Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/08/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/9/18

We are down to just three days left of the NBA season and the uncertainty around player minutes grows deeper by the day. Most teams are fully out of anything close to "trying to win" mode making for tough sledding on these DFS slates. Tonight, the teams with anything to play for are the Pelicans, Nuggets, Thunder, Spurs, Cavaliers (sort of) and Trailblazers (kind of). The issue with many of the players on these teams is they are in bad/ tough matchups and are all appropriately or even overpriced relative to their production. Simply put: we can't only play guys from teams who are still in the fight. Let's try and make sense of this fantasy quagmire.

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Point Guard

Delon WrightDelon Wright FD - $4400 DK - $3900
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 18.65 DK - 18.09
Let's start this thing out with good old-fashioned speculation. Demar Derozan sat out Sunday for rest on the front end of the back-to-back and the Raptors locked in the East's number one seed. You would think Monday would be Lowry's turn to take a game off in a meaningless game against the Pistons. Wright came off the bench on Sunday and finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists is 27 minutes. The last time Lowry sat out a game, Wright started and played 39 minutes. Even a starting nod (without the expectation of those crazy minutes) would be enough to make him a complete chalk play on this slate. This is one of the many examples of team news we should look for throughout the course of the day on Monday.

Trey BurkeTrey Burke FD - $6400 DK - $6800
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 34.43 DK - 35.18
Frank NtilikinaFrank Ntilikina FD - $4000 DK - $4100
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 21.28 DK - 21.57
As I’m sure you’re going to notice, this slate is very tough and has very little in the way of cheaper, “safe” value plays. Most teams are so far in the tank or are resting starters in anticipation of a playoff run making few opportunities to really punt away positions because even with starter’s rolls it doesn’t mean guys will see starter’s minutes. Assuming Tim Hardaway Jr. sits again on Monday, Burke and Ntikilina would draw the starting backcourt nod. The former has had impressive usage since entering the starting five and is averaging 14 shots per game over his last five with a 15 point, seven assist line in that time frame.

Meanwhile, Ntikilina is coming much cheaper and would need to see every one of the 30 minutes he got last game. He can get lost in the offensive flow (he’s much more of a defender at this point in his rookie campaign) but could chip in enough to hit cash game value on a slate that is potentially without a lot of cheap plays.

Shooting Guard

Jrue HolidayJrue Holiday FD - $8900 DK - $8400
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 42.21 DK - 42.33
The Pelicans are in a fight for their playoff lives right now, sitting fifth in the West but only one loss up on the Nuggets who are currently on the outside looking in. It’s going to be a crazy final three days and this is an incredibly important game for New Orleans. They’re playing the Clippers who’ve been eliminated from the playoffs after being blown out by the Nuggets and Jazz in the last two games. Holiday played 40 minutes in the win over the Warriors on Saturday, finishing with 26 points, five assists, and four rebounds. It’s easy to imagine his minutes bump up close to that number if the game stays even moderately close throughout. If targeting mid-tier value in leverage games, Jrue jumps up near the top of the list at a very weak shooting guard position.

Will BartonWill Barton FD - $7400 DK - $7400
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 34.88 DK - 35.44
This is a case of possibly overpaying for some “safety”. The Nuggets are all appropriately (or even over) priced at this point considering they’re one of the few teams with something to play for every night for the last few weeks. It’s led to their starters getting major run and the prices steadily trickling upward. Gary Harris is doubtful to play, leaving Barton with more opportunity as a starter. This isn’t a great matchup against a solid defensive Blazer team. But again, it could make a lot of sense to pay a premium for players in games that matter. This is one of the few and Barton is at a shooting guard position that’s incredibly thin.

Kobi SimmonsKobi Simmons FD - $3500 DK - $3600
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 18.14 DK - 18.28
We are going to need to round out some of the more expensive plays on Monday’s slate with cheap guys when and where we can find them. Simmons is slotted into the starting role for the time being while the Grizzlies sit out most of their backcourt on a night in, night basis. He played over 30 minutes on Sunday and if guys like Harrison, Tyreke Evans and Wayne Selden all sit again on Monday then Simmons should have a higher minutes floor. He’ll need them because he isn’t a prolific per minute fantasy contributor, but the price could really help rounding out lineups.

Small Forward

LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $12200 DK - $12100
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 61.83 DK - 64.3
The Cavs seem hell-bent on slotting their way into the East’s three seed (a mission made much tougher with the loss to Philadelphia on Friday (oh and also made tougher by the Sixers winning 14 games in a row down the stretch). But Lebron has locked into about 40 minutes a game and has been as good as any player (almost ever) on the fantasy side of things. Since February 25th, James has averaged 38 minutes a game with a cool triple-double: 31 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. It’s really been something to behold as they put up tons of points on the offensive end and fail to stop anyone on D. It keeps nearly every game close and James has poured in the production. He gets a cakewalk matchup against the Knicks on Monday which could turn into a blowout but it’s worth noting that in the aforementioned stretch of games, the Cavs have really only pulled away from their opponent three times (two of the games were against Phoenix).

