Eric Crain's Matchup Rundown: Monday, March 20th

By Eric Crain (jakz101), Last Updated 4 months ago (FD Premium)
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In a one-off content special, million-dollar winner and GrindersLive personality, Eric Crain, goes through each game on tonight’s NBA slate, giving his condensed thoughts on every DFS-relevant player. This diary-like look at the matchups will give you a glimpse into the mind of one of the most successful DFS players in the industry.

Monday, March 20th


Hey guys, I won’t have much time to update this article after this, so I wanted to touch base about a few contingencies. If Vuc is out that makes Bismack playable, and gives a boost to Fournier and Elf. If Jahlil is out, I like Holmes a ton but don’t like the Orlando bigs quite as much. I’m also starting to believe that the Clippers may blow out New York. If you think that may happen, I don’t hate Kyle O’Quinn as a VERY deep GPP dart. I’m starting to like Faried more and more as a tourney option. Dwight is popping in my model a bit more than I expected him to. Gobert I still love, but he’ll be chalky. Robert Covington is also moving up my board, as is some of the Denver guys, even on DK. I may have been too quick to write off Jameer. I have shows and my own teams from now until lock, so any new that comes I doubt I’ll be able to provide context. I would suggest using the CourtIQ tool to see how late scratches effect a player you may be wanting to use. Good luck everybody!

Philadelphia/Orlando – 211.5, ORL -5

Both teams should be trying to lose for draft pick purposes. Beware of late scratches. Philly 1.5 games ahead of Orl in standings. Pace should be above avg.


Jahlil Okafor – If he starts and is going to get mins, has a nice matchup vs Vuc. Always unowned. Has flashed big upside if he’s going to get the minutes.

Robert Covington – Excellent matchup vs Ross. Price cheapest it’s been in a month. Cov has 50pt upside here.

Dario Saric – Also has 50pt upside but not as cheap as Cov. Probably won’t be popular. Good matchup with Gordon and can fill up stat sheet.

T.J. McConnell – Doubtful he has upside at his price. Decent matchup and should see 30 mins. Only hit value at his price once in last 10 games.

Richaun Holmes – Love him if no Jahlil. If Jahlil plays, matchup isn’t as good but still a big producer when he’s on the floor. 1.22 DK PPM over the last month.

Sergio Rodriguez – Has 10x upside on DK. Mins not secure but could see extra with Anderson out. 18 minute floor likely. One of my favorite value plays on the slate.

Gerald Henderson – Could potentially see extra minutes tonight, even though he isn’t really a good basketball player. Price is cheap and he can get hot.


Starters should all see 30+ mins. Phil defends 3pt well. Phi awful interior defense. Elf and Vuc gets bump if Jahlil in.

Nikola Vucevic – Should dominate this matchup. Scoring/Rebounding bigs vs Philly w/o Embiid. If Jahlil in even better.

Elfrid Payton – Should have his way driving to basket. Will be very underowned.

Aaron Gordon – Hasn’t flashed as much upside w/ Vuc in lineup. Nice matchup with Saric, but Vuc being back hurts him and, again, not as much upside as we normally associate with him.

Terrence Ross – He sucks, too expensive on DK, in play on FD. Cov good defender.

Evan Fournier – Phi excellent at defending 3pt line. Still seems too cheap for 40pt upside. GPP flier only.

Atlanta/Charlotte – 203.5, CHA -5.5

ATL trying to hold onto 5 seed, Charlotte playing for draft picks.


No Millsap/Baze. Fighting to hold onto 5th seed. Plays slower pace w/o Millsap/Baze. Takes 3pt shot 5% more often w/o those 2 on floor. Char allowing most 3pt attempts per game.

Ersan Ilyasova – was a point per min guy w/ Philly. Moves into big role vs team that struggles w/ bigs. Most play on FD at $4500 and near must play on DK $5k

Dennis Schroder – Usage bump w/ no Millsap/Baze. Still put up 29.75 DKP while going 2/14 from field last game. Should see 30+ minutes w/ shorter rotation.

Dwight Howard – Usage/reb% goes up a bit w/o Millsap. Should have his way with Cha frontcourt.

Tim Hardaway – Should see 30+ mins at very fair price on both sites. 5.3 3pt shots per game. See above.

Taurean Prince – Should see 30+ mins and has been a solid .85 PPM producer on DK w/o Millsap/Baze. Fine at his price.

Thabo Sefolosha – Should see solid mins but is a GPP – only play. Not a high reb%. Needs peripherals. Unlikely to get steals; Cha fewest TOs per game in NBA.

Malcolm Delaney – Backup PG now, saw 26 mins last game when Baze was in. Min price. Reasonable punt play.


Frank Kaminsky – Quietly back to getting 30 MPG and is chucking. Dwight won’t guard at 3pt line & Ersan not a tough matchup. Was priced over 7k less than 3 weeks ago pre-injury. $5500 now.

