FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA picks for 3/16/18
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A quick note - right now Kevin Durant's status is very much in doubt. If he sits it's going to open up a bunch of great Warriors plays. If he doesn't, Irving is probably the easiest play on the day (even if you have to play the early slate to get him). The reason for that is the fact that he's playing majestically right now and gets the best matchup in basketball. Not only does Atlanta play at the second-fastest pace in the league, but they also rank dead-last in total defense while allowing the most fantasy points in the league to opposing point guards. Irving comes into this matchup on an absolute tear, too, scoring at least 40 DK points in 18 of his last 19 games while averaging 47 fantasy points per game in that span. It also doesn't hurt that Irving has at least 45 fantasy points in two games against the Hawks this season.
All the rookie talk surrounds Luka Doncic and Trae Young but Sexton has been playing some great ball himself. Over his last 16 games, Sexton is averaging 29 fantasy points per game. That's all you can ask for from someone below $6,000, as his role is hard to overlook. In fact, Sexton is averaging 35 minutes and 16.5 shots per game in that span, which is usually the usage of the player in the $8,000-range. Dallas is a matchup we want to exploit too, as they allow the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season.
Also Consider: Frank Jackson has been a pleasant surprise for the Pelicans since Jrue Holiday went down and he continues to be a great value in his price range. Jalen Brunson has also been fantastic recently and could be worth a shot against a bad Cavaliers defense.
Beal is really hard to fade the way he's balling right now. What's truly amazing about Beal is his floor, as Beal has at least 35 fantasy points in 44 of his last 46 games while averaging 48.3 fantasy points per game in that span. He's been even more ridiculous recently, averaging 54 DK points across his last 16 fixtures. It's easy to see why when looking at his sky-high usage, with Beal averaging 40 minutes and 21 shots a game in that span while posting a usage rate north of 30 percent. He's also dialed up the assists recently as well, with Washington apparently realizing that Tomas Satoransky isn't going to be the long term answer here. Those are James Harden-like usage numbers and that alone makes him impossible to fade against a weak Memphis defense.
Devin Booker FD - $9000 DK - $8000
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 43.47 DK - 45.6
Booker is actually very similar to Beal, as he's really taken over his team. That's evident by the fact that he leads the Suns in minutes, shots taken and usage. It's also backed up by his fantasy production, with Booker scoring at least 36 DK points in 10-straight games while averaging 43 fantasy points per game in that span. All that makes Booker an intriguing option below $9,000, but this matchup is the icing on the cake. In fact, New Orleans ranks 23rd in defensive efficiency and 27th in points allowed while allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards. That was clear on March 1 when Booker collected 26 points, six rebounds and seven assists despite shooting just 6-of-17 from the field.
Also Consider: Tim Hardaway Jr. is undervalued below $5,000 on both sites, as he should have success against a Cleveland defense who sits dead-last in defensive efficiency.
Paul George FD - $10200 DK - $9700
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 46.44 DK - 47.68
George was in a big slump just last week but it lowered his price to this tempting number. What makes me believe that slump is over is the fact that George has at least 49 DK points in back-to-back games, averaging 52 fantasy points per game in that span. That's the George that we've become accustomed to all season long and his eyes should light up for this premium matchup. In both games against the Warriors this season, George has collected at least 45 fantasy points in each outing. That alone makes him enticing but the fact that both these clubs rank top-10 in pace should make George an easy bet to reach that 45-point total yet again, as he's become a stat-stuffing machine.
Kelly Oubre Jr. FD - $6600 DK - $6100
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 31.82 DK - 31.27
Oubre has been spectacular since joining the Suns and it's clear he's found a home. Since January 8, Oubre is averaging 34 DK points per game across 31 minutes of action. That's the sort of production you expect from a $7,000 player, as DraftKings and FanDuel have both been slow to react to his breakout. The reason he should continue that success is this superb matchup, as he faces a Pelicans team who ranks fifth in pace while allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards.
Also Consider: Rodney Hood is worth a shot if Maurice Harkless sits out for the Blazers. He got the surprise start over Layman last night (much to our chagrin) and while he wasn't great in the minutes he got, it's hard to overlook a minimum priced player at the bare minimum salary.
Dwight Powell FD - $6400 DK - $6000
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 35.93 DK - 35.54
All of the departures in Dallas has done wonders for Powell's fantasy value, as he's established himself as the Maverick's starting center. Since obtaining that role after the all-star break, Powell is averaging 32.4 DraftKings points per game. His floor is equally as impressive, with Powell scoring at least 25 fantasy points in all 11 games since. The best part about using Powell here may be the matchup though, with Cleveland ranking dead-last in defensive efficiency.
Ivan Rabb FD - $3500 DK - $3800
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 25.59 DK - 25.88
Rabb is definitely a shot in the dark but he could pay huge dividends at this sort of price. What's really promising about Rabb is the fact that he got a start in the most recent game, playing 25 minutes in that fixture. Minutes are all we care about when it comes to Rabb's prospects, as he's averaging a fantasy point-per minute this season. That means if he plays 25-30 minutes, we should be looking at 25-30 fantasy points. That sort of production would make Rabb a decent bet to reach 8X value, which would make him one of the greatest values on the board. That's why we need to keep track of news before tip-off, as Rabb is must-play if starting and a fade if he's moved to the bench. The matchup makes him even harder to fade though, with Washington ranking 29th in total defense while allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards.
Deandre Ayton FD - $7300 DK - $6300
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 37.86 DK - 39.03
Ayton is probably the most overlooked rookie in recent memory. When is the last time a rookie averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds a game and is never talked about? That's what makes Ayton so enticing, as he continues to be under-owned across every site. It's clear the DFS sites don't realize how good he's been too, as he continues to sit in the mid-$6,000 range. It's rare to see a guy averaging 35 fantasy points per game with this sort of upside and just sit in this price range. He's actually scored at least 28 DK points in 15 of his last 17 games in total, which shows the sort of floor he can provide. All that makes Ayton a great bet to reach 5X value but the matchup against New Orleans may be the best part of this play. In two games against the Pelicans this season, Ayton is averaging 36.5 fantasy points per game. That should be no surprise when you consider the aforementioned defensive numbers from New Orleans.
Ante Zizic FD - $4400 DK - $4100
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 25.42 DK - 25.42
Zizic is yet another player who needs to be priced higher, as he's been a 5X machine. Not only does he have at least 16 DK points in eight of his last nine games, but Zizic is also averaging 20.4 fantasy points per game in that span. That's great production from a player in this price range, as he'll be going up against a Dallas team without a traditional center. What makes Zizic a great play on this slate is the fact that he makes it so much easier to get guys like Irving, Beal, George and Booker into your lineup, as it's going to be critical to reach 300 points on this sort of competitive slate.