Paul GeorgePaul George FD - $8100 DK - $7800
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 39.19 DK - 39.74
George is coming in as a sound DraftKings play at $7800. He’s another example of a guy in the upper-middle tier who could pay dividends based on the playing time. In close games, PG drifts towards 40 minutes and his price has come down some in the short term because of his very real struggles from the field. Over the last 17 games, he’s shooting only 37% from the field and 30% from three. These numbers are way down from his season and career averages. If you think this is merely short-term run bad, then he has big-time upside when/if it turns around. George is still taking plenty of shots (average of 20 per over his last three games) and more than his season average from beyond the arc (nine per game in that stretch).

If Rodney Hood and George Hill sit again on Monday then Cedi Osman could make a reasonable punt play.

Also, E'Twaun Moore is looking very cheap on FanDuel if searching for another small forward play on the cheap.

Finally, if you think Marshonn Brooks’ recent play is in any way sustainable, then he is still something of a value even with the dramatic price increase.

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Power Forward

Anthony DavisAnthony Davis FD - $13200 DK - $11600
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 66.06 DK - 65.66
Nikola MiroticNikola Mirotic FD - $6900 DK - $6100
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 38.23 DK - 38.94
It’s going to be tough a choice among the big money plays on Monday considering almost all of them (Lebron, Westbrook, Jokic among others) are in games that actually matter. Of that group, considering the recent play and the matchups, I think Lebron and Davis are my two choices. In close games, Davis pushes 40 minutes and has averaged more than 62 FanDuel points a game over his last four games. He put up a 41/13 line against these Clippers early in March. As I mentioned with Holiday, the Pelicans really need a win to firm up their playoff position and this is the easier of their final two games (they play the Spurs on Wednesday).

Meanwhile, Mirotic is now staring and played 35 and 40 minutes respectively in his last two. That might change with DeAndre Jordan on the interior in this game (the Warriors and Suns don’t feature low post rebounding threats) but it stands to reason Mirotic still see healthy run considering his recent play. He’s shot lights out 11-22 from three in the last two games and also piled in 16 rebounds against the Suns. This Clippers’ matchup isn’t as choice, but if he sticks in the starting lineup then he’s still a value.

Jeff GreenJeff Green FD - $4500 DK - $4900
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 26.51 DK - 26.64
Green will remain in the starting lineup for the last two games and he’s seen plenty of fantasy work over the last two games with the Cavaliers playing at varying levels of “healthy”. The Sixer game saw him with 41 minutes of court time and 33 points from the field. That’s more than we can reasonably expect in this matchup, but I do like his FanDuel price if the punt plays don’t materialize closer to lineup lock.

Strongly consider Anthony Tolliver on FanDuel if Blake Griffin sits again.

Center

Ivan RabbIvan Rabb FD - $5300 DK - $5000
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 28.36 DK - 28.9
Deyonta DavisDeyonta Davis FD - $3800 DK - $4300
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 2.72 DK - 2.65
I’m aware that Rabb is a PF on FanDuel, but it was slightly easier to just group these two guys together. As of this writing, no official word is in on Marc Gasol, but my strong suspicion is he sits the second half of the back-to-back (after playing 35 minutes on Sunday) and plays the final game of the season on Wednesday. When Gasol sat last week against the Kings, Rabb started and played 31 minutes finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. His price is up a little, but on this slate still represents a relative bargain.

Davis came in off the bench, but got 27 minutes of run and nearly double-doubled with eight points and nine rebounds. You have to suspect that’s the floor of his production if he can equal the minutes again on Monday. Keep an ear out for Gasol news and if the big guy sits then Davis and Rabb make for a strong cash game pairing at their respective prices.

Bismack BiyomboBismack Biyombo FD - $4000 DK - $4300
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 27.53 DK - 26.64
Here’s another bit of speculation, but it stands to reason Nikola Vucevic will get some more “rest” after playing in the front half of the back-to-back on Sunday. In two recent starts with Vuce sitting, Biyombo averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds. The minutes weren’t there (only 21 in each) but he’s coming cheap enough that I think we could roll with the points-per-minute value if he drew the start again. The Bucks have no real incentive to go crazy in this game and have very little post presence to keep Biyombo off the boards. As will the Memphis centers, we need to keep a lookout for the Magic plans on Wednesday, but I’d be shocked if Vucevic plays.

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image sources

  • lebron: AP Images

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