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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: March 13, 2016

We have a small four-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

Indiana (+4) @ Atlanta — Vegas projected total of 198.5
Utah (-2) @ Sacramento — 205.5
Milwaukee (-1.5) @ Brooklyn — 208
New York (-2) @ LA Lakers — 205

Three of the four games definitely stand out, but with a small slate as this one, you don’t totally rule any games out, so they’re all in play. You may just decide to focus on a couple more than the others. For me, I will be locked in the most on the Jazz, Kings and Bucks, and you’ll see which players I am most focused on in those games below. Let’s get to the top plays and values on the slate.

POINT GUARD

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D’Angelo Russell It’s not that I don’t like Rajon Rondo, it’s that I just think Russell has a higher floor tonight of the two highest dollar options at PG, but I will use both in varying lineups. The rookie has really come into his own recently going for 40, 33, 55, 39, 15, 41, 40 and 38 fantasy points (FPs) over the last eight games. Tonight he’ll get Jose Calderon and the Knicks who are middle of the pack against PGs, I like his chances to put up around 40 again at home.

Jerryd Bayless He’s cheap and he’s playing 40 minutes a night right now, love him as a play tonight against the Nets who are bottom-5 in the league against PGs. He’s never a safe play, because he can have off shooting nights, but at this price on this size of a slate, and a plus matchup, I’ll have plenty of Bayless in my lineups. He lit it up for 35 FPs last night in an equally good matchup.

Shelvin Mack There will be a few lineups I put out there tonight that fade the top dollar PGs and I’ll just roll with Bayless and Mack. They both have been playing pretty well, are cheap and both have strong matchups making them have way more pros than cons. I have Mack projected at 27 FPs tonight.

Cheap risk option: My punt play at PG tonight is Marcelo Huertas. He’s been playing between 25-30 minutes for the Lake Show, and been racking up the assists while also chipping in a little everywhere else. He’s managed a nice FPs run of 24, 19, 29, 18 and 30, so even if he hits you with a night of 18, at his price tag he’s still a solid play for this slate, especially with the upside to go for 30.

SHOOTING GUARD

Khris Middleton Two guys really standout at this position tonight, the rest are just afterthoughts for me. The top-dollar man, Middleton is in a nice position to pay off for his DFS investors, because he’s been terrific most of the year and tonight’s matchup is a great one. The Nets are all sort of lost defensively, so look for a big game from Khris. I have him projected at 40 FPs, he’s averaged 35.5 FPPG against the Nets in two previous games this season.

Rodney Hood You guys know this has been my dude since last May, and nothing has changed but the day and the weather. Hood has been really solid all year, and he battled through some soreness last game to play and was still effective in 34 minutes, with no setbacks. Tonight he gets the Kings who have allowed the most FPs to opposing shooting guards on the year, and despite Hood having two non-stellar showings against them thus far this season, I am trusting the analysis and law of averages that he’ll have a much better game this time around. I just love the value he has at his price, I have him at 29 FPs tonight.

Cheap risk option: If I need to grab a punt SG, I am going with Rodney Stuckey, who appears to be healthy and playing a couple more minutes per game. He played 23 minutes last night and put up 19 FPs, which you would actually be fine with at this price, and his matchup is better tonight than last night.

SMALL FORWARD

Giannis Antetokounmpo After letting me down last night and only managing 32 FPs, I am off of Giannis tonight, right? Wrong! I am jumping right back in to the Greek Freak’s den, and I love him going up against the weak wingers of the Nets. I mean, he had a “bad” game last night and he still put up 32 FPs, that just shows you how safe his all-around game makes him, and also how huge his upside is even as his price keeps rising. I have him at 38 FPs tonight, but the safe floor and high ceiling make him almost impossible to fade right now.

Gordon Hayward The only person who loves Hayward against the Kings more than we do, is Gordon Hayward. He’s lit them up for 40 FPPG in two games this season, and he’s coming off of two not so great games, so he’ll likely be under-owned, too. So, if you want/need to save a little bit at this spot than the top-two, look to Hayward as a really great value with upside option.

