Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: March 12, 2016
We have a big nine-game NBA slate on our hands tonight, and I’ll be breaking it down from top to bottom to help you formulate your DFS lineups and lead you towards ending the night in the green. I’ll review and analyze the Vegas numbers, give my top plays of the night with reasoning, point out the best cheap values on the slate, and then finish with positional rankings. Let’s get right to the daily grind!
Vegas lines and totals
Detroit (-9.5) @ Philadelphia — Vegas projected game total of 209
Houston (+4.5) @ Charlotte — 215.5
Miami (+6) @ Toronto — 199
New Orleans (+3.5) @ Milwaukee — 211.5
Memphis (?) @ Atlanta — ???
Oklahoma City (+8) @ San Antonio — 213
Washington (-?) @ Denver — ???
Orlando (+?) @ Portland — ???
Phoenix (+18) @ Golden State — 226.5
226.5?? Don’t think I’ve seen a higher projected total than that this season, but that spread of +18 is definitely a cause for great concern as it pertains to the top-tier players for Golden State. The Wizards/Nuggets and Orlando/Portland totals will both end up being high as well, probably around the 210 range. This is going to be a super high scoring DFS night, so even in cash-games you’re going to need to hit 300, likely.
Russell Westbrook – Good freaking luck at point guard tonight. There are so many stud PGs active and most of them have good matchups that typically we would be all over, but tonight we’ll be forced to choose only a couple of them per lineup. My top guy here is the top dollar option, Russell Westbrook against the Spurs. While the Spurs may be a solid defense, Kawhi Leonard will be smothering Kevin Durant all night, and that’s going to leave a lot more weight on the shoulders of Russ, and he welcomes that against Tony Parker and crew. Over the past three season Westy has averaged a 36% usage rate against the Spurs, and he continued to own this matchup when they faced off earlier this season and he put up 55 fantasy points (FPs). I like Stephen CUrry as well, but give me Russ in what should be a much closer game where he’ll be more depended on.
Kemba Walker – I like John Wall and Damian Lillard tonight as well, but my next option after Russ is to save a little bit more money and still get elite production. Kemba has been en fuego recently (and the majority of the season) and his matchup tonight should deliver more of the same. Houston has been bottom-third in the league against opposing PGs, and Walker will be able to dissect their defense all night in what should be a very high scoring game. I have Kemba projected at 42 FPs, so that’s a few above value, and similar to projections of the other two I mentioned here, but Walker is a little cheaper.
Jeff Teague – If you need a guy in the mid-tier price range, Teague is the guy I like the most, over Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson. Teague simply has the upside with Mike Conley and Mario Chalmers out, and the Grizzlies also in the second game of a back-to-back, plus they went into OT last night, so expect some tired legs from their current starter, Briante Weber (not available on DFS sites yet). I have Jeff projected at 34 FPs, but he has upside on that as long as they don’t blow this game open (doubt it).
Cheap risk option: D.J. Augustin remains cheap and he’s put up 20+ FPs in five straight games. Only one of those games did he go off for a big 30+ FP night, the other four were 20, 20, 20 and 23, so the ceiling is limited, but I’m okay getting a safe 20 from a cheapie tonight, and most any other night, too.
Klay Thompson – The Suns are third worst in the league against opposing shooting guards, and tonight they get one of the best in the league, and while Klay has been more chill than lit recently, he’s always capable of catching fire and having a huge DFS night. At this price point, I think Klay is a pretty safe play with a floor of 30 FPs, but I’m going in optimistic and feel he’ll hit around his season average against the Suns (three games) of 38.
Will Barton – Yes, for the fourth straight write-up when he’s active, I am remaining on the Thrill ride. Barton finally came through for me last game playing 30 minutes, shooting 6/12 and scoring 17 points. Tonight Will takes on the Wizards who have been poor against SGs all year long, so between that and the belief that Barton will see 30 minutes again, I am using Barton over the likes of Devin Booker tonight, who is sure to be owned in a ton of lineups tonight after his current hot streak. I have Barton at 32 FPs and Booker at 28.
Cheap risk option: Hollis Thompson will be a virtual lock in 90% of my lineups tonight. With Robert Covington getting injured last night, it glued Thompson in the starting lineup and landed him even more opportunity for statistical output errr usage. Last night Hollis put up 27 FPs, and while tonight’s matchup is tougher, the fact that he’s so cheap and will play 30+ minutes on this bad team, almost assures him to finish above value.
