NBA Grind Down: Tuesday, March 10th

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NBA Grind Down Article. Each day, we’ll break down all of the matchups with a focus on defense vs. position stats. The Grind Down shows you Vegas lines, defense stats and projected starting lineups for each and every game.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. Use this article to help you gain a better understanding of the matchups for the coming week and build from there. We have everything you could possibly need on our Daily Research console for you to be a successful daily fantasy player!

Note: Fantasy Point Average Listed Uses FanDuel Scoring. For more info on FanDuel’s NFL Scoring System, check out the scoring systems section of our FanDuel Review.

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Orlando at Indiana – 7:00 PM

  • Vegas LineOrlando -9, 190.5 Over/Under
  • Orlando Proj. StartersPayton-Oladipo-Harris-Frye-Vucevic
  • Indiana Proj. StartersHill-Miles-Hill-West-Hibbert
Orlando Indiana
Vegas Total 190.5 Vegas Total 190.5
Vegas Sprd 9.0 Vegas Sprd -9.0
Team Proj. 90.8 Team Proj. 99.8
Team Pace 95.83 Team Pace 95.49
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
Proj Starter Elfrid Payton Victor Oladipo Tobias Harris Channing Frye Nikola Vucevic Proj Starter George Hill C.J. Miles Solomon Hill David West Roy Hibbert
Opp. Season 9 26 4 2 8 Opp. Season 22 5 30 21 26
Opp. Last 7 1 5 16 11 9 Opp. Last 7 19 13 28 2 3


The Magic are looking for their third win in a row tonight, as they head to Indiana to take on the Pacers. They are expected to have Nikola Vucevic back in the lineup, after he missed the last two games with an ankle injury. The Magic are 9-point underdogs tonight against the Pacers, who are ranked in the top ten in both points allowed per game and rebounding differential this season. It also hurts that Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and Elfrid Payton are all over-priced thanks to their play in the last two games.

Opponent Breakdown (Indiana)
Record: 28-34
Points Allowed Per Game: 96.1 (Rank: 3)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 8
Rebounding Differential Rank: 7

Elite Plays


Secondary Plays



The Pacers have won five in a row and would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. They still have a long way to go though, as there are three teams within two games in the loss column. The Pacers draw a favorable matchup tonight against the Magic, who are ranked 23rd in points allowed per game and 25th in rebounding differential this season. The Pacers’ team total is set at 100 points tonight, which is considerably higher than their season average.

Opponent Breakdown (Orlando)
Record: 21-43
Points Allowed Per Game: 101.2 (Rank: 23)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 24
Rebounding Differential Rank: 25

Elite Plays

George Hill (FD: $6300, DK: $6400 / MPG: 26 / Usage Rate: 25.3)

Hill is coming off of a strong six-game stretch, where he averaged 33 fantasy points in 30 minutes per contest. His minutes have been trending upward and his price is still at a very playable level on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Hill has a high usage rate in the Pacers’ offense and he draws a favorable matchup against the Magic, who are ranked 22nd against point guards this season.

Secondary Plays

Rodney Stuckey (FD: $5500, DK: $5800 / MPG: 26 / Usage Rate: 23.1)

Stuckey has really embraced his new role off the bench. It allows him to be the focal point of the offense while on the floor and he still sees close to starter’s minutes. Over his last eight games, he has averaged 28 fantasy points per contest. His price is still sub-$6k on both FanDuel and DraftKings, which makes him an appealing target in tournaments.

New Orleans at Brooklyn – 7:00 PM

  • Vegas LineBrooklyn -3, 190.5 Over/Under
  • New Orleans Proj. StartersCole-Gordon-Pondexter-Davis-Asik
  • Brooklyn Proj. StartersWilliams-Brown-Johnson-Young-Lopez
New Orleans Brooklyn
Vegas Total 190.5 Vegas Total 190.5
Vegas Sprd 3.0 Vegas Sprd -3.0
Team Proj. 93.8 Team Proj. 96.8
Team Pace 94.0 Team Pace 94.5
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
Proj Starter Norris Cole Eric Gordon Quincy Pondexter Anthony Davis Omer Asik Proj Starter Deron Williams Markel Brown Joe Johnson Thaddeus Young Brook Lopez
Opp. Season 16 27 9 26 13 Opp. Season 17 16 12 8 10
Opp. Last 7 24 19 8 27 24 Opp. Last 7 14 20 12 8 16

New Orleans

The Pelicans picked up another win last night in Milwaukee. They have now won eight of their last ten games and are putting serious pressure on the Thunder for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Pelicans are listed as 3-point underdogs tonight against the Nets. The total for the game is set at 190 points, which is one of the lowest on the schedule tonight. Tyreke Evans has officially been ruled out of tonight’s game. Norris Cole, Anthony Davis, and Eric Gordon should all see an uptick in minutes and/or usage against the Nets.

