Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/2/18
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Damian Lillard FD - $8900 DK - $8500
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 38.63 DK - 40.46
Welcome lovers of games of skill to the NBA Tuesday picks. We had a short four game set to open up the 2018 portion of our NBA schedule, and it's just a five game set this evening. The evening begins with the Trailblazers on the tail end of a back to back heading into Cleveland for a tilt with the Cavaliers. Damian Lillard has missed four straight games with a hamstring injury, and Shabazz Napier has provided us with much upside in his absence. Late last night however word broke that Lillard intends to make his return tonight. Now, word I'm seeing at about 8PM ET on Monday night is he hasn't been officially cleared, but if he feels confident in making his return tonight then I'm sure he should get that clearance. He was a game-time decision heading into Monday so his return is imminent. If Lillard is for whatever reason held out again then just pretend that's Napier's photo up above, If Lillard is in fact cleared however with no strict minutes restriction then consider him a solid play at a position that doesn't have quite the plethora of options last night's set presented.
Dennis Schroder FD - $7700 DK - $7300
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 37.14 DK - 38.42
There really isn't a lot to love about point guard tonight. That said, we have the Suns playing, so we can target them just about anywhere (and trust me we will), and that begins with Dennis Schroder. Phoenix plays the third fastest game in the NBA and the third worst defense at the point. You simply can't avoid this game tonight. Our friends in Vegas not only give it the highest total projection by a mile, with a 12 point differential between this and the next highest total, but it's also got the distinction of a mere 1.5 point spread. Schroder meanwhile, has eclipsed the 30 minute mark in seven straight contests and has paid 4.7-6.3X PPD in each of his last four games. Regardless of what happens in Portland, pencil Schroder in as a lock at point guard.
Kemba Walker FD - $8000 DK - $7500
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 35.99 DK - 37.29
The only other play I can see going with tonight at the one, after Schroder and whoever suits up for Portland, is Kemba Walker. The match up isn't ideal. Sacramento plays at a snails pace, and their defense at the point has been exceptionally good this season. On average, they're allowing the fourth fewest points to the position (38) Though they have come down to earth a bit over their last five games where they're allowing 43.5. Walker has been rather consistent these past few weeks though, and has paid 5X PPD or better in three of his last five, with two 30 real point performances in that stretch, and picking up his fair share of peripherals. walker isn't my favorite play, but he doesn't scare me off either.
Devin Booker FD - $8000 DK - $9100
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 36.47 DK - 38.13
While still spending up, the plays at shooting guard feel safer than what we started out with at point guard. All three of these are solid cash game options on at least one of the sites, if not both. First up we have Phoenix guard Devin Booker. Booker is a scoring machine and we all know what he's capable of when he's on his game. He put up 32 real time points against the Sixers on New Years Eve and is averaging 30 points per game since returning from a nine game absence with a groin injury that lingered through much of December. He would have absolutely crushed value against Philly if he hadn't given the rock up six times. Booker's only true downside is in his lack of a defensive game which limits the upside unless he puts on another 46 point shooting clinic. As a cash play tonight however you have to love Booker against a Hawks team that allow 23.9 real points per game to SG's and are ranked league average in fantasy points allowed. A defense Booker should see 32-38 minutes against in a game with a combined 101.2 pace factor.
C.J. McCollum FD - $7100 DK - $7300
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 34.66 DK - 35.82
This play would've been much more appealing had Lillard missed another game, but even with him returning to the rotation, C.J. McCollum is still well in play against a Cavaliers team allowing nearly 63 FP to opposing shooting guards in their last five games, and 49.1 on the season. Even before Lillard went down McCollum was having an impressive start to the campaign and is currently averaging nearly 37 minutes per game, while shooting 44% from the field and averaging 21 points, four rebounds and three assists this season. He'll see some combination of J.R. Smith and Dwyane Wade tonight, which is nothing to be afraid of. If it turns out Lillard is held back once again for whatever reason, McCollum becomes a much more attractive play, but with Lillard back in the starting line, I'll limit McCollum to FanDuel where he is still priced where he was before Lillard went down. That DraftKings price is up nearly $1K so the appeal is lost there.
Tyreke Evans FD - $9000 DK - $8200
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 40.28 DK - 40.94
So, at least we have Tyreke Evans to look to. His DraftKings price is just jumping off the screen at me. Memphis heads into the Staples Center tonight to play the Clippers. We're not going to waste time on too much exposure to this game. Memphis plays the slowest game in the Association, and the Clippers are just about average. This game has a combined pace of 96.9 making it the slowest game on the slate, which rightfully gives it a 204.5 projection, the second lowest of the five games. Evans however is just priced too low to pass by on DK. Evans has surpassed the 5X PPD mark on DK in seven of his last nine games, and flashed 6X or better in two of those. Over their last five, the Clippers are allowing a generous 63.5 DKP to the position. I don't know what in the DraftKings algorithm is leading them to price Tyreke at this point, but I for one will take full advantage.
