Best NBA DFS FantasyDraft, FanDuel and DraftKings Picks & Tips – 2/15/17

Welcome to another edition of ResearchFantasy’s NBA Breakdown. These picks are what I consider to be the best play of the day, relative to their price. One of the most important things we must consider in daily fantasy is how many points a player gets per dollar. It helps us identify value plays to pair with studs that we know will produce in order to maximize our potential points in lineups. I also try to identify plays that can be used in either cash games or tournaments. Typically, when I build my cash games, I am looking for players that have the best floor combined with good upside. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know!

Pricing is FantasyDraft/FanDuel/DraftKings

POINT GUARD:

Stephen Curry (17700/2200/9600) – Let’s start out today with the one guy that many fantasy players got burned by Monday in Denver: Stephen Curry. We have to think that his performance in that game was a complete anomaly, as he is not going to throw up too many air ball threes when he’s on. The matchup here is fantastic, especially if Ty Lawson remains out. It’s not like Lawson is a stout defender or anything like that, but Darren Collison will have no choice but to play 40 minutes again, and his defense will be non-existant. Sacramento is one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to defensive efficiency, while Golden State is at the top of the league in offensive efficiency. This could certainly be a fun night for Curry, and with 14 games on the slate, you are guaranteed to get lower ownership than you normally would.

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio (13700/6800/7300) – Speaking of defensive efficiency, Denver ranks at the bottom of the list when it comes to that metric. Even though the Nuggets beat up on the Warriors on Monday, it’s not something that is likely to be consistent for them. The Warriors had chances to score but they just made many costly decisions and shot selections. If they played smarter, they would have put 130 on them. The Wolves are trending toward a top ten offense in the league, and pretty much all of the production is coming from the starting unit. Lance Stephenson left the game last night with what looked like a high ankle sprain. He was one of their ball handlers in the second unit. It might not be much, but it could give Rubio a few more minutes. This is a matchup that I can definitely see him hitting the 40 point mark.

Jameer Nelson (11900/5300/6000) – On the opposite side of the game is Jameer Nelson. Emmanuel Mudiay is highly questionable to see the floor tonight, which means Nelson should be locked in for a ton of minutes. He’s been a monster, and on sites likes FantasyDraft and FanDuel, his price hasn’t caught up to him yet. One would have to imagine the total of this game coming in around 220, and I think it will be very close as well. I don’t see any reason to go anywhere else for point guard on the two sites I mentioned, as it is going to be tough to find the type of production they bring to the table at that cost. I will most certainly have a full game stack with this game.

SHOOTING GUARD:

Giannis Antetekuonmpo (19200/10800/10800) – Giannis has put up some really bad games in recent memory, so he is very difficult for me to trust, but with this being the last big slate before the All-Star game, I will have no choice but to roll him out in some of my lineups. I’m making this out to be worse than it actually is – Brooklyn is the opponent. They play at the fastest pace in the league and they offer the third worst defensive efficiency. He’s going to get his chances. The price has come down enough that he makes you consider using him because he could end up over 60 points again and return such good value. He’s not my favorite play tonight, but he’s going to be used in a ton of my tournament lineups.

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart (11300/5800/5700) – Smart has been excellent as of late, and he gets another chance against a bad team as Boston takes on the Sixers before heading to the break. The type of game that Smart plays seems like it should lend itself to a big score here. The best part about the Sixers is that they’ve been surprisingly competitive, even with their stud center Joel Embiid not in the lineup. Smart should be a good bet to come in around the 30 point mark tonight, and there is a good shot it could be even more if he is able to rack up more steals and other complementary stats.

Nik Stauskas (7700/4100/3900) – Sauce Castillo is a thing of legends – mostly because of the time that close captioning gave him the name Sauce Castillo, instead of the given name of Nik Stauskas. That is extremely interesting to me, especially since those names sound no where like the same thing. Anyway, I think he’s worth mentioning here for all the cash game players, as he has been very consistent for the last few weeks. He has some upside, but he isn’t the type of player who is likely to explode for a monster stat line, unless his shot is falling and they just keep feeding him. Nonetheless, the price is attractive enough that in cash games it makes sense to drop him in for the production he’ll give you, and just load your lineup with stud players at other positions.

