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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Wednesday, March 31st | James Harden

Eric MacPherson



EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo + DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups James Harden | Wednesday 3/31/21

NBA DFS action on Wednesday, March 31, locks at 7 p.m. ET with 10-game main slate on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. SuperDraft is locking at 7:30 p.m. ET with an eight-game slate. Before you lock in your lineups, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball picks, rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some NBA DFS and daily fantasy basketball picks, including James Harden, Julius Randle and more.

Don’t forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS HOME PAGE for more great written daily fantasy basketball content, including the FREE Deep Dive — the most in-depth article in the industry.

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Wednesday, March 31st

Yahoo Play of the Day — James Harden: Brooklyn Nets vs. Houston Rockets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 52.86 | DraftKings: 55.2
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 26.6% | FanDuel 23.8% | DraftKings 22.0%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $55 | FanDuel $11,500 | DraftKings $10,900

Why, yes, dear reader, James Harden is checking in with one of the higher salaries across all of the DFS sites. However, with 20 teams in action, NBA DFS value picks will be plentiful and a stars-and scrubs lineup construction is most definitely on the menu. While Kyrie Irving has returned from his most recent absence and the frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge is still being assimilated, Kevin Durant is still out and Harden is playing at an MVP level.

Since Harden was acquired by the Nets, he has played in 32 of 34 possible games. During this stretch, he has averaged an astounding 38.7 minutes and 18 field-goal attempts while leading the league in assists. This works out to 26.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 11.4 assists and 2.1 combined blocks and steals.

Houston has been a disaster over their last 25 games, winning just two. In its last 15 games, it is allowing 115.4 points per 100 possessions, which is the fifth worst in the league. The first time Harden faced his former squad at the beginning of the month, he played nearly 41 minutes despite the Nets winning 132-114 and leading by double digits from the middle of the second quarter onward. Brooklyn is favored by nearly a dozen points, and Harden will be heavily involved in their success tonight.

Julius Randle: New York Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 46.86 | DraftKings: 49.97
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 10.8% | FanDuel 31% | DraftKings 10.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $47 | FanDuel $9,300 | DraftKings $9,700

Did you know that the Knicks would host a first-round playoff series if the season were to end today? While the seven teams in fourth through ninth in the Eastern Conference are tightly packed within 2.5 games, New York may well end up on top of this scrum.

Despite this being a robust 10-game slate, it is not particularly top heavy with superstar options. There is a decent chance that Julius Randle will be overlooked with his recent subpar game logs. The Knicks are favored by a bucket, and this is a very winnable game. Keep in mind that this is a phenomenal matchup for Tom Thibodeau’s sluggishly paced squad. Minnesota has allowed 117.5 points per 100 possessions over its last 10 games, which is the second-worst defensive rating in the league. It is also playing at the sixth-fastest pace, and that has the Knicks projected for 112 points, nearly eight more than their season average.

Randle continues to be a threat across the box score, and while his assists are trending downward with the return to health of Elfrid Payton, Immanuel Quickley and Derrick Rose, he is still a core building block NBA DFS pick today. He has a realistic opportunity to produce a top-three fantasy total for the slate.

Hamidou Diallo: Detroit Pistons vs. Portland Trail Blazers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 24.36 | DraftKings: 24.7
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 10.2% | FanDuel 0.5% | DraftKings 27.5%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $15 | FanDuel $5,800 | DraftKings $4,600

Tonight should mark the second game for Hamidou Diallo in a Pistons uniform. While he missed the better part of a month due to injury, he played 18.5 minutes in his return to action last week, got a game off and then played 27.3 minutes on Monday. Coming off the bench in that game against Toronto, Diallo helped lead Detroit to a victory.

In that outing, Diallo had a robust 42.5 fantasy points on the strength of a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double. If all goes well, he should see an uptick in his minutes to the 28- to 30-range, and he is a steal at his reduced salary in the matchup against Portland’s defense. Over their last 10 games, the Blazers are allowing a league-worst 119.5 points per 100 possessions.

Good Value

Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies

Utah will be without Donovan Mitchell, who is away from the team for personal reasons. The Jazz are still solid 5.5-point road favorites as they take on the Grizzlies. Over its last 10 games, Memphis has been a middle-of-the-pack defensive squad. The plot twist is that they are playing at the third-fastest pace in this stretch. The big reveal, however, is that over their last 10 games, the Jazz have been playing at the seventh-fastest pace. Clearly preconceived notions need to be left at the door.

Utah is firing on all cylinders, having won six straight games, including two against Memphis last week 126-110 and 117-114. That is an average of 233.5 points per game, and while that does not guarantee anything tonight, it certainly demonstrates that the projected total of 226.5 points for this tilt is attainable.

Mitchell has missed only two games, and those were back in late January. Using NBA WOWY, it is clear other key members of the rotation perform well when he is off the court. When Mitchell is on, Mike Conley averages 1.04 Yahoo fantasy points per minute. Jordan Clarkson is at 0.95 and Joe Ingles 0.88. Without Mitchell, Conley (1.07) and Ingles (0.93) see a slight boost, while Clarkson is at 1.11, which is nearly a 12% boost.

In addition to their improved efficiency, this trio also will be the ones absorbing most of the minutes, field-goal attempts and assist opportunities. This bodes well, as they are coming at a 15 to 25% discount across the various DFS sites and the Jazz rotation has been relatively stable for quite a while. This new variable gives an opportunity to find some undervalued assets, which is the key to fantasy sports.

Risky Value

Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns

Phoenix is on a back-to-back after holding off the Hawks 117-110 last night in a home victory. None of their starters played heavy minutes, and they should be reasonably fresh for tonight’s matchup. Chris Paul has definitely helped change the Suns’ identity, and their defensive prowess is no fluke. They have been a top-five team all season with regards to defensive efficiency, and that holds true for their last 10- and 20-game samples.

Chicago has overhauled their roster, sending out Wendell Carter, Otto Porter, Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison. These transactions brought back Nikola Vucevic, Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green and Daniel Theis. Garrett Temple is doubtful with a hamstring injury, and both Coby White (neck) and Zach LaVine (ankle) are questionable.

There are enough variables and moving parts, along with a difficult matchup, that it is not particularly enthralling to have many, if any, Bulls on main-slate rosters. On the late-slate some chances could be made with the reduced player pool, but that will be influenced by the health of White and LaVine.

 Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Svi Mykhailiuk and Ty Jerome: OKC vs. TOR – $10
  2. Saben Lee: DET vs. POR – $11
  3. Isaiah Stewart: DET vs. POR – $10

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Julius Randle: NYK at MIN – 1.20x multiplier
  2. O.G. Anunoby: TOR at OKC – 1.65x multiplier
  3. Dejounte Murray: SAS vs. SAC – 1.45x multiplier

Final Thoughts on Wednesday, March 31st NBA DFS Slate

Tonight the first seven games tip off within an hour of lock. The twin-bill nightcap gets rolling a full two hours later, and that is rife with all of the Chicago question marks. Be nimble and 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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