Kawhi Leonard – Kawhi-pertension, the silent killer will be on the big stage (national TV) tonight against the Thunder, and the world will again get to see just how good at reasonably shutting down the league’s best offensive wings Leonard is, this time Kevin Durant. Kawhi didn’t stop at just his defensive prowess (3 steals, 2 blocks) the last time these teams faced this season, he also put up 32 points and grabbed eight boards for 51 FPs. When the Spurs were in the Finals two years ago, Durant said that Kawhi was no Paul George and that Leonard was a “product of the system.” Well, I feel like the Klaw holds that chip on his shoulder every time he gets a crack at KD now, and he’s been owning this matchup ever since.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – You saw this coming, I know you did, and I won’t go into too much detail here, but after Kawhi, I do like Giannis next best at the position, and I’ll likely have a lineup that includes both. I have both stud SFs finishing above 40 FPs tonight. Giannis is just too good right now, and his ability to fill up the stat sheet every night the way he does is pure sex. Since Michael Carter-Williams was sidelined, the Greek Freak has been playing a good bit of point-forward for the Bucks, and he’s put up 6, 10, 10 and 12 assists over the last four games, that’s huge.
Matt Barnes – His teammate Lance Stephenson will still get most of the attention tonight by DFS players despite Barnes’ triple-double last night, but I prefer Barnes in this one as a much safer cash-game play now that Stephenson isn’t super cheap anymore — although I like both decently. Matt has gone for 33, 26 and 60 FPs in the last three games. He’s really making the most out of Zach Randolph and Mike Conley missing time, so keep riding this wave until it falls flat.
Cheap risk option: Truthfully not a fan of the punt options here tonight, but if I had to give you one, it’d be Corey Brewer. He’s been playing over 20 minutes a night and the production has been inconsistent, but decent at least. I’d follow my lead and pay up or go with one of the Grizzly boys at SF tonight.
Paul Millsap – I’d rather save some money at PF tonight, but if you want to go higher here, Millsap is the guy. The Grizzlies are depleted in the frontcourt, and Atlanta’s big man tandem should have their way in the paint all night. I have Trillsap projected at 41 FPs, which is six above his value line.
JaMychal Green – If Zach Randolph sits again, JaMychael is instantly a great play again, even at his quickly escalated price. Green has put up 26, 50, 40 and 39 FPs over the past four games, so he’s been the real deal when given the chance for starter minutes.
Marvin Williams – My mind is yelling at me “it’s a trap, turn around, NO!” but my analysis and research is telling me to get Marvin Williams in play tonight. Aside from one dud night where he only put up 12 FPs, Marvin has been great over the last ten games. He’s locked in at 30 minutes a night, gets plenty of open looks due to the defensive attention that Kemba receives, and he pitches in enough boards, steals and treys to continue to land in that 25-30 FP range, I have him hitting the higher point of that range tonight.
Cheap risk option: Luis Scola has played 20+ minutes in three of the last four games he’s been active in and in those three games he delivered 26, 27 and 19.5 FPs. If Scola is named the starter again tonight, he’s definitely a decent punt option for you here.
Andre Drummond – You know the drill here, I listed him so FADE! Despite the fact that Drummond has done average or been a disappointment every single time I’ve discussed him in a breakdown has went from frustrating to agonizing to funny and now just a spectacle. I still just make myself put my hardship behind me and trust the analysis, which tonight has Drummond as the top value at center due to not only his price but matchup and recent upward trend as well. I have Drummond at 45 FPs tonight, which is nine over value. He should decimate the Sixers and has actually averaged 47 FPs in three matchups with them this season.
Greg Monroe – I like the value you can find here with Monroe tonight along with the promising matchup against Asik and the Pelicans. Monroe lit them up for 41 earlier this season, and once again Monroe should put up a nice double-double and hit above his 28 FP value line while not killing your wallet.
Cheap risk option: If Nikola Vucevic sits this one out for the Magic, look to Mason Plumlee to have a solid night for cheap. Plumlee would have a great chance at racking up some boards and a few buckets to net him 20 FPs if Vucci Mane is out and Plums gets 20+ minutes. I prefer to stick in the mid-tier or splurge for Drummond at center tonight though.
Cash game rankings:
This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most DraftKings points. Rather, the rankings are aimed to find the best price, value and production combo to help you win cash games, also taking into account potential ownership levels for each player.
As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 7 p.m. EST. I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day, but the best way to get the latest is always to follow me on Twitter @BigZack44, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.