Best NBA DFS FantasyDraft, FanDuel and DraftKings Picks & Tips – 2/26/17

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


Russell Westbrook (23000/12800/12900) – The point guard position actually boils down to only three guys for me today, and there is very little chance that I’m going outside of those guys. First is Russell Westbrook. Yes, he is expensive. He needs near 70 points to make value. That’s insane, I don’t disagree. Where else are you going to get it though? Even if he only hits 55 (it’s crazy that we are saying only 55), there is a chance that no one else at the position can get there. I’m going to use a fair share of him, as are most of the people who will be playing tonight. If he has one of his monster games and you don’t have ownership on him, you are totally, completely and fatally done for the night.

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum

Apr 27, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) and guard Damian Lillard (0) high five after a basket against the Memphis Grizzlies during the fourth quarter in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard (15700/8300/8500) – I am going to be treating this slate as if Kyle Lowry will not be playing. If he’s not, that will put Cory Joseph in the start point guard position, and that means good things for both the fantasy value of Joseph as well as the value of Lillard. There is nothing that Joseph will be able to do to keep Lillard in check, and the upside for Lillard in this game is going to be well over 50. He might be the only reason I would pull my Russell Westbrook ownership back a bit. I am expecting big things out of Lillard tonight.

Cory Joseph (8800/4200/4500) – I mentioned Cory Joseph already, so I guess the cat is probably out of the bag when it comes to who my third point guard is going to be. He had probably his worst game as a starter the other night, and still had over 20 fantasy points. His price has come up a bit here, but we’ve seen him put together some pretty big games as a starter. I am confident that he will still be able to put up a game over 5x value at this price, so there is no concern on my end about his price increase. He’s going to be very highly owned for sure.


DeMar DeRozan (16300/8800/6600) – DeRozan is a pretty obvious play here, but his price is far too low for a situation where he is going to be the singular focus of this offense. He should be priced around $10k based on everything that will be going in his favor tonight. I’m going to have across the board ownership on him tonight, and really, nothing more needs to be said. As long as Kyle Lowry is out, DeRozan is a must play in all formats.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (11200/5300/5600) – KCP was in our breakdown the last time he played, with the specific analysis that he’s much better than the scrub he looked like down the stretch to the All-Star Game. Well, 50+ fantasy points later, he proved us right. There is no reason we should look to avoid him tonight, either. Boston is not a team that we should shy away from playing against because they seem to singularly be focused on offense at this point. I think KCP is a good bet to break the 25 point mark tonight, which is why you are going to find him here, and he as well will be very popular as a result of what he did the last time he played.

Alex Albrines (7000/3600/3500) – Albrines is in an interesting situation here. It sounded like Victor Oladipo wasn’t doing too good in practice yesterday, so that makes me believe that he won’t play. Albrines looked pretty good against the Lakers, and gets another plus matchup tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans. I don’t see any reason why we won’t see Albrines crack the 20 fantasy point mark yet again. The Pelicans are playing with guys like Jarrett Jack, Hollis Thompson and Tim Frazier that just haven’t been playing much at all [and in Jack’s case, all year], so I think he should be able to come through with a nice outing.


Gordon Hayward (13800/7800/7500) – When I first looked at this slate, I didn’t think it looked too bad. Three positions in, and I’ve been having trouble finding three guys that I actually am not scared of playing. Hayward looked very good against Milwaukee on Friday night, and I am fine with going back to the well as the Jazz will be taking on the Wizards today. The Wizards can give up some pretty big games, and I think this game flow will benefit Hayward’s style quite well. He should be a fair bet to crack 40 points tonight, so he’ll be my staple at the position.

PJ Tucker

P.J. Tucker (9100/4700/4600) – Tucker made an immediate impact in his first game with the Raptors on Friday with Kyle Lowry out, and there is no reason the same thing shouldn’t happen now. He can basically act as the sixth man with Cory Joseph in the starting unit, and he can do well handling the ball, as well as compiling all sorts of stats. I think he’s a high upside play at his price, and I think seeing him approaching 25 points isn’t out of the question. That fact alone makes him a great play today.

Vince Carter (7700/3600/3900) – Last up at the position, we’ll head to Memphis to talk about Vince Carter going up against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets haven’t looked very good coming out of the All-Star Break, and I think we could very well end up seeing a nice game from some of the Grizzlies bench players. Carter has actually been pretty clutch off the bench, putting up games in the early 20’s often enough that it is worth looking his way in tournaments tonight. I think the upside is there, but admittedly, it’s just not very much.


