Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/8/17

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*Note - DraftKings has included the 12:00 game between the Nets and 76ers on a morning slate. I didn't highlight any plays in the article, mostly because they are unplayable on FanDuel and most other sites around the industry. Sergio Rodriguez is questionable, and if he misses, T.J. McConnell will be a must play. Joel Embiid is also a terrific play, along with Ersan Ilyasova. On the Nets side, I have much less interest. Trevor Booker would be in a good spot, but you can't trust that the minutes will be there.


Point Guard


Malcolm BrogdonMalcolm Brogdon FD - $4600 DK - $5600
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 25.01 DK - 26.71

Dellavedova may return today, but Brogdon will likely remain the starter. He has played great, and the return of Dellavedova will hurt Jason Terry, and he will probably lose all of them. I expect Brogdon to see around 32 minutes, and this match up sets up well. John Wall isn't a bad defender, but plays fast and has no problem giving up some points. As long as he can get his, he will run the floor and be fine with a fast paced, high scoring game. That could work well for Brogdon, who gets his ceiling from his peripherals. He had a triple double just a week ago. Brogdon has gotten a noticeble price bump, but is still too cheap. He is priced around the likes of Raymond Felton and Pat Beverley, who are far inferior plays. Brogdon is the best point per dollar play at PG in the early slate, and you should have exposure in all formats. The only way I get off of Brogdon is if Dellavedova is announced as the starter or main recipient of minutes.


Eric BledsoeEric Bledsoe FD - $7800 DK - $6900
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 40.09 DK - 42.71

I love targeting this game tonight, along with the affair in Los Angeles. Bledsoe figures to be in a great pot tonight, especially if this stays close. Kyrie has never been known for his defense, and for good reason. The Cavs have a good team defense, so his holes are constantly covered. There is a chance DeAndre Liggins gets Bledsoe as well, but it doesn't matter. He has a huge advantage over both, and I like him just as much either way. Bledsoe has been playing like his old self lately, topping 35 fantasy points in 5 straight. He is the number 1 option on the Suns, and has no problem shooting 20 times in a game. If this game has any chance of staying close, Eric Bledsoe will have to step up and dominate.

Elfrid PaytonElfrid Payton FD - $6200 DK - $6400
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 32.13 DK - 33.96

Payton finally got his starting gig back last game, and I expect him to hold it indefinitely. He wasn't spectacular against the Rockets, but dictated the court well and got plenty of usage. He was forced to match up with Patrick Beverley, so you can't blame him for the disappointment. This match up sets up better for Elfrid, as D'Angelo Russell is nowhere near the defender that Pat Bev is. Payton should play at least 32 minutes tonight, and value should be hit easily. This is a gae we will be targeting heavily, and almost all Magic starters are in play. Sitting at a low 6k price tag, Payton needs  30 to reach value in tournaments. I look at his floor to be around 25 and a ceiling well over 45. He can be played in both cash games and tournaments.


Shooting Guard


James HardenJames Harden FD - $11500 DK - $11700
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 54.36 DK - 58.67
DeMar DeRozanDeMar DeRozan FD - $8600 DK - $8100
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 43.24 DK - 45

These 2 guys will face off here, and this will be a fun one to watch. DeRozan definitely gets the worse defender, but we know James Harden is absolutely match up proof. These Raptors could be tired tonight, as they played a tough OT game against the Bulls just last night. I would still expect them to play there full minutes, but watch news as the day progresses as I wouldn't be surprised to see someone rest. DeRozan is my top SG on the slate, and I will have 100% exposure. With Patrick Beverley on Lowry, I think the Raptors will funnel the offense towards DeRozan. He has no problem heaving up a ton of shots, and they could easily go in against Harden defense. Harden is also in play, after having one of his worst game of the season against the Orlando Magic. DeRozan is a good defender, but Harden has torched hi in the past, and could certainly do it here. I do look at him more of a tournament play due to his price, but couldn't blame you for paying  up in cash games for the safety. Outside of these guys, Wayne Ellington and Bradley Beal deserve some consideration. Josh Richardson is out, so at least 30 minutes are up for grabs. Ellington should get 30. As for Beal, he will be in a fast paced game and have a defender that is average in Tony Snell.


