Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/15/17

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Point Guard


Malcolm BrogdonMalcolm Brogdon FD - $5400 DK - $5700
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 25.2 DK - 26.76

Malcolm Brogdon got his first real opportunity when Matthew Dellavedova went down 2 weeks ago, and he has fully taken advantage of it. Over his last 8 games, he has been over 30 fantasy points in 6 of them. He hasn't had great match ups either, scoring over 30 against both the Spurs and Heat. The Hawks are a phenomenal match up, giving up the 4th most fantasy points to point guards. Brogdon hasn't seen a huge price increase, still sitting below $6k on both big sites. The PG spot is pretty ugly on this early slate, so Brogdon is basically a must play for me. His floor is sitting around 25 for me, and his ceiling has to be around 45. This game projects to be competitive and somewhat high scoring. Make sure you got some Malcolm Brogdon exposure in both cash games and tournaments.
Mike ConleyMike Conley FD - $7600 DK - $7200
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 38.48 DK - 40.72

Point guard is pretty ugly on both slates today, and you have to take who you can. Conley has been phenomenal lately, hitting over 34 in 6 of his last 7 games. He has been over 42 in two of them, so the upside is definitely there. He will see Both Carter-Williams and Rondo, and neither of which are great defenders. We will touch on Westbrook in a minute, but his price is just insane. Harden has a much better match up, so I would rather go there, and you really can't fit both of them while having a +EV lineup. Conley can be played in both cash games and tournaments. The Bulls have given up 45.5 fantasy points per game to point guards, which ranks as the 8th worst in the NBA. I don't see too many ways around rostering Mike Conley here.


Patrick Beverley

When Beverley is coming in as the number 2 PG on the slate, you know the pickings are slim. With that being said, he is playing the Nets. They are by far the worst defense in the league, and they play at the fastest pace as well. Beverley isn't a guy who will touch the ball much, but he will get his shots and peripherals. Beverley has been really good in big minutes this year, averaging close to 0.9 FP per minutes. Beverley is also pretty cheap, and will only need to get you about 25 in cash games. That should be all but done against the Nets, who give up over 50 FP per game to point guards. Beverley is pretty safe, and it's not like you will be missing out on too much.

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $12500 DK - $12800
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 56.25 DK - 60.19

This isn't necessarily a recommendation here, but I feel the need to at least touch on him. He takes on a Kings team that is very average on defense, in terms of both pace and efficiency. Darren Collison and Ty Lawson are both average defenders, and won't hold a light to Westbrook. He is going to have another huge game. However, you have to consider this price tag. He is more expensive than Harden, and the match up is nowhere near as good. The one big argument for Westbrook, is positional scarcity. Point guard is a much worse position, and I could see the merit in leaning on Westbrook in cash games.


Shooting Guard


Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $10300 DK - $10000
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 50.92 DK - 53.16

Giannis returned against the slow pace, defensive-driven Heat, and had a very underwhelming performance. He did play 36 minutes, though, so you have to think he's fully healthy. I expect a return to the normal Giannis that we see, and he should have a huge game. I'm not sure who the Hawks will match up with him, but there is nobody on the team that has the speed, length and athleticism to stay with him. His price is definitely high, but there isn't too many spots to pay up for on the early slate. He can be played in both cash games and tournaments. If you are looking to go a little bit cheaper, take a look at DeMar DeRozan and/or Hardaway Jr. He is cheap, and has been a big part of the Hawks offense since Kyle Korver was traded to the Cavs.


James Harden

Harden is my favorite play of the night, and this is literally the best possible match up for him. Like I mentioned, the Nets play super fast, and are not too sure what defense is. Harden will likely see Sean Kilpatrick for most of the game, and could see a little bit of Ronda-Hollis Jefferson. Neither of those guys will be able to stay with Harden, and he could legitimately get a triple double in the first half. I know that sounds crazy, but he has already been 1 or 2 rebounds from doing it this season. The only worry here is if the Nets can keep it close. With the game being in Brooklyn, I have optimism. They tend to keep things pretty close at home, where they have battled with both the Cavs and Warriors, who both couldn't pull away until the 4th. If Harden is getting minutes in the 4th quarter tonight, you better have him.

