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NBA DFS Picks & Lineup Optimizer Building Blocks Today | Thursday, March 3

Eric MacPherson




Thursday, March 3, has the NBA sliding towards the weekend with a seven-game slate beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Do not forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS & Fantasy Basketball home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content.

NBA DFS Picks: Fantasy Basketball Building Blocks Today | Thursday, March 3

Yahoo Play of the Day — Jayson Tatum: Boston Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 49.27 | DraftKings: 51.93
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 42.8% | FanDuel 33.5% | DraftKings 26.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $41 | FanDuel $9,400 | DraftKings $10,000

Tonight Jaylen Brown is out with an ankle injury, and Boston is listed as a 3-point underdog at home against Memphis. The Grizzlies are solid on defense, but they play at the fifth-fastest pace in the league. Jayson Tatum averages 1.11 fantasy points per minute with Brown on the court, but when his running mate is off the court that rate jumps to 1.34 fantasy points per minute.

Over his last eight games, Tatum is averaging 36.6 minutes, 28.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.6 combined blocks and steals. Anything less than 50 fantasy points tonight will be considered a disappointment. Teammates Marcus Smart, Robert Williams and recent acquisition Derrick White are also players who should get a boost with Brown out of action.

Dejounte Murray: San Antonio Spurs vs. Sacramento Kings

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 52.44 | DraftKings: 54.0
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 17.8% | FanDuel 39.8% | DraftKings 20.7%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $50 | FanDuel $9,600 | DraftKings $10,600

While the recent game logs for Dejounte Murray are not likely to have anyone doing cartwheels, particularly with his elevated salary, that should help keep his popularity in check. In six games since White was traded to Boston, Murray is averaging 36 minutes and 19 field goals with a 51.8% success rate. This has worked out to 25.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 11.3 assists and 2.2 combined blocks and steals. Murray is also among the league leaders in triple-doubles with 12 and double-doubles with 30. According to NBA WOWY, Murray is averaging a hefty 1.56 fantasy points per minute in 934 minutes without White this season. This is an excellent matchup against the Kings, who are playing their third game in four nights. De’Aaron Fox ($33) is an appealing option on Yahoo, but he has played nearly 40 minutes per game in each of his last three appearances and may be a little weary.

Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.59 | DraftKings: 46.46
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 6.2% | FanDuel 5.5% | DraftKings 0.9%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $43 | FanDuel $9,700 | DraftKings $11,100

Tonight Stephen Curry is yet another appealing guard on Yahoo coming in at a discount. In three games since returning from the All-Star Break, Curry is averaging 32.9 minutes, an efficient 26.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 9.3 assists and 1.3 combined blocks and steals. This works out to 47.3 fantasy points per game in this span, including 51.8 against the Mavericks in Golden State on Sunday.

Clint Capela: Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 34.97 | DraftKings: 34.58
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 28.0% | FanDuel 20.7% | DraftKings 22.1%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $22 | FanDuel $6,400 | DraftKings $5,900

John Collins (foot) and Onyeka Okongwu (concussion) are both out tonight, which means Clint Capela should see close to 30 minutes of action at the center position. The main knock against Capela is that he does not look for his shot and rarely takes more than a handful of field goal attempts per game. Fortunately, he is seventh in the league in field goal percentage at 58.9% and fourth in rebounds with 12.1 per game, so he is in the mix for a double-double most nights. Gorgui Dieng enters the fray as a discount dandy with his near-minimum salary across the DFS sites, along with a likelihood of seeing 15 to 18 minutes of run.

Toronto Raptors vs. Detroit Pistons

Fred VanVleet has missed the last two games with knee soreness, and he has played in just four of Toronto’s last eight games. If he is out again tonight, that will be a boost for Malachi Flynn, who has averaged nearly 38 minutes in a pair of spot starts and recorded 16.5 points, five rebounds, 6.5 assists and a steal. Gary Trent Jr. gets extra field goal attempts, as does Pascal Siakam, who also sees an uptick in his assist rate when VanVleet is on the sideline. O.G. Anunoby has missed the last four games, and if he is out once more, Scottie Barnes, Khem Birch and Precious Achiuwa will continue to see increased opportunities.

Spring is in the air, which means that once again Detroit should embark on yet another choreographed tanking strategy. Currently there is less than one game separating Detroit, Orlando and Houston from the worst record in the league and the most ping pong balls in the lottery. Odds are that one or more players will end up with an injury designation prior to tipoff, and with only one matchup locking prior to this one, there will be ample opportunity to take advantage of any shenanigans. Frank Jackson and Marvin Bagley III are likely to miss this game with injuries. Detroit also plays on Friday, so sitting someone like Cade Cunningham, Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey or Isaiah Stewart for “rest” would not be a shock.

The Thursday NBA player props market for Cory Joseph against Toronto is one to consider, as Awesemo has him projected for 3.7 assists. Currently his NBA player prop bet today for assists is over/under 2.5, and that is a mark he should surpass nearly 72% of the time in this matchup. Over his last seven games he has recorded three or more assists five times.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Thursday, March 3 Fantasy Basketball Slate

Tonight games are staggered with four different start times, with a battle for Los Angeles tipping off at 10 p.m. ET. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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