Kemba Walker – Schroder defense, price dropped a bit. Home favorite. GTD 32+ mins in non-blowout.

Cody Zeller – Crushed Dwight 2x this year, seeing over 30 MPG. Easier matchup w/o Millsap.

Marvin Williams – Playing great but very little upside at price w/ Kaminsky back.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Mins dwindling, does very little. Hit value @ hit price 1x in last 10 games.

Nicolas Batum – Only saw 27 mins last game. Wasn’t looking for shot. Prob will see Thabo.

Jeremy Lamb – Uncertain mins, still priced up.

Marco Belinelli – Seeing 22+ mpg last 5, 28 last game. Too cheap for mins + upside if he gets hot.

Utah/Indiana – 193.5, UTA -2.5

Both teams playing for seeding.


Playing about 2 possessions faster over the last month w/o Favors. Playing to hold onto home court advantage in round 1.

Rudy Gobert – Game total doesn’t affect him and he’s been a stud since Favors went out. Attack Indy via frontcourt and Gobert should have his way. Rebounding bigs been crushing.

George Hill – Usage and PPM bump. Mins very secure, especially if Mack is also out. PGs haven’t been great vs Indy though. REVENGE GAME!!!

Gordon Hayward – Usage and PPM bump. Very tough matchup w/ PG13.

Joe Ingles – Punt option if Hood out.

Alec Burks – People will ask, but hasn’t gotten more than 20 mins in any of his last 4 games and 1/8


Healthy, currently 6 seed, in 5 team battle for last 3 playoff spots. b2b. Utah excellent at defending 3pt line and rebounding.

Paul George – Interesting GPP option. Utah discount not as big as I hoped, but Jazz been smashed by Jimmy/LBJ last 2 games. Good SFs usually do fine vs this team.

Jeff Teague – Interesting GPP spot. Don’t love matchup, but he’s too cheap for talent level.

Myles Turner – Wanted to ignore but too skilled and plays too many mins for his DK price.

Washington/Boston – 216.5, BOS -3.5

Both teams battling for No. 2 seed in East.


John Wall – Has a perfect matchup against Boston. Doubt will be too popular due to Westy/Harden. Price has come down over $1000 over the last week. High usage PGs destroy Bos.

Bradley Beal – Probably will have to deal with Avery Bradley on D. Probably too expensive for matchup.

Markieff Morris – Probable and nobody will use him. GPP-only play that I don’t necessarily love. Price makes him somewhat attractive with 40pt upside.


Isaiah Thomas – Love to attack Wash with scoring PGs. Will have a few Wall/IT2 stacks. Despite his price, will be relatively unowned. Check on mins restriction.

Avery Bradley – Price creeping up to an uncomfortable spot. Probably can’t spend on him tonight.

Al Horford – Impossible to ignore what he’s been doing. Priced up compared to previous weeks but still underpriced based on production last 3 games. He’s had 3 good games in a row vs soft competition, but Washington struggling with centers as well.

Denver/Houston – 236.5, HOU -9

Denver trying to stay in playoffs; Houston nothing to play for.


Great matchup but players priced up a ton. Barton, Harris, Jameer, Murray too expensive.

Mason Plumlee – Probably too expensive and matchup isn’t as good as it looks. If game goes small could see fewer minutes than we expect.

Nikola Jokic – Viable due to 60pt upside, but blowout and foul trouble could absolutely be an issue. I doubt I go here.

Juancho Hernangomez – Viable punt in all formats with injuries. Should see over 26 minutes in pace-up game.

Kenneth Faried – Unclear how healthy he is and how many minutes he’ll get, but if he gets mins in the upper 20s he could win somebody a GPP. Undecided on whether can play he and Hernangomez together or not.


James Harden – Expensive but probably worth it. Perfect matchup for him. 55pt floor here with big upside in case game doesn’t blow out.

Patrick Beverley – Hasn’t played well but is too cheap for matchup.

Lou Williams – Too cheap for upside in case of a blowout. Will likely get minutes regardless. High ceiling and low floor. Don’t go nuts. Do not play with Beverley.

Eric Gordon – Too cheap for the minutes and matchup. Price depressed because of a shooting slump, but Denver is a great way to break out of a slump.

Trevor Ariza – SFs have struggled vs Den but that was w/ Gallo/Chandler. Ariza tends to disappear though and hasn’t been shooting much. Probably a fade to me.

Golden State/Oklahoma City – 222, GS -1

Both teams playing for playoff positioning.


Stephen CurryGPP play and has owned Russ in the past. Usage goes up w/o Durant. 40pt floor with 55pt upside. Not sure he’s my favorite high-priced guy but seems like I have to have some of him. Biggest total and closest spread on the slate.

Klay Thompson – Oladipo defense and OKC does a good job at defending the 3pt line. Probably a fade.

Draymond Green – Love this spot for Draymond. Should be plenty of rebounding and steal opportunities vs OKC.


