Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: March 5, 2016
We’ve got a healthy eight-game slate on our hands today, and I will be breaking it down bit by bit today for you, to help everyone formulate lineups and better the chances of finishing tonight in the green. First, I will review the Vegas numbers, and then I will give my top plays and cheap value options with analysis. Lastly, I will give positional rankings to show you the order of priority that I have each player in based on a combination of price/value/upside.
One forewarning, I will be attending a buddy’s bachelor party festivities tomorrow, basically all day and night, so it’s doubtful I will be around to update anything if injuries arise. I will try and keep an eye on breaking news and tweet out some quick analysis, but I can’t promise anything, you know how these nights can be, haha. Now, let’s grind!
Vegas lines and totals
Indiana (+3) @ Washington — Vegas projected total of 208
Boston (+6.5) @ Cleveland — 212
Utah (+1) @ New Orleans — 199
Detroit (-4.5) @ New York — 198.5
Brooklyn (+4.5) @ Minnesota — 214
Sacramento (+12.5) @ San Antonio — 208
Houston (-1.5) @ Chicago — 215
Atlanta (+6) @ LA Clippers — 203.5
Two games fall short of the 200 line, one narrowly above it, two solidly above it and three sit atop the others. Then, you have the Spurs/Kings game with a nice total, but a big spread that makes you fear a potential blowout game, which is always possible when the Spurs are involved, but the Kings have kept it within 20 both times they’ve faced this season. That Bulls/Rockets game is the one that I keep staring at, and I know I want to be invested there tonight. I will not likely touch the Jazz/Pelicans game aside from maybe a value play, the rest are all in play, but I’m more weary on the Celtics/Cavs game than the projected total seems to be, I’d want the under there.
John Wall – The Wizards as a whole, stunk last night at Cleveland, but Wall didn’t have a bad game, he was simply limited to 27 minutes due to the blowout. He’s not going to let them no show two nights in a row against another top team in the conference, so I see him coming out super aggressive in this one. The last time Wall faced Indiana, he lit them up for 50 fantasy points (FPs), and there should more of the same on tap tonight.
Ricky Rubio – If I don’t go with Wall, I am likely going the savings route at PG tonight, and Rubio is my top target in the mid-tier price range. Rubio can be inconsistent, but he generally takes advantage of the good matchups, and the Nets have been getting shredded by good point guards, especially since the Jack injury. Donald Sloan and Shane Larkin aren’t going to stop anyone, and Rubio should be able to dice them up for a points-assists double-double with a few steals. I have him projected at 38 FPs.
Cheap risk option: Shelvin Mack is one of the value guys I mentioned would be the only types I’d look at in this game. He’s been up and down in his first handful of games with his new team, but tonight they get the Pelicans who are bottom-five in the league against opposing PGs. Mack should get you a little over 20 FPs tonight, which is where his value line sits.
Jimmy Butler – He’s back tonight and they say he will not be limited in any capacity, and if that holds true, I am all about Jimmy Buckets tonight. He’s priced at a bargain, has a great matchup against the incapable defense of James Harden, and the Bulls have missed his skills dearly on both ends. Maybe I should be cautious, but I’ll have a lot of Jimmy in my lineups tonight, have him aggressively projected at 42 FPs.
Zach LaVine – Yeah, the back-to-back dunk champ (Aaron Gordon was robbed!) is putting up nice numbers since seeing a nice minutes boost recently, and I am loving the outlook for a T-Wolves guard stack tonight against the Nets. He’s put up 30+ FPs in four straight games averaging 38 minutes and 16 shots per game over that span. The odds are ever in his favor to go for 30 FPs again tonight, so if you steer away from Harden and Jimmy, this is where I would be looking.
Cheap risk option: Sticking with that Wolves/Nets game, I like the price:upside ratio for Markel Brown tonight. He had a really nice night last night against Denver, outplaying starter Wayne Ellington by a good margin. I always liked Brown to prevail in that position battle. Don’t expect Brown to go for 40+ FPs again tonight, but I do have him projected at 24, which is well above value at his gutter price.
Kawhi Leonard – History shows that you can find value more frequently at small forward than any other position, but I am really liking the idea of paying up here tonight. I felt the Spurs would wreck the Pelicans on Thursday, so I totally faded Kawhi and that wound up being a costly mistake, not doing it tonight. He’s been doing it all, and he’s averaged 40 FPs over two matchups with Sacramento this season, look for him to hit above that tonight, the Kings don’t have answers for wings on the defensive end.
Paul George – Yep, and I may even have a lineup with both of these guys rostered. Most will shy away from George after being burned by him here or there over the past couple weeks, but I’m loving this matchup for him tonight. The Wizards haven’t gotten any better against opposing small forwards since the last two games between these teams this season where George has averaged 52 FPs. Gimme some of that!
Cheap risk option: I’m not looking to go cheap here, but you can’t deny the appeal of Shabazz Muhammad (yes, another Minnesota guy) who has averaged 23 FPs over the last seven games, including another 25 last night. He’s been a pretty safe cheap option here for over a week, and to fit in bigger names elsewhere, you’ll appreciate some safe cheap plays like Bazz.
Derrick Favors – You wouldn’t think this would work out well for Favors going up against Anthony Davis, but they’ve already squared off twice this season and Derrick has averaged 40 FPs in those contests. I have him projected at 36 FPs tonight, and he’s a quality play in cash-games, but I’d look elsewhere for upside GPP plays. Davis will be playing a decent bit of center again tonight, so Favors may get even better post looks than normal against the Pels tonight.
Markieff Morris – Had a down game last night, so will probably be under-owned tonight, but I really like his price point with him now locked in the starting lineup for Washington. The matchup is much better for Kieff tonight, and he’ll be fine whether Indy starts out with their small-ball lineup or rolls with Myles Turner as the starter. I have Markieff at 27 FPs tonight, which I am good with at this price, and he absolutely has upside.
Cheap risk option: With Terrence Jones out tonight, Donatas Motiejunas should be a lock for over 20 minutes against the defensively generous Bulls backcourt. While I don’t have him projected but for 19 FPs, he’s the minimum price, so that would be great, and allow so much more flexibility elsewhere. Josh Smith is also in play there for a few hundred dollars more, and may have a little more upside, but hard to ever trust him regardless of how pretty the outlook appears to be.
DeAndre Jordan – I love this matchup for DeAndre. Horford and crew will have no answers for the alley-oop king, and DJ should dominate the glass all night long. The matchup and price make him easily my top play here tonight, I have him projected at 40 FPs which is 7 above value already, and he could even surpass that as long as the game stays close — as it should.
Rudy Gobert – I could list basically any of the high dollar centers here and be happy, but decided to go with more of a value play instead, you’ll see how I rank the top guys below. The Pelicans without Asik and Ajinca will have to use a mix of Kendrick Perkins and Brow at center, either way nothing should stop Gobert from posting a nice dub-dub and a few blocks. I have him projected at 35 FPs, which I love at this price with a slate like we have tonight.
Cheap risk option: There’s not much to even look at in the center bargain bin, but one guy stands out as the top punt option here, and that’s Tyler Zeller. Zeller is still near minimum price and has put up 18, 21, 19 and 20 FPs over the last four games playing right around 20 minutes.
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.