NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 4/3/18
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 ton of other great resources to help give you an edge.
Here, we'll put all of that together and take a look at who you should target on today's slate.
Best of the Best
Russell Westbrook ($11,700): As 4.5-point favorites over Golden State, the Thunder's implied total of 112.75 points is Tuesday night's second-highest mark. The Warriors rank top-five in defensive rating on the season, but playing shorthanded they have fallen to 12th over the past month. They are starting to get healthy, but continuing to start Quinn Cook at the point (Cook ranks 78th among 103 players at the position in ESPN's defensive real plus-minus metric) will present a plus matchup for Westbrook. He has been on a tear recently, turning 37.8 minutes into 58.1 FanDuel points per game over his last seven, and he's not likely to slow down tonight.
Kevin Durant ($10,700): Included in Golden State's injury woes is that Stephen Curry (knee) won't be back during the regular season. But that points directly to Durant. Durant has posted some extreme splits with Curry on and off the floor this season, going from a 26.6% usage rate, 21.7% assist rate and 1.29 FanDuel points per minute with Curry to a 33.9% usage rate, 28.0% assist rate and 1.49 FanDuel points per minute without Curry. He's averaging 51.6 FanDuel points per game over 20 contests sans Curry this year, and even in a tough matchup against his former team, his huge offensive workload and elite production leave him well under-priced here.
Damian Lillard ($9,700):The Portland Trail Blazers have leaned heavily on Dame as they look to hang on to the number-3 seed in the West. They have played him at least 38 minutes in four of his last five games, averaging 38.0 minutes and 49.9 FanDuel points per game in that stretch. And that's despite two of those games coming against teams that allow bottom-10 fantasy production at the point. He finds himself in a much more favorable spot tonight, taking on a Dallas Mavericks squad that has allowed the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing point guards on the year. Lillard should have no trouble turning his workload into a strong fantasy performance.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($6,100): The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be incredibly short-handed due to injuries. Brandon Ingram (concussion) is once again on the shelf, while Lonzo Ball (knee) is doubtful on Tuesday. Caldwell-Pope has played 13 games without Ingram since the All-Star break, seeing a massive 39.2 minutes per game. He has averaged a tame 28.7 FanDuel points per game in that stretch, but Ball's absence makes things really interesting. KCP has a mediocre 16.8% usage rate with Ingram off the floor this season, but playing without both Ingram and Ball on Sunday, he posted a solid 23.4% usage rate in 39.5 minutes of action. Utah makes for a gross matchup, but it's rare you find someone as close to a lock for 39-plus minutes as KCP is tonight, and that makes him easy to like at this price-point.
Robert Covington ($6,100): Another team that will be fairly thin today, Philadelphia is without both Joel Embiid (face) and Dario Saric (elbow) in the frontcourt. With those two both out on Sunday, Covington played 33.5 minutes and led the team with a 29.2% usage rate. He got up 21 field goal attempts, including nine from 3-point range. He has seen his usage rate highly dependent on Embiid's presence all year -- going from 14.6% when he's on the court to 20.6% with Embiid off -- and he should continue to see a big workload while remaining a safe bet for big minutes. That should mean especially big things against the Brooklyn Nets, who rank 27th in both defensive rating and rebound rate over the past month.
Tyler Ulis ($4,900): Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Elfrid Payton have all missed the last three games for Phoenix, and the game notes for tonight list Booker and Payton as questionable with Warren considered doubtful. The Suns are fully committed to tanking, having lost 24 of their last 26 games, so they're not likely to bring those guys back until they are 100% healthy. At point guard, Ulis has started each of the last three games without the trio, and his workload has been really strong during that stretch. He has turned 38.5 minutes into 32.7 FanDuel points per game, and his price-tag hasn't climbed nearly high enough to reflect that. If he starts again tonight, he's a great bet to see north of 36 minutes, and that would make him a very safe value option.
Amir Johnson ($4,600): Returning to the Philly frontcourt, Johnson has started the last two games in place of Embiid, and he played a season-high 30.5 minutes with both Embiid and Saric out in the team's last game. Averaging 0.83 FanDuel points per minute, Johnson is a reasonably efficient fantasy producer for a guy under $5,000, and with the Nets' struggling with both defense and rebounding recently (as well as allowing the most FanDuel points per game to opposing centers), a big workload provides Johnson a strong floor and ceiling tonight.
Alex Caruso ($3,500): Caruso has played 30.8 and 29.8 minutes in his last two games, and with Ball doubtful, he should once again play right around 30 tonight. His 0.65 FanDuel points per minute are ugly -- especially against Utah, tonight's opponent -- but a starting point guard playing around 30 minutes and listed at minimum salary is a valuable situation in most cases. The context of this slate makes that especially true, with a fair number of appealing top-priced plays and less value in the mid-range. As a minimum-salary punt, Caruso is especially useful.
Ivica Zubac ($3,500): In addition to being thin in the backcourt, the Lakers could also be limited in the frontcourt, with Brook Lopez (back) being listed as questionable. If he can't go, Zubac should inherit a bigger role against the Jazz. He played a decent number of minutes (18.1) on Sunday, and that was a contest in which Lopez played nearly 26. His 0.82 FanDuel points per minute are a lot for a guy priced at the minimum, and even if we account for a drop in efficiency against an elite defender in Rudy Gobert, it isn't enough to push him out of consideration as a high-upside punt if Lopez sits.
Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.
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