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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: March 8, 2016

We’ve got a perfectly sized six-game slate on our hands tonight, and I will be breaking it down bit by bit for you today, which should 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. And for additional daily strategies, you can consider giving this daily fantasy basketball article a read. Let’s get to the grind.

Vegas lines and totals

Brooklyn (+12) @ Toronto — Vegas projected game total of 207
San Antonio (-11) @ Minnesota — 207
Atlanta (+1.5) @ Utah — 193
New York (?) @ Denver — ???
Washington (+?) @ Portland — ???
Orlando (-3) @ LA Lakers — 213.5

As I write this there’s still no numbers for the Knicks/Nuggets and Wizards/Blazers games, but you can pretty safely guess that the NYK/DEN game will land around the low-200s and the WSH/POR game will likely push closer to 210. Aside from the cover boy and maybe Favors in a GPP, I’m not going to focus much attention on the lowly projected Hawks/Jazz game. I’ll be looking heavily to the Wizards/Blazers, Magic/Lakers and Nets/Raptors games for my lineups. I feel they have the most explosive players and thus the higher projected lines for a reason.

POINT GUARD

D’Angelo Russell While I definitely love the top-trio at point tonight (prefer Lowry over Lillard and Wall), I think there’s better value plays that I will lean more heavily on, starting with Russell. Since being locked into his role, D’Angelo has been a really great play, hitting for value or better (for tonight’s price) in five of the last six games, and his salary has shot up quicker than a Steph Curry 3-pointer. Russell gets Elfrid and the Magic tonight in what should be a competitive high scoring game. I have the rookie projected at 34 fantasy points (FPs) tonight.

Elfrid Payton Yep, sticking in the same game, just switching to the other side. Payton has looked really good the past handful of games since coach Skiles returned him to premium minutes after seeing his minutes cut for a few games when the team acquired Brandon Jennings. Elf has now hit above value for three of the last four games and takes on the Lakers tonight who have been 28th in the league against opposing PGs this season. I have Payton sitting at 30.5 FPs, and there is surely upside to that if he’s on.

Cheap risk option: If Tony Parker is out, I will be all over Patty Mills as a value play tonight. He’s been pretty solid even off the bench, so if he sees an extra 10 minutes tonight, sign me up. Also, D.J. Augustin will again be in play as he’s went for 20+ FPs in five of his seven games with his new team in Denver, and tonight against New York should be no different.

SHOOTING GUARD

C.J. McCollum You have to love McCollum tonight against the Wizards who have been pathetic against opposing SGs this season. Where there’s a lot of uncertainty at this spot tonight, CJ stands out as a reasonably safe play in a high scoring affair. You guys know I love to get the top scorers in high scoring games into my lineups, tonight is no different. Look for McCollum to net you at least 35 FPs.

Will Barton While the big game since the injury to Danilo Gallinari hasn’t come yet for Barton, it will, and tonight is a pretty decent bet as to when. He’s already lit the Knicks up for 45 FPs once this season with Gallo out, and his usage rate is over 7% higher when there’s no Gallo around. I like Victor Oladipo tonight also, but for $1K less, I am going to have more shares of Will than Vic.

Cheap risk option: While I’m not sure he’ll light it up for 42 or 30 FPs as he has in his last two games, I do think Markel Brown will be a nice cheap play once again tonight. Just peg him for low-to-mid 20s and be thrilled if he goes for more in this tougher matchup. The minutes should definitely be there though, because he’s outplayed starter Wayne Ellington by a long shot recently.

SMALL FORWARD

Carmelo Anthony The man is LIT right now and I don’t see that trend dying tonight when he goes up against his ex-team, Denver. Melo has went for 44+ FPs in eight of the last ten games, and it’s mostly in part to him expanding his play to do more than just score. Melo has averaged five assists and nine boards over the last five games to go along with his always money in the bank scoring. I have Anthony projected at 45 FPs tonight.

