NBA DraftKings & FanDuel DFS Primer: Sunday (3/20)
Today marks exactly 20 days until the end of the NBA regular season. Things should get interesting down the stretch as every game’s importance becomes magnified. To wrap up the weekend, we’ll be tasked with trying to take down a seven-game slate. One that’s filled with great plays, so we have our work cut out for us. Regardless, we’ll be prepared and ready to take on the challenge. So, let’s go ahead and take a look at today’s plays that initially stand out.
The Primer is a first look article filled with all the information you need to help get your lineups rolling. We’ll begin with the schedule and odds to highlight which game environments stand out. We follow that up with the injury report, an essential part of any DFS player’s daily process. Then we shed light on some of our top plays of the slate, including core building blocks, GPP candidates, cash game considerations, and salary relief targets. Finally, we’ll always wrap up with our advantageous pricing segment, which uncovers price discrepancies between FanDuel and DraftKings.
So without further ado, let’s jump into another edition of the NBA DFS Primer brought to you by FantasyPros.
Schedule and Odds
- NO @ ATL (-3.5) O/U: 231.5
- OKC @ ORL (-5.5) O/U: 226
- PHO @ SAC (+10.5) O/U: 232.5
- UTA @ NY (+5.5) O/U: 222.5
- BOS @ DEN (-3) O/U: 222
- SA @ GS (-6) O/U: 228.5
- TOR @ PHI (-5.5) O/U: 223
NOTE: Today’s slate has a 6:00 pm start.
- Kevin Huerter (back) questionable
- Trae Young (quad) questionable
- John Collins (foot) OUT
- Aaron Nesmith (ankle) OUT
- Zeke Nnaji (knee) OUT
- Michael Porter Jr. (back) OUT until late March
- Vlatko Cancar (foot) OUT until late March
- Gary Payton II (knee) OUT
- Andrew Wiggins (illness) probable
- James Wiseman (knee) OUT
- Stephen Curry (foot) OUT until Mid April
- Moses Moody (shoulder) questionable
- Nemanja Bjelica (illness) shoulder
- Andre Iguodala (back) OUT until late March
- Devonte’ Graham (hip) questionable
- Brandon Ingram (hamstring) OUT until late March
- Larry Nance Jr. (knee) OUT until late March
- Kira Lewis Jr. (knee) OUT for season
- Zion Williamson (foot) OUT
- Nerlens Noel (foot) OUT
- Derrick Rose (ankle) OUT until late March
- Cam Reddish (shoulder) OUT for season
- Kemba Walker (conditioning) OUT for season
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (questionable) ankle
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (foot) OUT until late March
- Derrick Favors (back) OUT
- Ty Jerome (hip) OUT for season
- Luguentz Dort (shoulder) OUT for season
- Mike Muscala (ankle) OUT for season
- Kenrich Williams (knee) OUT
- Josh Giddey (hip) OUT
- Wendell Carter Jr. (ankle) probable
- Chuma Okeke (knee) probable
- Jalen Suggs (ankle) questionable
- Jonathan Isaac (knee) OUT for season
- Bol Bol (foot) OUT
- Joel Embiid (back) questionable
- Jae Crowder (groin) questionable
- Gabriel Lundberg (personal) OUT
- Cameron Johnson (quad) OUT
- Dario Saric (knee) OUT for season
- Chris Paul (thumb) OUT until mid April
- Frank Kaminsky (knee) OUT until late March
- Jeremy Lamb (personal) questionable
- De’Aaron Fox (hand) questionable
- Richaun Holmes (personal) OUT for season
- Terence Davis (wrist) OUT for season
- Lonnie Walker IV (back) OUT
- Keita Bates-Diop (back) questionable
- Josh Richardson (calf) questionable
- Romeo Langford (hamstring) OUT
- Devontae Cacok (heel) OUT
- Doug McDermott (nose) OUT until mid April
- Mike Flynn (hamstring) OUT
- OG Anunoby (finger) OUT until early April
- David Johnson (knee) OUT
- Mike Conley (rest) OUT
- Donovan Mitchell (calf) probable
- Udoka Azubuike (ankle) OUT
- Danuel House Jr. (knee) OUT
- Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) OUT
- Trent Forrest (wrist) questionable
- Hassan Whiteside (illness) questionable
The injury report can change at any minute, and all player statuses are subject to change whether they’re on the injury report or not. Paying attention to as much news as possible is crucial to long-term success in DFS. It can also give you a severe leg up on anyone in the field who fails to do so. Once the later game information becomes available, be sure to take advantage of late swapping. Late swap allows you to get off the chalk and plug-in value plays that may not have been expected or get to a high upside play in an attempt to take one last run at the top of the leaderboard. Keeping up with all the news and information can be a lot to manage, but it’s essential.
