Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: March 13th
Today’s NBA daily fix features a couple players at each position that I highly recommend for today’s 9-game NBA slate. In addition to the two player breakdowns per position and I’ll add a few cheap risk options. At the end I will list the top-7 players I’ll be using at each position in cash games tonight. Remember that this is written up in advance of any starting lineup and most inactive news updates. Be sure to keep your eyes on Twitter and/or Rotoworld for updates that could change things in a big way. Good luck to you all and let’s get money tonight!
Just so it’s clarified, whenever I say “hits value” or something of the sort, value = 4x price. So, if you have Russell Westbrook at $12,500 (12.5) he’d need to put up 50+ DK points to hit value.
UPDATE: The Warriors have announced that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala will be inactive (rest) tonight. Be sure they’re not in your lineups and the players benefiting from these inactives have been added to my cash game rankings as I saw fit.
Russell Westbrook ($12,500) – Yeah, it’s a ton of dough on a night with 18 teams playing, but the dude has been freakishly good averaging 67 DK points per game over his last 10 and 77 DK points per game in the past six games (one of which he only had 46). 77 per in the last six?? I’ll take that from one guy who costs the same as two unpredictable mid-tier priced guys but will produce the same or better alone. I may mix in a couple fade lineups into GPPs but most of my teams will have Westy leading the way.
Goran Dragic ($6200) – If you’re not going to pay up for Westbrook then you may as well save yourself a good bit of cash at the position and go with a guy like Dragic. Dragic isn’t anything spectacular but he’s going up against a point guard in Lowry who is far from shut down. This game has a 204.5 over/under with a spread of just 5.5, so it looks to be a high scoring close game and in games like that I love a distributor like Dragic. He may not go huge but I feel he’s a safe bet for around 35 and at his price tag I am perfectly fine with that in my cash game lineups.
Cheap risk options: Out of the below $5k guys at the point tonight, I really only like the $4600 duo of Ray McCallum and Isaiah Canaan. They face eachother in this one which is good news for both offensively. Canaan surely has more upside as his team around him is weaker but I think McCallum will have a solid game as well. Look for at least 24 DK points each but Canaan has 30+ upside if he’s hot from three point land.
Dwyane Wade ($7200) – This is a really fair price for a guy who has put up 40+ DK points with a usage rate of 37% in the past five games. Like I said in the Dragic write up, the game has a line and spread that I like getting the guys who will dominate the ball. I’ll have plenty of shares of the Miami backcourt tonight.
J.J. Redick ($6200) – Since Jamal Crawford has been out the past four games, Redick has been on a nice run averaging 36 DK points per game. Now there is slight reason for concern with the possibility of Blake Griffin back tonight but I’d assume he’ll be eased back in and still Redick should see plenty of good looks. 25 is the floor for Redick which is right at value for his price but I think he can get to the low 30s.
Cheap risk options: Will Barton ($4300), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4200) and Ben McLemore ($4200) all rely pretty heavily on their scoring for DFS production and they’ve all been inconsistent of late but when they’re on they hit well above value. For tonight I would rank them KCP – Barton – McLemore but it’s really a pick your poison spot although you’ll likely need one of these guys for a Westbrook lineup at their price/upside. If you need an even cheaper route, look at Marcus Thornton ($3300) who saw a nice uptick in minutes the last game with Knight out and that should be the case again tonight. So, he’ll get 20 minutes and probably around 10 shots, but will he hit enough to put up 20+ DK points? If you gotta go super cheap it may be worth a roll of the dice.
Tobias Harris ($6700) – I’m going the mid-tier route mostly today at small forward, led by Tobias Harris. 36-36-33-34 DK points in his last four games and he matches up well against the Celtics to keep that streak of hitting above value going.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($5900) – MKG has been much improved this season and while he’s a bit inconsistent game-to-game, tonight he will have to play a huge role with both Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller sidelined. This isn’t the greatest of matchups against Chicago but he should still be able to finish up with a double-double and around 30 DK points. I like the value and upside that comes with him tonight.
Cheap risk options: There’s not much below $5k that strikes my interest tonight at SF but Luc Richard Mbah a Moute ($5000) plays around 35 minutes a night and gets plenty of shots to produce when he doesn’t go 1-for-10 like last game. Before that dud LRMAM put up 27+ DK points in three straight and around 25 is what I can see from him tonight. T.J. Warren ($3300) is a total dart toss if you need to go near minimum here. Should see minutes in the low 20s and he has looked better each game — 25 DK points in their last game in just 19 minutes.
Pau Gasol ($8900) – Who is going to stop Pau Gasol from dominating the paint tonight for Charlotte? They’re undermanned due to injuries and Pau is just too good not to exploit them every minute he’s on the court. So MKG and Marvin Williams are going to have their hands full tonight and Gasol should end up with another big time fantasy night.
