Daily Fantasy Basketball 2015: NBA DraftKings Studs and Duds for March 18

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIMarch 18, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MARCH 15: Nikola Mirotic #44 of the Chicago Bulls drives to the basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the game on March 15, 2015 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Chicago Bulls will be the source for one of Wednesday's biggest DraftKings studs and duds. First, the positive: Nikola Mirotic has been a machine in March. The rookie forward is getting increased playing time since Taj Gibson went down with an injury.

In Mirotic's last nine games, he's had less than 35 fantasy points just once. On Saturday, the Bulls host the rival Indiana Pacers. Mirotic did have one of his worst recent performances against the Pacers on March 6, when he made just three of his 13 shots from the field. That included a barren 0-of-6 from three-point range.

That game took place on the road, and Mirotic hadn't quite acquired the level of confidence he carries into games these days. If Mirotic's jump shot is falling, he's a matchup nightmare for the Pacers. Indiana doesn't have a big who is athletic enough to defend Mirotic on the perimeter.

I'm predicting Wednesday is the day Mirotic finally brings his shooting eye against the Pacers and proves to be well worth his $7,200 salary slot.

On the other side of the spectrum is Bulls point guard Aaron Brooks. Since taking over for the injured Derrick Rose as the team's starting point guard, Brooks has been hit-and-miss as a DraftKings stud. In fact, he's been more miss than hit.

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 6:  Aaron Brooks #0 of the Chicago Bulls gets ready to play against the Indiana Pacers on March 6, 2015 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadin
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In his last six games, Brooks is averaging 26.3 fantasy points. That span includes a four-point, two-assist performance against the Pacers. The harder Brooks has to work on defense, the worse he'll be on offense. Pacers point guard George Hill has been playing great of late, and he's physically stronger than Brooks.

This could prove to wear the diminutive Bulls guard down and take away from his offensive output.

Based on what he's done lately, and what he did against the Pacers in the last meeting between the teams, Brooks is one of Wednesday's duds. His salary is only $5,700, so some might still look to him as a utility or second guard. 

As long as you aren't neglecting some of the top-notch point guards who are set to play on Wednesday, drafting Brooks won't hurt too badly.

Other Studs and Duds

Studs

Russell Westbrook ($12,600) vs. Boston Celtics

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 16:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on March 16, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is cons
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Until further notice, place Russell Westbrook No. 1 in this category every night he and the Oklahoma City Thunder play. If you were playing NBA 2K15 on Rookie difficulty level, you'd have a hard time duplicating Westbrook's run over the last 10 games. That's a little bit of hyperbole, but not much.

Over his last 10 contests, the worst DK performance Westbrook has generated was 46.25 fantasy points on March 11 against the Los Angeles Clippers. In that game, Westbrook had 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals. 

If you can find some low-cost pieces for the rest of your roster spots, Westbrook is your anchor.

Chris Paul ($9,700) at Sacramento Kings

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 17: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers attempts a free throw against the Charlotte Hornets on March 17, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
Juan Ocampo/Getty Images

If you're looking for one of the most dependable DK studs in the NBA, look no further than Chris Paul. While not quite as spectacular or prone to 60-plus fantasy point explosions as Westbrook, Paul still delivers, and his salary doesn't kill the rest of your roster.

In his last 10 games, he's had less than 40 fantasy points just four times. During that span, he's never been below 29.5. Against the Sacramento Kings, he's averaging 35.3 fantasy points.

Aside from Westbrook, Paul is the safest high-dollar pick on the board for Wednesday's games.

Duds

DeMarcus Cousins ($10,000) vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Statistically, DeMarcus Cousins is the most well-rounded center in the NBA. He's averaging 23.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 blocked shots per game. Cousins is on pace to be the first player since Kevin Garnett in 2003-04 to average at least 23 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game in a season.

Even with that, Cousins is a bit banged up.

Per ESPN.com's fantasy basketball news:

Cousins has considered asking to be rested some nights as the season winds down, but coach George Karl wants his starting center to continue playing, News10 reports. He is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Clippers, but that's also not much different than his status for the last handful of games.

Even a player as gifted as Cousins can have a down night, and Wednesday's game looks like it could be a tough one for Boogie. He and the Sacramento Kings are facing one of the league's best defensive centers in DeAndre Jordan.

Cousins has had good success against Jordan and the Los Angeles Clippers this season, but Boogie was presumably a little healthier then. With his body ailing and reportedly seeking a rest, Cousins might not be up to producing a 50-plus fantasy point outing. Thus, he may not be worth the $10,000 salary slot on Wednesday.

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