NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday 4/16/16
If you've never played daily fantasy basketball before, it's time to start. Unlike traditional leagues, you're able to select the players you want on that specific day only, giving you a different squad to root for each and every NBA night.
Today's lineups can be found here. The information below is to help you understand why particular players are being picked, because we don't want you going into the night completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things often change up until tip-off, so make sure you're refreshing the optimal lineups as close to the start of games as possible.
Oh, and if you're interested, check out our daily fantasy basketball heat chart for today's slate. It's full of information like tonight's Vegas lines, team offensive and defensive efficiency ratings, pace, fantasy points against and so much more.
As for today's picks -- let's get to it.
The Best of the Best
Stephen Curry (FanDuel Price: $11,200) - As if he needed it, Curry draws the best matchup on the board against Houston today. This game has easily the highest over/under, and the 119 points Golden State is projected to score is 10 whole points higher than the next largest total. Curry put up 55.5 FanDuel points in the one game in which he was able to play 30-plus minutes against Houston this season, and he should be locked into 35-plus minutes tonight. In the 2015 Playoffs, Curry averaged 36.8 minutes, 31.2 points, 5.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 2 steals and 46.7 FanDuel points against Houston. Houston allowed the fifth-most points in transition this season, as well as the sixth-highest Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%). Curry is fourth in the league in transition points and should dominate this matchup tonight.
Kevin Durant ($10,600) - I'd love to be able to write up both Harden and Curry for you, but the sad reality is that it's going to be very hard to fit two studs in, let alone three with the available value plays. As a result, Durant made the cut at a slight discount and a much shallower position. Durant averaged 43.9 FanDuel points in three games against Dallas this season. Dallas allowed the eighth-most points in transition this season, as well as the eighth-highest Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) in transition. Durant finished the season seventh in transition scoring, and he should be able to take advantage of this matchup tonight. It's worth considering that Dallas doesn't have Chandler Parsons to defend Durant, leaving him to face pesky but severely undersized options. The Thunder are also projected to score 109 points, which is the second-highest total on the slate.
Paul Millsap ($8,900) - Millsap comes into this game in good form, averaging 45.8 FanDuel points over his past six games, highlighted by a 65.7 FanDuel point performance against his opponent tonight -- the Boston Celtics. Millsap has averaged 41.3 FanDuel points in four games against Boston this season, and should build on that number tonight. The Celtics struggled to defend bigs all year, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points allowed to power forwards. Draymond Green will likely be the more popular play at this price point, in a game with a much higher projected point total. Many people will be looking to punt at power forward today, too, instead choosing to load up on expensive guards. As a result, Millsap may end up being a nice contrarian option in tournaments tonight.
Top Mid-Range Values
DeMar DeRozan ($8,200) - Normally, a salary over $8,000 wouldn't be written up as a mid-range value, but compared to James Harden, who will likely be a popular option tonight, DeRozan comes in as an interesting way to save some salary -- while also being contrarian. Indiana has a tough defense, but DeRozan was able to average 38.2 FanDuel points three games against them this season. DeRozan also comes into this game very well rested, having sat out of two of the Raptors' past four games. That was by design, as he is set to take on a huge role entering the playoffs, just as he did in 2015. In Toronto's first-round matchup last year, DeRozan played 39.7 minutes per game and averaged 37.1 FanDuel points, while also leading the team in usage rate. He is a very interesting play for large-field tournaments, but one that carries considerable risk, too.
Dwight Howard ($6,900) - Howard struggled down the stretch, which means we can now get him at a discounted price tag. Howard has been a monster in the playoffs in his time with Houston, averaging 42.5 FanDuel points in 23 playoff games over the past two years. Last year, he averaged 35.1 minutes, 14.4 points, 14.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 36.1 FanDuel points in five games against Golden State in the playoffs. He averaged 43.1 FanDuel points in two games he saw over 30 minutes against Golden State this season. He is going to see a big uptick in minutes now that the playoffs are here, and he should have no problem crushing value at this price. The only question is whether or not you can fit him in your lineup with all of the appealing studs available.
Patrick Beverley ($5,000) - Beverly displayed some upside over the final three games of the season as Houston chased a playoff spot, averaging 36.1 FanDuel points in 33.7 minutes per game. He gets the Warriors tonight, who gave up the ninth most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. In two games he played at least 30 minutes against Golden State this season, Beverly averaged 25.1 FanDuel points. He is a safe bet to reach value, and has the potential to be a difference maker at such a cheap price tag.
Wesley Matthews ($5,000) - Beverly is probably a better point per dollar play at the same price, but Matthews is eligible at shooting guard, which is a much harder position to fill. Matthews played 39 minutes per game over Dallas' final seven games, and should be locked into 35-40 minutes tonight. He doesn't offer a ton of upside, but his minute load provides him with a pretty reliable floor. He averaged 25.5 FanDuel points in three games against Oklahoma City this season, and should have no problem matching that total tonight.
Amir Johnson ($4,800) - Johnson is far from a safe play, because nobody knows how Brad Stevens will handle his playoff rotation. Johnson was locked into 22 to 28 minutes for Boston down the stretch, falling in that range in seven of his past eight games. In those seven games, Johnson averaged 25 FanDuel points per game. He is the veteran among Boston's bigs, and matches up better with Atlanta's smaller bigs, so you could reasonably speculate that he could see a boost in minutes tonight. Johnson averaged 25.6 FanDuel points in four games against Atlanta this season, including a game of 36.6 and 43.6 FanDuel points. That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Atlanta ranked 28th in Rebounding Rate and struggled to defend against bigs all season. Johnson is an extreme risk/reward option tonight, and his price helps free up the salary necessary to fit in some of the elite options.
Andre Iguodala ($3,800) - It's playoff time, and in case you don't remember what that means, here are Iggy's numbers from the NBA Finals last season: 37.1 minutes, 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 32 FanDuel points per game. Iguodala almost certainly won't play 37 minutes per game in this series, but against a Houston team that likes to get out in transition and often employs a small-ball lineup, he could certainly see 30-plus minutes. He has averaged 31.1 minutes and 29.3 FanDuel points in three games against Houston this season. The Rockets are pretty easily the worst defense on this slate, and they have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season. Iguodala won't be contrarian by any means, but at his price, he is hard to fade on a slate with little value to come by.