T.J. Warren FD - $7500 DK - $6800
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 37.86 DK - 37.22
Taurean Prince FD - $6000 DK - $5500
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 28.16 DK - 27.9
We've hit this game already once from each side, and we're going to hit it from both sides at small forward with T.J. Warren, and Taurean Prince. Like Devin Booker, Warren was shooting heat against Philly on New Years Eve, and the two combined for over half of the Suns 110 points in the loss. The 28 points Warren dropped was his best in a stretch of six games where he scored at least 22 in all but one with two double doubles in that span. He'll pair up tonight with the Hawks Taurean Prince who is coming off of his second straight double double. Neither of these guys are shutdown defenders, and both see a strong matchup in the fastest and highest scoring game on the schedule. The Hawks are the softer defense at the position, with Phoenix allowing six less fantasy points per game, so that certainly plays in Warren's favor, but Prince is markedly less, and both are closely ranked in PPD projections. Pairing them up may be the best way to go in all formats tonight.
Kawhi Leonard FD - $7500 DK - $6700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 36.1 DK - 35.72
Here's another standout DraftKings play in the form of Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is a solid cash game play everywhere, but he's an excellent play in all formats on DratKings where he is down a thousand in salary despite the minutes ticking up more and more. When he made his season debut on December 12th in Dallas after sitting out the first two months of the season, he saw just 15 minutes of action. By the 21st he was up to 20 and three days ago in Detroit he hit 27, and is starting to show signs of his old self scoring 18 points with two rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal. The Knicks can't defend the three and have allowed an average of 84.2 DKP in their last ten games. Don't look for anything close for Kawhi, but if he can knock on the 30 minute mark, the 37 needed for a 5X PPD performance shouldn't be a stretch.
Blake Griffin FD - $9000 DK - $8400
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 42.89 DK - 43.79
LeBron James is the only play on the slate priced over $10K on both sites, and rightfully so projects for the top raw point projection, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to go there. For significantly less you can go with Blake Griffin and get a player with the second highest projection and a much better PPD to go along with it. We already established there wasn't a lot to like about this game, with its slow pace of play and low projection, but Blake is an excellent exception to that rule, particularly on a shorter slate where you can't just play all Suns and Hawks. Griffin missed nearly a month with a knee injury but now two games back he certainly looks to be back to business as usual. He's seen 32 and 33 minutes and put up very similar stat lines each time out against the Lakers and the Hornets. The Grizzlies rank similarly to the Hornets defensively allowing just a fraction of a fantasy point more per game than Charlotte. It won't be long before Griffin inches closer to the $10K club, so getting exposure now is wise
Ersan Ilyasova FD - $5700 DK - $5100
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 25.92 DK - 26.33
Ersan Ilyasova. Theres a name we don't see too often in this article. This will be our last look at the PHO/ATL game but certainly one well worth considering. We haven't had a lot of value to look at tonight, and unless some news breaks that gives us a couple of solid punts we need to take the value where we can get it. We already know the drill on this game, fast pace, poor defense, (extremely poor at the four where Phoenix allows the second most FP in the game), then theres Ersan. Ersan closed out December with a bit of a bang, posting three 20 point games in his last five, doubling his total on the month to six, and falling just shy of a double double in two of his last three. He's only going to be out there for about 28-32 minutes, but if he can keep doing what he's been doing that'll be all we need, and against the Suns that shouldn't be too much to ask. On this short slate I'll look to Ilyasova in all formats for the value and potential.
Dwight Howard FD - $8900 DK - $7400
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 41.19 DK - 42.77
Dwight Howard got beat up pretty bad by DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers on Sunday, scoring just 4 points while dishing two assists. He made up some ground with 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to make up the value lost. One game does not make a season however, and Howard has been quite reliable through much of the season so let's not hold one outing against him. Particularly when he has a nice chance at redemption against a bottom ten Kings defense. Sacramento is allowing 45.6 FP to opposing centers on average this season. Willie Cauley-Stein will be completely outmatched against the Hornets big man who should be a lock for a double double with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds. On DraftKings Howard is my top play at the five.
Kevin Love FD - $7900 DK - $8700
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 36.86 DK - 39.76
On FanDuel however, Howard and Kevin Love kind of flip-flop their prices, making Love the better way to go there. As we approach the halfway point of the season Love is averaging over 20 real points per game, going 20 or better in six straight including a 31 point 18 rebound gem on Christmas Day against the Warriors. Despite a double double against the Jazz on Saturday, a drop off in peripherals has kept Love from hitting value in his last two games, but he'll look to get back on track tonight against a tough Blazers defense, who despite being ranked second overall in fewest points allowed to opposing big men, have surrendered 56.2 FP over their last five games making them the fifth worst in that stretch. If the minutes are there he should have little trouble.
If you can't work either of these guys in, then strongly consider Tyson Chandler if he's starting against the Hawks. Good luck out there tonight!!!
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- Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki: (AP Photo/LM Otero)