Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA picks for 2/28/19
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Welcome to Thursday night basketball! The NBA has bestowed upon us a solid six game slate with plenty of options at each and every position. Let’s kick things right off at point guard with the game we want to target most. With a 239 projected total, it’s sitting more than 10 points higher than any other game. There’s are also two teams with very concentrated fantasy numbers. We know who’s going to produce. Simmons has been insane against Westbrook, sticking a 20/14/9 line against them just a month ago. He’s one of the only point guards in basketball that can match the physicality of Westbrook and it lets him excel down low without getting pushed around. You then get to the absence of Joel Embiid and Simmons is close to a must. The offense is going to run through him every possession and he’s a guy who puts up numbers when around the ball. He’s a match-up nightmare for anyone and Russ Westbrook is no exception.
Collin Sexton is just far too cheap. He’s still seeing the 30+ minutes a night we need, so the opportunity is more than there. The Cavs face off with the Knicks tonight, who don’t have much of any defense to speak of. Dennis Smith Jr. is fun to watch on offense and DJ can block shots, but they’ve ranked in the bottom 10 in efficiency over the last two weeks. He's only $5k on both sites, and this is a guy who can put up 40-50 fantasy points if he gets hot. Kevin Love is definitely taking a lot of the shots, but he loves playing the 2-man game and Sexton can shoot from anywhere. He's one of the easiest plays on the slate in cash games.
An interesting big tournament play: Goran Dragic. Dragon is not fully back in terms of his minutes, but he is production-wise. He put up a monstrous 27 points in just 20 minutes of court time against the Warriors. Keep an eye on his status as he could sit out, but I think it’s a lot more likely we see 25-ish minutes. In that case, he’s ridiculously cheap and doesn’t need to do much at all to reach value. The Rockets are a great match-up for any guard and with Dragic coming off the bench, he won’t see much Chris Paul. Make sure Dragic is playing before deploying him as a cheap PG with upside.
Jimmy Butler FD - $8300 DK - $7100
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 42.94 DK - 41.67
Jimmy Butler has nicely settled into his role with the Sixers. He might not get as many shots as he’s used to, but he’s far from ignored by the Sixers offense. He touches the ball on almost every possession and is always involved down the stretch. With Joel Embiid out, he becomes the second scoring option and one of the top plays on the slate. He may end up facing off with Paul George, but I think that just ends up being a match-up where both guys succeed. In all likelihood Butler is going to play his 30+ minutes and pick up his 40 fantasy points. This is a game we want to target and he won’t break your bank at SG. Harden and Mitchell both have immense upside, but I’ll take Butler for a discount and spend that money elsewhere.
Wesley Matthews FD - $4400 DK - $4500
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 24.07 DK - 25.13
Wes Matthews isn’t a guy you’re playing for upside. In fact, you’re just looking for a guy that won’t kill you and will get close to value or exceed it. Matthews has been very consistent recently and should be able to repeat tonight against the Timberwolves. We can expect another 32-36 minutes and 25 fantasy points. If his shot is falling and the game stays close, he’ll play 35 minutes and could surpass his usual 25-30 FP. Shooting guard isn’t a very stacked position and Matthews is a cheap way to get 20-30 fantasy points.
Dion Waiters FD - $5700 DK - $4900
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 24.37 DK - 25.77
This one may be more of a gut feeling, but I think Dion Waiters plays big minutes tonight. They tired everyone else out last night against the Warriors, but kept Waiters rested. With an older Wade and a Dragic just returning from injury, there will have to be some minutes that get handed over to Waiters. He should return to his 30+ minutes and against the Rockets, will shoot plenty. They play faster in PACE and don’t play much perimeter defense. Waiters is always willing to shoot the ball and could go for 40 if he gets hot. His price is a bit higher than we’d like, but I think that just take interest and ownership away. I’m fine with that. Let’s move on to one of the more fun positions.
Paul George FD - $11300 DK - $10400
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 57.65 DK - 58.77
You gotta spend your money somewhere tonight. Westbrook and Harden are obviously fine at each of the last two positions, but they don’t stand out when you consider the price and situation. That’s stops with Paul George. Sure, his price is high, but the match-up is good enough to ignore. Jimmy Butler is a phenomenal defender and I’m sure he will cover George, but the Thunder play fast and they will get switched on most possessions. George has been one of the top 3 players in all of basketball this season and it simply hasn’t mattered who’s guarding him. In a game with a 239 total that’s expected to stay close, I don’t want any part of ignoring Paul George. He’s my favorite way to spend out of the super expensive options.
