NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 4/17/16
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
Chris Paul ($9,500) - Sure, Paul's price is inflated due to Blake Griffin missing most of the season, but that doesn't change the fact that he owns Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. Paul has averaged 54 FanDuel points in the six games he has played at least 30 minutes against the Blazers over the past two seasons. Paul has also been a monster in the postseason for the Clippers, averaging 42.7 FanDuel points and 36.7 minutes in 25 playoff games over the past two seasons. He should have no problem putting up big numbers against Portland, who gave up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season.
Kawhi Leonard ($8,900) - Leonard has been well rested down the stretch to prepare him to play 35-plus minutes per game this postseason, just as he did last year. Leonard led San Antonio's starters with 1.15 FanDuel points per minute this season, and should have no problem reaching value in an expanded role against a depleted Memphis team. In two games against the Grizzlies this season, Leonard piled up 80 FanDuel points.
Hassan Whiteside ($8,700) - Whiteside has been reinserted into the starting lineup for Miami as they attempt to make a playoff run, and should see more secure minutes as a result. Per NBAwowy.com, Whiteside has averaged a robust 1.50 FanDuel points per minute with the current Heat starting lineup this season. He should be able to dominate this matchup, too, as Charlotte has nobody who can match his length and athleticism. Charlotte has also been an average team on the glass this season, ranking 16th in Rebounding Rate. What is most exciting for Whiteside's prospects is that Charlotte has struggled to defend the pick and roll this season, allowing the seventh-most points to opposing roll-men. Whiteside has the second-most points as the roll-man among any player in the playoffs and shot a ridiculous 70 percent out of the pick and roll. This slate is full of slow-paced teams with elite defenses, so this is as good of a matchup as you are going to get. Spend your money on Whiteside today, and save elsewhere.
Top Mid-Range Values
Zach Randolph ($7,200) - Randolph was limited to about 30 minutes per game down the stretch for Memphis in an attempt to keep him fresh for the playoffs, but he should see more court time tonight as the Grizzlies attempt to pull off the improbable upset. Randolph flashed some upside down the stretch, topping 35 FanDuel points in three of his final seven games. He only played San Antonio once this season, but he did well against them last season, averaging 34.6 FanDuel points in three meetings. He also fared well when facing LaMarcus Aldridge last year, averaging 31.5 in three games against him. Marc Gasol played in each of those games, too. Randolph will be the center of Memphis' offense tonight, and is worth some tournament exposure, as he'll likely carry low ownership.
Nicolas Batum ($7,000) - Batum saw limited minutes down the stretch while nursing an ankle injury, but he insists he is healthy and ready to go for Game 1 against Miami. Assuming he's healthy, Batum could be a nice mid-range source of production, as he averaged 38 FanDuel points in his past three games against Miami. The Heat aren't generally thought of as a team to target, but they were just average against small forwards this year, allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to the position. Batum is an interesting tournament target tonight if you are comfortable fading LeBron James and/or Kawhi Leonard.
Reggie Jackson ($6,500) - Jackson sat out Detroit's final two games with an abdomen injury, but the guard appears to be full strength heading into today's matchup with the Cavs. Jackson was in playoff form prior to his injury, averaging 35 FanDuel points in his final five games of the season. He looks to carry that momentum into tonight's matchup against Kyrie Irving, who is possibly the worst defensive point guard in the playoffs. Despite having a stellar team defense, Cleveland gave up the 13th-most fantasy points to opposing point guards -- largely thanks to Irving, who ranked 80th among 85 point guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. In three games against Cleveland this season, Jackson has averaged 34.4 FanDuel points. If you are comfortable with his health heading into this matchup, he is one of the best points per dollar tournament plays on the board.
Tim Duncan ($5,500) - You should know the drill by now. Duncan plays very limited minutes during the regular season and then comes on strong in the playoffs. Last year, he went from 13.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 28.9 minutes per game during the regular season to 17.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 35.7 minutes per game in the playoffs. He's averaged just 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 25.2 minutes in the regular season this year, and the Spurs have LaMarcus Aldridge now, so he probably won't see quite the boost he did last year, but he should still see enough minutes to easily reach value at this price.
Jamal Crawford ($4,300) - Crawford was able to play a big role for the Clippers down the stretch with several starters resting, and he was able to put up some big performances -- topping 25 FanDuel points in four of his final five games and reaching 45 in two. He should have plenty of confidence heading into tonight's matchup, and he comes at quite the discount. He is also one of the few players who is in a good spot tonight, as the Clippers have the highest team total of the day and Portland has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards. Rostering Crawford is a great way to get exposure to this high total at a low cost, while fitting in some of the elite options.
Ed Davis ($4,000) - This is far from a safe play, because bench players generally see their minutes restricted in the playoffs. However, Davis has seen a big role against Los Angeles this season, and could see big minutes if they need his energy and physicality to match Blake Griffin. Davis averaged 30.4 FanDuel points in four games against Los Angeles this season and has topped 28 FanDuel points in each game. He is a very intriguing tournament play tonight.