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NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 3/16/17

Just because it's March Madness doesn't mean there isn't NBA DFS to play. Who should you be targeting tonight?

If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. The NBA scene changes hugely on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and depending on injury news, even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer and a handful of other awesome tools to help give you an edge.

We'll also be coming at you with a primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each price point.

Let's take a look at who you should target on today's slate.

Best of the Best

Russell Westbrook (FanDuel Price: $13,500) - Westbrook is not cheap, but that's not exactly a new development. Shocker: we see him outscoring everyone else on the slate tonight. He's projected for 58.6 FanDuel points, making him one of just two players projected for more than 42. We actually project him for a triple-double, too: 31.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 10.7 assists. The Toronto Raptors are 29th in pace and 8th in defensive rating since the All-Star break, but there's no matchup tough enough to take Westbrook completely off the radar.

LeBron James ($10,500) - Speaking of tough matchups, James hosts the Utah Jazz, who are 11th in defensive rating and 27th in pace since the break. Still, Kevin Love won't return until at least Saturday, and James uses 31.2% of the team's possessions without Love on the court, per NBAWowy. He also averages an astounding 1.37 FanDuel points per minute in that split. James is projected for 47.9 fantasy points tonight.

Chris Paul ($9,800) - There are few great high-priced options tonight, as Westbrook and James have matchup concerns. Paul gets a dream opponent, the Denver Nuggets, who are the second-best point guard matchup in the NBA on a per-48-minute basis. Oh, and Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are out tonight. Paul's usage rate without them on the court is a head-scratching 16.7%, but that's over just 117 possessions. On the flip side, he averages 1.44 FanDuel points per minute in that split. It's a little hard to trust the minutes, but if he gets a full game in, he should post a big game.

Mid-Range Options

Paul Millsap ($7,600) - Millsap draws the Memphis Grizzlies, who are usually a stingy defense and one to avoid, but they have ranked 29th in defensive rating since the All-Star break. They're still 26th in pace, so that hurts, but Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks could be an interesting team to stack on a short slate, given how Memphis has played on defense recently. As for Millsap, he has poured in at least 30 FanDuel points in eight of his past nine games, giving him a floor. And his all-around game always gives him upside.

Brook Lopez ($7,000) - Center is always a unique position on FanDuel, and that's especially true today. Four options cost exactly $7,700, and nobody costs more tonight. The Brooklyn Nets, though, are just 4-point underdogs at the New York Knicks in a game with an over/under of 221.5, a matchup that bodes well for Lopez. Our algorithms project him for 33.7 FanDuel points, 4.81 per $1,000. You can also consider Trevor Booker ($5,100) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($4,400) in this one, too.

Will Barton ($5,300) - Barton and the Nuggets are also great sources of value, as they have an implied total of 113, second-highest on the night. Barton's minutes have been an issue, but he played 30 against the Los Angeles Lakers in his last game, totaling 33.4 FanDuel points. Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are out tonight, so Barton's minutes should be reliable.

Basement Ballers

Marreese Speights ($3,500), Jamal Crawford ($4,000), Austin Rivers ($4,400), and J.J. Redick ($4,000) - Without Griffin and Jordan on the court, Speights carries a 24.2% usage rate and averages 1.04 FanDuel points per minute. Crawford sits at 23.6% and 0.76, respectively. Redick maintains averages of 10.2% and 0.51, though he has 192 possessions in this split compared to 1,500-plus for Speights and Crawford. The Clippers need bodies in this game, and these guys open up a lot of salary.

JaMychal Green ($3,900) - With Speights and Green, you could conceivably punt at power forward tonight. We project Green for 5.00 FanDuel points per $1,000. He hasn't hit 30 minutes in his past nine games, but he's in a pace-up game against the Hawks.

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