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NBA DFS Picks & Lineup Optimizer Building Blocks Today | Friday, March 18

Eric MacPherson




Friday, March 18, brings a robust schedule with 12 NBA games starting at 7 p.m. ET on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks today for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. As always, you can head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS & Fantasy Basketball home page for all the fantasy basketball content you need for any given slate.

NBA DFS Picks: Fantasy Basketball Building Blocks Today | Friday, March 18

Yahoo Play of the Day — Pascal Siakam: Toronto Raptors vs. Los Angeles Lakers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.5 | DraftKings: 44.47
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 26.6% | FanDuel 4.7% | DraftKings 11.9%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $35 | FanDuel $9,500 | DraftKings $8,900

Pascal Siakam is looking like a steal on Yahoo tonight at $35, with the only knock against him being his center-only eligibility. O.G. Anunoby and Malachi Flynn remain out, but it seems as if Fred VanVleet has moved beyond his knee soreness. Siakam has 40 or more fantasy points in six of his last seven games, and he is averaging just over 50 fantasy points in his last four. Four nights ago he dropped 27 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, plus a block and a steal against the Lakers. Tonight a similar outcome is well within reach of the Cameroonian.

Luka Doncic: Dallas Mavericks at Philadelphia 76ers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 52.78 | DraftKings: 56.7
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 0.6% | FanDuel 20.1% | DraftKings 12.7%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $57 | FanDuel $10,600 | DraftKings $11,200

While Dejounte Murray is a much better play than Luka Doncic on Yahoo, where he has a 20% discount, Doncic is a far superior play on DraftKings and FanDuel. Philadelphia has allowed 116.2 points per possession over its last seven games, and even Matisse Thybulle will be hard-pressed to slow down the face of the Maverick franchise. Doncic is above or near career highs in most statistical categories. Since the beginning of February, he is averaging 37.3 minutes, 33.6 points, 10.2 rebounds, eight assists, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks.

Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz

Reggie Jackson stands out at $28 on Yahoo while averaging just over 40 fantasy points in his last four games. Ivica Zubac is a solid main-slate tournament option who becomes a core play on the late slate. The rest of the Clippers are not particularly exciting unless we get some unforeseen injury news. Their ancillary contributors can be sprinkled in for late-slate tournaments.

Utah is quite shorthanded tonight, with Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Danuel House, Udoka Azubuike and Trent Forrest all listed as out. That means major opportunities for Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley, along with Jordan Clarkson, who is still solid even coming off the bench; he should see 32 to 35 minutes. Be careful with Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who has not been in the rotation since joining the Jazz, and in the last game he saw almost half of his 22 minutes come during mop-up duty. Rudy Gay, Juancho Hernangomez and Eric Paschall are also risky options. Hassan Whiteside does have tremendous upside potential; however, this main slate is loaded with centers.

Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets

The Pacers will be without Isaiah Jackson (concussion) tonight, plus Goga Bitadze (foot) and Chris Duarte (toe) are both questionable. The thinned-out frontcourt is leading to a surge in popularity for Jalen Smith, who may finally crack 30 minutes of run for just the second time since joining the Pacers. Tyrese Haliburton is coming off one of his worst fantasy performances of the season, but he has racked up at least 40 fantasy points in 11 of his 14 starts for Indiana. Buddy Hield is heavily scoring dependent, though if Duarte misses tonight, Hield should see 15 to 17 field goal attempts. It is hard to trust Malcom Brogdon on such a large slate with his mercurial results, and Oshae Brissett loses his appeal unless both Duarte and Bitadze are on the sideline.

Houston is mostly healthy, but given the Pacers’ dreadful defense and this game projecting for a whopping 243.5 points, we have a reciprocal game-stack situation. Christian Wood is just $29 on Yahoo, which is a steal. Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate are tournament options on the main slate. Dennis Schroder and Alperen Sengun become relevant for the mid-evening slate and, of course, if anyone is ruled out, additional opportunities will become available.

Look to Porter in this matchup against the Pacers in the NBA player prop market. Currently he has a 3.5 over/under on his rebound prop, and the Awesemo NBA player projections have him for 4.8, which gives him a 70% probability of surpassing the over. Porter has recorded at least three rebounds in 13 of his last 14 games, and he has logged four or more in nine of those appearances.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Friday, March 18 Fantasy Basketball Slate

Friday brings a dispersed main slate with games tipping off at six different times. There are also three different games projected for at least 237.5 points, which should make for some wild DFS scores.

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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