Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/13/18

Welcome friends to daily fantasy NBA for Tuesday! We've got a monster slate of 11 games on our hands, and while each presents its own brand of fantasy goodness, there a handful of games that stand out. We'll talk a bit about the Cavaliers who are in an excellent spot tonight against the Suns and then we'll go position by position breaking down some of the other top options to consider. So what are we waiting for? Let's do this thing.

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A not so quick note on the Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $12500 DK - $11600
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 60.68 DK - 63.1
Larry Nance Jr.Larry Nance Jr. FD - $7800 DK - $7000
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 36.95 DK - 36.95
Jeff GreenJeff Green FD - $3800 DK - $3900
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 22.18 DK - 22.45
George HillGeorge Hill FD - $4700 DK - $5100
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 26.04 DK - 26.52
J.R. SmithJ.R. Smith FD - $3700 DK - $4200
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 20.75 DK - 21.32

Before we get down to the nuts and bolts of tonight's top plays, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the Cavaliers. While it's no secret the Cavs have been a lax defensive team all season, they more than make up for it by being an offensive juggernaut capable of dismantling even the strongest of defensive matchups that come across their path. Tonight they see the worst defense the league has to offer as they head into Phoenix to take on a Suns team that has all but given up, and didn't stand a chance of stopping an offense of this caliber even when they were trying.

The Cavs are led of course by LeBron James, who is our top way to pay up on the slate. James leads the way at all positions in our NBA lineup optimizer for raw projected points, coming in right around 60 FP on both sites. The King has looked rejuvenated since the Cavs shook things up at the trade deadline, averaging 56.64 FDP in the ten games since the All-Star break, surpassing the 60 mark three times. James is a terrific play on FanDuel, and even better on DraftKings where he commands even less salary.

It doesn't stop there though. From top to bottom, this Cleveland offense is projected to completely dominate tonight's DFS contests (a 119 implied game total), leading the way in points per dollar projections at nearly every position. Guards George Hill, J.R. Smith, and Jordan Clarkson (if he sees increased bench minutes), all project for about 20-27FP and are priced at $5K or less across the industry. Clarkson has been picking up the most reliable minutes of the bunch, running for 20-25 per game since joining the Cavs. The Suns' perimeter defense has been atrocious all season long, especially against shooting guards where they've surrendered 20% more fantasy points than the league average to the position.

Rounding out our Cleveland spotlight, we have Larry Nance Jr. and Jeff Green. Green drew the start on Sunday in L.A. against the Lakers, finishing with just seven points, three boards, and a block, in 22 minutes. Green is a risky play, but if he continues to draw the start with Rodney Hood and Cedi Osman sidelined, at minimum pricing he makes for an interesting punt play in GPPs. Nance meanwhile, is one of the most exciting pieces the Cavs added to the puzzle at the deadline, though he didn't live up to the narrative hype facing his former Lakers team on Sunday. He failed to post a double-double for the first time in his last four games, dropping 16 points with eight rebounds and an assist. He should easily get back on track tonight against an abysmal Phoenix interior.

Vegas projects this game, which has a 101.2 combined pace factor to be among the top scoring affairs of the evening, opening at a 230 O/U with just a seven-point spread. There should be plenty of fantasy action on both sides, but the Cavs are a fantastic stacking option in all formats. While I plan to have exposure to James everywhere, I'll likely team him with Nance and Clarkson in cash games, while using Hill and Green in tournaments with a little bit of Smith mixed in for good measure. Now let's move on to our non-Cavalier plays.

Point guard

Elfrid PaytonElfrid Payton FD - $7900 DK - $7300
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 40.24 DK - 40.31
We'll start out on the other side of the CLE/PHO matchup. Elfrid Payton seems like a completely different player since coming over from Orlando to an offense that can better utilize his skill set. Since joining the Suns on Feb 10 Payton has averaged 32.2 minutes per game and has shown the potential for 45-55 FP upside. Cleveland has been much better defensively at the point with the addition of George Hill, and Devin Booker is looking probable to play tonight which could hurt Payton's upside, but as a cash game play Payton is a fine way to go.

