Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 12/12/16
After a full Sunday of football and hoops, the NBA takes center stage again with a seven game slate filled with plenty of solid matchups. We get the Beard, Boogie, Blake and more. That's a lot of B's, B.
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Kemba Walker FD - $7600 DK - $7500
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 39.39 DK - 42.03
He left the Cleveland game with a leg contusion, but it looks like Walker will suit up tonight against the Pacers. The Pacers are really struggling to stop point guards this season and are allowing about 4% more scoring that league average to the position. Those numbers weren't helped with Damian Lillard torching them for a 33/9 line on Saturday, but it's been an issue all season for Jeff Teague and company. Their perimeter and inside D is weak allowing opposing ball handlers to work both inside and out. That should benefit Walker tonight who's seeing about 15% more shots per minute this season. He's a top 15 usage guy this year and is also launching (and hitting) more threes. I love the value we're getting here and he's in play on both sites.
Darren Collison FD - $5500 DK - $4900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 26.23 DK - 28.26
The minutes over the last three games don't look great on paper, but two of those games were blowout issues. I think he creeps back up into mid 30's run tonight and has one of the best matchups of the evening against the Lakers. LA plays at the fourth fastest pace in the league and their defensive efficiency ranks dead last. No early line on this one, but I suspect it projects as high scoring and close. Because Boogie dominates so much of the Kings' usage (specifically in iso ball) it isn't easy for Sacramento point guards to crush scoring. But that's built into Collison's price especially on DraftKings.
After these two guys, the decisions are a little less clear. You can strongly consider both Deron Williams and Jeff Teague if you think either can play minutes in the mid 30's but that's no guarantee.
DeMar DeRozan FD - $8500 DK - $7700
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 43.52 DK - 45.29
I feel like I haven't written much about Demar since early in the season, but it doesn't mean dude has taken his foot off the gas at all. He's still getting up an elite number of shot attempts per game (over 20 looks) and getting to the line in bunches. Of course, his numbers are down a little from the start of the season but it was going to be tough sustaining his early-on level of usage. He should be able to work his drive the lane, inside game against the Bucks who lack a serious interior defender and the Bucks have struggled as a whole against shooting guards this season. They are allowing about 3% more scoring than league average to the position. Derozan isn't cheap, but I think the usage is there for him tonight.
Will Barton FD - $5500 DK - $6400
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 30.08 DK - 32.31
After seeing major minutes in the prvious three games, Barton suddenly had his run dusted down to 24 minutes in the game against the Magic. This was odd considering the Nuggets were without Wilson Chandler though the return of Emmanuel Mudiay could have had something to do with it. Or this is just #NuggetsLife where no player's minutes are ever anything close to safe. Here's to hoping the run returns against the Mavs here. Barton is a versatile player who, unlike the more traditional shooting guard, doesn't need to stand in the corner or wait for foul line extended threes. He can create on the ball and also rebounds the position well (5 boards per game). He should also come in handy against the Mavs who run plenty of small ball, three guard sets. Look for the minutes to stabilize in this matchup.
James Harden FD - $11400 DK - $11400
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 54.56 DK - 60.31
He isn't the best points per dollar play in our system but it's never fun fading the Beard on a given night. Harden hasn't been flirting with the upside of guys like Russ who exist in the same pricing level, but he's been incredibly consistent on this price. That comes from a combination of extended minutes, the ability to get to the line, an elite usage (33.5, 7th in the league) and significantly increased assist totals this season. The latter part is what raises his floor on a given night as he's seemingly involved in every single Rockets' scoring play. There is some blowout risk here considering the Rockets are -14 against the Nets which may have me steer clear, but again, it isn't easy fading Harden.
Harrison Barnes FD - $6400 DK - $6100
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 34.35 DK - 36.24
With the Mavs still struggling to get totally healthy and specifically playing without Dirk, Barnes remains an elite option at the position relative to his price. This game doesn't have the blowout potential of last game against the Rockets and Barnes is still chucking up shots at a near elite per minute rate. Denver isn't bad defending players like Barnes though they are worse defending the three than the four. Barnes moves back and forth depending on the rotation. The price hasn't moved much and considering the way Dallas uses him in the offense (clear outs and threes) he is a fantastic cash option even with guys like Deron Williams back in the fold.
