Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA picks for 3/9/19
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Welcome to NBA Saturday night! We do have one early game between the Kings and Knicks, but we'll ignore that and take a look at the solid 5-game slate tipping at 7. We have two games with huge expected totals and plenty of injuries to keep an eye on. Kicking things off at point guard, Damian Lillard is affordable and should have a lot of success against the Suns. He went nuts against the Thunder a couple nights ago, and he's now rested and ready to go do it again. The Suns have actually been playing really well and I think they put up a nice fight against a Blazers team that can be susceptible on defense. They still won't be able to cover Lillard, though, who is going to dice up Tyler Johnson and whatever other backups they throw at him. As long as the game is relatively close, Lillard is going to put up 50 fantasy points. Let's take a look at another pricey option with some upside.
Kyrie was a full go in practice yesterday, so he should be ready to take the floor tonight. The Celtics are heading to Los Angeles to face off with a Lakers team that has finally hit the brick wall. Their playoff chances sit at 0.5% and have just as good of a shot at being in the top 5 of the lottery as they do the playoffs. Irving is a guy that always performs on the big stage and a game against LeBron with all of these antics going on could be huge. You know he’s going to have the ball in his hands every single play and the Lakers don’t have anyone to slow him down. Irving will demolish whoever is sent to cover him and will put up 50+ fantasy points if the game stays competitive.
If you're looking to save a few bucks at point guard, Tomas Satoransky is where the optimizer has lead us. With John Wall out, Satoransky has cemented himself as a valuable guard for the foreseeable future. He plays 30-36 minutes a night and is far from scared to take a bunch of shots. The match-up against Minnesota is league average, but they play fast and Satoransky is way bigger than an average PG. We'll end up getting to this game a lot more and it's because of the absurd total (243). Satoransky is an affordable way to get legitimate exposure while giving you a safe 25-30 point floor at a position you really need to hit on. Rose and Teague are in play on the other side of the ball as well.
Bradley Beal FD - $10600 DK - $9700
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 47.4 DK - 48.63
Beal is way expensive, but you have to consider him if you're all over this game. Many people will be with the 243 total and I don't blame them. Bradley Beal had one of his worst nights ever last night and ended up going 4-for-21 from the field, and still managed to put up 45 fantasy points. Insane for a guy that is usually very efficient. He should return to his norm tonight and get back on track. He's going to be covered by Andrew Wiggins and Josh Okogie, who are great defenders, but play on a fast team and rank in the lower half of the league against opposing shooting guards. If the Wizards are going to stay in this game and the 243 total is going to hit, Brad Beal is going to have to have a huge game. The Wizards are still theoretically in the playoff race in the East, so his 40 minute rotations should stay in tact. Beal's ownership should be pretty low and I could see him hitting 50 fantasy points if it stays close.
Josh Hart FD - $4300 DK - $3600
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 24.32 DK - 24.2
With Ingram, Stephenson, and Kuzma all questionable to play tonight, and the ongoing talks about a minutes limit for LeBron, there’s a good shot Josh Hart is once again asked to step up. He’s played 38 and 30 minutes in his last two and has been a solid contributor on the floor. It hasn’t translated to much fantasy goodness, but he’s willing to shoot and the match-up works. The Celtics give up plenty of open threes in the corner and are a team that’s fine running the floor a bit and match their opponent. Hart lives off peripherals and could excel if this turn into a track meet. His price is still way down across the industry and he’s coming in as the top FP/$ SG in the optimizer. He’s a solid option in both cash games and tournaments as long as Ingram and Kuzma remain out.
On first glance, neither of these guys stand out. They’re both seeing just under 30 minutes and neither has a strong grasp on the job. With that said, the positive is both will see close to 30 minutes and will be facing the best match-up around in the Nets. They give up plenty of open perimeter shots, which is where both of these guys will derive most their fantasy goodness. Starting with Bazemore, he’s a bit more expensive and consistent. He’s going to put up 25-30 fantasy points when given the opportunity and it just comes down to his swing minutes on the court. Huerter has a lot more downside, but he’s also way cheaper and can get hot from behind the arc on any given night. The match-up is great for both of these guys and they make sense at a position without much to look at. Bazemore is the superior play here, but I don’t hate Huerter at the insanely low tag.
Giannis Antetokounmpo FD - $12100 DK - $11300
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 57.95 DK - 59.24
There are a few options to spend your money on, but none better than Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks are not only fighting for positioning, but Giannis has his own MVP race going on as well against James Harden. He doesn’t let it show at all in his game, but you know he wants that MVP award. He’s done more than enough to deserve it, dominating the floor on a night in and night out basis. He now draws a match-up against a Hornets team that he put up 71 fantasy points against last time. They had no answer for any part of his game, but he has destroyed these guys in the paint. They don’t have much rim resistance and Giannis should take plenty of advantage. He’s insanely expensive, but he should be when his floor is 45 fantasy points with realistic upside for 80. If there’s one place I’m spending up, it’s at small forward for Giannis.