Kevin Durant FD - $9600 DK - $9200
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 47.02 DK - 48.06
You always have to consider Kevin Durant when he’s a full $2k cheaper than the next SF. Sure, he’s kind of coasting right now and doesn’t seem to have much initiative to go for 50. He also played 38 minutes just last night, so the Warriors are in a pretty tough spot. As long as KD is a full go tonight, he will come out firing after last night. The Magic are no match and Durant will score at will if he’s hot. He’s just way too cheap in cash games (and last night he was 37% owned in cash) and is a great way to go if you have extra funds and are looking for safety. Durant is easily one of the more polarizing players on this slate and he could make or break it either way. I’ll make sure I have my fair share.
Jae Crowder FD - $5000 DK - $4200
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 21.19 DK - 21.81
Jae Crowder is underpriced and very utilized in this Jazz offense. They dont have much outside of Donovan Mitchell, so a guy like Crowder that can create his own shot is nothing short of crucial. They feed him the ball whenever he’s in the game and he’s more than willing to shoot it 10+ times. The Denver Nuggets are obviously a solid defense, but rank middle of the road against opposing 3-point shooters. Crowder should play another 30 minutes and put up 25-35 fantasy points. For the price, you can’t beat it.
Bam Adebayo FD - $4800 DK - $4000
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 32.18 DK - 32.94
Bam was an 87% start in cash games last night with Whiteside and James Johnson out, and with those two already ruled out for tonight, he will be hugely owned again against the Rockets. This isn't an area to get cute - if you're playing cash games tonight, you're playing Adebayo.
Tobias Harris FD - $7500 DK - $7300
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 36.6 DK - 37.78
Power forward is a position with a ton of options. Personally, I don’t think there are many ways to go wrong. It’s just all about your personal roster construction and what’s fits or doesn’t. On the expensive side, we obviously love Tobias Harris without Embiid and Boban around. He’s not only going to see a few more shots, but is also going to be responsible for helping out down low a bit. There will be rebounds up for grabs and I could see Harris coming out of this one with one of his only double-doubles. I even think you can play all three Sixers tonight. The game is going to be extremely high-scoring and should be wire to wire. Harris is exceptionally consistent and a way to guarantee safety while also giving yourself the possibility for 50. If I’m spending up, it’s Harris over anyone.
Jerami Grant FD - $5800 DK - $4900
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 28.82 DK - 27.81
We haven’t looked at the Thunder outside of Paul George, so let’s focus on some of this supporting cast. Jerami Grant has officially turned the corner and I see him as their 3rd option next to Steven Adams. He touches the ball a lot and is often either behind the 3-point line or under/above the rim. He’s always been effective when on the floor and is now excelling in these types of games with fast breaks and transition buckets. Grant is also going to see the weaker of their defenders as PG will see Butler. Grant is way too cheap across the industry and makes for a phenomenal play in all formats.
An interesting cheap play: Henry Ellenson.
There’s a chance this is a complete flop, but there’s also just as good of a chance it’s the opposite. The Knicks signed Ellenson to a 10-day contract just a few days ago and he proceeded to put up 36 fantasy points in 36 minutes. In my personal opinion, Ellenson has been great all this time and was just in a really tough situation. I do think he has a very secure spot in the NBA, though, as he is very effective down low and reminds a lot of Nurkic a few years ago. Once people see him play enough, it’ll be obvious that he’s starter caliber. With all of that being said, maybe the Knicks let him chill for a night and he plays 10 minutes in favor of Mitchell Robinson. This is a tanking Knicks team we’re talking about. As long as Ellenson is out there, though, he’s going to demolish his near-minimum price tag and shouldn’t be all that popular.
DeMarcus Cousins FD - $8600 DK - $7900
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 39.66 DK - 39.12
Cousins is officially off his minutes limit and got over 30 minutes for the first time. He was then rested last night as it was the front end of a back to back. The whole team is now tired and we have a rested DeMarcus Cousins without a minutes limit. Call me crazy, but he may end up on 100% of my teams. He's just as capable on offense as ever and this Magic team plays no interior defense. Vucevic is slow and doesn't rebound much, aside from the fact that he's just a poor defender. Cousins is going to put up 40+ fantasy points tonight and we're going to slowly see his price increase as the days pass by. I'll hop on the train early.
Steven Adams FD - $6800 DK - $6300
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 34.12 DK - 32.79
If you're looking for consistency, Steven Adams is your guy. He's had some disappointing showings, but none come in games like this. In competitive games, Adams is always a huge part of the game plan and makes himself a factor. He'll play 30-35 minutes and demolish this interior without Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic. His price is down on both FD and DK, so you can fit him in as a value pretty easily.
Also considered: Myles Turner.
This is a very interesting six game slate and one I think you can go a lot of different ways with. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any questions or comments!
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- Paul George: (AP Photo/Jim Mone)