NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 4/18/16
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
James Harden ($10,300) - After a horribly disappointing Game 1 performance, Harden may see lower ownership tonight. With Stephen Curry questionable for tonight's game, the Rockets should be able to keep it more competitive, though, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Harden bounce back in a big way. A look at Harden's game log against Golden State over the past two regular seasons shows some inconsistency, but he does have three games of 50-plus FanDuel points during that span. A look at Harden's performance in last year's playoff matchup with Golden State offers reason for optimism, too, as he averaged 48.8 FanDuel points and 39.7 minutes in five games.
Paul George ($9,000) - George surprised pretty much everyone and put up 54.8 FanDuel points against Toronto in Game 1. He was a huge reason for Indiana's upset and is sure to be the focal point of the offense again tonight. The matchup against Toronto is far from ideal, but with the considerable blowout concerns for both of the other games on the slate, targeting players from the Toronto-Indiana game is the safest route tonight. What better place is there to start than with the best player on either side of the ball?
Draymond Green ($8,900) - Assuming Curry sits out tonight, Green is in position to put up some huge numbers. Per Statmuse.com, Green has averaged 44 FanDuel points in the three games Curry has missed this season. In those games, the offense ran through Green, as evidenced by the near triple-double that he averaged (12 points, 12 rebounds, 9.7 assists). One of those games came against the Rockets, in which Green put up a triple-double and 53.2 FanDuel points. Per NBAwowy.com, Green averaged 1.30 FanDuel points per minute with Curry off the floor this season, as opposed to 1.11 with him. Green played 37.3 minutes per game in the playoffs last season, and he played 33 in a complete blowout in Game 1, so we should be safe penciling him in for at least 35 minutes tonight. If he averages 1.30 FanDuel points per minute in 35 minutes of court time, he can be projected for 45.5 FanDuel points. Considering he is playing the Rockets, who gave up the second-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards this season, he has the upside to average even more than 1.30 FanDuel points per minute.
Top Mid-Range Values
Jonas Valanciunas ($6,100) - Valanciunas played the Pacers twice this regular season. In the most recent game, he was limited to just 21 minutes as Toronto attempted to keep their starters fresh down the stretch. However, in the first game Valanciunas absolutely dominated Indiana, putting up 21 points and 15 rebounds on his way to 39 FanDuel points. In both games, he shot over 70 percent. In Game 1, he looked a lot more like the beast that Indiana saw the first time they encountered, as he nearly had a double-double after the end of the first quarter and had grabbed 15 boards by half time. He ended the game with 12 points, 19 rebounds, and 36.8 FanDuel points in just 21 minutes. Assuming he can stay out of foul trouble in Game 2, he should be set to crush value against a small Indiana frontcourt that simply can't handle his physicality.
Raymond Felton ($4,700) - With Jose Juan Barea out and Deron Williams questionable, Felton will likely be the most popular play of the day -- and for good reason. He is going to be asked to play as many minutes as possible and will have to carry the Mavericks' offense if they are going to have any chance at winning this game. Per NBAwowy.com, Felton has seen his FanDuel points per minute rise from 0.71 to 0.79 with Barea, Williams, Chandler Parsons, and David Lee off the court. With the minutes he is projected to receive, it's hard to consider fading Felton at this price against a Thunder team that struggled to defend guards this season.
Enes Kanter ($4,600) - If you can't quite fit Valanciunas into your lineups, Kanter makes for a high-upside, salary-saving option for tournaments. The volatile big man was able to double-double in 24 minutes against Dallas in Game 1, totaling 31.1 FanDuel points. It's hard to tell if he was given more minutes than starter Steven Adams due to the blowout or if it will be a trend in this series, as Dallas really doesn't have a dependable scoring option at center. Either way, this game has a high chance of becoming a blow out with all of the injuries Dallas is dealing with, and Kanter should see plenty of minutes as a result. He's likely too risky for use in cash game formats, but his risk/reward style suits tournament formats well.
Justin Anderson ($3,800) - The youngster looked intimidated in his first playoff game but looked much more aggressive in the second half. Heading into Game 2, he is going to be expected to take on a bigger role as Dallas deals with injuries. He showed some promise down the stretch of the regular season, topping 20 FanDuel points in five of his last nine games, including a 37-FanDuel-point performance in which he double-doubled and played 38 minutes. Coach Rick Carlisle has hinted that Anderson will play a bigger role tonight. He's far from a safe play but is an interesting tournament dart throw.
Andre Iguodala ($3,700) - Iggy was disappointing in Game 1, as he wasn't required to play aggressively due to the blowout nature of the game. If Curry has to sit tonight, Iguodala will take on a larger role, and the game will be more competitive. He averaged 31.1 minutes and 29.3 FanDuel points in three regular season games against Houston, which isn't surprising considering they allowed the most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season. It's also worth noting that Iguodala averaged 26.6 FanDuel points without Curry this season.
Shaun Livingston ($3,500) - If Curry is ruled out, Livingston will more than likely be inserted into the starting lineup. In three previous games without Curry, Livingston averaged 22.1 FanDuel points. One of those games was against Houston, in which Livingston put up 29.3 FanDuel points. He doesn't have huge upside, but if you can get 25 FanDuel points from a minimum-salary player during the playoffs, you'll be in very good shape.