Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and DraftPot - 1/25/16
Monday's here! Daily fantasy NFL is over, but we still have months upon months to watch guys like Terrence Jones mysteriously play 10 minutes even when the main big man on his team is out. Bitter much? Mmmhmm. The nice thing about NBA though, unlike football, is that we get to climb right back in the saddle today. Lots of weird games today, and some crazy injury stuff to consider. We also have a marquee match-up that will miss one of its biggest stars. Can you play ANYONE in the GS/SA game? Monster slate on Monday here - let's get at it.
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Emmanuel Mudiay - FD 5200 DK 5800
Opponent - ATL
FD Proj. Pts - 26.21 DK Proj. Pts - 27.3
FanDuel in particular just refuses to acknowledge that Mudiay has been paying 5x+ points per dollar in every non-blowout game since he returned from injury, so I'm not sure what sort of grandiose analysis you need here. Mudiay's a good but not great player at bad player prices. That match-up is sort of neither here nor there for playing him on FanDuel, and he's a decent play on DraftKings as well due to the fact that the Hawks are slightly below average against opposing point guards. Don't mind him in any format, as I think we've seen his floor so far but haven't yet tapped into his potential ceiling.
Elfrid Payton - FD 6300 DK 6300
Opponent - MEM
FD Proj. Pts - 30.23 DK Proj. Pts - 30.79
Meanwhile, the Elfrid on the Shelfrid (got that was just awful) is basically a rich man's version of Mudiay. Almost to the number, really. He's averaged 38 FanDuel fantasy points per game in the last two games (where he finally got his full run of minutes), and our projection system loves him even if he hits the lower end of those minutes (about 35). Another case where opportunity and price outweigh match-up, though a relatively tough spot against the Grizz probably does limit his upside.
Norris Cole - FD 4300 DK 4900
Opponent - HOU
FD Proj. Pts - 20.21 DK Proj. Pts - 21.23
Feels kinda silly to write up 3 point guards at $6,300 and under, but here I am! I'm not sure what to say, really - sometimes the value just shows up in the lower echelon of prices, and it makes sense to pay up elsewhere. This looks like one of those days. With Eric Gordon out for 4-6 weeks, it looks like the Pelicans will be content to roll with Cole. Cole, then, becomes like a poor man's version of the above two guys. He generally stinks as a basketball player, but he's a pretty active and aggressive ball handler, and seems like a good favorite to go for 5x+ points per dollar here. It's critical to classify Cole properly here for defense vs. position stats. Yes, Cole is listed as a PG - but Beverley will almost undoubtedly be shadowing Tyreke here, leaving Harden to theoretically defend Cole. I say "theoretically" because the Rockets have been awful against opposing shooting guards this season, having allowed the 4th most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards. I like Cole in any format.
If he gets the start, Beno Udrih would be a nice play for very cheap. I won't touch Tyler Johnson now that he's back, and given how underwhelming Johnson has been, I imagine Beno will get 30 minutes easily.
James Harden - FD 10000 DK 10100
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 47.18 DK Proj. Pts - 50.01
And, this is where you can spend up, if you'd like. For whatever reason the sites depressed Harden's price dramatically during a cold streak, and it's still making its way back up to where it ought to be - about 8% higher than it is now. So, players everywhere are getting while the getting is good. Harden has averaged 59 FanDuel fantasy points per game in his last 3 games, featuring a level of effort that he just hadn't shown earlier this year. His assists are back to peak levels, and he's doing his best Russell Westbrook impersonation by filling it up in the rebounds category as well. The Pelicans have allowed the 6th most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season, and the Norris Cole/Tyreke Evans duo can't come close to stopping him. I'll play him everywhere.
Avery Bradley - FD 5600 DK 5600
Opponent - WAS
FD Proj. Pts - 25.82 DK Proj. Pts - 27.92
Apologies if it gets semi-boring to read about the same guys each night, but when the sites don't react to current situations, this is what we get. Bradley has 20.1 fantasy points through 3 quarters against the Sixers, but might not see the 4th in what's looking like a real bloodbath. That should theoretically not be the case against the Wizards, and if he gets his full run of minutes, we should see a good pile of fantasy points as well. The Celtics and Wizards both play top 5 PACEs in the league, and the extra possessions should necessarily mean more eats for everyone. I like like Bradley as a nice high floor play here.
Kent Bazemore - FD 5200 DK 5600
Opponent - DEN
FD Proj. Pts - 23.51 DK Proj. Pts - 24.84
I'm usually one to Baze less, but sometimes the time is just looking right. He's quietly slipped into a 30 minute rotation, and the 15 and 16 shots he's taken in 2 of his last 3 games are 2 of his 6 highest totals this season. The Nuggets are also a great team to grab a shooting guard against - they've allowed the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season. Nice play.
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This position can really not be called until we get more news tomorrow. Way too many dominoes. Will Nic Batum play? Rudy Gay? Dwight Howard (more on that in a second)? If Tony Allen is out, Matt Barnes has been amazing. If Luol Deng is out again, Justise Winslow is a high floor punt as well. The list goes on. Here are some guys you can fill in while you wait.