Rudy Gay FD - $7000 DK - $6900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 35.56 DK - 37.72
Much like Darren Collison, it can be hard for offensive options on the Kings to get rolling when they share court time with Boogie. Though unlike Collison, Gay isn't necessarily coming cheap. I'm willing to take the risk tonight though because the matchup is so choice. The Lakers are below average against power forwards and are getting just blitzed by small forwards who average around 11% more scoring than league average. That makes up for the usage concerns on Gay. It is worth noting though that Rudy's still getting up 15 shots per game in this offense and has nearly doubled his assist rate over last year's numbers.
Luol Deng FD - $3700 DK - $3500
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 18.77 DK - 19.91
If you think he runs more than 30 minutes then he's close to a must play in cash games on both sites. The problem though is that big "if" of minutes on the Lakers. Luke Walton is known to play matchups and rarely runs any of his guys big minutes, instead favoring a more balanced (and DFS maddening) approach. But Deng's seen 27 or more in four of his last five. He scores and rebounds enough to have a solid floor at these punt prices and the Kings are no great shakes on D. Again, this is a punt play more than anything else, but there's some safety in his projected minutes at the prices.
Blake Griffin FD - $9000 DK - $8500
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 45 DK - 46.61
It appears Blake only got the night off for rest against the Pelicans and he should return to the court. That’s great news as he’s coming back for one of the best matches a power forward can want. The Blazers, by just about any tracking system, rank dead last in the league against the position. They are allowing about 17% (you read that number correctly) more scoring than league average and 10% more rebounding. Blake's per minute rebounding numbers are up over last season and the scoring is right in line with his career averages. He's the elite play at the position tonight and it's not particularly close considering the game doesn't project to get completely out of hand (Clips -9 at time of post).
Trevor Booker FD - $5800 DK - $5600
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 29.04 DK - 30.53
It's always nice to knock at least on relative sure thing out of the way early at power forward because the rest of the position is typically such a mess. For instance, take a guy like Booker who's per minute numbers rank up there with just about anyone at the position. But because he plays for the Nets we simply can't trust the run. It's not even completely built into his price anymore either as he's so solid in his court time that the salaries ticked up in the short term. But I like the potential pace of this game and he's enough of a guy in transition that he should push his minutes to around the 30 mark tonight against the Rockets. He's got easy double-double potential if he can get out there for 30 minutes or a tick more and contributes solidly on the defensive end with about two steals per game. Now we just need him to play.
Jabari Parker FD - $6200 DK - $6200
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 33.68 DK - 35.37
Speaking of needing a guy to play, that didn't appear an issue with Parker this season until Jason Kidd just decided to bench him for long stretches last game against the Wiz. Parker had been around 32-35 minutes on lock in the short term (sometimes much more) and I thought the days of Kidd playing fast and loose with his better player's minutes were behind us. Nope. That being said, I'm going to take last game as an outlier and if you think he's back to a 34 minutes per game guy then he's a fantastic value against Toronto. Parker's a 19/6 guy on the season and has 5x value if he's on the court. He's shooting way more threes this season and been decent from behind the arc at 34%. I still think he's cash game viable and I'll take last game as a blip rather than the new rule.
DeMarcus Cousins FD - $11000 DK - $10900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 53.99 DK - 58.5
I suspect he's something along the lines of a chalk play tonight considering his fantasy dominance and the matchup. Cousins has the third highest usage in the league this season behind only Westbrook and Embiid, is shooting a ton of threes (4.7 per game which is more like a guard than a PF/C), rebounds the position at elite levels, and has even increased his per minute assist numbers about 10% over last year. He's the full fantasy package and the Lakers don't have a ton to throw at him. Like I said, I think he's the chalk play tonight on both sites and with the blowout risk in Houston would rather pay this tag on Cousins than Harden if forced to choose between the two.
Cody Zeller FD - $4700 DK - $4300
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 27.64 DK - 28.7
Zeller's the cost-saving measure on FanDuel or the C play on DK if you run Cousins in the PF slot. He's not a huge minutes' guy by any means, though he did see run buzzed off in each of his last two games because of blowouts going both directions. Zeller is in line for a solid floor tonight even in mid 20's minutes against a Pacer team among the worst in the league at defending the interior. They are either too small with Turner, or too slow with Jefferson. Neither offers much in the way of defensive resistance. Again, Zeller is simply a salary play but he will see some shots in this offense and his per minute rebounding numbers are solid enough. More of a DK play than anything else.
Strongly consider Jonas Valanciunas.
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- Joey Dorsey, DeMarcus Cousins: (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)