5 Daily Fantasy Basketball Value Plays for 3/31/16
One of the keys to finding success in daily fantasy basketball is uncovering potential value plays. If you're looking to roster a stud player or two, you'll need to find one of these lower-priced options to squeeze everyone into your lineup.
Let's take a look at three guys who can help fill the gaps in your lineup tonight. Of course, remember to check our projections closer to tip because so much can change in the NBA throughout the day.
Elfrid Payton, PG, Orlando Magic
FanDuel Price: $5,900
Elfrid Payton has been doing it all for the Magic recently, averaging 15 points, 9.8 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 37.4 FanDuel points over his past four games.
Two of those performances have come with Victor Oladipo out of the lineup, but that shouldn't scare you off of Payton at this price. In fact, Payton has averaged 43 FanDuel points in his past two games with Oladipo.
Now, Indiana does have a solid defense, so there could be merit in fading Payton in some tournament lineups. Outside of trying to be contrarian, though, Payton is simply too cheap considering his recent production.
Jamal Crawford, SG, Los Angeles Clippers
FanDuel Price: $4,700
The Clippers have already went on record to say that in addition to the absence of Blake Griffin and Paul Pierce, they will be without Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, and DeAndre Jordan for tonight's matchup against the Thunder.
As a result, Jamal Crawford will be the only remaining Clipper who has averaged over 12 points per game this year. It's safe to say that if Los Angeles is going to come close to the 103 points Vegas has them projected for, Crawford is going to be a big part of it.
Per NBAwowy.com, Crawford has seen his Usage Rate spike from 24.2 percent to 29.5 percent without Griffin, Paul, Jordan, Redick, and Pierce. He has also averaged 0.83 FanDuel points per minute without them, as opposed to 0.75 with them.
Crawford will draw an uptempo matchup against Oklahoma City, who has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards. Through pure volume alone, it will be hard for Crawford to not reach value at this price. He will likely be the most popular play on the slate.
Jason Smith, PF, Orlando Magic
FanDuel Price: $4,100
Unlike the majority of the value plays today, Jason Smith is not a glaring value just staring you in the face. He's been solid in an expanded role with Nikola Vucevic sidelined -- averaging 21.2 FanDuel points in 20.8 minutes over his past nine games -- but that doesn't grab your attention, especially with so many awesome value plays available. The case for Smith requires digging into the stats a little deeper.
The Pacers have been decent against bigs this season but have struggled to defend the pick and roll. Guess who has led the Magic in points out of the pick and roll this season? You'd want to say Vucevic, but it has actually been Smith who has been clearly their best option all season long.
Smith has scored 44.3 percent of his total points while operating as the roll man in the pick and roll. To put that in perspective, the next highest percentage among players with over 150 pick and roll points is Serge Ibaka, who has scored 28.1 percent of his points as the roll man.
To add some validity to how well this matchup fits, Smith has averaged 1.35 FanDuel points per minute in two previous meetings with Indiana on 53.8 percent shooting. If Smith gets hot early, Orlando could ride him to a big night.
I wouldn't touch him in cash with all the available values. But he is interesting in tournaments, while others will be on Andrew Nicholson among Orlando power forwards.
Alexis Ajinca, C, New Orleans Pelicans
FanDuel Price: $3,900
Alexis Ajinca has stepped into a larger role with New Orleans decimated by injuries and has been productive. Over his past four games, the big man has averaged 25.2 FanDuel points in 28.8 minutes per game.
He was able to post 18 points and 9 rebounds last night in a tough matchup against San Antonio and should find things much easier tonight against a weak Denver interior defense. The Nuggets rank 24th in Defensive Efficiency and are also the most frequently blocked team in the NBA.
If choosing between Ajinca and Cole Aldrich, I prefer Aldrich's upside. Ajinca will likely be lower owned, though, and makes for an interesting pivot off of the minimum-priced Aldrich.
Cole Aldrich, C, Los Angeles Clippers
FanDuel Price: $3,500
Similar to Crawford, Cole Aldrich will be thrust into a major role tonight with the unavailable Clippers.
Aldrich has shown he can be productive when given minutes, averaging 1.12 FanDuel points per minute on the season, which is actually more than starting center DeAndre Jordan has averaged. Over the past two seasons, Aldrich has averaged 30.4 FanDuel points in 18 games he has seen at least 20 minutes of playing time.
He draws a very tough matchup against the Thunder, who have defended the center position excellently this season. Unless more value plays open up as the day goes on, though, it is going to be very hard to fade a player who could easily go for 10 times value (10 fantasy points per $1,000 in salary).