Kawhi Leonard - FD 7600 DK 8000
Opponent - GSW
FD Proj. Pts - 38.35 DK Proj. Pts - 39.97
Hey look! It's the guy you can play in the Golden State/San Antonio game! With Tim Duncan sitting, it stands to reason that we're going to see finals-esque piles of Kawhi in this game. Pop doesn't seem to quite have it in him to punt this game entirely, and while he's been less than phenomenal from fantasy perspective, it's simply hard to see him shy away from this one. And you don't have to take my word for it - the numbers back it up. Small Forward is one of the weakest spots on the floor for the Warriors, as their fast pace has allowed them to give up the 9th most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards this season. Seems like a huge floor here, with upside for more if he decides to go off.
Tobias Harris - FD 6000 DK 6400
Opponent - MEM
FD Proj. Pts - 27.93 DK Proj. Pts - 29.46
In a sea of uncertainty at the position, Tobias Harris has been one of the steadiest guys going. He's crashing the boards more, his minutes are up, and his shots are trending upward as well (about 13 per game in the last 2 weeks versus his season average of ~11). This is a little weird because it sure feels like we'll get some news that has us playing some good value guy elsewhere, but if none of those shoes drop, Harris looks like a reliable 50/50 option.
Corey Brewer - FD 3700 DK 3900
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 19.81 DK Proj. Pts - 20.96
Trevor Ariza - FD 5100 DK 5200
Opponent - NOP
FD Proj. Pts - 23.55 DK Proj. Pts - 26.3
Both of the Rockets "small forwards" were amazing on Sunday, and Howard's status is still uncertain. These projections assume that he'll be out, but our system likes Ariza one way or another due to the odd fact that Brewer will be the odd man out when Howard gets back. If Howard is gone, they're both great plays against a lousy New Orleans team.
Jae Crowder is another unsexy but steady play if none of the above punts come through.
Anthony Davis - FD 10300 DK 10000
Opponent - HOU
FD Proj. Pts - 50.6 DK Proj. Pts - 51.39
On a night where there's almost sure be to an avalanche of punt possibilities, Davis will likely land in most of our optimal lineups. I wrote this when I recommended him against Houston, but Davis has been the very face of reliability since returning from injury. In the last 3 games, for instance, he's played exactly 36 minutes and posted between 46.9-47.4 FanDuel fantasy points. And this will be his best match-up yet. The Rockets have allowed the very most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards this season, and either missing Dwight or having a gimpy Dwight won't be helping matters. Terrific play in all formats.
Marvin Williams - FD 5100 DK 4800
Opponent - SAC
FD Proj. Pts - 25.45 DK Proj. Pts - 27.67
Not so starvin' Marvin has been the primary beneficiary of Cody Zeller's absence. In lieu of giving Kaminsky extra minutes (the way many of us thought), Williams has been given extra run, and he's shown us pretty much what we can expect. Lots of rebounds, and the occasional big night when his jumper is falling. Like Davis, Marvin has a terrific match-up here. The Kings won't really have a true 4 playing in this game, and he'll either be chased by the too-slow WCS or the too-short Rudy Gay. Either way, I'm loving him here.
Jared Sullinger - FD 5600 DK 5500
Opponent - WAS
FD Proj. Pts - 25.77 DK Proj. Pts - 27.14
While the minutes situation is liable to drive me absolutely insane this season, Sullinger is still a heck of a fantasy commodity. The uncertain minutes have him as one of the most affordable fantasy-point-per-minute players in the NBA, and also one of the highest upside guys. When things break the way Brad Stevens likes, Sullinger can stay out there for 30+ minutes and put up 40+ fantasy points (like he did against the Bulls). In a fast paced game against the Wiz, that's in play here. Not likely enough for me to roll him in 50/50s, though.
Also considered: LaMarcus Aldridge, though I'm less confident in him than I am in Kawhi.
The things to look out for:
If Aaron Gordon draws the start again, he was on pace to being a great play before he got derailed by foul trouble, and his price hasn't caught up to his opportunity.
If Dwight is out, I really like Clint Capela. I won't do the Terrence Jones thing again.
Spencer Hawes - FD 3800 DK 4100
Opponent - SAC
FD Proj. Pts - 20.99 DK Proj. Pts - 22.18
Easily the big winner of the Cody Zeller absence, Hawes has been through the roof amazing in his two starts, paying off 6x+ and 8x points per dollar in his two starts. He's tall enough to get 10+ rebounds a game on starter minutes, and a good enough shooter to put up the occasional double digit scoring night as well. And he's basically free. He could physically die against Boogie, but if he survives, it's hard to picture him not at least paying 5x against the league's fastest team.
DeMarcus Cousins - FD 11200 DK 11000
Opponent - CHA
FD Proj. Pts - 49.59 DK Proj. Pts - 50.2
On the other hand... gulp. On a night with so many punts I imagine we're going to see people playing as much Cousins as they can handle. In his last 10 games, Boogie has 4 60+ point games and 4 50+ point games. By comparison, Steph Curry has 2 60+ point games and 4 50+ point games. The man is absolutely possessed right now, and if you think Spences Hawes and Marvin Williams are going to stand in front of him, I've got a bridge to sell you. He's only slightly dinged on price here, but you're going to have to fade him at your own risk. It'll be interested to see if it's possible to play Harden/Davis/Cousins tonight, because they all look amazing.
With Tim Duncan out you can believe the DFS world will play some Boban Marjanovic in big tournaments, just for funsies. The man put up 32 fantasy points in 22 minutes the last time Duncan was out, and it's just too fun to root for his huge features doing tons of awesome stuff on the court. Come on - you know you've got $2 to get in there on Boban.
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.