FanDuel NBA Plays for Monday, March 24th
by Owen O’Brien (follow Owen on Twitter @0wen0Brien)
We have reached the final four when it comes to NBA Mondays this year as the 2013-2014 NBA regular season comes to an end less than four weeks from now. I highly recommend you take advantage of that remaining opportunity to compete in the high-stakes exciting world of FanDuel NBA action before the fantasy basketball offseason arrives. To get you started sorting through all the options from tonight’s ten games, I’m here to offer you three recommended plays at each position in a variety of price ranges.
1. Chris Paul, LAC v. MIL ($9,400) – Paul has been as consistent a source of 40+ fantasy point nights as they come at point guard lately, topping the plateau five times in his last six games including a 65.3 point explosion against Detroit on Saturday. Tonight he faces a beatable Milwaukee defense whose only way to contain Paul’s scoring would be to get blown out badly enough that he sits early. Los Angeles is favored by 16 points so that’s definitely a possibility in this one, but Paul has taken on more of a scoring role for the Clippers in their last two games while still amassing impressive assist totals and should be the one setting up or doing most of the damage himself. There’s no reason he can’t find his way to another 40-45 fantasy points with upside for more if it stays closer than expected.
2. Reggie Jackson, OKC v. DEN ($5,600) – There are a few solid options in the mid-range today at point guard including Ramon Sessions and Jeremy Lin, but I like Jackson the best as he seems set to get another start in place of Russell Westbrook if the Thunder follow their recent pattern of resting their star guard in the first game of back-to-back situations. Jackson’s upside can sometimes be capped even in Westbrook’s absence with a guy like Kevin Durant dominating the court, but with Oklahoma City facing the fast-paced Denver Nuggets tonight there will be plenty of points to go around in what should be a competitive and high-scoring affair. If Westbrook does indeed sit, Jackson’s athletic and attacking style lines him up for a plus value night between 25-35 fantasy points.
3. Shaun Livingston, BKN @ NOR ($4,500) – Livingston has been a great low-priced option over the last couple of weeks putting up more than 20 fantasy points in eight straight games. His minutes have tended to fluctuate this year with the whims of Jason Kidd, but they’ve been there dependably of late with 31 or more in six of his last seven. Even when he only saw 21 minutes against Boston on Friday he still came through with a helpful 23.4 fantasy points. Livingston always seems to find a way to produce with his balanced set of offensive and defensive tools and the fact that his FanDuel price has remained depressed makes him one of the most reliable bargain values at any position right now.
1. James Harden, HOU @ CHA ($8,900) – Harden has quickly recovered from the little disappearing act he pulled over a three game stretch last week that burnt a lot of FanDuel users and rapidly brought both his price tag and ownership levels down from the sky high points they had risen to in what has been a monster season for the dynamic Rocket guard. In just 29 minutes against Cleveland on Saturday Harden accumulated 66.1 fantasy points worth of statistical gold, showing that the 72 fantasy points he put up on March 9th was no fluke. While few would argue against Harden’s stranglehold on top shooting guard honors in the NBA, he’s available at a discount right now on FanDuel and may still be on the blacklist of some users who were stung by his recent busts. If you have the salary cap space to afford him, he’s got a good shot at being a difference maker for your lineup tonight against the Bobcats.
2. Joe Johnson, BKN @ NOR ($6,000) – It has at times been frustrating to invest FanDuel salary in Joe Johnson this season as his job in Brooklyn has vacillated between role player and primary scoring threat with regularity. With the Nets big men wounded and dwindling and a backcourt rotation finally starting to stabilize, Johnson has ultimately emerged as a primary scoring option in Brooklyn and a dependable shooting guard selection on FanDuel. He’s scored over 30 fantasy points in four straight games and seven of his last ten. I like him to do it again facing a New Orleans team that tends to force their opponents to shoot a lot of threes, with an average of almost 7 attempts per game by opposing shooting guards alone.
3. Marco Belinelli, SAS v. PHI ($4,400) – Well, we know one thing for sure and that’s that at least one or two Spurs are going to have big nights tonight. The problem with San Antonio is that they are so balanced and so deep that it’s difficult to invest a ton of salary in any of their players. That leaves me more interested in their low-priced role players that I can use to fill out my FanDuel roster with cheap value while still offering some upside to capitalize on a big night. Belinelli fits that bill with 22 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games on the back of highly efficient use of his somewhat limited playing time. He should be able to hit value around that number tonight against the hapless Sixers defense and if the questionable Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are sidelined he could get the usage he needs to exceed 30 fantasy points.
1. Kevin Durant, OKC v. DEN ($12,000) – I’ve mostly been steering clear of the Kevin Durant game of late with a price tag that represents 20% of your FanDuel salary cap and him needing to surpass 60 fantasy points just to be a decent value. Even coming off a 74.9 point night I feel largely the same about the NBA’s best player going forward. That said, under the right conditions the Durantula is deserving of 60+ fantasy point projection and those conditions seem to be in place tonight with Russell Westbrook likely to sit and a matchup against the point-friendly Nuggets on deck. Durant seems like a lock to score more than 30 actual points, grab double digit rebounds, dish a half-dozen assists, and play a little bit of defense for good measure. He’s certainly capable of doing much more than that conservative estimate in a game that Vegas expects to see around 218 total points scored and should end up being close enough to keep the stars in it to the end.
