February came and went without any big daily fantasy basketball wins from my daily NBA DFS picks column. I did have several lineups that cashed and were a couple of pivot plays from doing real damage, but here’s to hoping March is a bit more explosive.
That doesn’t mean February didn’t send me out on a high note. Dejounte Murray was a fantastic pivot off of CP3 (40 fantasy points), while Kyle Lowry was the right call between him and Paul (20-6-4 line).
Eric Gordon wasn’t elite overall, but he worked out overall, chipping in 22 actual points off the bench against L.A. He was a great pivot away from Khris Middleton, who had 5 fantasy points at the break in Detroit.
Otto Porter was a total stud, as he went off for 29 points and 10 rebounds. Blake Griffin (26) wasn’t as bad as he’d been and wasn’t crippling based on his cheap price, while JaMychal Green (30) was one of many Memphis players to work out. Speaking of which, Marc Gasol was every bit as good as I thought he’d be, as he topped 50 fantasy points against the Suns.
There were still misses in last night’s team, as Bradley Beal was a chump in the face of Klay Thompson’s gritty defense. Jeremy Lamb was a seemingly necessary value play on last night’s slate, but he failed to deliver with a paltry 14 fantasy points.
Overall, this team was good enough to cash and there were some solid picks. Ideally, you would have pivoted off of Lamb to Josh Jackson and perhaps used Aaron Gordon over Griffin and Devin Booker over Beal. If you made those changes, you could have hit a true gem and won big.
Tonight you get four games to work with and hopefully I can make those correct pivot calls for you. Here’s what my favorite GPP lineup looks like on Thursday at FanDuel:
PG: De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings ($5.8k)
Damian Lillard is the top point guard tonight, but I won’t be paying for him. That’s worked out horribly for me lately, but I want King James on this slate and I actually love the value at the point guard position.
My infatuation there starts with Fox, who will be at home against the Nets. I’m not sure I need to sell you more beyond that, but he’s getting good run and just popped off for 34 fantasy points in his last outing. Brooklyn is bad defensively and plays fast, so this could be a dream matchup for Fox.
PG: Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers ($6.6k)
Ball is an odd option, as he’s on the road against Miami. The Heat slow things down and play good defense, so in theory he could be an awful play. The good news is he’s looked solid since returning from injury and there have been whispers that he could play up to 30 minutes tonight.
Ball has been a peripherals beast, so you don’t need to worry about whether or not he’ll crush as a scorer in this one. He almost certainly will not, but he gets stats elsewhere at such a nice rate that if he does, that’s just gravy.
I might not use Ball on DraftKings, but on FanDuel you need two point guards. I love his floor and upside right now, so I don’t mind rolling the dice a bit here.
SG: Jamal Crawford – Minnesota Timberwolves ($4.4k)
I really would love to find a way to roster D’Angelo Russell tonight, but he’s arguably over-priced at $7.5k. I also won’t be using C.J. McCollum after he burned my viciously the other day (cue a 50-point explosion). Honestly, I will probably have a hedge team with both of these guys, because they’re sure to go nuts now that I’m off of them.
Regardless, I find myself paying down at shooting guard and I think Crawford is a solid place to start. There are minutes and shots to go around with Jimmy Butler (knee) still on the shelf, and Crawford has logged at least 22 minutes in four straight games now.
Crawford is definitely a GPP play, but he could get hot off the bench in this one. He’s very scoring dependent, but he can heat up at anytime and I like his upside and value based on this price. You’re looking at about 25 minutes with a guy who has the green light to launch freely. Here’s to hoping he comes in hot tonight.
SG: J.J. Redick – Philadelphia 76ers ($4.9k)
Again, I would love D’Lo to be cheaper, but he’s too expensive so I’m just fading the top shooting guards and hoping some value plays can work out. Redick feels even safer than Crawford, as he’s locked into a starting roll and plays close to 30 minutes almost every night.
Redick has a nice matchup on paper, as Cleveland ranks as the league’s 28th most efficient defense. Redick has been fine against them (24 fantasy points per game across two meetings), but hopefully he can catch fire tonight. Vegas loves this game to stay close (-3.5) and be a potential shootout (223 Total), so the logic supports Redick putting up some buckets and getting a lot of floor time.
SF: LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers ($12.2k)
I certainly want a hand or five in this Sixers vs. Cavs game and that starts up top with King James.
There just isn’t another player with his upside on this slate, while he’s had a floor of 50+ fantasy points for going on nine games now. He’s on quite the tear and I don’t think anyone else can get the 70+ fantasy points he’s capable of tonight.
Small forward is trash after James, too. If you plan on fading, you better hit both SF options and hope the other stud(s) you pay up for deliver. I think James is a lock for 50-55 fantasy points and in an up tempo tilt at home with Philly, I will not be shocked at all to see him notch 65-70 fantasy points.
You’re certainly paying a steep price to get high level production, but James has been dialed in and considering he’s averaging 66 fantasy points over two games against Philly this year, I see him as a must tonight. Fade Bron Bron at your own risk.
SF: Robert Covington – Philadelphia 76ers ($5.2k)
Call me crazy, but I want more exposure to a game with a really tight spread projected for 223 total points. I can’t say for sure this game delivers, but Cleveland still doesn’t have a good defense and they did just give up 123 points to the Brooklyn Nets.
Something tells me this game is going to be a lot of fun, so if I can stack it a bit, I’ll certainly consider it. Covey is one cheap hand in this game, as he’s just over $5k and still gets 27-32 minutes on a regular basis. He’s going to be needed for his defensive ability against King James, too, so I have to think he gets nice run.
More floor time will be good for Covington, who has been really weak for a while now but has enjoyed playing Cleveland (26 fantasy points per game across two contests). This is a great matchup for him and he does have elite peripherals upisde. If he can hit a few outside shots I think he’ll easily return value in this one.
PF: Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers ($5.5k)
Kuz is another volatile pick, but you need to roll with guys like this and hope they strike it big to take down a huge GPP. I think he can deliver here, as he’ll be coming off the bench in a game and getting 25-30 minutes.
Miami is not the best team to target players against, but Kuz is protected by his bench role for the most part. He hasn’t been crushing it lately, but he’s provided a decent floor with 10+ actual points in seven of his last eight games. If he can show up in the scoring column, I think he’ll be a fine play tonight.
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu – Portland Trail Blazers ($4.8k)
After Ben Simmons, power forward is not attractive tonight. I would love to consider him, but Simmons has been pretty weak against the Cavs this year and at $9.5k, I don’t think he’s going to return enough value.
Simmons is worth a look, but if you’re not into him (like me), you may want to drop down at PF. I’m doing so at both spots and AFA gives me another guy who should log 28-30 minutes pretty safely.
He also isn’t very consistent, but he can hit the outside shot and rack up the peripherals when he’s cooking. I think he’s got a solid chance to pay off in a home tilt with a Timberwolves team he’s averaged over 23 fantasy points against over three meetings this season.
C: Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers ($10.5k)
Center is pretty loaded tonight. I love Embiid and KAT up top and I also am into Hassan Whiteside and Trill as intermediate options. I initially was ready to roll with Whiteside ($7.7k), but he tends to be rather volatile. With the Lakers loving to go small a lot, I’m wondering if he might be a good fade.
Either way, I love this Cavs vs. Sixers game and if there is one Philly player I have to have, it’s Embiid. The Cavs have actually played Ben Simmons pretty well through two meetings this year, but the one time they faced The Process he put up 30 actual points.
Cleveland simply doesn’t have anyone that should truly be able to shut Embiid down. If this game stays close and is high-scoring like Vegas thinks it will be, Embiid feels like a must. It will be very interesting to see what his ownership ends up being, too. Karl-Anthony Towns is basically the same price and is a very viable elite play, while as stated, center is quite loaded across the board.
Can that make Embiid (gasp!) low-owned? If so, I love the idea of him blasting off for 70+ fantasy points in a battle with LeBron and me getting an edge on the field.
Overall, I am obviously into a fast-paced showdown between the Cavs and Sixers tonight. If that game doesn’t deliver, I’m admittedly in some trouble. I think it will, however, so I’m pairing James and Embiid and grabbing two Philly shooters. If Ben Simmons does end up wrecking, his dimes should help guys like Redick and Covey pay off.
Going this route keeps me from paying up for Damian Lillard, but the value at point guard makes that a viable strategy. Let me know if you like these picks or if you have a different strategy tonight. Either way, I wish you luck in your daily fantasy basketball contests tonight!