Opponent Breakdown (Brooklyn)
Record: 25-36
Points Allowed Per Game: 99.8 (Rank: 17)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 23
Rebounding Differential Rank: 23

Elite Plays

Anthony Davis (FD: $11200, DK: $10700 / MPG: 36 / Usage Rate: 27.3)

Davis is coming off of another monster fantasy outing. In his last four games, he has averaged 33.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 4.5 blocks per contest. That equates to an average of 60.7 fantasy points per game. Davis is the top play at any position tonight and is a very tough fade in both cash games and tournaments. He should be able to post another big outing against Thaddeus Young and company.

Eric Gordon (FD: $6100, DK: $5300 / MPG: 33 / Usage Rate: 19.4)

Tyreke Evans is out tonight, which opens the door for Gordon as the primary play-maker in the Pelicans’ back-court. Gordon could also see a few extra shot attempts. His price has come down since Anthony Davis’ return to the lineup and tonight is a great chance to buy low on Gordon, especially on DraftKings where is is priced at $5,300.

Norris Cole (FD: $3800, DK: $3300 / MPG: 25 / Usage Rate: 17.2)

Cole will likely draw the start at point guard tonight with Tyreke Evans out. Cole hasn’t been very consistent this season, but he should see an uptick in minutes tonight against the Nets. He’s close to minimum salary and he should be able to reach value with ease. Cole is one of the top value plays on the board tonight, assuming he draws the start.

Secondary Plays



The Nets are one of three teams chasing the Pacers and Hornets for the last two playoffs spots in the Eastern Conference. They are not helping themselves out though, as they have lost three games in a row and six of their last ten. Tonight they host a Thunder team that has played at the second-slowest pace over the last three weeks. This is a mediocre matchup at best. The good news is that Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez should be in the starting lineup again tonight in order to match up against Anthony Davis and Omer Asik.

Opponent Breakdown (New Orleans)
Record: 34-29
Points Allowed Per Game: 99 (Rank: 13)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 24
Rebounding Differential Rank: 5

Elite Plays

Brook Lopez (FD: $6900, DK: $6100 / MPG: 27 / Usage Rate: 27)

Lopez should draw another start at center tonight. He has earned it with his play and the Nets need to match up against the big front-court of the Pelicans. Lopez has scored at least 32 fantasy points in three of his last four games and his price is under $7,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings. The Pelicans have been tough against opposing centers this season, but as long as he is in the starting lineup, Lopez is an elite play tonight.

Secondary Plays

Thaddeus Young (FD: $5800, DK: $5200 / MPG: 32 / Usage Rate: 21.2)

Young played well in his first start with the Nets. He finished the game with 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals. It’s hard to trust a player that relies on scoring and steals for his fantasy production, but Young is under-priced tonight. He does draw a tough matchup against Anthony Davis, but his high ceiling makes him a strong tournament play.

Cleveland at Dallas – 8:30 PM

  • Vegas LineCleveland -4.5, 200 Over/Under
  • Cleveland Proj. StartersIrving-Smith-James-Love-Mozgov
  • Dallas Proj. StartersRondo-Ellis-Parsons-Nowitzki-Chandler
Cleveland Dallas
Vegas Total 200 Vegas Total 200
Vegas Sprd -4.5 Vegas Sprd 4.5
Team Proj. 102.3 Team Proj. 97.8
Team Pace 94.77 Team Pace 96.65
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
Proj Starter Kyrie Irving J.R. Smith LeBron James Kevin Love Timofey Mozgov Proj Starter Rajon Rondo Monta Ellis Chandler Parsons Dirk Nowitzki Tyson Chandler
Opp. Season 21 6 15 10 16 Opp. Season 8 21 23 15 15
Opp. Last 7 13 6 23 13 25 Opp. Last 7 3 12 19 7 29


The Cavaliers have won seven of their last ten games and are firmly in the driver’s seat for the two seed in the Eastern Conference. They aren’t going to catch the Hawks, but Cavaliers’ fans have to be happy about their chances, after the rocky start to the season. Tonight they head to Dallas to take on the struggling Mavericks. The Cavaliers are 4.5-point favorites with their tea total set at 102 points. This is a favorable matchup, but there is really only one player that is on my radar tonight.

