FanDuel & DraftKings NBA Daily Picks: Fantasy lineup & advice 3/22/18

There are six games on the docket for Thursday night in the NBA, and with one potential option likely out, there's some work to do in creating a backcourt

PG – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic

Simmons had a streak of four games with a double-double or better come to an end in Wednesday’s win over Charlotte, but he is still putting up solid numbers. He extended his run of shooting 40 percent or better to 18 straight games by going six for nine against the Hornets, and has averaged 15.1 points, 9.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds in that span while connecting on 57.6 percent of his shots.

He missed the first win due to a sore elbow, then totaled 17 points, seven assists and four rebounds in last month’s victory. In his last nine road games, the rookie has averaged 15.4 points, 9.7 assists and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 58.4 percent and compiling a 3.11 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Also consider: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks

The Jazz rookie has averaged 25.0 points in his last three games, but his 3-point shooting is a concern since he has gone four from 25 in those contests. If you’re using Mitchell, that means you think Harden will get you enough assists to not miss Simmons and want a few more 3-pointers. 

Mitchell was seven games into his career when he first faced the Mavericks and totaled eight points and two assists while hitting a pair of 3-pointers. The second game was much better as he totaled 25 points, six rebounds and five assists while going four of eight from beyond the arc.

Low-cost pick: Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies @ Charlotte Hornets

While Harrison did not fare well Wednesday night in Philadelphia with two points, one assist and one steal in 16 minutes as he deals with a wrist injury, he could be a high-value pick against a fellow non-playoff opponent in Charlotte. The second-year guard had 19 points and eight assists against Brooklyn in his first game back Monday night, so a bounce back could be in the cards versus the Hornets.

SG - James Harden, Houston Rockets vs Detroit Pistons

Harden likely will take on more playmaking responsibilities in this game since the wise play for coach Mike D'Antoni would be to sit Chris Paul for this game to rest up his sore hamstring ahead of Saturday's game versus New Orleans. Not that it will faze Harden all that much since he has recorded five or more assists in all but one of his last 17 games while averaging 30.3 points and 8.1 assists in that span.

Harden sat out the January 6 loss with a hamstring injury, which was probably a relief to the Pistons since he has scored 28 or more in the last five meetings between the teams. The All-Star guard has two triple-doubles and three double-doubles in that span, averaging a triple-double with 32.2 points, 11.2 assists and 11.0 rebounds while making 63 of 73 free throws to counteract 41.0 percent shooting.

After scoring 17 points combined in his first three games against the Pistons, Harden has averaged 28.2 points, 8.9 assists and 7.5 rebounds in the last 11.

Also consider: Buddy Hield, Sacramento vs Atlanta

It's rare to tap a player from a team on the verge of 50 losses for the second straight season and fifth time in six years, but the second-year Kings guard recently returned to the starting lineup and has been steady in the past four games both in scoring and shooting, averaging 22.3 points while shooting 55.9 percent, including 15 of 31 from 3-point range. 

Hield struggled in the first game against the Hawks back in November with six points on two-of-eight shooting and has only 21 points in three career matchups, but the hedge is his recent form will get him close to that number in Thursday's contest.

Low-cost option: J. J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic

Redick has averaged 16.8 points while going 14 for 32 from 3-point range in his last five games and has shot 48.3 percent overall. While he is playing on back-to-back nights, Redick should be well-rested considering Philadelphia's starting five watched the fourth quarter of their blowout win over Memphis.

And Redick is playing against one of his former teams in Orlando, who drafted him 11th overall in 2006. He's lit them up for 45 points in two games this season, hitting eight 3-pointers in the first meeting, and has averaged 15.7 points in ten matchups while hitting 42.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

C - Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers @ Orlando Magic

Denied a fifth consecutive double-double because he played less than 20 minutes Wednesday night, 76ers center Joel Embiid will have to start a new streak. This will be the sixth time he will play on back-to-back nights, having averaged 25.0 points and 14.0 rebounds while shooting just 39.4 percent in the previous five.

Embiid has posted double-doubles in both wins over Orlando this season, compiling 46 points and 28 rebounds while making 17 of 34 shots. He has four double-doubles in as many career games versus the Magic, averaging 22.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 49.3 percent.

