Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA picks for 3/13/18
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Russell Westbrook FD - $11300 DK - $10900
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 51 DK - 53.53
Welcome to Thursday night NBA. The league has bestowed a solid 6-game slate upon us and there’s plenty of different options at each position. We’ll kick things off with our most popular lead-off man, Russell Westbrook. Heading many of these articles throughout the season, he hasn’t disappointed much. He’s playing the same way he has all season, but is shooting the ball better than ever. He faces off with a Pacers squad that typically troubles PGs, but Westbrook is no typical point guard. He put up 26/16/12 last year after dropping 54 points on them a year prior. I can promise you that Darren Collison and Myles Turner haven’t made many improvements since last year and Westbrook will still dominate both of them. He’s always expensive, and there’s ways to pay down on this slate. With that said, there’s also some other ways to pay up that are pretty attractive. It just depends on who you want to anchor your team. Westbrook is a guaranteed 45 fantasy points with the upside for 70 if it stays close. It's worth noting that Russ is on the second half of a back to back, but I don't think we need to concern ourselves with that much here.
Collin Sexton FD - $5800 DK - $5000
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 29.43 DK - 31.26
Sexton is going crazy right now and I don’t think we’re chasing points. He’s playing a 2-man game with Kevin Love and has put up 25+ real-life points in three straight contests. He’s also passing the ball around pretty well with 12 assists in the same time frame. The Magic aren’t anything to be afraid of and his price hasn’t matches production. He’ll be one of the most popular point guards of the entire night, but rightfully so. He’s on a tear, cheap, and the position isn’t as plentiful as usual.
Tyus Jones FD - $4400 DK - $4200
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 26.41 DK - 25.43
Disclaimer: make sure both Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose are out. As of right now, both are questionable, so that's why we're looking at Jones. Tyus Jones picked up 26 minutes in their absence and has put up 24 and 29 fantasy points over the last two games. There is a little Jerryd Bayless to steal the shine, but I don’t see him getting over 20 minutes. That would leave 25-32 for Jones, who has proven to be an efficient fantasy option when on the floor. He also faces off with Utah, who rank middle of the road against guards and play faster than ever with this current team.
Monte Morris FD - $3900 DK - $3500
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 25.29 DK - 25.34
Monte Morris is one of my favorite young players to watch. He just fits perfectly into his role and is so good at performing when on the floor without taking away from others. He still finds open shooters, but is also on the lookout for his own at all times. He’s kicked Isaiah Thomas out of the rotation and I’m thinking he picks up 25+ minutes until his performance starts dropping. He’s the perfect guy for his unit and will keep performing if given the minutes. He’s under $4k, and needs to get you just 25 in cash games and 30 in tourneys. Shooting guard is weak on the cheaper end and Morris should be relatively popular.
Wesley Matthews FD - $4600 DK - $4200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 24.21 DK - 25.04
Wes Matthews has been playing big minutes for the Pacers and they’ll have to start paying off more and more as he learns the offense. He’s shooting the ball plenty (16 3PA last 2 games), but hasn’t gotten enough to drop and hasn’t increased any peripherals. The Thunder play at the leagues 4th fastest PACE, so the slow-poke Pacers will be forced to speed things up a bit. Wes Matthews is going to shoot the ball a lot and will get his steals and boards naturally with the pace increase. The Thunder rank 26th in basketball against shooting guards and give up plenty of open threes. Matthews can take advantage and pay off a cheap price tag.
Buddy Hield FD - $6800 DK - $7300
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 34.28 DK - 36.46
Hield has asserted himself as the Kings first scoring option and he’s being counted on more heavily than ever. Fox and Barnes have recently helped a bit, but a lot of the scoring weight is still on the right arm of Buddy Hield. He’s playing the best basketball of his life and has been putting up 30-50 fantasy points regularly. He’s definitely a streaky scorer, so he’s always best suited for tournaments. He’s a risk in cash games, but this is a position I’d be willing to go out on a limb for. I think the game stays close and the Kings need Hield to have a big game in order for that to happen.
Kawhi Leonard FD - $9700 DK - $8700
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 46.58 DK - 46.13
We haven’t touched on any Raptors yet, but that’s because the big men are going to feel the major effects of the Ibaka suspension. Ibaka's absence isn't the only reason to play Leonard, but it doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t hurt to be the cheapest of the three superstar small forwards. He hasn’t been great in the last couple games, but seems to play up to his opponents. I firmly expect a 45+ fantasy point performance out of Leonard, who’s facing off with the guy he won a championship and finals MVP against. He’s healthy, rested, and ready to play a full compliment of minutes. The Raptors are also coming off of a loss, so they won’t be going easy here as letting off the pedal. The Raptors are in a funk and won’t be benching starters once they hit a groove. Leonard is safe tonight for 40 fantasy points and could match anyone in the 60s if the game is close. That’s not a stretch at all and I’ll have him in every cash game lineup.