Devin BookerDevin Booker FD - $5800 DK - $6200
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 29.6 DK - 31.98

This game is one that I will have a ton of exposure to, and I don't think the field will have as much. I think this match up has a ton of potential for Booker, depending on a few things. The Cavs have been putting DeAndre Liggins on dominant point guards, and that leaves Kyrie Irving to cover the SG. Eric Bledsoe likely deserves that treatment, so Booker could end up seeing the weak defense of Irving. That will give you a mid priced, high ceiling option that is low owned and in a ideal match up. He could also see the defense of Iman Shumpert, which is much better, but I still don't think has the speed to stop him. I will target Booker in cash games and tournaments, but he admittedly sets up better for tournaments.

Evan FournierEvan Fournier FD - $5800 DK - $6300
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 27.41 DK - 29.48

Like I said, these 2 games will be targeted a ton. They have the highest over/unders, and offer a couple concentrated offenses in Phoenix. These 2 teams spread it out a bit more, but that just gives them more upside at a moderate price. Fournier has seen a huge price drop after his injury, and he is still the same player. He was priced well over $7200 on both sites, and I expect  him to return there soon. The Lakers will throw Nick Young on him, and as we know, he could care less about defense. Even if the effort is there, the skill isn't. Fournier will have his way on the perimeter and should have no problem penetrating the paint of deadly Timofey Mozgov. Fournier is too cheap, and his floor combined with ceiling is too high to just ignore on a small slate.

Small Forward


Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $10800 DK - $10700
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 51.16 DK - 53.55

These 2 teams have already faced off 3 times this year, where Giannis went for 47, 48 and exploded for 62. He has upped his play since then, hitting 53+ in 7 of his last 11, and grabbing over 70 in two of them. Giannis has established himself as an elite player in this league, and this is a match up that he can excel in. The Wizards play at one of the fastest paces in the league, and the Bucks are a team that usually play to the pace of there opponent. Giannis prefers fast paced games, though, as his game is reliant on stuffing the stat sheet. There will be plenty of missed shots in this one, and plenty of opportunities to run the floor. There are definitely some ways to pay up on the early slate, and you better choose carefully. If I was forced to choose between Harden and Giannis, I would take Giannis in cash and Harden in tournaments.


LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $10100 DK - $10200
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 48.71 DK - 51.83

If you want to target the likes of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker, you almost have to play LeBron. If the Suns guards have good games, there is a high chance the game is close That will turn into minutes for LeBron, and as we know, minutes = production. The  Suns won't offer much resistance to James, who has 45 fantasy points in 6 straight. P.J. Tucker and T.J. Warren will cover LeBron, and both of them have severe disadvantages. As usual, LeBron will do what he wants, and if he wants to go for 70 fantasy points, he will. I do prefer him in cash games, as I think there is someone we will talk about soon in the high end tier with a crazy amount of upside.

Luol DengLuol Deng FD - $4800 DK - $4800
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 22.04 DK - 23.44

Luol Deng has quietly dominated recently, when on the floor. He missed 2 games, and then returned against the Heat with 19 points and 14 rebounds. He will be needed against the Magic, who offer Aaron Gordon at the 3. Deng has enough strength to stay with Gordon, and I doubt Ingram or Lou Williams do. Deng should see big minutes here, and I see another big game. While i'm not expecting another huge double double, he will hit his usual corner 3's and hopefully grab 10 boards. The Magic are weak on the boards, which helps both his floor and ceiling. His price is also very depressed, due to his injury and few disappointing games where he was hindered. Make sure you get some exposure before his price is close to 6k.

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Power Forward


Jabari ParkerJabari Parker FD - $7100 DK - $7300
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 35.72 DK - 37.5

This is a game I will try my best to get exposure to, but it is pretty expensive. Jabari has been terrific this year, and is the perfect compliment to the elusive Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is a stretch 4 that can bang down low, and dribble the ball when needed. If you want to hop e for a shootout, you can stack up Parker and Giannis with Wall and Beal. Both teams struggle vs those positions, and there are definitely a few routes to tournament  success there. As for Parker, the Bucks struggle on the boards and have a tough time with stretch forwards. Markieff Morris is athletic, but isn't the defender he was made to be early on. Parker has jumped in price, and on this slate, could be tough to fit in.

James JohnsonJames Johnson FD - $5600 DK - $6200
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 22.6 DK - 24.01

If you want to pay down a bit for a super safe option, look at James Johnson. Johnson has 30 points in 4 straight, and saw less than 25 minutes in 2 of those. With Winslow and Josh Richardson out, his minutes are cure at 32, which means his FP floor is 25. The Clippers are a good match up for him, as they tend to throw out smaller power forwards with Blake Griffin out. His safety is mostly due to his various ways of scoring fantasy points. He scored about 20 points in each game, and then got about 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 combined steals/blocks. He is also blowout proof, as shown all season. Johnson is now a part of the Heat's season plan, and he better be on your radar as well.


