair in the mid $7k's and he's a guy I would be loading up on if it wasn't for my Pau Gasol take. No matter where you decide to go, this position is pretty fun and there are a lot of different angles to attack. It could very well be what decides the slate if the stars end up with comparable production. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment below if you have any questions! Thank you!


image sources

  • Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell: (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

3 Visitor Comments

  1. Ben McLemore is playing against Mil. Which means he will not be playing against Corey Brewer.

  2. He still thinks McLemore plays for SAC. We corrected him a few days ago but it hasn’t sunk in yet. Even made a few jokes about it that he had to delete because he is fragile. Maybe he should keep the posts so he remembers.

  3. Lol pleb pick all high players

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Our free NBA and MLB eBooks, and picks to your inbox every day!

Your eBooks are on their way!