Anthony Davis (17600/9700/9500) – It’s always tough to look past Anthony Davis when his price is under $10k, and that is exactly where we are at tonight. The arrangement with he and DeMarcus is going to be tough, as we’ve seen them trade big games so far. I’m thinking that this one is going to be spit down the middle, and I could see both of these guys finishing with around 50 points. I’ll take the upside with Davis here and make sure my lineups are full of him tonight.

Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin (15900/9500/8600) – I can’t help but look at Griffin against Charlotte and just laugh. Things were horrible for the Clippers coming out of the All-Star Break, with their first two games being against Golden State and San Antonio, the top two teams in the West. Now, they get a sweet matchup at home against the Hornets and the absolutely nobody that they can put on him. I suspect we could see him come through here with a 50+ point outing, making him one of my top overall plays of the day. It will be good to see him in a matchup that he should dominate.

Derrick Favors (10100/5000/5100) – Favors is not at all consistent, so he’s got that going against him. This has been a worst case scenario for both Favors and his fantasy owners, as this was a guy that routinely sat between $6.5k and $7.5k over the last few years. I am still a believer that he could end up being a strong finisher, and it will be as a result of games like this. Washington makes a great team to target, as I think he could end up bullying Markieff Morris around quite a bit. The price is favorable, so I’ll continue to run him out as long as he’s producing at least most of the time.


DeMarcus Cousins (18800/10000/10500) – Cousins and Davis at this price just seems to be a steal to me. I know they are going to affect each other’s output, but I’d have to believe that it’s going to level out. I’m going to continue to roll them both out together quite a bit until their prices go up, or their production drops, which I don’t think is going to happen. The only downside here is that I could see saving the money on the other two players at the position who could end up coming through with better point per dollar results. I’ll leave the decision up to your tastes.

Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies

November 30, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) shoots the basketball against Sacramento Kings forward Reggie Evans (30) during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Kings 97-85. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Gasol (14600/8400/7900) – Gasol finds himself in a really good position tonight against Denver, who appears to be regressing back to their norm of defensive liability + offensive complications. Gasol should take advantage of Jokic, taking him out of the game early, before moving on to Mason Plumlee who is not a known defensive player. I could see Gasol breaking the 50 point mark if everything works out right, and he has a really good floor for cash games as well. This is a great situation to use him, and he typically doesn’t see a ton of ownership.

Frank Kaminsky (12400/5900/6500) – Kaminsky is just a monster right now, and he really is going to make things very, very difficult on the Clipper tonight. DeAndre Jordan might be intimidating and dunk pretty, but he’s not as athletic in terms of quickness as Kaminsky, and it’s going to be a disaster when Kaminsky heads to the three point line. I would expect Frank the Tank to be able to come through with another 30+ point outing, with the upside of 40 points being a very real possibility.

Slate Strategy

As long as Kyle Lowry is out, I think the pretty clear route to go is dropping DeMar DeRozan and Cory Joseph into your lineups to start. Both of those guys are likely to exceed their value tonight pretty significantly, especially Joseph. I’m banking on 50 from DeRozan tonight and 30 on Joseph. 80ish points for around $13k is good return on your investment, so look to start that way.

After that, I feel like the duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are interesting. I don’t blame you if you want to run with one over just using both, especially with some good value available at center with Frank Kaminsky. After analyzing things a bit further, I could see running Davis over Cousins, and dropping in Kaminsky to really let you get some good value there, and not becoming too dependent on one team.

After that, I think there are some good options with guys like Lillard and McCollum, KCP and P.J. Tucker all looking like fair plays in terms of value per dollar. More than most other nights, I think the biggest piece of advice here would be just to pick one core group of guys and roll with different permutations.

Situations to Monitor

Denver – Kenneth Faried is questionable for the game with the Grizzlies. If he misses, Mason Plumlee and Darrell Arthur stand to benefit.

Toronto – It doesn’t look like Kyle Lowry is going to be playing, but just check the news wire to make sure.

Boston – Avery Bradley did travel with the team, so there is a chance that he could end up playing on Sunday, which would shake things up quite a bit.

Oklahoma City – Victor Oladipo is questionable for this game, which would be a bump to Alex Abrines, who is coming off a pretty nice game.

Other Options

PG – Mike Conley, Ish Smith

SG – C.J. McCollum, Gary Harris

SF – Marcus Morris, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

PF – Serge Ibaka, Tobias Harris

C – Jusuf Nurkic

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