Russell Westbrook – He’s going to go nuts at home vs this team. Vegas is telling us it’ll be a close, high scoring game. His floor is probably 70 tonight with 90 point upside. Will be very popular, but tough to fade.

Victor Oladipo – He’s fine, but can probably do better at his price point. Not in love with the matchup.

Andre Roberson – Will be on a floor a ton in a pace up game. Need at least 25 from him, probably closer to 30 tonight. Not sure he can get there, but would play him if I needed that salary.

Enes Kanter – Fine at his price point. May get extra run if OKC needs his scoring to keep up with GS.

Steven Adams – Hasn’t produced vs GS, despite getting minutes. Not a good matchup for him and I prefer Kanter.

New York/LA Clippers – 215.5, LAC -10.5

LAC trying to hold onto 5th seed, NYK playing for what’s left of its pride.


Carmelo Anthony – Don’t love the matchup or the price.

Kristaps Porzingis – Huge upside, but probably too expensive on DK and I worry about him being limited coming back from an injury.

Derrick Rose – Don’t take PGs vs CP3

Guillermo Hernangomez – Don’t love the matchup or price, but if he sees 28 minutes he could go for 40+. Deep GPP option.


Chris Paul – Too cheap and will be underowned, but not sure he cares right now. Like the matchup but probably better options. GPP-only play.

Austin Rivers – If game is going to turn into a blowout, Rivers could have a massive 4th q and pay off cheap salary. AUSTIN RIVERS LATE NIGHT HAMMER DAY!!!

J.J. RedickNYK top 10 in 3pt shots against. Redick price about right, but there is upside if he gets hot.

Blake Griffin – Could easily get Porzingis in foul trouble. Knicks getting destroyed by bigs lately. Way too cheap for matchup on DK.

DeAndre Jordan – Centers been destroying the Knicks for a while now. Too cheap on DK. Has massive upside at that price

About the Author

  • Eric Crain (jakz101)

  • Eric Crain, aka jakz101 , is a former professional poker player who started playing DFS full time in October of 2015. He is a eight-time live finalist who specializes in tournament play and is ranked in the top-40 of three different sports (NFL, NBA, MLB). He had his biggest win in October of 2016, when he won $1.2 million by finishing 1st, 3rd, and 4th in the DraftKings NFL Millionaire Maker. Crain hosts multiple shows every week on RotoGrinders.


  • revann

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    Why not include this with draftkings as well?

  • jakz101

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    @revann said...

    Why not include this with draftkings as well?

    It’s there. Click Research Tools and then click Draftkings.

  • roholman09

    I’m gonna assume that the three Nugget’s you mentioned that were too expensive on DK are firmly in play on FD?

  • Andrewr1985

    you dont like murray for FD cash man?

  • jakz101

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    Nuggets are too expensive on DK, yes. Did not write specifically for FD. Murray is fine for FD cash as is any other Nugget player that is significantly cheaper over there than on DK

  • Andrewr1985

    do you like prince for FD cash so i can fit in westbrook and harden in 1 lineup? thanks!

  • autumnhunter33

    Love this breakdown Eric. Great insights

  • jakz101

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    Wanted to note … these are typically notes I write to myself on days when I have the time. Decided to publish them today on RG so members can see my thought process. These notes are VERY much GPP-oriented, so I don’t want you to take anything I say here for cash. Also, when I’m not specifically mentioning Fanduel pricing, I’m referencing DK pricing.

  • Zzzpinto

    great article

  • hiphopruckus

    Eric you are spot on with these predictions. You are one of a few cats on here that don’t shoot a line a BS. Your predictions are right in line with my predictions too. I think it’s funny how we get many conflicting perspectives from the “Experts” on here while yours seems to be honest and forthright. As a subscriber, it sucks when you see one of the so-called “Experts” bash a player in one article and then in another page projecting them as something different. Confusing to users but hey what’s the point of giving all your secrets away. They have to get paid too.

    Anyways, I hope you do more articles man. This was a hell of a write up.

  • zuniac

    Gotta say this is the type of material I would love to see on the regular. Paying for incentives feels worth it today for sure. Great article and no wasted words. Quick and easy to digest. Love it! Please publish daily my friend!

  • quackattack86

    great article who are your fav at the 2 guard spot tonight besides harden?

  • hiphopruckus

    Hey eric, do you dig Gary Harris or Lou WIlliams tonight?

  • Brent0514

    I agree with everyone else. This is a great method for putting an article together. It would be great to see this, if not every day, at least a couple times per week.

    Regardless, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us today.

  • montelbon7

  • elkhunter10

    Excellent article, LOVE IT!

  • Bschwarze325

    Rivers over Crawford if you were playing in GPP for blowout? Originally had Craw in my lineup, but you seem to like Rivers better? More upside?

  • SEAL

    Eric great article. Thanks for taking the time. I also agree with hiphopruckus. Hope to see this again and I will continue to pay for incentives.

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