Welcome back to DFS Dunks! My first Showdown article of the season so this may be a little different. March Madness started today and the NBA did the wise thing of scheduling only one game tonight.  Lucky for us they picked the Pistons and Magic, two teams that have already been eliminated from playoff contention and are vying for more ping pong balls.  This is the fourth meeting between the two teams. Detroit leads the season series 2-1. The best part about this Showdown? Injury tags! So many of them! Don’t worry, I’ll go over some if this, than that scenarios so you are prepared for whatever is thrown our way before lock (hopefully not after lock)!

If you’re new to this article, I break down tonight’s Showdown slate and give you my starting five for both FanDuel and DraftKings.  These will be my core plays (guys I’ll be playing in my lineups with my money) for hitting the cash line.  Due to all the protocols, injury management, and general rest of players a lot can change from now until tip-off.  There’s a good chance I’ll use a player or two not listed here so make sure to follow me on Twitter for any important player swaps closer to lock.  At the end of the article, I’ll have a pool of three to five players I like that you can use to fill in the rest of your lineups. It’s important to have a process in DFS so let’s review the strategies I use.

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Showdown Strategies

  • Be unique. I like to fit as many minutes into my lineup as I can which usually involves putting someone other than the highest priced player in the captain spot
  • Select players who play a lot of minutes, have high usage rates, and/or produce a high FP/M (fantasy points per minute).
  • NBA may be the toughest DFS sport to play for a few reasons. Number one is time. Throughout the season players will get ruled out for rest, injury, or health and safety protocols. This tends to happen shortly before lock or even after lock as we experienced in the past. It’s imperative that you make yourself available for the 15 minutes before lock or you may lose some money for a simple user error.   

Ok, time to quench that Thursday thirst and get to my favorite plays for the night.

Detroit Pistons @ Orlando Magic  (totals courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook):

Time 4:00 PM ET
Spread Magic -2
Total 219

Injury Notes

Who’s out? 

Who’s questionable? 

What do we know?

  • Detroit ranks 24th in defensive rating
  • Orlando ranks 21st in defensive rating
  • Detroit does not allow much from downtown. Over the past 10 games they allow the fewest 3PTA  in the league at 29.7 and are fourth-best on the season
  • Orlando ranks 24th in defending the 3
  • Detroit ranks 25th in Opponent PIP
  • Orlando ranks 6th in Opponent PIP

The Starting Five

Cade Cunningham, PG, DET (DK $10800, FD $14500) – If out – Play Saben Lee 

Cade is the most talented guy in this game and biggest fantasy threat. Cade has recored multiple 50-point fantasy games this season and is a threat for a triple-double any night. He leads the Pistons in usage at 26.9% and averages 1.07 FP/M. He leads all rookies in scoring, is 4th in rebounding, and 2nd in assists. On paper this is a good matchup for him as a combo guard. Orlando gives up the 7th-most fantasy points to the position. In the three games vs. Orlando, Cade has been awful, shooting 7-for-39 and 0-for-15 from deep. Jalen Suggs, who is Orlando’s best perimeter defender, is out tonight while RJ Hampton and Cole Anthony each have a defensive ratings over 113. Now Cade is no where close to Kyrie, but we just saw him torch this Magic backcourt for 60 points, so this is a good spot. He’ll likely be the highest owned player on the slate and highest owned in the Captain and MVP slots. On FanDuel I like him there and will get different in the other positions, but on DraftKings I’ll keep him in a UTL slot.

Wendell Carter Jr, F/C, ORL (DK $9400, FD $14000) – if out – Play Mo Wagner

Carter Jr. is is averaging 30 minutes a game and leads the Magic in fantasy points, at 33 per game. He’s averaging 7.8 PIP on the season and Detroit ranks poorly in that category. If he plays, I’ll have him in every lineup.

Saddiq Bey, F, DET (DK $7800, FD $12000)

Orlando ranks 24th in defending the three this year and Bey can get hot from downtown. He leads the team in both makes and attempts at 2.7 and 7.2 per game. Bey has 22% usage rate and averaged .90 FP/M with Jerami Grant off the court.

Marvin Bagley III, F/C, DET (DK $7600, FD $12500)

Newly acquired Marvin Bailey is likely to get the start tonight in place of Grant. Since the trade, without Grant on the floor, Bags is averaging 1.05 FP/M and carries a 24.8% usage rate, second only to Cunningham.

Isaiah Livers, G, DET (DK $2400, FD $8000) 

Livers has only played in 10 games this season. In the three games where he played 20+ minutes he tallied 20+ DraftKings points in all. He is the value I like tonight. He’s averaging .96 FP/M this season and has really shot the ball well the last two games going 7-for-9 from deep. If Cunningham is ruled out, I’ll likely lock in Livers in all my lineups.

Reserves:

Good luck tonight and make sure to check my Twitter later on. I’ll post plays once we get the news on who’s in and out!

@TimmySperos