Kawhi Leonard I am paying up at small forward tonight as seen by me naming the top two dollar guys at the position as the top plays. Beyond the top-3 at SF tonight, I really don’t trust anyone, so you will find me with a ton of Melo/Kawhi shares. Even if San Antonio blows this one open, Kawhi should get his stats in as he’s going to totally school Andrew Wiggins on both ends. I have Leonard at 40 FPs.

Cheap risk option: I don’t trust the punt options either, so while I won’t be going this route much if at all tonight, if I had to list one it would be Shabazz Muhammad. He’ll face some tough defense from the Spurs, but he is a good enough offensive player to at least have a shot to reach value (20 FPs).

POWER FORWARD

Aaron Gordon The true dunk champion is at it again tonight, and it will be a lot of fun watching him and Randle go head-to-head in the paint. I think they will both get their stats, and I’ll be living in this middle-tier price range at PF tonight, so many solid plays without paying a fortune. I think Gordon has the edge on Randle because of his defensive numbers, I have Air Gordon at 35 FPs.

Markieff Morris Need to save even more money at this spot tonight, another nice value on the slate is Kieff against the Blazers. While the Blazers could play small-ball and shift Aminu to the four, Markieff will still see plenty of mismatches going against the other lacking Portland bigs. Morris only needs 26 FPs to hit value at his cheapish tag, and I have him at 29, which with the added flexibility his salary allows, is just fine by me.

Cheap risk option: If Vucevic happens to sit out again as he did last night, Jason Smith makes for a very interesting punt play at the minimum price. He’d get the start again, and while his upside isn’t big, his value line is just 16 FPs, and the money you save to use elsewhere is key. The other value guy that I am looking at is Brandon Bass going up against his former team of Orlando. Bass has played 25+ minutes in three straight and tallied 19, 21 and 29 FPs in those games respectively. If you need even cheaper and Vucevic is active making Smith a null option, take a shot on Larry Nance Jr. who continues to play around 15 minutes and can give you 14-20 FPs on the cheap. Also, if Kristaps Porzingis sits, Kyle O’Quinn is worth punt consideration.

CENTER

Rudy Gobert Loving Rudy right now and his price hasn’t taken a big leap yet, so he’s still a bargain. He’s almost a lock for a double-double and/or a monstrous amount of rebounds plus a few blocks. He matches up incredibly against the smaller Al Horford and crew of Atlanta, so anything below 36 FPs would be surprising. I have him projected at an aggressive 41 FPs.

Jonas Valanciunas The guy loves going up against Brook Lopez, what can I say? In two matchups this season Valanciunas has posted an average line of 28 minutes, 14 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and one steal. JV has also went for 31 and 34 FPs in the last two games, so he is riding on a heater into a favorable matchup at a super cheap price for such a talented player, I am all about it. Lopez shares the sentiment of this matchup, as he’s averaged 51 FPs in the two face-offs this season.

Cheap risk option: You probably know by now that I very rarely like to punt at center, and tonight is the same. I don’t like anyone below Jonas, but if I had to go with someone it’d be Bismack Biyombo because you at least know he’s going to play 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.

PG
1) D’Angelo Russell
2) Elfrid Payton
3) Patty Mills (if T. Parker is out)
4) Kyle Lowry
5) Damian Lillard
6) John Wall
7) D.J. Augustin
8) Jeff Teague

SG
1) C.J. McCollum
2) DeMar DeRozan
3) Will Barton
4) Victor Oladipo
5) Markel Brown
6) Rodney Hood
7) Manu Ginobili

SF
1) Carmelo Anthony
2) Kawhi Leonard
3) Gordon Hayward
4) Kent Bazemore
5) Shabazz Muhammad
6) Al-Farouq Aminu

PF
1) Aaron Gordon
2) Derrick Favors
3) Markieff Morris
4) Julius Randle
5) Thaddeus Young
6) Jason Smith (if N. Vucevic is out)
7) Kenneth Faried

C
1) Rudy Gobert
2) Brook Lopez
3) Jonas Valanciunas
4) Nikola Vucevic (if he plays)
5) Nikola Jokic
6) Karl-Anthony Towns
7) Marcin Gortat

As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 7:30 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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