Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 3/19/18
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Welcome to NBA Monday! We’re working with eight games on tonight’s slate and each of them deserves attention. There are obviously some with higher totals and we’ll try our best to focus there for the most part. We open up in the Chicago frontcourt, where Kris Dunn is hurt. He didn’t travel with the team and it’ll be left to Cam Payne, Antonio Blakeney, and Jerian Grant. With Grant an after-thought in this rotation, it’ll be Blakeney and Payne getting a majority of the attention. Payne started on Saturday and played 31 minutes, while Blakeney picked up 27. Payne is the more expensive and safer of the two options, and can still be trusted in all formats. I’ll play Blakeney in cash, too, but there is definitely some more risk. The Knicks rank bottom 10 against the position and Burke + Mudiay isn’t worth worrying about in the slightest.
With everyone out, Quinn Cook is finally producing. He’s put up 42 fantasy points in each of his last two games and is still at just over $5k. He’s produced 25 and 28 real-life points in the last two affairs, so I’m not sure this is much of a fluke. If the big guns are out of the lineup, he’s going to shoot and become an active player. He was pitiful before those two games and while I’m tempted to say it’s in play, I don’t think it is. With Cook rolling the last two games, he’s going to be treated like one of the leaders of this shell of a Warriors team. There’s a degree of chasing points, but Cook is an elite option in both cash games and tournaments.
Goran Dragic FD - $6700 DK - $7300
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 35.84 DK - 36.96
If you’re looking to pay up at the position, there are a whole lot of ways to go. I’m just not sure how excited I am about any of them. With Curry hurt and out, Kemba Walker and Eric Bledsoe are your most expensive players. Either are in play, but do have to give you 40-45+ fantasy points. I’m just not sure that’s too safe right now. You also have Lonzo Ball and Jamal Murray, who are both just in subpar match-ups. That leaves us with the ever-consistent Goran Dragic. Always seeing just over 30 minutes, he’s locked into 30 fantasy points with the upside for 50. His price is extremely fair ok both sites and I don’t see how you can stay away in cash games. He just never does wrong in safe games and the match-up is too rock-solid. I prefer paying down for the most part at point guard, but Dragic is easily my favorite way to get above $6k in cash games. In tournaments, I think Kemba has the most upside.
Tyreke Evans FD - $8000 DK - $8000
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 36.97 DK - 37.99
‘Reke has jumped right back into the mix and continued his season-long dominance. He’s not only taking over the offense this season, but doing it on a more consistent basis than ever before. He’s now putting up 40+ fantasy points a night without not blinking. Over the last two games since returning, Evans has picked up 47 and 40 fantasy points on 30+ minutes. He now gets a league-wide top five match-ups against a Nets team that plays absolutely no defense. Evans is fully healthy and a lock for another 40 fantasy points. If the game stays close, I wouldn’t count out 50-60. He’s going to dominate this defense while on the floor and Vegas thinks this game stays relatively close. Give me all the Tyreke Evans in every format.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope FD - $6000 DK - $5800
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 31.01 DK - 31.14
KCP is still the same huge minute-getter and three-point shooter he’s been for the past month or so. He’s playing 30+ minutes in every game and has maintained a 20 point floor. He’s often around 30-35 and this match-up fits his narrative. The Pacers don’t play too fast, but do rank 6th in PACE and rank just 22nd to the shooting guard position. His price has slowly fallen and is now at a very affordable $6k tag. After a position in point that I like to pay down at, shooting guard is a different story on this slate. You can pay up in a couple spots, but there is more opportunity cost at the position than normal. KCP is an elite play in all formats that will be in most of my lineups.
Will Barton FD - $6600 DK - $6300
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 33.53 DK - 34.06
Just another mid-range option with Will Barton. If you’re looking at this position and absolutely MUST pay down, go with a Wayne Ellington or Justin Holiday. I don’t love either, but would bet both hit cash game value. If you have the funds, however, I much prefer this mid-range that I’m beating with a baseball bat. With Gary Harris out of the lineup, Will Barton is locked into his minutes and even more so his shots. His usage goes from a full season 20.9 to 22.9 with Harris off the court. He'll face off with a Miami Heat team that is sitting 19th against shooting guards. Wayne Ellington is certainly nothing to write home about and the absence of Hassan Whiteside has proven deadly under the rim. We know the upside Barton has and it can come out to play on any night. He’s never the safest, but will shoot 15 times and could be the key to tournaments everywhere.
