NBA Core 4: March 23

Good morning and welcome to another edition of the FantasyDraft “Core 4”, brought to you by!   We have ourselves a short five-game slate tonight with no big star to pay up for so the balanced lineup approach should be rather popular.    Good luck tonight!

Jeremy Lin ($11,200)

It’s always a slight risk to taking a player coming off injury, but tonight the reward is worth the risk for Jeremy Lin.  Lin and the Brooklyn Nets with host the Phoenix Suns tonight in easily the best game of the entire slate.  The Nets are favored tonight by -4.0 in the highest projected total which currently sits at 223.5.  They have a record of 5-7 this month.  I know that doesn’t sound spectacular, but when you put in perspective Brooklyn was 4-37 from December to February, the five wins is quite impressive!  It’s sad to see that Jeremy Lin has only played 25 games this season due to various injuries.  However, in his last stint while he was on the floor he was starting to find his groove.  During an eight-game stretch a few weeks ago Lin was playing extremely well.  He averaged 16.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 4.75 APG over that time.

The best part about Lin tonight is his price tag.  He is only $11,200 on FantasyDraft tonight.  Lin’s peak price during that hot eight-game stretch was $11,900.  This is a discount in one of the best matchups a point guard can have.  As I already mentioned Lin will be facing off against the Suns tonight which is the matchup to exploit on this five-game slate.  Phoenix is 25th in DvP vs point guards this season allowing 48.3 FantasyDraft PPG to the position.  Lin has yet to have played against this Suns team so maybe that is why he is coming back for this game?  This is basically a matchup of the cellar dwellers.  Combined they have a record of 36-105 and they seem to be the exact same team.  They both play at a fast-pace with a plethora of young talent and they don’t play much defense at all.  I recommend stacking this one.

Tyler Ulis ($13,300)

This is crazy to me that Tyler Ulis is $13,300 tonight on FantasyDraft.  However, Ulis has deserved the ridiculous price jump and he as well gets to benefit from this fast-paced game.  Devin Booker is cheaper than Ulis tonight which may draw the attention towards him because no one wants to play this price for a player who was minimum price on March 3rd which is just 20 days ago!  Comparing the two of them hasn’t been much of an argument believe it or not.  Especially when you look at the past four games.  Check out these comparisons below and you’ll understand why Ulis is the better play than despite the higher price tag.  Last four games:

Tyler Ulis – 14.5 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 9.5 APG and 1.8 SPG on 41.0 MPG.  35.7 FantasyDraft PPG.

Devin Booker – 17.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.3 APG and 0.8 SPG on 36.3 MPG.  27.5 FantasyDraft PPG.

Now can you see why Ulis fits the price tag?  Honestly I don’t mind pairing both Ulis and Booker tonight given the matchup.  Ulis (35.7% from the field and 7.7% from three-point range) and Booker (32.1% from the field and 20.0% from three-point range) are shooting so poorly over those four games that they are bound to get their shooting numbers back to normal.  Seeing Ulis shoot that poorly and still reach value at his price tag is very encouraging!  I know the NBA is much different than college, but Ulis was a career 42.7% shooter from the field and 37.1% from three-point range.  If the shots start to fall like they should, buckle up.  Averaging over 40 minutes allows so much safety with this pick that there is minimal risk involved and very high upside!  Don’t be scared off by the price, because he’s earned that.

Jusuf Nurkic ($13,900)

I would love to keep talking about the Phoenix and Brooklyn game, but it’s time to move on and provide some other great picks for tonight’s slate!  Unlike that game there is a team who is fighting for their playoff lives right now and that team is the Portland Trail Blazers.  Portland hosts the New York Knicks tonight who are coming off a back-to-back as they lost 108-101 to the Utah Jazz.  This matchup has the second highest projected total at 218.0, but the largest line as Portland is favored by -10.5.  There is slight concern that this game may turn into a blowout, mainly because the Knicks are on a back-to-back and head coach Jeff Hornacek already warned his players they will be resting the veterans moving forward.  Despite the potential blowout, Jusuf Nurkic is in a fantastic spot tonight and is a lock for me.

The New York Knicks present one of the best matchups for opposing centers.  They rank 25th in DvP vs centers this season allowing 51.8 FantasyDraft PPG to that position.  Over the last three games the Knicks have allowed 54.7 PPG in the paint, which is second in the league during that time.  Not only is the matchup great, but Nurkic has been playing very well as of late.  In his last four games, he is averaging 15.0 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 2.8 BPG.  During that time, he has recorded an average of 41.1 FantasyDraft PPG.  The thing that sets Nurkic above the rest of the forwards and centers is that we have seen his incredible upside not too long ago.  A couple weeks ago, Nurkic had 81.0 FantasyDraft PPG against the Philadelphia 76ers.  He’s capable of putting together big numbers and has a chance tonight.

DeAndre Jordan ($12,600)

The last pick of the “Core 4” will be DeAndre Jordan.  The Los Angeles Clippers come into tonight’s game winners of their last three games as they as they continue to battle for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.  They are currently one game behind the Utah Jazz for the fourth seed and will play the Jazz on Saturday.  Every game means that much more towards the end of the season, especially for the Clippers who have dealt with a lot of injuries this season.  Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have both missed 21 games this season.  The starters have only played 692.6 minutes together this season, so they will need to get more logged in before they start their playoff run.  Jordan has been rolling as of late.  In his past nine games, Jordan has recorded seven double-doubles and averaged 14.7 PPG and 13.1 RPG.

DeAndre Jordan has some history with the Dallas Mavericks.  This is a bit of a narrative play which I am a big fan of!  Jordan “verbally signed” with the Mavericks this past off season before changing his mind a few days after and returning to the Clippers.  Mark Cuban and a few of the Mavericks players gave Jordan grief for this move and I guarantee the fans in Dallas don’t forget it either.  Jordan has faced the Mavericks twice so far this season and has averaged 11.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG.  This matchup for the Clippers players isn’t that good as the Mavericks play at the second slowest-paced team in the league.  However, Jordan is a player who doesn’t need to play in a fast-paced game.  The Mavericks are last in rebounding differential this season and it’s not even close.  Jordan is only $12,600 on FantasyDraft!


With those four players locked into your rosters, you’ll be left with $12,250/per player remaining to fill out the rest of your lineup.  With no high-priced studs on the slate, building a balanced lineup seems to be the way to go.  Good luck with all your contests today!

Tyler Schmidt

Tyler Schmidt

Good luck with your lineups tonight. Find me on Twitter @tyschmidt4 and check out our great NBA content at DFSDatalytics! Tyler is from Bloomington, MN.  He went to Augsburg College in which he played basketball for 4 years and graduated with a bachelor's degree in MIS.

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