Since Chris Paul (thumb) has been out, Devin Booker has stepped up and been the engine to this well-oiled machine of the Phoenix Suns. Booker is averaging 27.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in his last six games. He now will face off against the Sacramento Kings, who own arguably the worst defense in the NBA. The Kings, 28th in defensive rating, and guards have a field day against this team. With an OPRK of 29th and 30th, this should be a walk in the park for Devin Booker.
SGA is questionable for today’s game against the Orlando Magic, but we’ll assume he’s going to be a go for now. If he does suit up and hit the court, we should see Gilgeous Alexander thrive in a plus matchup against the young, porous defense of Orlando. The Thunder are missing their two other primary scorers in Josh Giddey (hip) and Luquentz Dort (shoulder), which has translated into SGA putting this Thunder squad on his back. With both of those players off the court, his usage rate goes from 30.4% to 35%. SGA does it all and sees abundant opportunities to put up big numbers. These teams like to get up and down the court quickly, as they’re each in the top 11 in pace of play on the year. Both teams want to push the ball and play little to no defense. This should be a great game to target for fantasy, and SGA should have a tremendous outing.
WCJ is officially off the injury report for today’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s good news for the Orlando Magic and us playing DFS. In my opinion, WCJ’s salary is too cheap regarding his recent play. Over the last seven games, he’s averaged 18.3 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and almost a block a game with 0.9. He now faces a Thunder defense that gives up the second-most rebounds in the league while carrying an OPRK of 23rd on DK and 30th on FD. Over his last 10 games, he has averaged 38.5 FanDuel points, more than five times his value at his current salary. WCJ should have no problem getting whatever he wants in the paint and be well on his way to another double-digit rebound game.
Cash Game Consideratrions
The front-runner for MVP is questionable today with a back injury, but all signs point to the Philly big man suiting up. Toronto doesn’t play a traditional big, with Pascal Siakam often being the biggest player on the floor for their lineup. The last time they played a big of Embiids caliber was Nikola Jokic, and he posted a line of 26 and 10 in just 28 minutes. The last time these two teams played, JoJo went off for 36 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, shot 66.7% from three, and 68.8% from the field. Toronto will be in for a long night trying to stop the Philly big man.
I’m not sure why Gobert is consistently priced below 8k, but until the market catches up, I’m willing to go back to the well on the number one rebounder in the NBA. Gobert has returned five times his value in the last four games at his current salary. He’s had a double-double in the previous 10 of 11 games, and in the one game he missed, he fell just short of double-digit points with nine. Last game against the Clippers, he managed 19 points and 16 rebounds in just 27 minutes on the floor. Gobert is a double-double machine that consistently produces five times or more the return on investment. Until the market adjusts his salary; accordingly, I’ll continue to ride his solid floor in cash games because he rarely hurts your lineup.
I will look to Gobert’s teammate, Donovan “Spider” Mitchell, in some GPPs today. Mike Conley (rest) has already been ruled out for tonight’s game, and Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) is also out. Two of the Jazz secondary scorers and Conley does a lot of the facilitating. Mitchell will get his regardless of who’s in the lineup or not, but those two players will leave some shot attempts and assist on the table, which a portion of should trickle down to Spider. With both of them off the floor, Mitchell’s usage rate goes from 32.4% to 35.6%, scoring over 1.4 fantasy points per minute. The Knicks defend the paint reasonably well but give up a ton from the outside. Look for Donovan Mitchell to continue to roll and be on me of the highest scorers on tonight’s slate.
