Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: March 14, 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
Dallas (+6.5) @ Charlotte — Vegas projected game total of 210.5
Detroit (+1.5) @ Washington — 208.5
Denver (+7) @ Miami — 203.5
Chicago (+9) @ Toronto — 206.5
Memphis (+10.5) @ Houston — 209
Portland (+8) @ Oklahoma City — 220.5
Cleveland (-4) @ Utah — 194.5
Minnesota (+1) @ Phoenix — 221
New Orleans (+15.5) @ Golden State — 229.5
Good lord, we get three games with 220+ totals on the same night? That’s incredible, although one of them also has a daunting 15.5 spread to worry about. I will obviously be loading up with players from those three games, the Blazers/Thunder and Wolves/Suns more than the Pelicans/Warriors, but I also really like the Mavericks/Hornets and Grizzlies/Rockets games as well. Really though, there aren’t any games that I’ll be totally fading, although I’ll be on the Pistons/Wizards game the least. There will be a ton of stacking done tonight, and for obvious reason, and the go-to strategy will definitely be studs-n-duds. Now, let me show you the studs, mid-tier and most importantly, cheap options that can help you form winning lineups tonight.
Russell Westbrook – He’s the most expensive of the bunch, but I also have him almost 10 fantasy points (FPs) higher than any other PG going tonight. I’m sure one of the other studs at the position will go off and hit around 50+ FPs, but Westbrook is the safest to do it of the bunch. He’s averaged 48 FPs in two games against Lillard and crew this season, and the Thunder desperately need a win, so he’ll be in kill mode.
Brandon Knight – He’s back and after limiting his minutes his first game returning from injury, they let him totally loose in the next game against the Warriors. Knight was phenomenal in the game and sported a 30% usage rate, which will likely be the case the rest of the way seeing the team that’s around him. Tonight in one of the highest projected total games, Knight should be featured and easily surpass his 32 FP value line.
Jrue Holiday – While Kyle Lowry at the same price may be the safer choice, I am going with the upside of Holiday in the biggest scoring game of the night at Oracle. Before his last dud against the Bucks, Jrue had a three-game run of 50+ FP showings. For the Pelicans to hang around with the Dubs tonight, he’ll need to be on his A-game.
Cheap risk option: With Conley and Chalmers out, new guy Ray McCallum seems like the guy who will be in there running point for the Grizzlies, even though most of that will fall on Lance Stephenson running point-forward. McCallum put up 27.5 FPs in their last game, so he can definitely still get his, and he’ll need to play around 30 minutes for the foreseeable future. You get that at minimum price, yeah, I’ll be putting Ray in 100% of my lineups tonight, even if there’s always the chance he does nothing.
James Harden – I won’t spend much time selling you on Harden, you already know what he does. Whether he’s on or off, he gets his points up thanks to the foul line. He’s actually made more FTs than anyone else in the league has even attempted, insanity. I don’t balme anyone for rostering him tonight, but personally, I’m going mid-tier at the SG spot tonight. My analysis does land Harden as the top FP guy here tonight though at 52 FPs.
Devin Booker – Really liking this Suns’ guard stack tonight. Both Knight and Booker will be featured in what should be a super high scoring game with very little defense played. Devin has hit above value at tonight’s price point in five of the last six games, and he truly looks locked in right now.
Zach LaVine – The dunk champ is one of my favorite plays tonight, the value is really nice for him tonight at this price. While he’s had two not so impressive games in a row, they were against the Spurs and Thunder, so I’m ok overlooking them, but I know others will shy away more than they should, which benefits us. I’m all for owning a few of the guards in this game, I have both Booker and LaVine projected at 35 FPs tonight.
Cheap risk option: Josh Richardson has been standing out in the recent Miami Heat games as a play maker off the bench. He put up 34, 27 and 16 FPs the last three games. Courtney Lee is also worth a look if you need a cheapie guard, he’s put up 29, 27 and 17 the last three, and should keep playing around 30 minutes.
Chandler Parsons – Another place that I am planning to go mid-tier or cheaper tonight. I really like paying up at PG and the big man spots, not that I won’t have some Harden and Durant lineups by any means. Parsons has been a little bumpy lately, but I like the matchup tonight against Charlotte, and have him projected at 33 FPs.
Lance Stephenson – This is the guy that I’ll have the most at SF tonight, and that isn’t going to be a rarity. But with Conley out, Lance has run point-forward a lot, and he’s racking up the points, boards and assists. It appears he’ll stay playing 30 minutes a night and with his current usage rate, he should land you around 30+ FPs consistently. Use him up before his price hits $7K later in the week.
Cheap risk option: Al-Farouq Aminu has had reasonable success guarding Durant, so he should see plenty of run tonight, enough to meet his value line of 20 FPs. He’s averaging 23 FPs in two games versus OKC this season. Corey Brewer is the other value guy I look at, but he’s far from a certainty when it comes to playing time or production. Just pay a little more for Lance and call it a day at SF.
Anthony Davis – With this many games going, Davis is sure to be under-owned due to his frequent injuries and down games that frustrate the hell out of all of us DFS players, but he’s had success against Golden State and looks on top of his game recently. I think the Pelicans will keep this game decently close most of the game, as it appears GS is feeling the pressures of that unbeaten home record. I have Brow at 50 FPs tonight.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dirk has been in GOAT mode the past two weeks, and it’s shown in his FP log with 45, 46, 30 and 43 FPs in his last four games. The Hornets have nobody who matches up with Dirk on the defensive end, and the German big fella should rain down fade-away jumpers all night. I have him sitting at 34 FPs.
JaMychal Green – If Zach Randolph plays, I like ZBo here, but if he’s out again, I will be all over Green as a nice mid-level play. He had a couple terrific games before his dud a couple nights ago, but love the matchup he has tonight against the Rockets.
Cheap risk option: With Pau Gasol out tonight, Bobby Portis again comes to the limelight as a player to look at for cheap. You just never know for sure, even if it seems clear, that he’ll get the minutes needed to have a nice night. Also, I will consider Darrell Arthur who has played 30+ minutes back-to-back games and come through in those for 27 and 32.5 FPs. When a team has young talents like Jokic, Nurkic and Lauvergne, there’s not reason a guy like Arthur should be playing that much, but it’s the Nuggets, so…
Hassan Whiteside – Love Whiteside tonight against the dysfunctional Nuggets bigs, and he must to as he burned them to the ground the lone time they faced this season, going for 70+ FPs. Now, I wouldn’t hold out hope that he does that again, but I do have him at 44 FPs which is still eight over value. He’s playing off the bench, but still playing in the low-30s, but his rebound and block rates are out of this world since the break, so he gets it done quick-like.
Alex Len – Lensanity continued on Saturday night when Len helped the Suns take a lead into the 4th quarter on the road against the Warriors. Len went for 26 and 13 in the game, and marked his seventh game in eight that he went above his value line. I will definitely have some Len shares tonight, just not as much as I will Whiteside.
Jonas Valanciunas – It’s tough to vouch for JV, because you never know what kind of minutes coach Casey will give him, but when he plays around 30 minutes, he is always above value at this low price. Tonight he play the Bulls who are without Pau Gasol, so they really don’t have anyone even with the size to give Jonas more than a minor speed bump in the paint. It’s a little risky, but if he gets the minutes, he could one of the top bargains of the slate. I have him projected at 28 minutes and 30 FPs.
Cheap risk option: I never truly like a cheap center, but Steven Adams is a guy that I occasionally lock in as a semi-punt center in lineups that I want to pay up elsewhere. He’s usually safe for at least 16 FPs, with 30 upside, but I typically assume I’ll get around 20, and you can live with that. The matchup is good for him tonight, I have him sitting at 21. If you need a total punt option that comes will a rock bottom floor risk, Jusuf Nurkic put up 25+ FPs on Saturday in just 18 minutes. If he plays 20 minutes, he’ll manage at least 15 FPs, he’s very productive on a per minute basis, and the team says he’ll see more PT as the year winds down.
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.