Nicolas Batum FD - $6100 DK - $5700
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 30.39 DK - 30.68
If you need to save some money at the position, Nicolas Batum will have to play big minutes and he’s affordable. He’s played 39-41 minutes in five straight games and it doesn’t appear that it’ll stop tonight. He’s their best defender by far and will draw the Giannis responsibility. He hasn’t been crazy from a FP POV, but he’s reaching value each night and has shown the upside to get into the 40’s. The Bucks play pretty fast and don’t offer much resistance at the rim. Batum should be able to spread his numbers out enough to make it worth the middle of the road price tag.
Gordon Hayward FD - $5100 DK - $4300
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 24.64 DK - 24.66
It seems weird to recommend Gordon Hayward when he's having his worst active season of his career, but he's been looking a lot better. He's played 27 and 29 minutes in each of the last two games and has been over 20 fantasy points in three straight. He's shooting the ball more than he has all season long and is now facing a Lakers team that doesn't play perimeter defense. Hayward is going to pick up another 25-30 minutes and will shoot at least 8-10 times. He's still cheap on both sites and is at a position that doesn't offer much opportunity cost. I'll have a ton of Giannis and Batum, but Hayward will have to be sprinkled into quite a few tournaments.
Jayson Tatum FD - $6500 DK - $6000
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 32.41 DK - 31.96
With Kuzma questionable, there are three viable targets at high-end power forward. John Collins, Jayson Tatum, and Bobby Portis. Collins is coming off an illness and was on a minutes restriction, so I’ll pass. Portis on the other hand, is a huge boom or bust play. If his shot is hitting, he can put up 50 fantasy points in half the time of anyone else. He can also put up 14 FP and nobody would be surprised. That leaves us with Jayson Tatum, who’s consistent and going to be a huge piece if they want to win vs L.A. tonight. He’s been a lot more focused on basketball lately and has averaged over 30 fantasy points in each of the last 3. Whether Kyrie plays or not, Tatum is going to be an integral part of the offense and one that will need to put up 20+ real-life points. With LeBron on a minutes cap and not worried too much about winning, his defense has been putrid. Tatum is going to give you 35+ minutes of a confident scorer in a game that’s asking for a lot of points to be scored. The PF position is utterly awful and Tatum gives you the closest thing to a legitimate star that you can get at other positions, while still giving out the discount price.
Power forward is ugly, but you could do a lot worse than these two guys. Marvin Williams is the safer of these two guys and can be played in cash games. He's going to pick up his 28-35 minutes per usual and is facing off with some Milwaukee power forwards that can be taken advantage of. He was almost 50% owned in cash games last night, and was a mandatory play in winning lineups, topping 45 fantasy points. Williams is stronger down low than Mirotic and Giannis and Ilyasova just doesn't play much defense. Williams can also stretch the floor and get hot, giving him a ton of upside at low ownership and price. Frank Kaminsky, who's just a bit cheaper, has a ton of upside. He could easily slam into his 12 FP floor, but if he gets the minutes, he can put up 25-35 fantasy points. I'll have most of my exposure to Williams, but won't ignore Kaminsky either.
Rodions Kurucs FD - $4900 DK - $4600
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 21.47 DK - 21.35
Are we finally seeing consistent minutes for Rodions Kurucs? It appears the Nets have given up on RHJ and Ed Davis can’t handle many minutes at this point. Kurucs has picked up 25 minutes in three straight and has come through with over 1 FP/min. At one of the weaker spots on the entire slate, Kurucs gives you 35 point upside with a floor of 20 (assuming the minutes are there). The Hawks play extremely fast and don’t have much interior defense at all. On the season, they rank dead last in basketball in FD points allowed per game (48.89). It’s hard to be confident in a guy that can play 15 minutes, but things are trending in the right direction and his price is stagnant. If there is a time to take advantage, it’s now. I would typically say tournament only, but once again power forward isn’t the prettiest.
Karl-Anthony Towns FD - $11600 DK - $10400
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 58.04 DK - 59.97
We’ll kick off center with Karl-Anthony Towns, who’s expensive but hard to ignore. In a game with a monstrous 243 over/under, Towns is going to be heavily involved and shouldn’t have any problem putting up 50+ fantasy points. The Wizards play fast and don’t play any defense at all under the rim and in transition. Towns is the focal point of the offense and will see the ball almost every time down the court. The Wiz have nobody to stop him and the price tag isn’t too much. He’s also going to be a lot lesser owned than he should be with Len also available.
Alex Len FD - $4700 DK - $5000
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 34 DK - 35.53
If you’re not a fan of Karl-Anthony Towns or you’ve spent your money elsewhere, you have a very solid alternative in Alex Len. The Hawks are in a terrible situation with Dedmon and Plumlee already out, and now Poythress will join them. That should leave Len a solid 27-35 minutes at the very least. He’s always been a phenomenal FP per minute player and thrives in games that are up and down. He’s easily the top Center according to the optimizer and I’ll probably have just as much Len as I do Towns, if not more. He’s just in such a good spot and the only real way he misses value is with foul trouble. He's been the chalk at center for multiple nights now, and while there's been an increase in price you could certainly see that trend continue here. He’s a plug and play for most. I agree. Good luck tonight!
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- Karl-Anthony Towns, Joffrey Lauvergne: (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)