Cheap risk option: I don’t like any of the cheap plays here honestly, but if I were to go with one it’d be Omri Casspi, just because you know he’ll play solid minutes and he always has the ability to get hot and put up a nice DFS night. He’s had success against the Jazz this season, and his floor is around 15 FPs, so you could do a lot worse.

POWER FORWARD

DeMarcus Cousins I didn’t give him the cover photo because I was afraid to use him against the twin towers of the Jazz. Cousins is fresh off of a suspension Friday, so he’s had three nights off, and he’ll be ready to rage tonight. He’s actually averaged 55 FPPG against Utah this season, so not going out on a limb here, Cousins will be highly owned everywhere, and I’ll be one of those. Sky is always the limit and rock bottom is always a possibility (risk of ejection), but that’s why we love the Boogie Man.

Thaddeus Young The simple truth is, if not the Nets bigs, then who? Young will again see a high usage rate and plenty of offensive opportunities tonight in what should be a decently close game. Thad presents a nice mid-tier value play, and I have him projected at a healthy 35 FPs.

Cheap risk option: You’ve got to consider Brandon Bass as the best cheap PF option tonight. He’s been pretty damn good, reasonably speaking. 19, 21, 29, 18 and 27 FPs over the last five, and a good matchup on tap for the Lakers bigs tonight, too. His value line is 20 FPs, and to get in more high priced options into your lineups, you need cheap plays, and anytime you have a “safe” cheap play, you take it.

CENTER

Brook Lopez – He hasn’t been his normal dominant self against Milwaukee this season oddly enough, but the analysis points to him as a 10-point favorite over the next best center tonight, so I’m going against his vOpponent trend. I have BroLo at 41 FPs, but I will personally be paying up elsewhere tonight in most of my lineups and going with a mid-tier center, and that will mostly be sticking inside this same family tree.

Robin Lopez All about the Lopez brothers tonight, but since I want to go balanced with my lineups tonight instead of studs-n-duds, I’ll be using this brother more than the other from the same mother. RoLo has been on fire lately after an awful start to the season. 32, 35, 7 (yuck!), 37 and 50 FPs over the last five, plus going up against a bottom-3 team against centers, all signs point to another 30+ FP night for the mascot bully.

Rudy Gobert While I will probably have more RoLo than Rudy, I just wanted to be sure to say that yes, I do still love my boy, Gobert tonight and every other night as well. I have Robin projected at 32 FPs and Gobert right behind him at 31, but Lopez being slightly cheaper earns him the edge. One added fear with Rudy is that anytime you have a player playing around Cousins, you have to be aware that foul trouble is a possibility.

Cheap risk option: I’m not advising any cheap player at this position. The absolute cheapest I would go is Ian Mahinmi, and I actually do think he’s a fine cheapish option against the Hawks. Mahinmi has put up 30+ FPs in three of his last five games, the other two he put up 19, so you see the range. I have him projected in between there at 24 tonight.

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.

PG
1) D’Angelo Russell
2) Rajon Rondo
3) Jerryd Bayless
4) Shelvin Mack
5) Jeff Teague
6) Jordan Clarkson
7) Jose Calderon

SG
1) Khris Middleton
2) Rodney Hood
3) Kobe Bryant (if he plays)
4) Monta Ellis
5) Arron Afflalo
6) Rodney Stuckey

SF
1) Giannis Antetokounmpo
2) Gordon Hayward
3) Carmelo Anthony
4) Paul George
5) Kent Bazemore
6) Rudy Gay

PF
1) DeMarcus Cousins
2) Thaddeus Young
3) Paul Millsap
4) Jabari Parker
5) Julius Randle
6) Derrick Favors
7) Brandon Bass

C
1) Robin Lopez
2) Brook Lopez
3) Rudy Gobert
4) Al Horford
5) Ian Mahinmi
6) Greg Monroe

As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 6:00 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.

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