Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Ben Shushan

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and DraftPot - 1/21/16

Welcome to Short Slate Thursday! There are only 4 games tonight, but I still see some good value plays (cash games), some guys with a lot of upside (tourneys), and a few slam dunks (across-the-board). Let’s get to it.

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Brandon Knight - FD 6500 DK 7200
Opponent - SAS
FD Proj. Pts - 32.98 DK Proj. Pts - 35.06
After a couple of lackluster outings, Knight had a bounce-back game against the Pacers on Tuesday. His price has come down a bit, and frankly, the Suns don’t have a lot of other options. A couple of the Phoenix buy-low possibilities are in limbo, either because they’re Questionable or the player they might replace is. While the matchup is lousy, the relative price to opportunity is hard to pass up.

Emmanuel Mudiay - FD 5000 DK 5800
Opponent - MEM
FD Proj. Pts - 24.82 DK Proj. Pts - 25.87
Mudiay’s gotten some additional run with Jameer Nelson on the mend. With Nelson now Questionable for the Nuggets' tilt with Memphis, Emmanuel may see a few less minutes, but the projections still show a really high floor here. He’s a solid option everywhere (on FD his price is criminally low), and if Nelson’s out again the ceiling is raised as well. Another value play at a slightly lower price point.

Jrue Holiday - FD 6600 DK 6500
Opponent - DET
FD Proj. Pts - 31.45 DK Proj. Pts - 32.92
Jrue has been hot from the floor for the last week, and his production has spiked (5x floor the last three games). Detroit is a decent matchup with an average Pace and middle-of-the-road defense against PGs. With Eric Gordon’s fragility highlighted yet again (out 4-6 weeks with a broken finger), there will be more minutes and shots for the adjusted Pels backcourt rotation. Holiday will start alongside Tyreke The Freak and the fit could be a little awkward, but the value has him in near must-start status (particularly on DK where he’s the top-rated PG for the night),


Courtney Lee - FD 4000 DK 4300
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 18.76 DK Proj. Pts - 20.1
No way to sugar-coat it – the high-end production at SG is just not there tonight. Lee is going against an average-tempo Nuggets squad that is terrible against SGs. Even with the Grizz backcourt glut, Lee has a high ceiling. Truthfully, we’re looking at a punt play here. But he might get you 6x value.

Devin Booker - FD 4300 DK 5000
Opponent - SAS
FD Proj. Pts - 20.23 DK Proj. Pts - 22.7
Speaking of boom-or-bust SG options, I present one Devin Booker. He’s facing the Spurs, who defend well and pose serious blowout risk, but who else can the Suns roll out there (see Kinght, Brandon)? The price is reasonable (especially on FD) – we’re looking at a slightly higher-priced version of Courtney Lee.

If you really feel the need to spend up here, take a look at Will Barton (especially on FD where his price is more palatable).

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Marcus Morris - FD 5200 DK 5700
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 23.94 DK Proj. Pts - 25.99
With a rotation tweak by SVG, Marcus Morris has gotten big minutes the last few games, and for the most part delivered. The Pels aren’t as good as matchup as you might imagine, ranking 7th-best defending SFs, while playing at a merely average Pace. But Morris remains a reasonably-priced option (especially on FD – his salary has shot up more than 10% on DK the past week) with some upside.

Kawhi Leonard - FD 7600 DK 8300
Opponent - PHX
FD Proj. Pts - 34.37 DK Proj. Pts - 35.9
And we finally come to a high-end play! Kawhi isn’t as reliable for DFS purposes as he is for the Spurs, but in large part as a function of blowout risk. There’s no denying that there’ll be plenty of that in the desert. Still, you have to invest somewhere, and there’s a high ceiling here. Decent cash option on FD due to price, but I’d leave him for Tournament play on DK.

P.J. Tucker - FD 4700 DK 5000
Opponent - SAS
FD Proj. Pts - 21.66 DK Proj. Pts - 23.05
Yet another option from the Suns. Even DK recognized this, jacking his price up after a 7x outing on Tuesday. His production comes across the board, but is more volatile there because he can hit the 3 (not rewarded on FD). If T.J. Warren sits (benched last game, but now listed as Questionable with a knee), Tucker is a virtual must-play. Either way, he’s a cash-game lock on FD.


Anthony Davis - FD 10300 DK 10000
Opponent - DET
FD Proj. Pts - 48.89 DK Proj. Pts - 49.64
The Brow has been healthy for over a week! As long as that’s the case (granted, a big “if”), he’s as safe an investment as there is. High-salaried plays are all about the floor. You can’t get 3x on a 10k investment and win anywhere. A.D. (or “the Other A.D.” for you old-schoolers who remember the Bad Boys) just cranks out a 4x floor and occasionally spikes to 6x or more. This is a good night to park some dollars in the Crescent City (especially on FD, where he’s a touch cheaper, and Boogie is a Center – see below).

Zach Randolph - FD 6300 DK 6400
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 23.65 DK Proj. Pts - 24.12
A somewhat cheaper (and markedly more enigmatic) option for this position is Z-Bo. Paradoxically, he’s rejoined the starting lineup, but seen his minutes come down. This is due to more small-ball for the Grizz, not poor play. Still, even with consistent minutes, Randolph can (and recently did) throw out a 3x one night, followed by an 8x. Denver’s average defending PFs, and battling some injuries, so this is as good a spot as any for a big game. [If I wasn’t clear, this is a tournament-only endorsement.]


DeMarcus Cousins - FD 10700 DK 10600
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 50.37 DK Proj. Pts – 51
Play of the Night. The matchup is a Vegas Special (high total, low spread), so minutes are locked and loaded. The Hawks play at a decent Pace (top-10) and only sort-of defend Bigs (23rd against Centers, 27th against PFs). On FD, you have your Center … you can move along. As a PF on DK, he’s an option at several positions (PF/F/U), so you should have no trouble finding a slot for him (and strongly consider pairing him with Davis).

Andre Drummond - FD 8800 DK 8800
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 42.58 DK Proj. Pts - 43.36
On DK, you need another Center option, and here you’ll find (an admittedly pricey) one. With the dearth at SG, finding the dollars for Drummond (and/or Boogie and/or Davis) should be doable. He actually comes in as the best pure DFSR projection value of any Center (including Cousins).

If you absolutely feel you have to punt here, maybe look at one of the Nuggets’ scrubs (I suppose Jokic).

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5 Visitor Comments

  1. 5 games tonight not 4. Does that change any of your top picks?

    • Sorry, flunked 2nd Grade Math. But I did get an A in Calculus. Thanks for the catch.

    • And no, the picks should be on target. Fair question. As a guide look at the SAC/ATL options. We’re off CLE/LAC because the Cavs are on a back-to-back and the Clips are on a coastal swing. There may be value, but it’s hard to rely on. The Usual Suspects (LBJ, CP3,) should be o.k. if you need to slot them in but the value is more likely elsewhere. HTH.

    • Sorry, see above. Thanks also for pointing it out. I’m going to go practice some Fast Facts with my Elementary School son.?

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