Victor OladipoVictor Oladipo FD - $5700 DK - $5600
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 26.61 DK - 28.62

Dipo has been back from injury, and has been very decent. He hasn't been bad, but the upside hasn't been shown. The consistency is definitely there, however, as he has put up between 20-30 points in 8 straight games. The Kings have been one of the better match ups for SG's for the past 5 years, and this season is no different. The haven't been as bad as in years past, but are still hovering right around that bottom 7 in the league in terms of FPPG. His price is very fair on both site, and this is a guy who we will see jump up to the $7k range eventually. If you want exposure to the Thunder guards and don't want to pay an arm and leg, Oladipo is a great way to go. Call me crazy, but I think this is the game where he breaks that 30 point barrier.


Small Forward


Carmelo AnthonyCarmelo Anthony FD - $8100 DK - $8000
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 40.48 DK - 42.89

Porzingis is likely to miss this one, which pushes all of the Knicks usage up, but Anthony definitely gets the biggest bump, at almost 7%. That might not seem like a big deal, but definitely is. In tournaments, these are the small type of things that can put you over the top. DeMarre Carroll is a good defender, but nothing that scares me. This game figures to be somewhat high scoring, and I just don't see any of these other Knicks putting up too many points. Anthony can score 40 real life points, and could also get 14 while figuring out a way to get 2 rebounds and 3 turnovers. For that reason, he is usually more of a tournament play for me. However, this slate offers no safe options at SF, so you almost have to have Anthony in all formats. If Porzingis does play, I see the merit in completely fading Anthony, so keep an eye on Twitter as this game starts an hour after early slate lock. I would expect to hear definitive word by then, if not very soon.
Rudy GayRudy Gay FD - $7200 DK - $6700
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 32.94 DK - 34.94

Gay is my favorite option from the Kings tonight, and I will have more exposure to him than I do DeMarcus Cousins. Gay gets a decent match up, facing off with the undersized Andre Roberson. He will also see some defense from Jerami Grant, who is way too skinny to stop Gay in the post. Roberson is a good defender, but has trouble with forwards that can shoot and post up. He doesn't h ave great post defense, and e might see Gay attack him there from the start. His price is pretty fair, and will and to get you at least 38 to reach cash game value. His price is better on DK, which we rarely see. He will be in all of my lineups on DK, and I will have exposure in tournaments on FanDuel. This game is one we will target a lot, as the high over under and small slate forces us to do.

Marcus MorrisMarcus Morris FD - $4700 DK - $5100
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 26.22 DK - 28.02
Stanley JohnsonStanley Johnson FD - $3500 DK - $3500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 16.68 DK - 18.24

These are the first Pistons we have touched on, but they are coming, don't worry. Marcus Morris & Stanley Johnson are the first of the few, and probably my least favorite of all. Morris is pretty safe for cash games, however, and his price is way too low. He'll see at  least 30 minutes tonight, and Van Gundy has been known to throw him out there for 40 minutes on occasion. With KCP likely to miss again, we should see a healthy dose of minutes for Johnson. He did absolutely nothing against the Jazz, but this match up sets up way better. I think a lot of people will stay off of him, but I think he makes for a phenomenal tournament option. he has shown his ability to have great fantasy games, and at his price, doesn't need to do much at all.

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Power Forward


Dirk NowitzkiDirk Nowitzki FD - $5600 DK - $6000
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 28.27 DK - 29.99

Dirk has been pretty good lately, though obviously nowhere near classic Dirk numbers, as this is a totally different player. He's gonna play 30 minutes, and shoot a bunch of times. He will also grab a couple rebounds, and just enough other peripherals to get it done. You could definitely go with a Millsap or Parker here, but wanted to go a little cheaper with Melo and Giannis at the last 2 spots. Dirk is a great cash game play here, and I think is a near lock for 25 fantasy points. The Mavs and T-Wolves both play slow, so the shots will be precious. All in all, you can play Dirk in any format on this slate, but he is definitely preferred in cash games.
Enes KanterEnes Kanter FD - $6200 DK - $5900
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 31.7 DK - 33.2