Unfortunately, the Warriors will be without their future Hall Of Famer and best shooter on the planet, Stephen Curry (foot), until most likely, the start of the playoffs due to a foot injury he suffered in a recent game against the Celtics. At the same time, he and Marcus Smart were both diving for a loose ball. As a result, Jordan Poole will be tasked with running point with Curry sidelined. Poole has played well in an extended role this season, scoring 20 or more points in eight consecutive games and shooting at a high clip from three-point range. He’s also found his stroke of late, averaging 24.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists in that eight-game span, and is shooting 53% from behind the arc. I don’t think it will be long before we see another price increase for Jordan Poole. Take advantage of the value while you can.
Dejounte Murray (PG-SA): $10,600 DraftKings, $10,600 FanDuel
Murray is coming off a down performance for his standards, scoring 17 points with only five assists against the Pelicans on Friday. I’m not counting on Dejounte having back-to-back off nights shooting the rock and facilitating. We know the Spurs like to get out and run at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA and the Warriors have no problem running at a blistering pace either. At the third-highest total on tonight’s slate, Vegas is expecting some points from the two teams. Between the pace of play and expected total, there should be plenty of opportunities for Dejounte to get back to being an elite fantasy asset. Before Friday’s off game, Murray had scored 50 or more fantasy points in 7 straight games. Murray is a walking triple-double, and anytime he steps on the court, there’s a chance he ends as the top play on the slate. Expect a huge bounce-back game from Dejounte Murray going up against a Stephless Golden State Warriors squad.
Craig has been getting some extended run with injuries to Cameron Johnson (quad) and Jae Crowder (groin), and he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity. Craig has been shooting the ball at a 100% clip in the last two games. Yes, you read that correctly; the man hasn’t missed in two straight games! He’s gone 13 of 13 from the field, 5 of 5 from behind the arc, and 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. He’s also rebounding the heck out of the ball, grabbing 23 boards in those two games, as well. Craig is simply too cheap with 81.8 DraftKings points scored in his past two performances. It is worth mentioning that Jae Crowder is questionable for tonight’s game, so if he goes, that could cut into Craig’s minutes, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Suns exercise caution with their veteran to make sure he’s healthy for their playoff run. Crowder or no Crowder, though, Torrey Craig has earned his minutes, and it will be fun to see if he can keep his shooting streak alive.
This isn’t the most exciting play, but someone has to score other than SGA. Pokusevski has played pretty well and has offered a decent floor for fantasy purposes scoring double-digit points in 11 of his last 13 games with multiple assists in 9. He’s coming off a 10 point, 15 rebound double-double against a good Miami Heat defense who packs the lane with Bam Adebayo. Tonight, he draws a plus matchup against the Orlando Magic, which gives up a ton of rebounds to the forward position and has an OPRK of 27th on DK. So again, this isn’t a play you want to have a ton of exposure to, but there’s still value left in his salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
NOTE: As always, there will be better value to open up. These are the plays I like from a first look standpoint.
- Torrey Craig (PG/SG/PF/C-PHO): $4,600 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
- Jordan Poole (PG-GS): $7,000 DraftKings, $7,600 FanDuel
- Wendell Carter Jr. (PF/C-ORL): $7,800 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel
- Devin Booker (PG/SG-PHO): $9,000 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel
- Fred VanVleet (PG-TOR): $8,100 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
- CJ McCollum (PG/SG-NOP): $9,200 DraftKings, $8,700 FanDuel
- Jaylen Brown (SF/SG-BOS): $8,000 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
- Klay Thompson (SG-GSW): $7,900 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel
- Bogdan Bogdanovic (SG/SF-ATL): $6,800 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
- Tyrese Maxey (PG-PHI): $6,300 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
- Jonathan Kuminga (SF-GSW): $4,400 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
- Keldon Johnson (PF-SAS): $6,200 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel
- Jayson Tatum (SF/PF-BOS): $10,000 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel
- Mikal Bridges (SF/PF-PHO): $6,000 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel
- Nikola Jokic (C-DEN): $12,000 DraftKings, $11,300 FanDuel
- Julius Randle (PF/C-NY): $9,300 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel
- Domantas Sabonis (C-SAC): $9,400 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel
- Mitchell Robinson (C-NY): $5,600 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel