Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 12/22/17

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Point guard

Shabazz NapierShabazz Napier FD - $3700 DK - $4300
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 26.66 DK - 26.66

Welcome to an action-packed Friday slate with 9 games to dissect. We kick it off with a guy who may be one of the higher-owned plays of the entire season. With Damian Lillard ruled out, there's a lot to choose from on this Blazers squad. The obvious come at guard and start with Shabazz Napier. He's already getting close to 20 minutes a night with Lillard out and should get close to 35 or 40 here. The Nuggets are dead last in the NBA against PG's, allowing 50.8 FPPG. Jamal Murray is a big reason why, but they also have no rim protection. Shabazz is active when on the floor and I see no reason not to plug Him into every lineup. He's close to minimum price and as close as you'll ever get to a lock for value. Don't overthink this one.

Jamal MurrayJamal Murray FD - $6400 DK - $5800
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 28.11 DK - 29.25

Jamal Murray is a really good PG and he's finally getting some consistent minutes. He's been over 35 minutes in 3 of the last 4 and put up 33, 43, and 53 fantasy points. This match-up against the Blazers is better than any of the previous 3 and he'll have no trouble putting up numbers if the minutes are there. It'll be Shabazz Napier on him for most of the game and he is nothing at all to be scared of. He's even worse than Damian Lillard and has nobody to help at the rim. Murray is a lethal scorer and the Blazers won't be able to switch with Harris and Barton just as dangerous at the 2 and 3. Murray is way too cheap on both sites and a guy I'm willing to play in all formats. His minutes have been volatile on the season, but things are looking up and this isn't the match-up to strip his minutes.

John WallJohn Wall FD - $9500 DK - $8700
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 43.96 DK - 44.11

If you're looking to pay up, you can go Westbrook or Wall. Westbrook is extremely expensive and while the 70 FP upside is always there, I like the match-up with the Nets a lot more. He's back to normal since returning from injury and has been at 32 minutes in each of the last 2 games. It's been 3 days since the last game and I wouldn't be surprised to see him get up to 35 in this one. It's one of the best match-ups in the league with the Nets, who rank 28th against PG's and play at the league's fastest PACE. Wall is playing like normal since getting back from injury and should have no problem getting up to 40 FP as a floor and 70 as a ceiling. Vegas has the game at a 212 total with just a 5 spread, so it's expected to remain close throughout and be high-scoring. We know John Wall benefits more than anyone with an up and down game and the Nets have no rim defense. Wall is going to put up at least 1.5 FP per minute and it just depends on how long he sees the floor. He might be scary to target off of injury, but the minutes are there and the price is slightly down.

Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $12000 DK - $11500
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 57.91 DK - 59.98
Eric GordonEric Gordon FD - $5400 DK - $5900
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 28.66 DK - 30.31

Chris Paul has already been ruled out for this one, so we're going to have a whole bunch of minutes at PG and ball-handling responsibilities up for grabs. They don't really have any real PG's on the roster to back up CP so it'll be Eric Gordon and James Harden who move over and play the 1. Harden will be the primary PG on this team and has to be considered a top superstar on the slate against the Clippers if you have the funds. Eric Gordon is a lot easier to stomach at the price and will see a safe 35+ minutes against the team he came up with. He always seems to throw a little extra in the mix against the Clippers and tonight he'll be given some extra opportunity. Both of these guys are elite plays at SG and it'll be a tough position to narrow down. The Clippers are a pitiful defensive squad as a whole and don't have a single strong perimeter defender with Wesley Johnson out. Harden will get to the rim with ease and holds a floor over 50 FP if the game stays close. With a 219 over/under, this is a game you'll need to target across the board.