Also consider: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks

Gobert has been an under-heralded option in the pivot, posting double-doubles in nine of his last ten games while averaging 18.9 points, 13.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks to go with 68.6 percent shooting in that span. He's also recorded double-doubles in the first two meetings with Dallas this season, totaling 30 points and 22 rebounds by hitting nine of 12 shots from the field and 12 of 18 from the foul line.

Gobert has posted double-doubles in his last six games against Dallas, highlighted by a monstrous 27-25 effort last season and has averaged 16.7 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in those contests. Overall, the Jazz center has 11.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in 14 matchups with the Mavericks.

Low-cost option: Cheick Diallo, New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers

Diallo has been an active body off the bench, averaging 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last three games. With the Pelicans playing their third game in as many nights due to them rescheduling a game against Indiana from last month on Wednesday night, New Orleans will be battling fatigue, and Diallo should get an extended look in the frontcourt.

Diallo had nine points and four rebounds in last month's win and had 19 and 11 against them as a rookie last season.

SF - Taurean Prince, Atlanta Hawks @ Sacramento Kings

Prince finally came back to earth in his last game as Utah limited him to 11 points on three-of-13 shooting after he had averaged 30.8 points and made 20 of 46 from beyond the arc in his last four contests. 

He also missed all six of his 3-point attempts, but with a dearth of options at the small forward position, hoping Prince bounces back against a Sacramento Kings defense that ranks 28th in defensive field goal percentage and last in 3-point defensive field goal percentage is a strong hedge.

Prince had a solid outing in the first game versus Sacramento, totaling 14 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals back in November before Atlanta started to tailor their offense around the second-year pro. He did not play against them as a rookie, so there is little to go on, but it is also enough it should warrant playing him.

Also consider: Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic vs Philadelphia 76ers

This option may be a game too soon as Gordon just came out of the concussion protocol Tuesday night and had 16 points and six rebounds after missing five games. But with Magic shooting guard Evan Fournier sidelined and center Nikola Vucevic the only offensive option that could scare the 76ers, Gordon likely will get more than his share of shots in this game.

He totaled 36 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists in the two earlier meetings this season, serviceable totals at a position where there are no superstars on the schedule. He has averaged 12.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 11 career matchups with the 76ers and has shown some range, making 11 of 29 from deep.

Low-cost option: Jae Crowder, Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks

Crowder is out to bounce back after a subpar effort against Atlanta in which he had eight points on three-of-ten shooting and three rebounds after averaging 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in his previous three games. A former member of the Mavericks, Crowder had 11 points and three boards against them last month and has scored in double figures in his last five games versus Dallas.

PF - Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers

Davis notched a double-double or better for the 15th time in his last 17 games, averaging 32.8 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.4 blocks and 2.1 steals in that span while making 24 of 36 shots. He has filled the stat line in both games versus the Lakers this season, totaling 69 points, 32 rebounds, six assists, six steals and five blocks. 

The All-Star forward has scored 27 or more points in his last six games versus the Lakers, topping 30 on three occasions and 40 on two others. He has averaged 27.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 16 career matchups with Los Angeles, shooting 59.9 percent.

Also consider: Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers @ New Orleans Pelicans

It is another case of Randle being second banana to a superstar at the four for DFS purposes, though this time he will be head-to-head with Davis. Randle was denied a fifth consecutive double-double by one rebound Monday night in Indiana, where he finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. 

The fourth-year forward has averaged 21.5 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 13 games since the All-Star break, shooting a healthy 58.9 percent in that span. Randle has gotten points against the Pelicans this season, scoring 31 on 14-of-19 shooting, but he has grabbed only seven rebounds. He has totaled 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in nine career clashes with the Pelicans while shooting 51.3 percent.

Low-cost option: Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets vs Memphis Grizzlies

Kaminsky has been consistent since the All-Star break, reaching double figures in 12 of 15 games while averaging 12.3 points. He has shot better from 3-point range, connecting at a 52.2 percent clip (24 for 46) than overall (44.3 percent) and has pulled down 3.4 rebounds per game in that stretch. Kaminsky has averaged 13.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in five career games versus the Grizzlies despite starting just one of them and has made 52.2 percent of his shots.

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