Opponent Breakdown (Dallas)
Record: 41-24
Points Allowed Per Game: 100.4 (Rank: 19)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 14
Rebounding Differential Rank: 30

Elite Plays

LeBron James (FD: $10700, DK: $10500 / MPG: 36 / Usage Rate: 33.3)

With James, the concern is more about his playing time than it is his matchup. He is as matchup-proof of a player as there is in the NBA, so as long as we can predict his minutes, we can predict his fantasy production. Tonight’s game against the Mavericks is expected to stay close (4.5-point spread), which bodes well for LeBron. He typically sees upwards of 40 minutes in close games. He’s a strong target in all league formats tonight and is second only to Anthony Davis as the top overall play of the night.

Secondary Plays



The Mavericks have fallen down to the sixth-seed in the Western Conference playoffs. If they aren’t careful, the Spurs could pass them in the standings as well. They draw a tough matchup against the red-hot Cavaliers, but they are at least playing at home. This is expected to be a close, fairly high-scoring game. The Cavaliers have really improved on the defensive end of the floor though, as they are now ranked 11th in points allowed per game and 8th in rebounding differential this season.

Opponent Breakdown (Cleveland)
Record: 40-25
Points Allowed Per Game: 98.5 (Rank: 11)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 21
Rebounding Differential Rank: 8

Elite Plays


Secondary Plays

Monta Ellis (FD: $6800, DK: $6900 / MPG: 34 / Usage Rate: 27.9)

Ellis is coming off of his best game in the better part of a month. Granted, it was against the Lakers, but Ellis finished the game with 31 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. He has a high usage rate in the offense and he’s the one Mavericks’ player that we know is going to see around 35 minutes per game.

Dirk Nowitzki (FD: $5900, DK: $5800 / MPG: 30 / Usage Rate: 25.6)

Nowitizki is in play tonight thanks to a favorable matchup (against Kevin Love) and a favorable price tag (sub-$6k on both FanDuel and DraftKings). He doesn’t have a high ceiling, but he does provide a high floor for a player at his price point. He needs roughly 29 fantasy points to reach value, a feat that he has accomplished three times in his last seven games.

Toronto at San Antonio – 8:30 PM

  • Vegas LineSan Antonio -7.5, 205.5 Over/Under
  • Toronto Proj. StartersLowry-DeRozan-Ross-Johnson-Valanciunas
  • San Antonio Proj. StartersParker-Green-Leonard-Duncan-Splitter
Toronto San Antonio
Vegas Total 205.5 Vegas Total 205.5
Vegas Sprd 7.5 Vegas Sprd -7.5
Team Proj. 99.0 Team Proj. 106.5
Team Pace 95.92 Team Pace 95.95
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
Proj Starter Kyle Lowry DeMar DeRozan Terrence Ross Amir Johnson Jonas Valanciunas Proj Starter Tony Parker Danny Green Kawhi Leonard Tim Duncan Tiago Splitter
Opp. Season 12 1 1 22 18 Opp. Season 24 11 25 7 12
Opp. Last 7 23 1 10 18 30 Opp. Last 7 28 9 26 15 22


The Raptors were kind enough to open the door for the Cavaliers. They have lost eight of their last ten games and are now behind Cleveland in the standings. They need to turn it around quickly or the Bulls will pass them as well. It’s going to be tough to right the ship tonight against the Spurs in San Antonio. The Raptors are 7.5-point underdogs in a game that features a total of 205 points. Even though the total is high, this is not a great matchup to exploit. The Spurs are ranked 8th in points allowed per game and 10th in rebounding differential this season.

Opponent Breakdown (San Antonio)
Record: 39-23
Points Allowed Per Game: 97.2 (Rank: 8)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 3
Rebounding Differential Rank: 10

Elite Plays


Secondary Plays

Kyle Lowry (FD: $7100, DK: $6800 / MPG: 35 / Usage Rate: 25.4)

Lowry has played well since returning to the lineup. He had 38 fantasy points against the Hornets and 27 fantasy points against the Thunder. Hopefully the rest is what Lowry needed to finish the season strong. His price is at one of its lowest points of the season, which provides us with a buy-low opportunity. Tonight he matches up against Tony Parker, whose defense is not what is used to be.

Terrence Ross (FD: $4100, DK: $4000 / MPG: 25 / Usage Rate: 18.7)

I have Ross listed here because he will likely be a popular value play at small forward tonight. He has scored 26 and 34 fantasy points in his last two games and he’s still very cheap across the industry. I’m not buying in on Ross just yet, though. The Spurs are ranked first against small forwards this season. If Ross gets off to a bad start, the Raptors have plenty of other options just waiting to take his minutes.

San Antonio

The Spurs are looking for their sixth win in a row tonight. We’ve waited and waited for a long Spurs’ winning streak and this might be the start of it. They draw a favorable matchup against the Raptors, who are a fast-paced team that has allowed the 9th-most points per game this season. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are both at affordable price points, but we’ve played daily fantasy basketball long enough to know that in Popovich, we don’t trust.

Opponent Breakdown (Toronto)
Record: 38-25
Points Allowed Per Game: 101 (Rank: 22)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 22
Rebounding Differential Rank: 19

Elite Plays

Kawhi Leonard (FD: $7600, DK: $7700 / MPG: 32 / Usage Rate: 22.6)

Leonard has been terrific recently, scoring at least 36 fantasy points in each of his last six games. During that stretch, he has averaged 34.5 minutes per game. Tonight he draws a favorable matchup against the Raptors, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season. Leonard is a strong play at small forward, especially if you are struggling to fit LeBron into your lineups.

Secondary Plays

Danny Green (FD: $5200, DK: $4600 / MPG: 29 / Usage Rate: 17.7)

Green is a DraftKings-specific play tonight against the Raptors. At $4,600, he needs 23 fantasy points to reach value. He’s certainly capable of that, as he has averaged 25.6 fantasy points (DK scoring) per game this season. Green is inconsistent, but he’s a risk that could pay off handsomely, given his depressed salary.

New York at Utah – 9:00 PM

  • Vegas LineUtah -14, 183.5
  • New York Proj. StartersGalloway-Shved-Thomas-Smith-Bargnani
  • Utah Proj. StartersExum-Ingles-Hayward-Favors-Gobert
New York Utah
Vegas Total 183.5 Vegas Total 183.5
Vegas Sprd 14.0 Vegas Sprd -14.0
Team Proj. 84.8 Team Proj. 98.8
Team Pace 93.29 Team Pace 92.75
Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters Matchup – Opponent DvP Ranks and Projected Starters
Proj Starter Langston Galloway Alexey Shved Lance Thomas Jason Smith Andrea Bargnani Proj Starter Dante Exum Joe Ingles Gordon Hayward Derrick Favors Rudy Gobert
Opp. Season 6 13 10 11 2 Opp. Season 20 24 3 6 22
Opp. Last 7 6 4 3 17 11 Opp. Last 7 8 28 25 14 12

New York

The Knicks are bad; they are really bad. They have lost their last four games by an average of 24 points per contest. They are 14-point underdogs tonight against the Jazz. This game has the potential to turn into yet another blowout, which really hurts the fantasy appeal of both teams. There are a couple of decent value plays on the Knicks tonight, but this is an awful matchup. The Jazz are ranked 2nd in points allowed per game and 1st in rebounding differential this season.

Opponent Breakdown (Utah)
Record: 26-36
Points Allowed Per Game: 96 (Rank: 2)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 18
Rebounding Differential Rank: 1

Elite Plays


Secondary Plays

Andrea Bargnani (FD: $5600, DK: $5600 / MPG: 24 / Usage Rate: 24.7)

If the Knicks were expected to keep this game close, Bargnani would be an elite play. The problem is that he may only end up playing 25 minutes in another blowout. Bargnani has averaged 27.6 fantasy points per game over his last seven, but is best suited as a tournament play tonight against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz.