C.J. McCollumC.J. McCollum FD - $6900 DK - $7000
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 32.92 DK - 33.87

We'll kick off SG like we did PG with an obvious play from the Blazers side. With Lillard out, we know C.J. McCollum is going to take over the main scoring role and a lot of PG minutes. He's as safe as can be against a Nuggets squad that doesn't play much perimeter defense. Garry Harris is a good defender, but not nearly good enough to make up for the lack of help behind him. As long as the game stays close, McCollum will be in there for 35-40 minutes and shoot 23-30 times. His floor is around 35 FP with a ceiling up to 70. Without Lillard, I'm willing to bet we see a few games where he just takes off. It might not be tonight, but very well could've been against a Nuggets squad that ranks bottom 10 against all 3 outside positions.

Small forward

Kelly Oubre Jr.Kelly Oubre Jr. FD - $4400 DK - $4700
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 24.62 DK - 24.4

Oubre Jr. has seen 29 minutes in each of the last 2 games with Porter out. He's currently questionable and it's a piece of news we'll need to pay attention to. If Porter is out again, you have to like Kelly Oubre Jr. against a lowly Nets squad. Oubre plays at the 3 and 4, and the Nets struggle against both. He has the upside for 35 minutes as we've seen plenty of times and I wouldn't be surprised in a game that should be extremely fast-paced. Vegas has already dropped the line here and it's at 212 with Washington -5. We're about to look at some expensive options here, and Oubre is a guy that will help you get to at least one of them. He's an elite FP producer per minute and has a whole lot of upside against the Nets.

Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $12000 DK - $11300
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 58.85 DK - 59.25

What more could you want??? Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the best DFS player in the universe and you'd sure think so if you just looked at his box score. He's sitting between 55 and 65 fantasy points every single night and is so consistent because of his ability to stuff the stat sheet. He's facing off against a Hornets squad that ranks 7th worst against SF's in basketball. They have some decent perimeter defenders, but lack any type of rim protection with the 32-year-old Dwight Howard manning the paint. Giannis is going to cost you an arm and leg, but you can count on another 50 FP with the upside for 80. Vegas has this game at a 212 over/under and just a -5 spread. He's as safe as you can find at any position and I do slightly prefer him over the guy we're looking at next. He's insanely easy to roster with the consistency and safety and I'll have as close to 100% as possible across the board.

Kevin DurantKevin Durant FD - $11500 DK - $11600
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 58.34 DK - 58.47

If you need to pay down just a little bit or you just don't love Giannis, here we have a phenomenal pivot in Kevin Durant. Without Stephen Curry, he has been dominant. Aside from the stinker against the Grizzlies, he has dominated for a week now. He put up 71 fantasy points against this same Lakers squad a couple games ago and could very well repeat tonight. Brandon Ingram was on him for most of the night and had just about 0 success. With 36 real-life points and close to a triple-double, he dominated the floor for a full 40 minutes. His price is pretty fair for his recent production and I don't see any reason to avoid him in any format. Aside from liking Giannis Antetokounmpo more. Small forward is going to be a spot that you need to get right in tournaments.


Power forward

Al-Farouq AminuAl-Farouq Aminu FD - $5700 DK - $4700
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 24.84 DK - 24.71

Now we get to the worst position on the slate. Sure, we have Anthony Davis, but he's very expensive and not the safest guy to pay up for. We'll instead look towards Al-Farouq Aminu, who's been playing well and will now see a huge usage bump with Lillard out. He's been at 35 minutes in each of the last 2 games and put up quality games against good defenses. He now gets a Nuggets squad that ranks 19th against the PF position. Aminu isn't necessarily a ball-handler, but he will see 4 or 5 extra shots with Dame out and the minutes are safer than ever. His price is fair on both sites and it's safe to project 25-30 fantasy points. The upside is there if it stays close, but that's now why you're playing him. Power Forward stinks and he's as safe as you'll find.

Anthony DavisAnthony Davis FD - $11300 DK - $10500
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 53.9 DK - 54.16

Because of how bad this position is, you have to at least strongly consider paying all the way up for Anthony Davis. He's back to normal from injury with 36+ minutes in each of the last 3 and played 43 in one. He's been over 50 FP in all 3 and now gets a match-up with a short-handed Magic frontcourt. Aaron Gordon is doubtful to play and it'll put the likes of Hezonja and Isaac on him. Good luck with that. They've allowed the 2nd most FP (56.5) to power forwards per game since Gordon went out. As long as Davis gets the minutes, he'll get to 50 fantasy points. That's really no matter the opposing team. He's a guy who can't be guarded by anyone in this league and is a candidate for the highest scorer on the slate any given game. Power forward is absolutely brutal on this slate and you have to like him if you have the funds.