Nerlens Noel ($6800) – I absolutely love this matchup for Noel and he’s been nothing short of an awesome play the past couple of weeks rattling off a run of 39-45-38-41-35-34-45 DK points over the Sixers past seven games. He’s really coming into form grabbing double-digit boards in six of his last seven and averaging over two blocks a night in that same span. As long as he avoids going to help on Cousins and finding himself in foul trouble, he should be a great cash play.
Nikola Mirotic ($6800) – Mirotic makes the most of every bit of playing time he sees but his price has jumped up a bit to the point that if Pau and Joakim Noah are active, he’s just a solid play but not at all a must play. Now, if Noah sits like he did Wednesday night that sets Mirotic up to get big time minutes and if this scenario plays out, he is a must play. Keep your eyes on Noah who is listed as a game time decision as I write this.
Cheap risk options: Marvin Williams ($4000) is in the same boat as MKG so he’ll see plenty of court time tonight due to team injuries and while he’s risky because he doesn’t always take a lot of shots, tonight is as good of a situation as he’ll get. Still the upside is limited there. Speaking of “limited,” why the hell aren’t the Sixers giving Thomas Robinson ($4000) more playing time yet? I mean in 7 games with Philly he’s averaging 8.7 points and boards in just 17 minutes a game. Meanwhile they’re still giving some minutes to Furkan Aldemir, WHY?! Robinson should be seeing at least 24 minutes a night but for now we have to assume he’ll stay right under 20 which damages his upside but he’s still capable of going for 20+.
Another guy to glance at is Brandan Wright ($3700) who when he gets minutes is a solid DFS play. In three of his last four games Wright has played 25+ minutes and in those games he’s put up 27, 27 and 30 DK points but the Phoenix rotation isn’t easy to project night to night right now, thus the risk that comes with the cheap price. One more guy who just became noteworthy is David Lee ($3900) as Steve Kerr hinted they’d rest some guys tonight (likely Bogut) and with Marreese Speights already suspended tonight, Lee could be in for a nice bit of playing time. If Bogut does sit, I’ll take a few shots on Lee for sure in a good matchup and in line to play big minutes.
Recently it’s been extremely difficult choosing which centers to play each night as there’s been so many good options and matchups but tonight I’m not overly in love with more than a couple. I like DeAndre Jordan but $8900 seems steep especially if Blake Griffin returns. Whiteside for one reason or another has played less than 26 minutes in 3-of-4. So, assuming it’d be really tough to fit Westbrook and DeMarcus Cousins in a lineup, you gotta look a little lower here tonight possibly.
Nikola Vucevic ($8000) – Vucci Mane is back to big minutes after missing a couple of games and playing limited his first game back. Vooch played 39 minutes Wednesday night against the Bucks where he went off for 43 DK points and he has another great matchup tonight against the Celtics. Look for the Magic to go to Vucevic early and often in this one and he’ll dominate the boards as usual. With a downside of about 35 and an upside of 55, I will have a few shares tonight certainly.
Al Horford ($7100) – Before his last game which was a total dud, Horford averaged 36 DK points in a six game span. He’s a guy I look to frequently in cash game lineups because more often than not he’s a safe bet to hit at least a little above value and has a big upside. I like the matchup for him tonight in Phoenix and feel a 40 DK point night in the works.
Cheap risk options: Bismack Biyombo ($3100) is a wild card tonight but at this near minimum price and Al Jefferson plus Cody Zeller out, he should play quite a bit tonight. Not much of a scorer but BB can grab boards and swat shots well enough to hit way above value tonight assuming he gets the minutes (as he should) and no foul trouble. The last three games AlJeff missed, Bismack put up DK nights of 34-42-29 and as terrified as I’ll be, I’ll have him in as my center in a handful of spots — Westbrook lineups especially. Kelly Olynyk ($4000) seems to be getting closer to form after missing a big stint due to injury and he even started the second half against Memphis on Wednesday. I am hoping the Celtics give him the start tonight and he can put up 30ish DK points but this his low floor is definitely scary.
Cash game rankings: (Not who I think will score the most, it’s who I feel the best plays are based on price and production)
1) Russell Westbrook
2) Shaun Livingston
3) Goran Dragic
4) Isaiah Canaan
5) Ty Lawson
6) Damian Lillard
7) Reggie Jackson
8) Ray McCallum
1) Dwyane Wade
2) JJ Redick
3) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
4) Eric Bledsoe
5) DeMar DeRozan
6) Will Barton
7) Gerald Henderson
1) Tobias Harris
2) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
3) Harrison Barnes
4) Andrew Wiggins
5) Nicolas Batum
6) Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
7) Rudy Gay
8) Luol Deng
1) David Lee
2) Kenneth Faried
3) Nikola Mirotic (only if Noah is out)
4) Draymond Green
5) Pau Gasol
6) Nerlens Noel
7) Markieff Morris
8) Marvin Williams
1) Bismack Biyombo
2) Al Horford
3) Nikola Vucevic
4) DeMarcus Cousins
5) Gorgui Dieng (if Pekovic is out)
6) Enes Kanter
7) Kelly Olynyk
For more fantasy hoops analysis and to have any questions you may have answered, follow Zack on Twitter @BigZack44