2. Kawhi Leonard, SAS v. PHI ($6,700) – This is about as expensive as I’m willing to go today in investing in a Spur, as the game will almost certainly be a blowout to the tune of San Antonio being favored by 21.5 points. Still, with a number of Spurs questionable to play and the simple fact that someone has to score the points that will build that gigantic lead in the first place, I like Leonard to outdo his traditionally pedestrian production in a similar fashion to what he did against the Lakers on Wednesday. He put up 46 fantasy points in that game, and while I don’t think he’ll play enough minutes to get quite that high tonight, he should be able to score in the 30’s and help your lineup compete. What I like best about Leonard is his floor, as he seems genuinely incapable of putting up an utterly disappointing dud on any night with his tenacious and effortful play.
3. Dorell Wright, POR @ MIA ($4,000) – To put it bluntly I don’t like the look of my FanDuel lineup on any night when Dorell Wright is in it. I just can’t get excited about having him occupy one of my small forward positions, but he’s offered value of late and it would be folly to stubbornly resist that information just because of a player’s name. It’s important to look past your long-standing preconceptions about players and teams when you are competing in the world of daily fantasy sports on FanDuel. You may see the matchup against the Heat, the fewer than 25 minutes played in four straight games, and the simple fact that this is Dorell Wright we’re talking about, but I see a guy who absolutely can get you the 20+ fantasy points he needs to positively impact your lineup’s total score tonight.
1. Anthony Davis, NOR v. BKN ($10,800) – There is probably no easier pick to make right now in fantasy basketball than Anthony Davis as the number one player to recommend on any night he plays. He offers similar production to Kevin Durant at a full $1,200 less salary, which is enough to make a significant upgrade at another position. You still get the anchor in your lineup that gives you 5+ fantasy points per thousand dollars in salary across a significant portion of your cap, but you can survive a “disappointing” night of 50 fantasy points rather than 60 much more than you can with Durant. And that’s about all the disappointment you need to worry about as Davis has not scored less than 50 fantasy points in a game in three weeks. The Nets tend to throw a solid defensive effort at opposing big men, but they do not have an answer to trim any production off the Brow.
2. Markieff Morris, PHO @ ATL ($6,000) – I’m pretty tempted to go with two expensive power forwards tonight in the form of Blake Griffin or Kevin Love to go along with Davis, but if you’re looking to spend less there are some good options available. Markieff Morris has been a FanDuel dynamo on many occasions this season but has also dropped an utter dud seemingly every time his stock has reached its high point. It’s certainly possible that reputation still follows him despite a newfound consistency in his performance that has produced 20 or more fantasy points in eight straight games and 30 or more in four of his last seven. Phoenix has a lot of solid big men, but Morris is the most explosive and has earned the kind of playing time that should result in more than 30 minutes per night. If he gets that tonight against the Hawks he should be in line for another valuable outing.
3. Mason Plumlee, BKN @ NOR ($4,600) – Mason Plumlee’s stock has been rising just as his brother Miles’ has been falling at the expense of Markieff Morris in Phoenix. Mason has been starting at center for the Nets in the absence of Kevin Garnett and has demonstrated real energy and strength in his play. His minutes tend to be lower than what you’d want to see due in part to foul trouble but also to the depth of options in Brooklyn, but it looks like Garnett will still be out a few more games and Andrei Kirilenko is also doubtful to play tonight. That should leave enough minutes in the frontcourt rotation for Plumlee to approach 25 or more fantasy points as he’s done in three of his last four games. Thankfully he’s not actually playing power forward, which means he will be going up against a mediocre New Orleans center and not Anthony Davis tonight.
1. Al Jefferson, CHA v. HOU ($9,400) – Given the number of appealing high-priced options at other positions I probably won’t be spending top dollar on a center tonight. However, if that’s your preference then I’d advise investing in Al Jefferson in a game that should revolve heavily around him from the perspective of Charlotte’s offense. Dwight Howard is likely to return, but that’s not really a threat to a guy like Jefferson who can score on anybody and seems to play with a higher level of will and determination than Dwight if not the same physical tools. Houston is overall a favorable matchup that generates a lot of high-scoring outcomes, something that Jefferson can capitalize on with the upside to go over 50 fantasy points if all goes well tonight.
2. Gorgui Dieng, MIN @ MEM ($5,200) – Dieng has had a meteoric influence on FanDuel NBA action over the last week coming almost completely out of nowhere to start at center for the Timberwolves and rattle off three straight double-doubles culminating in a staggering 22 point, 21 rebound night against the Rockets on Thursday. Nikola Pekovic is set to return at some point soon which will likely put this Cinderella story to bed, but Pek is questionable on Monday and seems more probable to return later in the week, which leaves the door open for Dieng to put up one more influential outing before fading away. His price tag rose quickly on FanDuel and he has a tough matchup against Memphis tonight, but he’s certainly capable of giving you the 25+ fantasy points he needs to hit value.
3. Henry Sims, PHI @ SAS ($4,700) – Sims will likely be widely owned tonight with a favorable matchup, fantastic price tag, and coming off of 75.6 fantasy points over his last two games combined. The young Sixers center has developed into a double-double machine given significant playing time, something that should be guaranteed to him with Philadelphia having less than nothing to play for this year. Sims has twice gone over 42 fantasy points in the last couple of weeks and while he’s much more likely to land in the 20-30 range, even that is great value given his price tag. He should benefit from the potential absence of Tim Duncan and can definitely hold his own in the paint against the likes of Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter.