Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Friday, 2/21/20
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Point GuardLonzo Ball FD - $6300 DK - $6900
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 37.5 DK - 38.85
In his last six games, Lonzo has double digit points four times, double digit assists twice and double digit rebounds twice. He’s yet to put all of those together into one game over that stretch, but his ability to score fantasy points in so many ways does give him such a high floor. But the inconsistency around each stat is what’s kept the price relatively in check as well. The Blazers are already one of theorist defensive efficiency teams in the league and starting Anfernee Simons won’t do much to change that. This is a great spot for Lonzo.
Anfernee Simons FD - $4800 DK - $3500
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 22.37 DK - 23.84
Speaking of Simons, he should draw the start for Damian Lillard with the latter on the shelf. Simons is much more a DraftKings play on this slate seeing as how the price is still firmly in the punt range. That being said, it’s not sure thing Simons starts here. Lillard missed two games in November. Simons started the first of the two going 36 minutes though not registering much in the way of fantasy production with just 13 points and four assists. The second game he didn’t start and played only 17 minutes. But when McCollum went down in between then and now, Simons did enter the starting lineup. So we might have to wait and see here.
Shooting GuardC.J. McCollum FD - $6900 DK - $6600
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 40.31 DK - 41.62
Like we said with Simons, the Blazers losing Damian Lillard for the short term opens up not only a ton of minutes, but the incredible usage as well. C.J. is the primary beneficiary. Over the course of the season, McCollum has a 25% usage rate, but that number climbs to 31% with Dame out of the mix. The assist rate climbs dramatically (5% to 7%) when he takes over more of the primary ball handling duties. He’ll likely be chalk play on both sites, but the DraftKings price is particularly appealing in a pace up game against the Pelicans. McCollum here is close to set-it-and-forget-it in terms of DFS101 reasoning behind cash game plays.
Marcus Smart FD - $5400 DK - $5900
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 32.16 DK - 32.26
The last time Kemba Walker sat AND the Celtics were relatively healthy around the rest of their core was back on February 1st against the Philadelphia 76ers. In that game (a blowout win for Boston), Smart played 34 minutes and put up 16 points, four assists and four rebounds. He’s not going to be a high usage guy in the offense with even with Walker out because the rest of the Tatum, Hayward and Brown trio get up a lot of looks. But Smart’s minutes’ floor is high here and the price won’t kill you on either site. He’s a better FanDuel value though and I suspect he sees solid ownership there.
Small ForwardJaylen Brown FD - $5700 DK - $5900
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 31.72 DK - 32.69
In the last three games without Kemba Walker, Brown has taken 23, 17 and 18 shots respectively with a 24 point and six rebound average in that stretch. He also ran incredibly bad from three over that span, going 2-15 from beyond the arc. The Celtics draw a good matchup against a new-look Timberwolves team playing without Karl-Anthony Towns (though they have played better defense without him). I still think Brown is a good value on both sites because of the expected increase in usage and minutes. On the latter, he played 36, 33 and 38 in the last three games without Kemba. He’s a great FanDuel play for sure.
Carmelo Anthony FD - $4900 DK - $5300
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 28.84 DK - 29.29
Trevor Ariza FD - $4700 DK - $4500
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 27.25 DK - 27.19
Not to go nuts with the Blazers plays here but it really is hard to overstate just how much leaves the court with Damian Lillard doesn’t play. But they are losing 37 minutes per game plus 20 shots, 30 points and eight assists vacated from things. That just leaves so much to go around and none of the prices came up enough to match what the Blazers will need to do to fill the void. We should see a lot of minutes out of both Melo and Ariza here. With Lillard off the court, Melo has the second-highest usage rate on the team at 27%. He’s a candidate to put up a lot of shots in this matchup against the Pelicans and we should she Portland make more of a concentrated effort of getting him the ball, especially in post isolations.
Meanwhile, Ariza is just a high-floor minutes play. He’s playing 35-40 in close games and has actually gotten up double-digit shots in two of the last three games. Against a Pelicans team that plays the second-fastest pace in the league (106.1) Ariza should be able keep enough of a shot volume plus the chance at steals (8 in the last three games) dramatically increases as well.
With Mike Conley out on the front end of the back-to-back Joe Ingles (FD $4800 DK $4700) is interesting in the lower middle tier.
Power ForwardJayson Tatum FD - $8700 DK - $7800
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 42.77 DK - 43.27
Just to mostly finalize the group of Celtics to consider in cash on Friday we hand you Jayson Tatum. Dude’s been a beast of late, averaging 28 points and seven assists over his last seven games (one of those a double OT game) and jacking up a ton of shots in that span as well. He’s averaged 20 field goal attempts and nine threes a game, knocking down the latter at a 47% clip. I don’t expect that kind of efficiency to sustain, but the usage should be up again with Walker out of the game. Minnesota has a new look, but the defense doesn’t project to be a whole lot better going forward with their current unit. Tatum’s price has come up because of the recent play, but there’s still plenty to like here.
James Johnson FD - $5200 DK - $4600
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 27.63 DK - 27.42
Naz Reid FD - $4200 DK - $4500
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 23.87 DK - 24.21
Johnson got the start for the Timberwolves right before the All-Star Break, nominally in place of Karl-Anthony Towns who is currently without a timetable to return. Johnson played 32 minutes and though he didn’t put up many shots (8) he still finished with an incredibly balanced line of five points, five assists, five rebounds, four steals and three blocks. The defensive stats aren’t replicable, but the minutes should lead to a few more counting stats elsewhere. He’s still a cash play at a weaker power forward position.
Meanwhile, Reid is coming off the bench but should see 20+ minutes with Towns out of the picture Minnesota really short on actual bigs. In just 22 minutes last game he put up 13 pints and six rebounds with a block and a steal each. He’s been able to fill it up per minute whenever given the chance, but the minutes are still something of a problem. That being said, there’s a path for value here and I do think the floor is high enough even with moderate playing time projections.
After these two guys, on FanDuel, power forward is pretty wide open (in a bad way). There’s still reason to consider Daniel Theis (FD $5000 DK $4700) mostly because he probably won’t kill you though that’s about the end of the superlatives.
CenterOk, here’s the thing: center is a pretty terrible position on FanDuel for Friday. It actually makes power forward look like it’s teeming with playable options. Short of an injury, I don’t know if there’s going to be a ton of value at the position. So let’s roll through some of the options here and hope that some cheap play opens up that makes our lives a bit easier.
Hassan Whiteside (FD 8500 DK 9200) is an interesting contender though we are already getting a little overloaded with Blazers. He put up a 17 point, 14 rebound line in just 27 minutes two games ago against these very same Pelicans, but Portland also got blown out in that one. It feels a little weird to spend all the way up here on a guy like Whiteside.
I don’t hate Rudy Gobert (FD 8200 DK 8200) who consistently logs 36-37 minutes game and is a double-double basically on lock. He doesn’t seem to have a ton of upside in this one against the Spurs but is also unlikely to kill you in the low $8K range.
I’m still kind of dreaming on mid-30’s minutes for Andre Drummond (FD 9700 DK 9100) with the Cavs, but with Tristan Thompson behind him that doesn’t appear the case.
Steven Adams (FD 6000 DK 5500) is a mid-tier option who won’t wow you but also does just enough to basically warrant the price.
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