My daily fantasy basketball strategy didn’t exactly pay off yesterday. Miami didn’t blow out the Bulls liked I’d hoped and while the Bucks vs. Warriors game was the best game of the night, I got burned by Kevin Durant getting tossed in the first half.
There were some really good picks in last night’s lineup, however.
Durant had 18 fantasy points in the first half and was on pace to at least have a chance at meeting value. The Greek Freak was also fine (48) and Quinn Cook (37) worked out beautifully. Targeting the last game of the night was a fine move, too, as Eric Bledsoe (35) and Jason Terry (21) really weren’t bad based on their prices.
I even hit on some of the value picks beyond Terry. Marcin Gortat (29) was a solid play and Noah Vonleh actually ended up starting and produced a terrific line en route to 36 fantasy points.
Blake Griffin being a late scratch almost doomed this team, but I personally ended up pivoting down to Anthony Tolliver (24.4), which allowed me to land Khris Middleton (35.6). Of course, I can’t know how the Griffin news impacted your roster, so if you were stuck with Sean Kilpatrick, please forgive me.
In hindsight, fading KD to use Paul George was the big play on yesterday’s mall slate. PG-13 tends to be a sorry sack every time I use him, but of course he dropped 52 fantasy points against the Spurs and KD got tossed. Of course.
But hey, NBA DFS is at least partially about reflecting on a mixture of logic and bad luck and trying to learn from it.
In reality, fading PG-13 wasn’t that bad of a play and using Durant (who was actually surprisingly super contrarian despite his massive role) was the right way to go. The only adjustment I failed to make was ridding my roster of Killer, who was only going to benefit you in the event of a blowout.
There were still some solid daily fantasy basketball picks to be had, however, and hopefully they helped you cash last night.
I’m back to it for Friday’s big eight-game main slate (Bulls vs. Magic is inexplicably excluded) to see if my logic can lead to a winning GPP squad.
This slate is absolutely loaded with elite options, so you’re going to need to decide who is worth your top dollar, as well as which value plays to take a chance on. Let’s get to it:
PG: Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder ($11.4k)
OKC just played in San Antonio last night, but they can’t afford to take nights off with a division title and playoff seeding on the line. They are back home tonight with a nice matchup against a Denver Nuggets team that also is playing for their playoff lives.
I prefer to target games where both sides have something to play for and this matchup should give us that, in addition to a fantastic DFS setting (222 Total, -4.5 spread). Westbrook is the highlight here, as he’s shredded the Nuggets across three games this year (56 fantasy points per game) and obviously has a ridiculously high ceiling.
I have no interest in paying up for James Harden against the Suns and no other guard on this slate can match Westbrook’s upside, so I’ll just bite the bullet and pay for him.
PG: Isaiah Taylor – Atlanta Hawks ($4.8k)
Dennis Schroder is doubtful to suit up tonight, which is going to open up some nice value at guard in Atlanta. The Hawks are never a team to trust blindly, but they are low on bodies with Kent Bazemore already being shut down for the season.
Taylor has been playing well lately, as he’s scored 20+ actual points in each of his last two games. I’d prefer Tyler Dorsey ($3.5k) to notch the start and get reliable run, but for now Taylor looks like the guy to use in this situation. He has a nice up tempo showdown with the Sixers, who tend to drop off significantly on defense when Joel Embiid is off the floor.
SG: Rodney Hood – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.4k)
Do I trust Hood? No, not really, but he’s facing a terrible Pelicans defense and can pop off as a scorer at any time. Both of these teams need wins and are involved in a very DFS-friendly atmosphere tonight, while Hood looks like a lock for 25-30 minutes regardless of the situation.
Kyle Korver is still absent for personal reasons, too, so Hood is looking at a solid role against a New Orleans defense that ranks dead last against shooting guards on the year. It can’t hurt that he’s performed well in this matchup (26 fantasy points per game) in two previous meetings this year.