Paul George FD - $10000 DK - $9700
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 48.62 DK - 49.4
If you’re looking for safety, Kawhi Leonard is the safer option in this price range. I would also rather have Westbrook if forced to pick one. With that mentioned, Paul George is playing the Pacers for the first time this season. He was a completely different player last season and I’m not sure he was ready to show off what they sorely miss. He’ll return to Indiana tonight in the midst of what could be the best season of his illustrious career. He’s going to want to put on a show, but it just comes down to the PACE decrease vs the Pacers and the solid defense he will face (3rd vs SF). He’s obviously Paul George, so he can put up 35 points on any given night. That’s just a possibility you take when not rostering a superstar. George has a ton of upside in tournaments, but I’d rather save a few and go with Leonard in cash games.
Keep an eye on the Ricky Rubio situation, as he may sit on the second half of this back to back. With Rubio out last game, Royce O’Neal picked up 40 minutes. He only played 29 in the exact same situation a game prior, though, so the range is pretty significant. If Rubio is out again, it’s safe to assume 32-36 minutes of involved basketball. The Timberwolves play very fast and if he gets the start, he is one of the top value plays on the board. Especially if Tyus Jones ends up covering him. Keep an eye on the injury news and adjust accordingly.
Pascal Siakam FD - $7800 DK - $6900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 38.19 DK - 37.96
With Ibaka out for the next three games, Pascal Siakam is going to be locked into a few extra minutes. He should find his way over 35 minutes now and won’t have any problem with this match-up against the Lakers. He’s been the most consistent Toronto Raptors player on the season and plays an interior that offers no resistance. With the increased minutes and usage, Siakam is someone I’m comfortable playing across the board. At worst, he plays 30 minutes and puts up 28 fantasy points. At best, he plays 36 minutes and puts up 60 fantasy points. The upside is ginormous and at this position, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be on most your teams.
Jerami Grant FD - $5500 DK - $4900
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 27.09 DK - 26.11
When you can get a consistent 30+ minutes for this price out of Jeremi Grant, you take it. He’s a guy who is always trying to get involved and can easily squeak out 25-30 fantasy points when hitting his outside shot. The Pacers are typically a pretty tough defense, but I suspect they won’t be too focused on Jerami Grant in the corner. He’s at a power forward position that’s a bit scarce and he’s as safe as you’ll find. He fills up the stat sheet with plenty of peripherals and isn’t one of the guys you’ll be worried about reaching value.
Maximilian Kleber FD - $3900 DK - $3700
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 24.28 DK - 23.38
Kleber has played 33 and 30 minutes in each game after returning, and is 50/50 in terms of paying off. Against the Rockets, he posted a double-double that was impossible to ignore while watching the game. In three more minutes against the Spurs, he sat in the corner and was as forgettable as the game itself. He’ll now match-up against the Nuggets, who resemble the quicker Rockets a tad more. He should be able to rebound and pick up some more peripherals, rather than just relying on the corner three ball. Kleber is insanely cheap on both sites and makes for a solid value play at an otherwise weak position.
Marc Gasol FD - $6500 DK - $5900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 31.85 DK - 31.58
The Raptors have kept Marc Gasol nice and rested, and it's time to take the car out of the garage. It’s been reported that Gasol will play “heavy minutes” by the Raptors beat writers, so we can prepare for at least 30 with the possibility of 36. If he’s in that range, he’s a must play in cash games. The Lakers have an atrocious defensive interior and Gasol will put up an easy fantasy point every minute. He’s a lock for me across the board and is close to a guarantee to pay off over 25 fantasy points.
Nikola Jokic FD - $10200 DK - $10000
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 49.37 DK - 51.09
If Marc Gasol doesn’t do it for you, you might as well pay up. Sure, guys like Horford, Zizic, and Adams are great cash game plays, but I clearly prefer Gasol over all of them with the recent reports coming out of Toronto. Because I love Gasol so much in that price range, the only reason I see going elsewhere is to pay up. Gasol, no matter how good he is, is older and probably has a cap around 45 fantasy points. Nikola Jokic has no such thing, especially when facing off with a Mavericks team that has no big men. He’s going to eat the interior alive all game long and will be allowed to play as much as he wants with no game the day before or after. The Mavericks should keep it relatively close and Jokic could have one of his signature domination games. He’s priced fairly with the other centers and shouldn’t be overly popular in any format. These are the only two centers I’ll have any exposure to on this slate.
Good luck tonight and please comment below with any questions or comments! Thank you!￼
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- Paul George: (AP Photo/Jim Mone)