Serge IbakaSerge Ibaka FD - $6600 DK - $6700
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 34.17 DK - 35.91

Ibaka has finally turned back into the consistent PF he used to be in Oklahoma City, and it has been fun to watch. He has been great on defense, and has done a good job turning that into transition points. He will face off with the Lakers and Julius Randle, who has been exceptional lately on offense. However, that success hasn't transitioned to defense quite as well. The Lakers are a bottom 5 team against PF's, and have given up over 46 fantasy points per game. Some were worried that the return of Evan Fournier may hurt Ibaka, but that was proved wrong last game. Ibaka has seen a price bump, but is still a great play in all formats.

Derrick FavorsDerrick Favors FD - $4300 DK - $4900
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 22.55 DK - 23.61

Derrick Favors is going to have a really big game soon, and he is going to be really cheap. I want to be on it, and it could very well be tonight. Sure, the Grizzlies are generally good against big men. However, JaMychal Green and Zach Randolph are nowhere near the defender that Marc Gasol is. Favors will be just fine against those guys, and will be needed to match the Grizz in size. He should see his minutes hit 30 tonight, and his upside is crazy at this price He is an absolute lock for cash games, and I will probably have close to 100% exposure. This is a guy who has been priced in the mid 8k range at the end of last season.



Marcin GortatMarcin Gortat FD - $6600 DK - $6400
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 31.19 DK - 32.57

Gortat has been an ironman recently, logging 40 minutes in 4 of the last 6 games. As long as that trend continues, you will be forced to target him. There is no chance of  a bust performance with those minutes, and the upside is obviously here. The Bucks aren't a good team against centers, either, ranking 24th in the league in terms of rebounding. They also give up a bunch of points, allowing the 5th most. Greg Monroe is a good offensive player, but is completely atrocious on defense. If you get a chance to tune into this game, watch the defense of Greg Monroe. Gortat isn't priced like a guy that plays 40 minutes, sitting at just 6k on both sites. He is easily the safest play on the board, and I will have him in all of my cash games.
Greg MonroeGreg Monroe FD - $6100 DK - $6100
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 28.9 DK - 30.11

Marcin Gortat is definitely gonna get a ton, but he can't grab all the rebounds, right? Some will go to Monroe, and he is going to find a way to score a few times too. He has been playing some consistent minutes as of late, which hasn't been the case since joining the Bucks. He has always been a great player in terms of per minutes, but is just now being able to show off in Milwaukee. He has looked really nice with Giannis as well, which should help his case to stay on the floor in crunch time. Gortat is a perfectly fine defender, but by no means shutdown. Monroe can stretch the floor a little bit, and will have no issue getting enough shots to hit value. Monroe might not have the same floor as Gortat, but his upside similar. I definitely prefer Gortat as the top option, just to be clear. Monroe put up strong scores two weeks ago against the Wizards, and I expect an encore tonight.


DeMarcus CousinsDeMarcus Cousins FD - $10800 DK - $10800
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 50.44 DK - 53.27

I think this is a guy a lot of people will be off tonight, but I really like him. I think this could go 2 different ways. Cousins and the Kings get blown out of the water, and just struggle all night keeping up with the Warriors. Second, Cousins gets hot against the undersized Green and inept Pachulia, and keep the Kings close going into half. I think the ladder is more likely, and I will have a ton of exposure to Cousins. If this game stays close, it will easily be the highest coring on the night. Both of these teams could care less about defense, and would much rather get a bunch of open shots up. Cousins has shown 85+ point upside, and this is the type of game where it is possible. 30 is also possible,. if Curry and Durant are on fire and he gets into foul trouble. He is not a great cash game option, but his tournament appeal is undeniable.

Tristan ThompsonTristan Thompson FD - $4900 DK - $5000
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 20.71 DK - 21.63
Tyson ChandlerTyson Chandler FD - $5400 DK - $4900
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 22.33 DK - 23.64

These 2 guys are pretty similar for me tonight, and they face off with each other. Both are pretty safe to grab about 20 fantasy points, and have a ceiling around 35. They will both be out there for at least 30 minutes, and the rebounds will certainly be there. Both players are crucial to there respective teams success, and I don't think there is a reason to shy away in cash games. These guys fit into a game stack well, as they will be in there if the game is close. They have nowhere near the upside Cousins does, but they will be fine at the price.



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