I aimed really high with my daily fantasy basketball FanDuel picks on Friday night. Instead of going the balanced route, I stacked as many studs as I could and hoped my value picks panned out.
Had it not been for Anthony Davis (38) sacking me hard, it may have worked out.
My team fared well, but on a pretty explosive NBA DFS slate, it struggled to place depending on the format. Still, Russell Westbrook (70) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (51) both fared well and Ersan Ilyasova (47!) turned out to be an amazing sleeper.
The Suns vs. Rockets game wasn’t the blowout Vegas expected, which ultimately impacted two of my plays. Gerald Green surprisingly got the start last night, yet posted just 15 fantasy points. Shaquille Harrison was supposed to benefit from a ton of run in a likely blowout, but he managed just 13.7 fantasy points.
Throw in Rodney Hood (21), Isaiah Taylor (21) and Alan Williams (13) and you can see why this team didn’t really take flight.
I thought the logic was there with the Suns plays and Green, but Houston didn’t come close to living up to a gaudy -17 spread and Hood/Taylor were merely okay.
It wasn’t the best slate, but I’m ready to move onto the weekend.
Going into Saturday’s main slate (just three games), there is not a lot to work with. There aren’t many elite options to pay up for and there understandably isn’t much value, either.
Because of that, I’ll be fading the top stud and just going balanced on this slate. Take a look at tonight’s FanDuel GPP lineup and see if you agree with any of my picks:
PG: Quinn Cook – Golden State Warriors ($6.2k)
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson should be on the floor tonight, but that shouldn’t keep Cook from getting solid run again. Stephen Curry is still out and Cook has a solid matchup in front of him against the Sacramento Kings.
The issue is there just aren’t many great value picks on this slate. I know Cook’s usage is coming down, but he’s still the main PG in Golden State for the moment and is fresh off of a career high 30-point outing.
PG: Goran Dragic – Miami Heat ($7.2k)
Dragic has been a bit underwhelming against the Nets this year, but I’m willing to roll the dice with him in this matchup one more time. It beats trying Terry Rozier against Kyle Lowry, while this matchup is just too good to pass up.
Dragic hasn’t been awful against Brooklyn (31 fantasy points per game), either, so there’s hope for a big outing tonight. With Chef Curry (knee) sidelined, the point guard spot is wide open. I’d rather take two relatively safe plays and move on.
SG: D’Angelo Russell – Brooklyn Nets ($7.4k)
I’m sticking with this Nets/Heat game, which has a decent 211 Total and could easily end up being the game of this slate. I find it difficult to trust a banged up Celtics team against the Raptors, while the Warriors could easily house the Kings.
This is my preferred game to target and D’Lo is obviously a guy that can go off in any setting. Russell isn’t cheap, but he’s a fun pivot off of DeMar DeRozan and he does offer nice upside.
SG: Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors ($6.7k)
Thompson is slated to return tonight and the Dubs will want to get him ready for the playoffs. There could be some concern that he’s limited in his first game back, but hopefully that just lowers his ownership. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green will also be soaking up some ownership tonight, so I’m going to take a chance here and hope it’s Thompson who sounds off.
Arguably Thompson’s best ever outing came against the Kings. While I’m not banking on that tonight, I don’t hate the price and he does have upside against a bad defense that he’s averaging 34 fantasy points against on the season.
SF: Josh Richardson – Miami Heat ($6.6k)
I’m going right down the middle here and fading KD, as he’s the most obvious stud and might end up being 60% owned or higher on this tiny three-game slate. The way to win these slates is to make distinct pivots and get an edge on the field. Obviously if Durant wrecks you’re in trouble, but the intermediate value at SF allows for this strategy.
J-Rich is a big reason why, as he’s logging 30+ minutes on the regular and has looked great lately (34+ fantasy points in his last two outings). Now he’s in an up tempo clash with a bad Nets team. I can’t pass on that.
SF: DeMarre Carroll – Brooklyn Nets ($6.2k)
I’m staying in that same game for the other SF pick. Jayson Tatum is really the only other small forward I’m considering here, but I really don’t trust Boston against Toronto right now. I do like the floor of Carroll, who has turned into a very reliable scorer for the Nets and has chipped in 30+ fantasy points in five of his last seven games.
Miami is by far an easy draw on the outside, but Carroll is averaging 24 fantasy points against them across three meetings this year. If he can push that to 30 in this one, I’ll chalk it up as a win.
PF: Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors ($5.7k)
I’m not enamored with Ibaka, but his run has improved lately and he’s topped 10+ actual points in four of his last five games. He’s one of the last guys I’m adding onto this roster, as Draymond Gren ($8.6k) feels a bit expensive for this slate.
There isn’t a big sell here. If there was a value play at PF, I’d be all ears. Skal Labissiere is also an option at $5.3k, but I’m not sure the savings, floor or upside move the needle for me anymore than Serge does.
PF: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Brooklyn Nets ($7.2k)
RHJ is basically an elite pivot off of Dray right now. He’s $1.4k cheaper and virtually the same player in the sense that he can rack up a ton of different stats. He’s actually been the far better offensive producer for a while now, as he’s topped 12+ actual points in 10 consecutive games.
Normally not a safe play, RHJ could be in the best game of this slate and provides solid upside. I’m hoping he’s an elite pivot off of Green on this slate and drops a 40-burger. Considering he’s averaging 29 fantasy point against Miami across three meetings this year, I’m not sure that’s even asking that much.
C: Willie Cauley-Stein – Sacramento Kings ($6.6k)
Center is trash. Al Horford is banged up, Jonas Valanciunas is expensive and has seen his run dip and the most expensive center on the slate (Hassan Whiteside) has unreliable run after returning from a long injury layoff.
Whiteside is easily the best overall play when you look at matchup and upside, but I can’t swing him on this slate. Jarrett Allen is a great value pick in this matchup, but I’m not sure I even need his savings without any great value plays to go along with him. If you plan on forcing Dray or KD into your lineup, then yeah, Allen is worth a look.
If I don’t use Allen, I’m going with Trill. He’s been pretty steady for the Kings (25+ fantasy points in seven of his last 10 games) and is averaging 32 fantasy points against Golden State on the year. I don’t know what to make of this hammer game tonight, but WCS can rack up stats pretty easily and is always a double-double threat. He’s worth a look considering the price and the slate at hand.
Ultimately, I don’t see anything wrong with trying to force KD or Green onto your roster. I just think fading them gives me a better team and might be a winning daily fantasy basketball strategy. Whether you agree or not, hopefully some of these picks help you win. Good luck!