Jordan BellJordan Bell FD - $4500 DK - $4400
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 33.38 DK - 30.74

If Draymond Green sits out again, you have once again like Jordan Bell. He's splitting minutes at PF with David West and is the guy who is able to play extended minutes. He's been between 23 and 26 FP in each of the 4 games with Draymond out and I don't see why that changes here. He put up 22 fantasy points against the same Lakers squad less than a week ago and struggled from the field. If we would have shot 50%, we'd be looking at a 35 FP game with, assuming it would get him a few extra minutes. The Lakers are a poor defense overall and rank 26th against the PF position. Bell isn't a guy who needs real-life points to come through in fantasy, but he has a lot of upside in this Lakers game. His price is still close to minimum and he'll be tough to ignore in cash games if Dray is ruled out.


DeAndre JordanDeAndre Jordan FD - $8200 DK - $7800
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 37.45 DK - 38.59

I absolutely love DeAndre Jordan and just how safe he is with Blake Griffin out of the lineup. He's been over 14 rebounds in every game since November and is typically sitting around 18-20. He's getting a safe 30-35 minutes a game and will face off with with a Rockets squad that's missing their key interior piece in Clint Capela. Jordan is going to absolutely demolish every one of these Rockets big men and the only concern is foul trouble with James Harden. You can't project 3 or 4 early plays and ignore a guy that's going to dominate because of it. It'll be Nene Hilario on him for the majority of the game and I think we all know how that will go. You can pencil him in for another 18+ rebounds and a double/double before getting off the bus. His price is still fair on both sites and he'll need you around 35-40 in cash games. He's an elite play at the position in all formats as long as Capela is ruled out.

Marcin GortatMarcin Gortat FD - $4500 DK - $5200
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 23.56 DK - 23.55

It looks like we're getting Marcin Gortat back with John Wall. He's been over 25 fantasy points in 3 of the last 4 since Wall came back and now sees an optimal match-up with the Brooklyn Nets. They rank 8th worst in the league against centers, though I'm not sure what numbers we can trust with the big men rotating in and out. His price is insanely cheap on both sites and he'll only need you 25 to hit value. He's not a guy you target in tournaments, but in cash games, he's more than elite. The floor of 20-25 is there and a ceiling of 35 can be reached if the game stays close. Gortat isn't the same guy as he was a few years ago, but it's more about the opportunity he's given on the offense.


5 Visitor Comments

  1. Couple more solid plays tonight :

    PG – **Tyler Johnson (Dragic still out)

    SG – **WIll Barton (Better if Harris is out, Currently Questionable)

    SF – **Josh Richardson (Locked into big minutes. No Winslow) **Brandon Ingram (Also locked into huge minutes. He thrives in fast paced games) ** Jonathon Simmons (Gordon Doubtful and no Fournier still. Simmons locked into big minutes and shot totals against the awful Pelicans)

    PF – **Kyle Kuzma (Started last 2 games playing 39min in both. Again thrives in fast paced games) **Jordan Mickey (We know the Mavs can’t rebound and Mickey should get 22-25min off the bench for James Johnson)

    C – **Nene Hilario (Capela currently doubtful and will need his size vs Deandre Jordan) **Julius Randle (Fell out of the rotation for some reason last game but is cheap and should be needed in this game tonight with no Lopez)

    The write-up nailed a lot of solid plays. Just thought i’d throw in my thoughts. Good Luck tonight!

  2. Thanks Chris, Austin and Derek. Good stuff. Love the spreadsheet Chris.

  3. ur thoughts were all easy. nothing the whole world didnt already know. but thanks.
    speights and j obryant the 111. those are real values that noone will play

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