Emmanuel MudiayEmmanuel Mudiay FD - $4900 DK - $5000
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 25.21 DK - 26.32
The Raptors completely crushed the Knicks on Sunday, but Emmanuel Mudiay looked impressive nonetheless, going 6 for 13 from the field and 1 for 2 from beyond the arc while grabbing three boards and dishing out five assists. Quite a showing against the third-ranked defense in the NBA, and enough for a 6X PPD performance from a value-priced starting point guard who has put together back to back double digit scoring games while seeing his minutes continue to creep up. The thirty against Toronto was the most time Mudiay has seen on the court since the end of February, and if you trust the minutes, and the recent performances he should have little trouble getting us 24 FP against a Dallas defense that has been ranked below average all season long defending against the position.

Consider: Lonzo Ball against a Nuggets team that is weak against the point.

Shooting Guard

Bradley BealBradley Beal FD - $8400 DK - $8600
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 41.17 DK - 42.4
John Wall could be nearing a return, but we still have a little more time to ride the Bradley Beal express. Beal got a bit of relief as the Wizards found themselves on both sides of a blowout in their last two games. After 20 straight games of 30+ minutes, Beal saw just 29 and 26 resepctively in those last two contests. After a couple of off days Beal should be plenty rested for tonight's matchup with the Timberwolves back on his home court. The Wolves are the sixth ranked defense against opposing shooting guards this season, but over their last ten games they've allowed the second most fantasy points to the position. Vegas projections have this game sitting at just a four point spread meaning Beal should return to his usual allotment of minutes in a game that should be comptetitive to the final buzzer. Beal is an excellent play in cash games.

Gary HarrisGary Harris FD - $6500 DK - $6600
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 33.71 DK - 33.73
After the PHO/CLE game, this is the one that will draw the majority of our attention this evening. This game has the highest projection of the slate, edging out the Cavs game by a point, and has just a two-point spread. We'll take our first look at this game from the two with Gary Harris. Harris has been a solid daily fantasy play this season and had one of his better post ASB games Friday night against these same Lakers. In 38 minutes Harris scored 19 points and added in five each rebounds and assists ending the night with a 6.2X PPD performance. The action moves to the Staples Center tonight and Clarkson will look to bounce back from a sub-par outing against the Kings. The Lakers haven't been terrible defensively against the two this season, but over their last five, they've fallen to a bottom ten ranking in fantasy points surrendered. Harris is a solid high floor play and should be able to get us 30-35 FP with ease.

Consider: Lou Williams against a poor Chicago defense.

Small forward

T.J. WarrenT.J. Warren FD - $7000 DK - $6300
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 36.6 DK - 35.98
We've already established the King is my play of the day, but let's look at a few other options at the three to pair alongside him. We'll begin on the opposing end of the court with T.J. Warren. Warren missed the Suns last two games, but participated in practice yesterday, and is officially listed as probable for tonight's game against the Cavaliers. Provided he is cleared to play, he should return to the starting five and see a favorable matchup against a Cleveland team ranked third most generous to opposing small forwards. Prior to going down with the back spasms, Warren was averaging 24.3 points, four rebounds, and an assist through 38.3 minutes per game in his first three contests of March. While his price has risen in his absence, he still sits at a solid floor needing just 30-35FP to hit value while having 40+ upside. Warren is a fine consideration in all formats.

Paul GeorgePaul George FD - $9000 DK - $8400
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 43.77 DK - 44.36
Corey BrewerCorey Brewer FD - $4100 DK - $3900
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 21.21 DK - 20.45
The Thunder head into Atlanta tonight to take on a dying Hawks team. Vegas hasn't released a line on this game yet, but I anticipate significant blowout risk. That makes Paul George quite the risky proposition, but one that could pay off handsomely. Atlanta has been poor defensively overall this season, but they've been at their worst at the three where they're ranked 29th overall. This is the perfect matchup for George who has struggled to hit value in his last five. He double-doubled for the first time in five games on Saturday against the Spurs, so things are trending in the right direction but I will definitely reserve George for tournaments until I see him return to posting 40FP on a regular basis once again. So, if George worries you then look to Corey Brewer who has started three games now for the Thunder. We'll get a better idea as to how he fits into the OKC offense as time goes on, through his first two starts he averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 boards, 0.5 assists, 0.5 blocks, and 1.0 steals in 28 minutes. Then last night he let loose dropping 16 points in 32 minutes on his way to an 8X outing against the Kings. I suspect the real Corey Brewer lies somewhere in between. For near minimum pricing however, Brewer only needs to get you 20FP to make the play worthwhile. If he continues to run with the starters, seeing about 30 minutes a night Brewer is a fine value play and can nicely offset LeBron's top dollar price tag.

