Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Sunday, 3/19/23
It feels crazy to say, but we're down to the final three weeks of the regular season. It always feels like a crawl midway through the year, but it feels like an absolute sprint when we get to this point. This time of the year couldn't get any more exciting either, with eight teams sitting within 3.5 games of one another in the Western Conference. Those clubs could finish anywhere between fifth and 12th, which is the difference between avoiding a play-in game and missing the tournament altogether. That means the stakes are as high as ever, so let's kick things off with the PG for one of those teams battling for those final spots.
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D'Angelo Russell FD - $8000 DK - $8100
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 36.79 DK - 36.96
It's strange that this youngster has been passed from team to team because Russell has been a great player throughout his career. The young guard is playing his best basketball since the trade back to LA, scoring at least 32 DraftKings points in five straight games. D-Lo is also averaging 40 fantasy points per game in that span, taking over ball-handling duties in the absence of LeBron James. That means more shots, assists, minutes, usage, and ball-handling, which should allow him to go off against this 19th-ranked Orlando defense. In his last matchup with the Magic, Russell registered a season-high 58 DK points in one of the best outings of his career.
Markelle Fultz FD - $7600 DK - $6700
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 37.96 DK - 37.94
It was sad when Fultz was battling injuries through the first five years of his career, but this former top pick is showing why he was the most coveted basketball player in the world at one point. The feisty point guard has scored at least 27 DraftKings points in 17 of his last 19 games, generating a 35-point average in that span. He also comes into this matchup with 50 or more DK points in back-to-back games, the best stretch of his career. The bump in production is no surprise since he's being asked to do more with Jalen Suggs (concussion) out, and he should keep it going against the Lakers. Los Angeles ranks fourth in pace and 22nd in points allowed while surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing PGs.
Cole Anthony (FD $5700 DK $5500) is playing 30 minutes with Suggs out and can be a $7K player in that sort of role.
Devin Booker FD - $10000 DK - $10000
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 50.09 DK - 49.85
Booker has developed into a perennial All-Star and will be tough to fade as long as Kevin Durant is sidelined. This guy was a beast before KD joined the club, but he's unstoppable since Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are out of the picture as well. That's led to DB posting a 36 percent usage rate with those guys off the floor while averaging 1.5 DK points per minute in those circumstances. Booker has also scored at least 42 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games while dropping 51 or more DK points in five of those. There's no chance Oklahoma City slows him down, with Booker collecting 57 DK points across just 27 minutes in their most recent meeting.
Devin Vassell FD - $6200 DK - $6500
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 27.51 DK - 26.8
The Spurs are doing some silly things right now, but Vassell is always a quality DFS option when he's on the floor. He's being asked to be one of the primary scorers right now, averaging 32 DraftKings points per game this season. What makes him so valuable right now is that San Antonio is choosing to rest multiple players every night, with DV dropping 43 DK points across 35 minutes in his most recent outing. He also took 21 shots in that game, and he will be tough to avoid below $7K as long as Vassell plays 35 minutes while taking 15-20 shots a night. Atlanta is an awesome matchup, too, with the Hawks allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing SGs.
Herbert Jones (FD $6000 DK $5000) is a defensive stopper and could be in for a handful of stocks behind a 40-minute role against one of the worst teams in the NBA.
Brandon Ingram FD - $8500 DK - $8200
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 39.75 DK - 40.53
The Pelicans are one of the worst teams in the NBA right now, but it's no fault of Ingram. They're actually 10-25 across their last 35 games, but the Zion Williamson injury is the reason for the dropoff. His absence has allowed BI to take over this offense, posting a 32 percent usage rate with Zion off the floor. Ingram is also averaging 40 fantasy points per game since Williamson blew his hammy, and that total should be easy to reach against Houston's horrific defense. The Rockets rank 28th in points allowed and 29th in defensive efficiency, with Ingram averaging nearly 50 DK points per game against them since the start of last season.
Cameron Johnson FD - $6300 DK - $6700
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 33.45 DK - 32.71
Johnson and Vassell are actually very similar players. Neither of these guys jumps off the page with their box scores, but both of these guys are being asked to be one of the primary sharpshooters for their team. Ever since Johnson joined Brooklyn, he's regularly playing 30-35 minutes while taking 15 shots a game. That expanded role has led to CJ scoring at least 25 DraftKings points in nine of his last 10 games while generating a 32-point average in that span. This team has also shortened its rotation over the last week, making Johnson even more valuable. Denver is not the daunting defense you might expect either, ranked 17th in defensive efficiency ratings.
Kenyon Martin Jr. (FD $5600 DK $5300) is averaging nearly 30 DK points per game since his insertion into the starting lineup and remains too cheap below $6,000.
Anthony Davis FD - $11400 DK - $10700
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 52.45 DK - 51.56
There will be a ton of value that opens up closer to lineup lock, so using Davis is one of the best options on the board. The big man is being asked to take over this offense in the absence of LeBron, posting a team-leading 36 percent usage rate with the superstar sidelined. More importantly, AD is averaging 1.6 DK points per minute in these circumstances. That would equate to 64 DraftKings points if he plays 40 minutes, which is no surprise since Davis has a 53-point average across his last eight outings. Facing the Magic is a marvelous matchup, with Orlando allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing big men.
Zach Collins FD - $7000 DK - $6500
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 33.07 DK - 32.71
It's risky to recommend the Spurs with the volatility of their injury report right now, but Collins is hard to avoid whenever he's in the lineup. The big man has taken over starting center duties since Jakob Poeltl was traded, averaging 35 DK points per game since taking over that role. ZC has also scored at least 37 fantasy points in six of his last seven outings, and it's becoming clear he's one of the focal points of the offense with how shorthanded this San Antonio team is right now. You couldn't ask for a better matchup than Atlanta, with the Hawks ranked 23rd in total defense while surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing PFs.
John Collins (FD $5400 DK $4900) has played at least 27 minutes in five straight games and should never be this cheap in that sort of role.
Wendell Carter Jr. FD - $7200 DK - $6600
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 36.53 DK - 38.3
This guy does not get enough credit. Everyone assumes Chicago dominated the Nikola Vucevic trade, but Carter has come in and done a wonderful job as their starting center in Orlando. In his 45 games as a starter this year, WCJ is averaging 33 DraftKings points per game. He's also established a 25-point floor and comes into this matchup off a season-high 57 DK points in his most recent outing. That gives him a 42-point average across his last four fixtures, and it's clear Carter is due for a $1,000 price bump. Facing this lackluster Lakers defense doesn't deter us either, with Los Angeles allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing centers this year.
Ivica Zubac FD - $6900 DK - $5300
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 35.71 DK - 36.87
I was worried about Zubac maintaining a prominent role once Mason Plumlee joined the team, but he's been playing 30 minutes a night regularly since Plum was acquired from Charlotte. Zoo has played at least 27 minutes in 13 of his last 14 games, scoring 45 and 41 DraftKings points in his two most recent outings. The big man has also played at least 30 minutes in 31 games this year and is averaging over 35 fantasy points per game in those outings. That makes the $5,300 price tag on DK laughable because Portland is one of the best matchups possible. The Trail Blazers rank 27th in defensive efficiency while allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers.
Nikola Jokic (FD $12000 DK $11500) scores 50-60 DK points on every slate and is the safest play if you have the salary to use him.