LeBron James FD - $13100 DK - $11700
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 59.32 DK - 61.69
Giannis Antetokounmpo FD - $12500 DK - $10800
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 56.57 DK - 57.53
Call it a cop-out or whatever you may, I won’t be the guy who takes a hard stand on either of these guys. If we’re being honest, either can put up a monster game here. LeBron is insanely expensive, but constant 70 fantasy point games will going to do that. Giannis isn’t much better at $12.5k. For one, you likely can only play one of these guys. Unless you go full value elsewhere, it’s not feasible to fit both. Facing off with each other, they figure to be covering one another for most of the game. If you’re looking for safety, I think LeBron is the way to go. I don’t see a route for him under 50 fantasy points. Giannis has just as much upside as LeBron, but does have the occasional 30-40 fantasy point letdown. If you’re paying the price, I’ll take the sure 50-70 and run. That’s if you’re comfortable paying the tag for either of these guys. Personally, you won’t find a lineup without at least one of them. For now, it’s LeBron 75% and Giannis 25%. Let’s get to some guys who won’t break the bank.
Jeremy Lamb FD - $4800 DK - $4200
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 29.27 DK - 29.34
Nicolas Batum has been ruled out for tonight’s game, so we go right to Jeremy Lamb. Lamb was spectacular last season in the absence of Batum and was putting up 25+ fantasy points with ease while showing a 40+ floor multiple times. His minutes haven’t been very concrete recently, but should lock himself in for at least 28+ with Batum out. That's what he played last time the latter sat and put up 14 points and five rebounds on 17 shots. The match-up against Philly is a good one, considering they rank 27th against shooting guards. Redick is a bad defender, sure, but they also play fast and don’t have much rim protection. Lamb has always been productive while on the floor and is one of the better rebounding guards in the NBA. His price is way down on both sites and you’re only needing 20-25 in cash games. It should be a lock if the game stays remotely close. Lamb will be in most of my squads.
Draymond Green FD - $8500 DK - $9600
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 45.01 DK - 46.33
To the surprise of none, Draymond Green has been really good since the other stars went down. As a guy who “does it all”, those three guys being out is just immensely impactful. He’s now looked at to not just score a little more, but to distribute and lead the entire team. He’s been over 50 fantasy points in each of the last two games and now sees a match-up with LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs. The Spurs have a pretty solid defense, but Green will be leaned on heavily in this one and I fully expect another 40-50 fantasy points. He's put up a season-high 20 shots in only 35 minutes against the Suns on Saturday. This matchup is for sure worse, but the opportunity remains as long as the big three are out. His price is getting up there, but not nearly high enough to consider fading.
Julius Randle FD - $7400 DK - $8300
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 44.67 DK - 47.01
Julius Randle just keeps producing and I’m going to keep playing him. As the clear leader of this L.A. Lakers team, Randle is playing 35+ minutes on most nights and locking in 30 fantasy points. His 60+ ceiling is well-noted and never a stretch against a weak interior. Tonight, he gets one of the weaker in the league in the form of Myles Turner and Thad Young. Against PF’s, they rank 23rd. Against Centers, 25th. Randle is going to bully both of these guys and we know how dangerous he is in the open floor. The Pacers like to run and the Lakers don’t have any problem matching. Randle is going to touch the ball on most possessions and can be locked in over 35 minutes if the game is competitive. He’s not as safe as Draymond Green, but he’s a little bit cheaper and has a similar upside.
Marc Gasol FD - $8500 DK - $7900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 39.08 DK - 39.64
There is a lot to look at here. On the high-end, Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond are in average match-ups. You can play either, but they aren't the best point per dollar plays out there. If you move down the pricing range just a little bit, you run into Marc Gasol in the mid $8.5k's (7.9 on DK). Big surprise here, but we're targeting the Nets at center. On the season, they rank dead last against centers by a huge margin (3.3 FPPG). Gasol is one of the more consistent options in the entire league and you'll never see him under 30 fantasy points. He'll be over 40 on most and gets up to 50 in a lot of good match-ups. With so much value on the slate, his price tag is nothing at all to worry about. He's an elite option in all formats.
Brook Lopez FD - $6900 DK - $6400
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 35.58 DK - 35.42
If you need to pay down a little bit, Brook Lopez has been insanely good. It's definitely not a fluke, either. He's getting 30+ minutes in every game and gets close to 40 if it stays close. He shoots the ball more than anyone when on the floor and is extremely effective when not ice cold. His price is getting up there, but $6.5k isn't nearly high enough for 35+ fantasy points. Tonight, he faces off with Myles Turner. Turner is a horrible defender and the Pacers prefer playing fast. Lopez is always a bit reliant on his shot, but his minutes are extremely safe and you know he'll shoot the ball a ton.
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- LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas: (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)