Alexey Shved (FD: $4000, DK: $3400 / MPG: 15 / Usage Rate: 25.6)

Don’t look now, but Shved is making a case for fantasy consideration. He has scored at least 22 fantasy points in five of his last six games and he may draw another start tonight if Tim Hardaway Jr. is forced to sit out another game. The Jazz have been stout defensively this season, but Shved should be able to reach value at his price point.


The Jazz have won seven of their last ten games. They are a young team that is really playing well together right now. Tonight they host the struggling Knicks at home. The Jazz are 14-point favorites tonight in a very favorable matchup. The Knicks are ranked 23rd in points allowed per game and 28th in rebounding differential this season. The biggest concern here is that the Jazz starters may see limited minutes if the game gets out of hand.

Opponent Breakdown (New York)
Record: 12-49
Points Allowed Per Game: 101.2 (Rank: 23)
Defensive Efficiency Rank: 28
Rebounding Differential Rank: 28

Elite Plays

Rudy Gobert (FD: $7400, DK: $7500 / MPG: 23 / Usage Rate: 13.6)

Gobert or go home!

Gobert could realistically grab 20+ rebounds tonight against the Knicks, who are ranked 28th in rebounding differential this season. Gobert has been terrific over his last eight games, averaging 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks per contest. The only thing that can hold Gobert back tonight is a blowout, which is very possible. He’s still an elite play in my eyes though, as the Knicks will not be able to keep him out of the paint.

Derrick Favors (FD: $7600, DK: $7400 / MPG: 31 / Usage Rate: 23.1)

Favors is also a strong play against the makeshift front-court of the Knicks. Favors has scored at least 35 fantasy points in six of his last nine games and he’s become a very reliable option ever since the Enes Kanter trade. Favors is fairly priced across the industry and he’ll likely go overlooked tonight against the Knicks.

Secondary Plays

Trey Burke (FD: $5600, DK: $4600 / MPG: 31 / Usage Rate: 22.9)

Burke is a DraftKings-specific play. He has played well over his last ten games, as he has averaged 25 fantasy points in 28 minutes per contest. He only needs 23 fantasy points to reach value, which seems very possible against a Knicks’ team that has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season.

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.


  • ATLSoulchild

    Curious… I see you have Nowitzki as a secondary play, but not David West at the same price point. No go on West?

  • Niner09

    West doesn’t play a lot of minutes.

  • Niner09

    Any thoughts on this lineup? Jackson, cole, gordon, green, leonard, ross, davis, favors, gobert. Any advice will help.

  • Unc420us

    And Dirk does? West plays more then Dirk

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Analyst

    • 315

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    David West also deserves a look, as he has a similar floor and ceiling as Dirk Nowitzki does. Both are still secondary options at the position though.

  • fball94132

    Dirk is more dependent on scoring
    West can grab more rebounds against the poor rebounding te team that makes up the front court of the magics

  • clintp44

    Just an FYI, Indiana is -8.5 tonight.

  • Ebby8

    West and Dirk play similar minutes… I’m rolling with West


    Dark horse Play at center is Dwayne Dedmon. I know Vucevic is back but Dedmon is more active in the boards and better shot blocking ability.

  • ghaegle

    I know you mentioned Duncan and Parker and the way Pop plays them but Parker seems to be out of his slump posting 2 40+ games in a row and his price is perfect if you are trying to roster a Davis and some other big names. He’s also been above 30 minutes those two games oh and also putting up shots in the low-high teens the past 5 games. I know who I’m going with!

  • magitsu

    “Any thoughts on this lineup? Jackson, cole, gordon, green, leonard, ross, davis, favors, gobert. Any advice will help”

    It’s so good, you will be splitting your winnings with 50% of the field

  • Einstagator00

    Do you or any one know If Trey Burke is getting any garbage time in blow outs, or is he sat as well?

  • Bigbowen18

    burke is a beast and can put up solid numbers for his price.

  • SkeletonB

    Good info. Do you think Marco Belinelli is a good choice for a cheap SG?

  • Cutch2504

    Gordon Hayward is out tonight? Who is a good sub on draftkings? Millsap?

  • Cutch2504

    Gordon Hayward is out tonight? Who is a good sub on draftkings? Millsap?

  • seacrest

    Millsap? Really?

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