Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and DraftPot - 1/2/2016
Happy New Year, ya humps! I hope you spent your New Year the same way I did - enjoying a nice night with friends, until about 9 PM, when you went home and fell asleep putting your kids to bed. Actually, I don't hope you spent it that way. I hope you spent your New Year's more the way I did about ten years ago. We'll leave the details to the imagination, but let's just say it involved unconventional uses of cinnamon, pepperoni, and Seran Wrap. On to the picks!
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Ish Smith - FD 5800 DK 7200
Opponent - LAC FD Proj. Pts - 31.27 DK Proj. Pts - 32.17
Shaun Livingston - FD 3900 DK 4300
Opponent - DEN FD Proj. Pts - 19.1 DK Proj. Pts - 19.25
There are two classes of point guards to play tonight. These pretty cheap guys, and then the mid-tier guys in the fast games. These are the cheap guys. Ish has gotten really expensive on DraftKings, but he's easily the play of the day on FanDuel. What's going on with Ish? Well, he's actually a really interesting player. He is driving a ton (10 drives per game on the season, considerably higher since he came to Philly), but passes more out of the drive than any other starting PG in the NBA right now. He's piling up assists, and really loosening up the Philly offense. A no-brainer in a relatively fast paced match-up with the Clippers. And then there's Livingston. He's got a phenomenal match-up with the corpse of Jameer Nelson, and just came off a near 30 fantasy point performance against the Rockets. In a game where everything went wrong against the Mavericks, he still nearly paid off these prices. I love both of these guys in any format.
Brandon Knight - FD 6500 DK 7400
Opponent - SAC FD Proj. Pts - 32.91 DK Proj. Pts - 35.1
Rajon Rondo - FD 7800 DK 8300
Opponent - PHX FD Proj. Pts - 38.73 DK Proj. Pts - 39.49
And here's the other tier! These fellas are facing off against one another, and represent a fantastic match-up for one another. The Suns and Kings have allowed the 2nd and 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season, and play the 4th and 1st fastest paces in the league. Knight has struggled since Bledsoe went down, but that almost has to turn at some point, since Bledsoe wasn't exactly creating tons of shots for him. Rondo has been on a similar cold streak, but it's after coming off a tough stretch of opponents. I love both of these guys in any format for a nice bounce back game.
Klay Thompson - FD 7400 DK 7700
Opponent - DEN FD Proj. Pts - 34.63 DK Proj. Pts - 38.56
Welp, Klay had the game in his second match-up without Steph that we all assumed he'd have in his first game without him. I figure he'll just about hit what our projection system is forecasting here, making him one of the very best points per dollar guys at the position. He launched 27 shots against the Rockets, and is simply going to have to continue to shoulder a huge offensive burden while the league's best player is on the sidelines. The Nuggets have allowed the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season, only sweetening an already delicious deal.
Evan Fournier - FD 5600 DK 6000
Opponent - CLE FD Proj. Pts - 26.16 DK Proj. Pts - 28.78
Fournier sort of qualifies as boring at this point, because his output has become so preditable. He's been a lock for 5x-6x points per dollar out of the shooting guard position recently, and while he's off to a bad start in this Wizards game, I remain optimistic. He shoots 11-14 shots per game, gets 4-7 assists, and throws in a handful of rebounds and steals as well. Cleveland's basically a league average match-up, but the price is still super fair. Great 50/50 and double-up play.
Monta Ellis - FD 5800 DK 5900
Opponent - DET FD Proj. Pts - 26.74 DK Proj. Pts - 27.84
I can't say I am as optimistic about Ellis as our projection system is, but I figure it's worth throwing out there since he'll be a very low % start today. Before last game's stinker, Ellis had shot 19 and 20 shots in back to back games. These are some nice low prices for a guy who can put up that kind of volume. A very interesting big tournament play considering how many people are guaranteed to play Klay and Fournier.
Devin Booker makes for a fantastic cheap option if you'd like to go in that direction. A fast paced game with the Kings, and he just played 39 minutes against the Thunder. He hasn't been great on a points per minute basis, though, so I'm not sure you can call him safe.
Kawhi Leonard - FD 8600 DK 8500
Opponent - HOU FD Proj. Pts - 41.06 DK Proj. Pts - 42.85
Kawhi absolutely eviscerated Ariza and the Rockets in their last meeting, putting up 50 fantasy points on the back of 5 steals and 3 blocks. And Leonard isn't alone - the Rockets have allowed the 3rd most most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards this season on the back of their 6th fastest PACE. Seems like a very high floor way to invest a good chunk of salary.