Consider: E'Twaun Moore in a high scoring shootout with the Hornets.


Power forward

Paul MillsapPaul Millsap FD - $6700 DK - $6400
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 35.34 DK - 34.59
We're going to return to the Nuggets/Lakers game for our power forward picks. We'll start on the Denver side with Paul Millap. Millsap had his best game since returning from a wrist injury that held him out of most of the season against these same Lakers in Denver on Friday night. He ended the evening with a 21/6/1/3 line. While he still has a way to go to return to the Millsap we knew in Atlanta for the last four seasons, that game was a sign that things are heading in the right direction. He was stifled during 23 minutes in a blowout of Sacramento on Sunday, but should return to a 25-30 minute workload tonight in what promises to be a shootout. I find the price on Millsap to be a little steep, which definitely limits his ceiling until he starts picking up additional playing time, but he should be fine for the 30-35 FP we look for in cash games.

Kyle KuzmaKyle Kuzma FD - $7000 DK - $6400
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 34.65 DK - 35.68
Julius RandleJulius Randle FD - $8100 DK - $8000
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 40.85 DK - 43
On the other side, we find a pair of Lakers. Kyle Kuzma has started five straight games for L.A. with Brandon Ingram on the shelf with a groin strain and he will remain out for the Lakers B2B set beginning tonight against the Nuggets. Kuzma has seen his price jump drastically in the short term, especially on FanDuel but he has proven he has what it takes to put up a 5X performance and then some. Though he struggled some against the Nuggets on Friday night, he sandwiched that game with double-double performances against the Cavaliers and the Magic. He's averaged just under 40 minutes in his last three starts, and as long as he is going to see that type of run he is well worth the consideration as a top play at the position. Also in the conversation is Julius Randle. Randle was playing on another level against the Cavaliers on Sunday. He dropped 36 points in 37 minutes, paired with 14 boards, seven assists, two blocks, and a steal while contending with LeBron for the majority of the night. The 36 points were a career high for the forward who has posted several strong daily fantasy performances since the ASB. I prefer the savings that Kuzma brings to DraftKings, but both of these guys can be considered on both sites and in all formats.

Consider: Anthony Davis as a pivot from LeBron on DraftKings.


Brook LopezBrook Lopez FD - $6700 DK - $5800
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 30.44 DK - 30.51
Brook Lopez presents a strong way to gain access to this game without breaking the bank, particularly on DraftKings where he is priced nearly $1K less. BroLo's currently riding one of the best stretches of his first campaign in Los Angeles. He's capped off a string of eight straight games scoring in double digits with three in a row of 20+ points. In those three not only has he averaged 32.6 minutes per game but according to his usage is up nearly 3% during that stretch as well. The price has risen quickly but if this is the type of performance we can expect to see from BroLo moving forward, then there's still room for growth before we have to question if the play is worth it. We only need to ask for 30-35 FP at this price point, but Lopez has shown 45FP upside and is in play in all formats as long as he's riding this current hot streak.

Myles TurnerMyles Turner FD - $6800 DK - $6200
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 31.22 DK - 30.1
We'll close out with a game we've largely ignored to this point. The Pacers head into South Philly to take on the Sixers and like Lopez above, Myles Turner is riding a string of solid performances paying 5X to 6.3X PPD in each of his last three games. That 6.3X performance came thanks to his second double-double in a row on Sunday against the Celtics who happen to hold the top-ranked defense in the NBA. Tonight he'll look to keep the heat turned up against a Sixers defense ranked 18th defending against the position. This game holds one of the lower projections of the evening, but Philly's top five pace of play will speed up Indiana's game presenting Turner with the chance for another high floor, high ceiling outing. Both Turner and Lopez rank similarly in our projection system and I will most likely split my exposure to each in all formats.

Consider: Andre Drummond on DraftKings if you have the funds.

Thanks for reading, and best of luck out there tonight. As always, drop any questions or comments below. Cheers!!


image sources

  • lebron: AP Images

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