FanDuel & DraftKings NBA Daily Picks: Fantasy lineup & advice 3/15/18

It is an active NBA slate with nine games scheduled for Thursday, so let's dig down and find a quality starting five for fantasy purposes.

PG – Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Lillard continues to drive Portland’s surge to a playoff berth in the Western Conference and is coming off a 32-point, ten-assist effort against Miami last time out. He has averaged 34.5 points and 5.9 assists in his last 12 games, drilling 54 3-pointers while shooting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc and 47.5 percent overall. 

Lillard had 25 points and six assists in the first meeting between the teams, hitting six of nine from deep, and has averaged 25.4 points and 7.1 assists in ten lifetime contests against Cleveland. He has made 50.6 percent of his 3-point shots in those contests (42 for 83) and also has made 46 of 52 free throws.

Also consider: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz vs Phoenix Suns

The Jazz rookie had just two points in his first game against the Suns but has been spectacular in the last two, recording a 40-point game and scoring 24 in the most recent meeting on February 14. Mitchell has made 11 of 20 from beyond the arc in his last two games against Phoenix and 24 of 43 overall while also dishing out 13 assists in those contests.

While Mitchell has been held to 13 or less in two of his last three games, he has still averaged 21.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.2 assists in Utah’s last 11 at home.

SG - James Harden, Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Clippers

After sitting out a game to rest his sore knee, Harden looked slightly rusty against San Antonio on Monday night as he shot six of 17 from the field, but he also finished with 28 points, six rebounds and six assists as he made all 14 of his free throws.

Harden had a 51-point effort in the first game against the Clippers this season, and after sitting out the January 15 loss with a hamstring strain, he had 25 points and seven assists in a 105-92 road win on February 28. Harden has averaged 29.7 points, 7.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds in his last ten matchups with the Clippers, recording three 30-point games and a 46-point effort besides the 51-point performance this season.

Also consider: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers vs Toronto Raptors

The Pacers All-Star guard is coming off his worst shooting effort of the season as he made four of 21 shots in Tuesday night's win at Philadelphia. But he has played well against the Raptors this season, hitting 22 of 37 shots while scoring 57 points in two meetings. 

Oladipo has scored in double figures in all 12 of his games against Toronto and has topped 20 in five of the last six. He has averaged 19.5 points lifetime in those meetings along with 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists, but Oladipo has also hit 28 of 55 from 3-point range versus the Raptors.

C - Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs Detroit Pisons

There is some risk in selecting Jokic given he will be matched up against Andre Drummond, but the Nuggets center has been solid for six weeks running, averaging 19.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 7.9 assists while recording five of his seven triple-doubles on the season. He also has better home splits in those three categories than his overall marks in 2017/18, averaging 18.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists at the Pepsi Center compared to his overall totals of 17.1, 10.4 and 6.0 per game, respectively.

Also consider: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz vs Phoenix Suns

Gobert gets the nod here over 76ers center Joel Embiid, who is facing the New York Knicks, out of fear Philadelphia will win in a blowout and limit his minutes. Gobert has totaled 40 points and 40 rebounds in three games versus the Suns this season, recording two double-doubles and finishing one rebound shy of a third while hitting 60.0 percent of his shots. 

Gobert also blocked ten shots in the first two meetings and has recorded seven double-doubles in his last nine matchups with Phoenix, averaging 14.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in that span and shooting 63.5 percent.

SF - LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers @ Portland Trail Blazers

James has been a terror on Cleveland's road trip, averaging 29.0 points, 10.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists with one triple-double and three double-doubles in the last four games while shooting 53.2 percent. It has been a continuation of a longer trend of spectacular play in which he has averaged a triple-double over the last 15 games with totals of 29.1 points, 10.3 assists and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 54.2 percent and posting six actual triple-doubles.

James had a tidy 24 points, eight assists, six rebounds and four steals in the first matchup between the teams, making ten of 17 shots. He has averaged 27.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 26 career games versus the Trail Blazers, hitting 38.7 percent of his 3-point shots and also recording 2.1 steals per contest.

Also consider: Tobias Harris, Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets 

While it is a long fall-off from James to Harris, this could be an underrated play since the Clippers likely will get extra possessions from the slightly faster tempo. Harris has also averaged 21.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in his last ten games, shooting 45.2 percent from 3-point range and 50.2 percent overall. 

He also has filled the other stat categories with 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in that span. Harris has totaled 51 points and 12 rebounds in two matchups with Houston this season, one with Detroit and one with Los Angeles, lifting his career marks to 15.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 12 games versus the Rockets.

PF - Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans @ San Antonio Spurs

Davis' reign of terror on NBA opponents continued Tuesday night with 31 points and 14 rebounds against Charlotte, recording his 11th consecutive double-double in games he finished around the ankle injury he suffered March 7 against Sacramento, which caused him to miss a game.

Davis has averaged 34.3 points and 13.4 rebounds in his last 12 games and also has averaged more blocks (3.8) and steals (2.8) than his 1.9 assists in that span. He had 26 points and 15 rebounds in a win at San Antonio on February 28, giving him 55 points and 25 rebounds while making 20 of 36 shots in two meetings this season.

The All-Star forward has averaged 20.5 points and 13.0 rebounds against the Spurs throughout his career, also averaging 2.2 blocks, 1.7 steals and 1.6 assists in those 20 games. Davis has notched 14 double-doubles and been held to single digits in points just once in the all-time series.

Also consider: Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks

While it is possible 76ers coach Brett Brown would rest Embiid in a blowout, it is less likely he would pull forward Saric for extended periods of time in the same scenario. Saric had 24 points in the last matchup against New York, hitting four of six from beyond the arc, and has averaged 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in his last four games versus the Knicks.

Saric has totaled 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in his last 11 contests overall, with his hidden value coming from 3-point range. He has made 26 of 60 (43.3 percent) from beyond the arc in that span and also has shot better from 3-point range on the road (42.6 percent) than overall (39.5) on the season.

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