Chandler Parsons - FD 5200 DK 5800
Opponent - NOP FD Proj. Pts - 25.39 DK Proj. Pts - 27.62
A fine cheap option to get away from a fairly lousy position cheaply. Parsons' price has stopped its meteoric rise, which is nice, because he's still at least 10% underpriced according to our projection system. Parsons disappeared completely in a very weird game against the Warriors, but if you watched that game, it didn't appear to be anything to worry about. He was surrounded by a bunch of guys who couldn't miss, he ran into a little foul trouble, and then found himself a part of an inexplicable blowout. If he heads back up to the 12-15 shots per game range, this price will expose itself as a joke.
Andre Iguodala - FD 4800 DK 5200
Opponent - DEN FD Proj. Pts - 23.26 DK Proj. Pts - 24.71
Another guy who seems to be handling the ball a lot more with Steph out. The 7 field goals last game don't paint a complete picture. Iggy also got to the line 7 times, and dealt 4 assists. He (just like everyone) is a much bigger part of the offense with Steph out, and even brought the ball up the court a few times when Livingston was getting a breather. The Nuggets have allowed the 10th most most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards this season in spite of playing the 10th slowest PACE. This is a huge red flag, which generally means "this team sucks at defending this position." Seems like a pretty safe option, as long as Curry isn't on the floor.
Anthony Davis - FD 10100 DK 10300
Opponent - DAL FD Proj. Pts - 50.88 DK Proj. Pts - 51.68
The class of the big money guys today, and it's not looking particularly close. In Davis' case, it's simply seeing a fellow who's under-priced relative to his points per minute production. His last two games have caused that little drop, but both of those sub-par performances can be explained. A bizarre game where he got pulled 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter because his coach is insane, and then a bad shooting night against the Clips. The Mavs are basically a league average match-up, and we're assuming Davis will be out there for his normally clock-work like 38 minutes. Love him in any format, given the ways you can save elsewhere.
Nerlens Noel - FD 6300 DK 6500
Opponent - LAC FD Proj. Pts - 29.19 DK Proj. Pts - 29.64
You can say this about a lot of the 76ers today, but Nerlens Noel in particular: he's looking a lot better since the arrival of Ish Smith. His usage has climbed from 19% to 24%, and it's in large part because he finally has a point guard who can get in the lane and give it to him where he wants it - by the rim. He's been crushing from a fantasy perspective as well, putting up 5x+ points per dollar in each game since Smith arrived. The real risk here is foul trouble. He'll be up against the some quality bigs on the Clippers, and DeAndre in particular can have a negative effect on opposing big men's rebounding ability. Still, I think he's still safe at these prices.
Kevin Love - FD 7300 DK 7500
Opponent - ORL FD Proj. Pts - 34.54 DK Proj. Pts - 37.01
Outside of the two blowouts where he lost minutes, Love has been back to being a rebounding machine recently, putting up 13, 14, and 18 rebounds in the last three games where he played his full run of minutes. The Magic have allowed the 9th most most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards this season, but I love this match-up on an individual basis as well. Frye and Vucevic are among the lowest starting front court in the league when it comes to going after contested rebounds, per the SportVU data. And neither of them defends the mid-range very well, either. This seems like a nice high floor play, assuming the game stays somewhat close.
A bunch of more speculative plays: I don't like Draymond Green, even if they did run the offense through him last time. The prices are simply too high, even if every other single person plays him. You can look at guys like Jerami Grant, but I'm worried that Okafor will come back and take minutes at some point. Likewise for Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller.
Andre Drummond[/lineups_modal] - FD 9400 DK 9400
Opponent - IND FD Proj. Pts - 42.72 DK Proj. Pts - 43.5
I may be tempted to go super cheap at center today - more on those guys later - but if not, I'll be looking hard at Drummond. The Pistons' big man is one of my favorite players in the league for a number of reasons, but primarily for his ridiculous rebounding ability. He leads the NBA in both contested AND uncontested rebounds, and also in field goals defended near the rim. He put up 29 rebounds in his first meeting with the Pacers earlier this season. He also shoots something like 4% from the free throw line. Still, we may never see another guy like this in our lifetimes, and I just have fun rooting for him.
DeMarcus Cousins - FD 9700 DK 10000
Opponent - PHX FD Proj. Pts - 45.68 DK Proj. Pts - 46.22
If you play the early slate, this one looks terrific. The Suns play one of the league's fastest paces, and Cousins can put up insane numbers when things really get moving. Extra possessions = much more love for the Boogie-man, especially against the rotating cast that the Suns play down low.
Can Boban Marjanovic continue to put up 20+ fantasy points per game on 15 minutes? Our system says yes. If he's active tonight, he's a very interesting punt play. The first game he plays 25 minutes will break NBA twitter, for sure. Andrew Bogut and Joffrey Lauvergne also look like great plays, but it's so tough to play guys in 50/50s who play low 20s minutes. Up to you, I guess!
So yeah, basketball season! And we've got some goodies you can take with you. At the end of the post, we have our NBA eBook that you really ought to check out before setting even a single daily fantasy NBA lineup. It's free, below.