SMALL FORWARD:

Kawhi Leonard (16400/9900/8900) – For the past few nights, I have looked at Leonard, and his price, and just told myself that there is no way that he’s going to do it again. Guess what? He keeps doing it. Orlando is a dumpster fire and things won’t get better for them as a team with Serge Ibaka on the move to the Raptors. The biggest concern here is that this game could get ugly and fast. San Antonio is one of the top offensive and defensive teams in all of basketball, and Orlando has the second worst offensive efficiency and a bottom ten defensive efficiency. Like I said, I think things will be ugly enough that it puts Kawhi as a tournament only option for me at his price.

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins (14600/7900/7900) – Since Zach LaVine has been out with the torn ACL, here are the totals for Andrew Wiggins in terms of FantasyDraft points: 36.5/51.25/40/47. His price is still adjusting to his recent tick up in production, and I think this will be another great opportunity for him to come through with a monster fantasy game. Denver hasn’t been awful when it comes to defending the small forward position, but there are a lot of outside contributing factors than just shutting down small forwards. When Lance Stephenson got hurt, Wiggins was the first one off the bench and into the game. Even though he is one of the cornerstones of this team, he will be used quite often, and I think we will be looking at a huge game from him tonight.

Michael Beasley (10900/4900/5500) – Beasley is one of the top risky/reward plays of the day. He is inconsistent – let’s get that out of the way right now. He is going to have the opportunity to have big games and an increase in production with Jabari Parker out, but whether that will actually translate into meaningful production still remains to be seen. The upside is obviously there, and he’s got 8x upside on some sites for what his price sits at right now. He’s just as likely to put up 45 as he is 15, so I wouldn’t want to do anything crazy like dropping him into our cash game lineups. I think in tournaments though, in a soft matchup with the Nets, there are a ton of reasons to use him in tournaments.

POWER FORWARD:

Nikola Jokic (18300/11000/10300) – Nikola Jokic just had a triple double against the Warriors. Let’s go back to mid-October, and ask everyone if that would be possible. The answer would be a resounding no. Flash forward to February of 2017, and Jokic is putting together what will go down as one of the most legendary seasons in the history of the Nuggets. He’s one of the most amazing players I’ve ever seen and he does things that someone his size just shouldn’t be able to do. The Timberwolves are another one of my favorite teams, so this is going to be a game I pay a ton of attention to. Towns vs. Jokic should be a battle and I think that they could both end up with huge lines. Jokic has a safe floor here.

Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin (17600/9800/9500) – It is a testament to what Jokic is doing right now that Blake Griffin is sitting in the second spot in the power forward breakdowns. Griffin has been an absolute beast since coming back from his injury, and should have every chance to do it again tonight against the Hawks. I am absolutely going to fawn over anyone who puts up a 50+ fantasy point outing against one of the top defensive teams in the league in the Utah Jazz, and the Hawks have actually been really good in that respect as well. Ultimately, Blake is doing a lot of what Jokic is doing right now, meaning the ball is in their hands a lot and I think we’ll continue to see Blake go ham.

Dario Saric (11500/5300/5800) – This last spot was a really tough call for me. Channing Frye went nuts last night, and still seems underpriced in this matchup with a potentially Thad Young-less Indiana Pacers. Juancho Hernangomez should figure to see prominent minutes after his explosion, even with Mason Plumlee joining the team and Wilson Chandler possibly returning. For me, the decision to go with Dario was simpler than it should have been. He’s emerging to be one of the best players on that team, and if it wasn’t for Joel Embiid, he would be making a heck of a case for himself for Rookie of the Year honors. I think he should be able to coast past 30 points again, making him an excellent value at this price.