Both Kanter and Steven Adams are in lay tonight, facing off with the Kings, where there size will definitely be needed. Kanter has been absolutely incredible lately, and I don't think it slows down. Kanter is a really good offensive player, and Westbrook will make sure he gets his. He has been over 30 in 3 straight, and 5 of his last 6. The Kings don't have anybody down low that scares me, outside of DeMarcus Cousins causing foul trouble. Not to beat a dead horse, but the Kings have a very average team defense, and are not a team you should at all be scared of. He will see Cousins and Anthony Tolliver for the most part. Cousins isn't too concerned with defense, and Tolliver is just not skilled enough to cover Kanter. He is safe in cash games, and has the upside for tournaments. There are a couple different ways to go at PF, but you have to take a long hard look at Kanter.

Tobias HarrisTobias Harris FD - $5800 DK - $6500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 31.15 DK - 32.82

Tobias is my favorite Piston here, and is one of my favorite plays on this slate. Whether Harris ends up starting or coming off the bench, I like him. Actually prefer him coming off the bench, as he sees an extremely high usage with the 2nd unit. He will also play down the stretch, even if he does come off the bench to begin the game. Van Gundy knows how good he is, and he will make sure he gets some looks against the Lakers. Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram will probably cover Harris, and neither of them scare me, at all. Harris is fine in all formats, and I will be way over the field tonight. There are a lot of ways to go on the Pistons, and Harris is my favorite of the bunch.





Lucas NogueiraLucas Nogueira FD - $3800 DK - $3900
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 22.61 DK - 23.52

If you are looking for a guy that is very safe and has a ton of upside, here ya go. Nogueira has been worked into the Raptors offense lately, and it should continue. His status does depend on Patrick Patterson, who is currently listed as doubtful to play. I think Nogueira plays another 25 minutes here, and he is exception in terms of FP per minute. The Knicks aren't great rebounds, and the combo of Valunciunas and Nogueira would dominate the interior, especially if Porzingis doesn't play. He  is still under $4k on both sites, which means he doesn't even have to get to 20 to hit value in cash games. He can be played in both cash games and tournaments, but only if PatPat is ruled out. If Patterson does play, even in a limited fashion, I will limit my Nogueira exposure to tournaments.



Andre DrummondAndre Drummond FD - $7900 DK - $7800
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 38.82 DK - 40.66

Drummond is going to be the 4th Piston we look at, and he obviously has the most upside. Drummond is always a fantastic tournament play, because he can grab 20 points and 20 rebounds against anyone. This match up is really good though, if the Lakers keep Mozgov or Tarik Black on the court. I don't think the Lakers will be able to go small here, as there is just no chance Julius Randle can stay with Drummond in the paint. Drummond is going to bully this interior if given the opportunity, and I wouldn't be surprised to this game being one of those humongous Drummond games. He has been over 50 a few times recently, and is certainly not priced like a superstar. This is a guy that was over $9k on both sites last season, and he will get there again at some points this season. Make sure you have some exposure to Drummond in tournaments.

Steven AdamsSteven Adams FD - $5800 DK - $5300
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 28.5 DK - 29.85

Adams is actually cheaper than Kanter now, which I haven't seen yet this season. He has still been playing well, outside of a few disappointments. Adams has actually showed a lot of upside recently, hitting 40 once and approaching it a few times in the past two weeks. Adams will definitely be on the floor a ton, and I wouldn't be surprised to just see him match Cousins. He is the only one who has a chance on defense, as both Kanter and Sabonis will have 6 fouls in 2 minutes if they have to cover Boogie Cousins. On the contrary, Cousins isn't a great defender either. Sure, he can lockdown a guy for a possesion or 2 in crunch time, but he does not show interest in playing intense defense possesion in and out. We all knows Adams will play intense, and ill probably try to get in Cousins' head. Adams is always a good point per minute center, and this price is just too nice. It might be hard to get off of Drummond in tournaments, but I will surely have no issue in cash games.



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  • Knicks Hawks Basketball: (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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