SG: Shaquille Harrison – Phoenix Suns ($3.9k)
This is a deep GPP dive, but I do not trust the Suns in this game at all. I do note that Jrue Holiday ($8.1k) is a fun intermediate value pick tonight against Cleveland, but the studs I want and some projected game flow has me ready to take some big leaps of faith.
One of those comes via Harrison, who logged 30 minutes and put up 36.8 fantasy points in his last game. With Elfrid Payton, Devin Booker and T.J. Warren all potentially out tonight, he is a very viable SG punt on this slate.
Torching the Rockets isn’t a lock, but Harrison should see the court a decent amount in a blowout loss. I’ll eat up that floor time and hope he can stay hot.
SF: Gerald Green – Houston Rockets ($3.9k)
Chris Paul is probably out tonight with an injury and the Rockets already secured the #1 seed in the NBA. There is no reason for Houston to push their top guys much for the remainder of the regular season, while they’re decent bets to house the Phoenix Suns (-17 favorites at Bovada), regardless.
One way or another, Green is going to get solid run in this contest. Considering he’s had a nice bench role and has seen 30+ minutes in each of his last three games, I have no qualms diving down and eating up some elite value here. He’s a risk, but I want more than one stud on this slate and will need to take a few risks to get there.
SF: Giannis Antetokoumpo – Milwaukee Bucks ($11k)
This is the hammer to end all hammers, as the final game of the night goes down in L.A. between the Bucks and Lakers. It’s possible Milwaukee is tired after beating the Warriors on Thursday night, but I’ll take my chances given how well The Greek Freak has been playing.
The Bucks can still improve their playoff seeding, too, so I expect them to remain focused for this contest. Giannis is over $1k cheaper than King James and I love his up tempo showdown with the Lakers, who he dropped 60 fantasy points on earlier this year.
The Greek Freak gives me three elite options that I absolutely love tonight and there just might be enough value to help me pull it off.
PF: Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans ($12.3k)
Ben Simmons ($9.6k) could be an elite pivot with Joel Embiid (orbital fracture) sidelined, but I really want The Brow in an awesome matchup against the Cavaliers. Cleveland’s defense still isn’t good and they could be down Kevin Love, while Vegas loves this game (227 Total, -4 spread) to be close and high-scoring.
Cleveland really doesn’t have anyone to corral Davis and that’s evident from their first meeting, when he dropped 61 fantasy points on them. Both of these teams need to keep winning as they jockey for playoff seeding, so I expect The Brow’s best in this one and I don’t mind paying up to get it.
PF: Ersan Ilyasova – Philadelphia 76ers ($4.1k)
This play makes too much sense. Amir Johnson ($3.5k) is worth a look as he draws the spot start with Embiid out, but Ilyasova tends to get more reliable run and is the far better DFS option. He’ll also be facing his former Hawks squad, so some revenge could be in order tonight.
Philly has handed Ersan 20+ minutes in each of his last 12 games and I have to think he pushes for 30 minutes with such a big weapon being sidelined. The beauty here is Ilyasova can crush even in limited duty and the Hawks being bad can’t hurt his upside.
C: Alan Williams – Phoenix Suns ($3.7k)
Richaun Holmes ($3.8k) is also very much in play, but I think you’re taking a risk either way if you’re punting at center. I don’t mind doing it if things break right, however, as Tyson Chandler is done for the year and there’s a chance Alex Len (questionable) is out tonight.
I’m not enamored with Williams due to slowly increasing playing time, but he could potentially get 20+ minutes even in a blowout. He’s been a PER stud in the past and in just 15+ minutes in his first two games back from knee surgery, Williams has put up 12 and 15 fantasy points.
That’s obviously not great, but I think his minutes increase a bit if Len sits tonight. He was able to post big numbers late last year and something tells me the Suns will want to get him run down the stretch. If he can push over 20 minutes tonight, he could be an elite value pick.
Overall, this is a really fun slate with a ton of value to consider. You don’t need to follow me on my litany of NBA DFS value pick dives, but I want these three studs tonight and they allow me to make it happen.
Love or hate my picks for Friday? Let me hear it in the comments below.