CENTER:

Rudy Gobert (14000/7700/7400) – Gobert had an excellent point per minute game against the Clippers on Monday night before it went out of hand and he didn’t pay over 25 minutes. Putting together 30+ fantasy points in that amount of time is really good. Gobert comes back today with another excellent matchup against Portland. This Portland team is shorthanded with Mason Plumlee being dealt, and now Al-Farouq Aminu highly unlikely to see the floor. This leaves Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh, Ed Davis and maybe Jusuf Nurkic in the frontcourt. Which one of those guys can you put on Gobert? I think he could eat all night, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him post 6-7x value on some sites.

Al Horford

Al Horford (12700/6800/6800) – Horford has seen his production decreasing over the last few games, but this is the perfect opportunity for him to get back on track. His price has come down slightly, and I think this is one of those perfect situations to attack him. With Kelly Olynyk having played so well over the last week or so, I think some eyes may come off of Horford and over on to Olynyk, and that makes this the perfect opportunity to pounce. Horford should be able to have his way with the young Sixers tonight, and makes a top option for us to use in tournaments.

Dewayne Dedmon (9100/4300/4600) – It’s always interesting to figure out when to use Dewayne Dedmon, but I think this makes an excellent time. He’s actually been pretty good over the last few weeks with Pau Gasol being out, and considering that the Magic always have a center on the floor, he should almost assuredly see minutes in the mid-20’s. I think he is a good bet for a 25 point night. For what it is worth, I actually think with Serge Ibaka leaving that Bismack Biyombo could be a good option in this game as well.

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Slate Strategy

With 14 games on the slate, and so many places to go, figuring out your strategy can be difficult. I would love to say that starting with Jokic and/or Griffin would be a great idea, except for all the sub $6k value available. I would almost certainly start off with a guy like Jameer Nelson [as long as Emmanuel Mudiay is out] just to start putting things in order. I cannot imagine him not hitting at least 30 points tonight.

In my next two spots, in tournaments at least, I am probably dropping in both Andrew Wiggins and Giannis Antetekuonmpo. I am crossing my fingers that he does disappoint us, but I think this is a friendly enough situation for him that he should be able to come through with 50 points. With all the value options out there tonight, I think we can risk him just missing necessary value tonight just so we can grab the raw points and move on.

After that? Well, that’s where the fun starts of course! There are a number of routes one can take. I think ultimately, the best option tonight is to just find the 3-5 guys you see having either the biggest nights or exceeding value the most, and pairing them with high ceiling guys. I know this sounds like the recipe for every night, and it is, but having a tight rotation of core guys tonight will be of great importance.

Situations to Monitor

Brooklyn – Yikes. There is no team I hate more than Brooklyn, mostly because of Kenny Atkinson’s highly questionable rotations. Right now, Trevor Booker is questionably against Milwaukee. Quincy Acy is already out. If Booker misses, I think Rondae Hollis-Jefferson makes a great option at his current price.

Denver – Why wouldn’t Denver be on the list? The big injured three are already out, and we are sitting with both Emmanuel Mudiay and Wilson Chandler questionable. If I had to guess, I’d say Mudiay sits and Chandler plays. If Chandler remains out, Juancho Hernangomez will be everyone’s favorite.

Portland – Al-Farouq Aminu looks to be questionable this evening, which should give Maurice Harkless a ton of minutes. Even in a poor matchup against Utah, I still think he might be worth a look.

Golden State – Klay Thompson is listed as questionable right now. This seems like a formality, though, as Thompson himself said that he will be playing.

Other Options

PG – Eric Bledsoe, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Jeff Teague, T.J. McConnell, Jamal Murray

SG – James Harden, Dion Waiters, Will Barton, Khris Middleton, Ben McLemore

SF – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Solomon Hill, Brandon Ingram

PF – Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Kaminsky, Nerlens Noel, Gorgui Dieng, Derrick Favors, Channing Frye, Juancho Hernangomez

C – DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, Greg Monroe, Bismack Biyombo

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