Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster.
Injuries play a huge role in NBA DFS on a nightly basis. Value plays on the various daily fantasy sites can arise at a moment’s notice, so always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.
The Full Roster contests on FanDuel include a new scoring system in which the lowest score of the nine selected players is dropped, allowing users to take more risks with a punt play or two. Then, DraftKings has brought back its late swap for NBA contests.
3/5/19 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Fadeaway: $15 entry, $500k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Four Point Play: $4 entry, $135k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot: $15 entry, $333k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Shot: $7.77 entry, $70k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Top Plays for March 5, 2019
Best Guards for March 5, 2019
Kyrie Irving @ GSW ($8.8k DraftKings, $9.4k FanDuel)
Playing Kyrie Irving tonight in the nightcap at Golden State is a high-risk, high-reward strategy. On one hand, Irving has been relatively invisible lately, including a seven-point dud in a blowout loss at Toronto. On the other hand, he’s usually been at his best in games against elite teams. This includes a 32-point performance against the Warriors in late January. Kyrie took charge with a 33% usage rate and 45.3% assist rate (10 dimes) in that matchup, and he’s now averaging 28.3 PPG and 6.7 APG over his last three meetings with Golden State. The Warriors have struggled in their own right with four losses over their last seven games. As long as this game stays close, Irving should put up a big line while attempting to lead the Celtics in a road upset.
Darren Collison @ CHI ($5.5k DraftKings, $7.4k FanDuel)
The Pacers look to hang onto one of the top seeds in the East and will need to hold serve at home tonight against a rebuilding Bulls team. Darren Collison has been initiating the offense for Indiana with a 35.1% assist rate and 21.2% usage rate since the ASB. The Bulls are yielding the fifth-most APG (25.4) this season and giving up 119.6 PPG over their last 12 contests (including a 4OT win over Atlanta). Collison went for 23 points on 6-for-7 FG shooting when the Pacers last hosted the Bulls (in December), and he’s taken on a much bigger role since Victor Oladipo (quad) went down for the season. Add the diminishing health of Tyreke Evans and the continued absence of Domantas Sabonis (ankle), and you have the recipe for Collison to exceed value along with teammates Bojan Bogdanovic and Wes Matthews.
Avery Bradley vs. POR ($4.4k DraftKings, $5.9k FanDuel)
Memphis has been playing much better lately with new blood infused: Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and Avery Bradley. Even with Mike Conley (rest) out, the Grizz hung with OKC for four quarters on Sunday. In that game, Bradley went 11-for-29 from the field for 27 points and added 7 assists in what was likely an anomaly due to Conley’s absence. Still, Bradley owns a 24% usage rate and 56.0% effective field goal percentage over nine appearances with the offense-starved Grizzlies. He should benefit from playing more off the ball if Conley suits up tonight against Portland. Then, Portland ranks 24th in opponents 3-point shooting (36.2%) while giving up 112.1 PPG on the road this season.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Ben Simmons, Andrew Wiggins, Delon Wright, D.J. Augustin, Marcus Smart, Wes Matthews, Antonio Blakeney
Best Forwards for March 5, 2019
Lauri Markkanen @ IND ($8.2k DraftKings, $9.1k FanDuel)
Chicago’s first unit flopped in the absence of Otto Porter (ankle) Sunday. But if Porter misses another game tonight, Lauri Markkanen and others will be asked to step up on the road. Markkanen has been on fire with averages of 25.8 PPG, 12.4 RPG, and 2.4 APG over his last 12 appearances. He’s had little trouble with Indiana’s otherwise stingy defense, dropping 48 points with a 32.3% usage rate over two meetings this season. He’s the 1B option to Zach LaVine, but LaVine has posted a modest 98 offensive rating in those meetings with the Pacers and could struggle again tonight. Markkanen seems to be a better candidate to lead the Bulls’ offense in this matchup.
Tobias Harris vs. ORL ($7.4k DraftKings, $8.0k FanDuel)
Orlando is a very stingy defensive team and, thus, a tough DFS target. Yet the Magic tend to struggle offensively, which is why they allow the most defensive RPG (35.9) this season. With Joel Embiid (knee), Boban Marjanovic (bone bruise), and Amir Johnson (back) out, Philly’s forwards will have to increase their rebounding efforts. Tobias Harris can certainly step up in that regard. He’s sporting a 22.4% defensive rebounding rate to go along with a 22% usage rate over five appearances since the ASB break.
While Ben Simmons has taken on the greatest increase in playmaking responsibilities with Embiid on the shelf, Harris matches up better against a Magic defense that yields the ninth-fewest APG (23) and ranks eighth in opponents 2-point shooting (50.6%). The Sixers average 118.5 PPG at home this season, but look for forwards like Harris and Mike Scott ($4.0k, $4.5k) to step up tonight if Orlando is able to contain the one-dimensional Simmons. Jimmy Butler (back) is questionable, and if he sits, Harris would likely see a huge increase in usage.
Eric Gordon @ TOR ($4.8k DraftKings, $5.3k FanDuel)
The Rockets’ offense is both elite and predictable. It runs through James Harden with splashes of Chris Paul, and, at times, a hefty dash of Eric Gordon off the bench. But Gordon has been given a chance to start lately and thrived in that role with 32 points against the struggling Celtics defense. While Toronto is far more disciplined on defense, the Raptors have coughed up 112.3 PPG over their last six contests (excluding their beatdown against the sinking Celtics). Gordon dropped 24 points with a 26.3% usage rate the last time he faced the Raptors and has actually been more effective shooting the ball (36.4% from 3) while averaging 17 PPG on the road.
Other forwards to consider: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Aaron Gordon, Bojan Bogdanovic, Terrence Ross, Jaylen Brown, Maurice Harkless, Mike Scott
Best Centers for March 5, 2019
Nikola Vucevic @ PHI ($9.2k DraftKings, $10.5k FanDuel)
Philadelphia was bad against centers before losing both Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic to injury. Now the Sixers are virtually helpless to defend true 7-footers. Nikola Vucevic averaged 28.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 8 APG over two meetings with Philly earlier this season. He’s resumed his season-long tear with averages of 22.5 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, and 2 BPG over six appearances since the ASB. Philly scores in droves at home and plays at the seventh-fastest pace in the league, so production should be inflated on both ends in this matchup. Vucevic is always Orlando’s best means of matching points with a high-scoring opponent. He should thrive against a shorthanded Sixers team that yields the most FPPG (49.57) to centers this season.
Marc Gasol vs. HOU ($5.7k DraftKings, $6.6k FanDuel)
It’s taken a couple of weeks, but the Raptors are starting to use Marc Gasol as their primary center. That’s led to a diminished role for Serge Ibaka and made their offense even more prolific. Gasol went for 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks over 38 minutes in Sunday’s OT loss at Detroit. He might’ve even seen more run had he not fouled out. While Kawhi Leonard is expected to be active when Toronto hosts high-scoring Houston tonight, Gasol should still play a key role as a defender and facilitator. Houston is allowing the seventh-most FPPG (47.52) to opposing centers over the last 14 days, as Clint Capela is still working his way back into playing shape.
Other centers to consider: Karl-Anthony Towns, Jusuf Nurkic, Al Horford, Myles Turner