FanDuel NBA Picks – March 8th

Last night’s NBA DFS picks were a mixed bag, as some of my favorite plays certainly delivered and others failed miserably.

I don’t know what it is about De’Aaron Fox, but the dude gets hurt pretty much every single time I use him. I believe the count for early exits from him is three now after last night. He alone sunk my daily fantasy basketball FanDuel picks for Wednesday, but he wasn’t the only misguided pick.

Jabari Parker was also a spare, while Clint Capela (22) couldn’t take advantage of a really nice matchup in Milwaukee. Rodney Hood (23) also wasn’t amazing, but for his price he wasn’t exactly crippling.

This is a perfect opportunity to remind you that even though I submit a complete FanDuel lineup free for all to use, you don’t need to stop there. Always be sure to consider your own favorites and mix and match as needed.

There were still some hits, of course, as Kris Dunn and Aaron Gordon both were fantastic plays, E’Twaun Moore dropped in a sweet 15-6-3 line and Giannis Antetokounmpo was at least passable.

It wasn’t the night I dreamed up, but I found success elsewhere with other lineups and hopefully you did to. That, or you used Dunn, Moore and AG and found other pivots along the way.

Either way, I’m back at it for Thursday’s five-game NBA DFS slate, so let’s dive in for some of my favorite FanDuel picks:

PG: Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets ($9k)

Russell Westbrook against the Suns is someone to look at, as he probably has more upside than anyone on this slate. He’s priced as such, however, and I think I’d prefer to have a more balanced roster on this small slate.

I won’t completely fade Russ, but for this lineup I’ll try to build a winner without him. That starts with Kemba, who is at home against a bad Nets team. It’s always fun to target players against Brooklyn, as the Nets play fast and don’t defend.

This game has a reasonable -7.5 spread per BetOnline and also has a nice 216 Total, so there is a decent chance this game is competitive and high-scoring. That sounds good to me, especially since Walker dropped 47 fantasy points the last time he faced the Nets.

The only real risk here is a blowout, as Walker has been in a nice groove (43+ fantasy points in three of his last five games) and obviously has a killer matchup. He’s priced a bit higher than I normally stomach, but that may be what makes him such a great tourney play.

With Russ and Stephen Curry both on this slate, Walker could be at low ownership. I like him regardless, but anytime you can get a guy with 50+ fantasy point upside and leverage him against the field, it’s a fine route to take.

PG: Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics ($8.5k)

There are a few point guards to look at tonight, but there aren’t any elite point guard values that are screaming my name. I do have interest in paying up for Russ and I actually think Curry could be a bit contrarian against the Spurs. I’d just rather drop down to Irving, though, as he gets a nice matchup in Minnesota against a shaky Timberwolves defense.

There is no Jimmy Butler (knee) in this game, so Irving (42 fantasy points in the first meeting) could be free to roam in this one. He’s coming off of a knee injury, too, so there is again a chance other DFS players will shy away from this option.

SG: Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns ($8.2k)

Booker destroyed OKC’s soul (61 fantasy points) just a few games ago, so he’s obviously going to be on everyone’s radar. He is the most expensive shooting guard and this is not a stacked position, so throw in a matchup he’s had success in and a palatable price tag, and I bet he’s really high owned.

That could build a strong case for fading Booker, especially if OKC is going to run away in this one (-10 favorites). The Thunder are notorious for letting weaker teams hang with them, though, so I actually think you could get a closer and high-scoring game. Booker could excel either way and while fading him isn’t a terrible idea, it’s just not something I really want to do.

SG: Nicolas Batum – Charlotte Hornets ($7.3k)

The main reason I don’t want to go away from Devin is the fact that SG is not loaded. It’s so weak, in fact, that I’m using an inflated Batum. I never love using Batum, as he is not a very reliable scorer and really needs to bring it in the peripherals game to pay off.

Luckily that is exactly what he’s been doing, as Batum is taking on a lot of playmaking duties (nine straight games with seven or more assists). Against the Nets in what should be a fast-paced contest, I have to think he gets his hands on all kinds of stats. I hate the price, but hopefully that actually lowers his ownership.

SF: Nemanja Bjelica – Minnesota Timberwolves ($5.3k)

Small forward is garbage tonight. I feel forced to use Kevin Durant and/or Paul George, but I stand defiant in the face of the daily fantasy basketball gods. I’m sorry, but KD does not have an amazing matchup and while PG-13 does, his game with the Suns could end early.

These guys are not really worth paying up for in my mind, so I’m looking for value at SF tonight. Bjelica is not a great play on paper based on a matchup with Boston’s stingy defense, but with no Jimmy Butler, he’s logging a ton of minutes.

Volume and floor time takes care of things more often than not, while Boston is going to be far more worried about stopping the likes of KAT, Jeff Teague and Andrew Wiggins. I wish Bjelica were a little cheaper, but I’m paying for a concrete role at a bad position.

SF: Allen Crabbe – Brooklyn Nets (4.8k)

I’m really hoping something crazy opens up at SF tonight. I’m probably off of Justise Winslow with Wayne Ellington due back tonight, so if there is a really cheap small forward option that opens up, I’ll consider it.

Crabbe is a fine option for now, as he still gets 28+ minutes and can always pop off from the outside. I do worry about the Nets on the road against a capable Hornets defense, though, so this is more about needing value at SF, rather than a ringing endorsement for Crabbe. He could be fine here, but if something better opens up, I’d be all ears.

PF: Taj Gibson – Minnesota Timberwolves ($5.6k)

Gibson is another guy that rarely gets me excited, but he plays a ton and can always rack up enough stats to post a quiet double-double. Gibson isn’t in a dream spot against a tough Celtics defense, but Boston excels on the outside. They actually got destroyed on the glass by KAT earlier this year, so there’s a window for Gibson to do some damage inside.

Again, this is more about the savings that suggesting Gibson is some elite play. He’s a decent price given his run and ability to rack up points and rebounds, but this obviously isn’t an amazing situation. That being said, PF is pretty weak tonight, so it really isn’t a spot I feel inclined to spend money at.

PF: Marvin Williams – Charlotte Hornets ($4.1k)

Due to power forward being a little shaky, I’ll again pay down at the other PF slot. I can do that with Marvin Williams, who is very cheap despite getting a nice matchup against the Nets. Pace and matchup work for Williams, who still starts and logs 20+ minutes a game.

I’d like a better role usually, but anytime a guy is cheap and gets the Nets, you have to consider it. I’m looking for savings with upside and while Marv is a true GPP dart, he’s a viable one.

C: Hassan Whiteside – Miami Heat ($7k)

Center is pretty loaded tonight, as you can make a strong case for Joel Embiid, KAT, Dwight Howard and even Steven Adams. If I’m dropping down to that price range though, I prefer the upside associated with Hassan Whiteside.

Effort and minutes are always an issue for Whiteside, but he’s had words with Embiid in the past and will be needed for his defense in this one. He thrived in this very matchup recently, dropping a sick 15-11-3-3-3 line in Philly. I don’t demand that again, but anytime Whiteside is going to be motivated and handed good run (33 minutes in that contest), he’s worth a shot.

After considering all of that, Whiteside feels like one of the top value plays on the board at just $7k. He’s a core GPP play for me tonight and helps me open things up elsewhere.

Overall, I’m going fairly balanced tonight and only taking a couple of chances at positions I think are weak. That has me paying up at PG, SG and C and paying down at SF and PF. If you disagree with that strategy or want KAT, Russ, Embiid or whoever else, adjust as needed. Whatever you do, hopefully my picks help you to some extent and I wish you luck in your NBA DFS contests tonight!

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