Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/4/18

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Point guard

Chris PaulChris Paul FD - $10400 DK - $9800
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 50.6 DK - 52.34

Welcome to Thursday! With only 2 games on the slate, it's far from a regular slate. The NBA has done a good job of limiting slates like this all year long, but at least these 2 games are extremely entertaining. We haven't seen a line from Vegas on either game, but I'm willing to bet both hold an over/under over 220. Let's start with the Rockets. Playing just last night and taking care of business rather easily against Orlando, they did a good job of resting the starters. Chris Paul only ended up playing 32 minutes, which is awesome. He played 42 minutes the game before, so he's capable if the game stays close. With Harden out, the Rockets are going to struggle to stay with the Warriors, but Chris Paul is the way they can do it. He'll match-up with Stephen Curry in what is a top 10 PG match-up of the last 30 years. Yes, I said that. Paul is going to see a very high usage % with Harden out and I don't see him getting under 50 here if things stay close. His price is high, but it will be over $11k once he finds his stride with Harden out.

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $12500 DK - $11300
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 57.06 DK - 60.32

Even though we have just 2 games on this slate, PG is stacked. We're even skipping Stephen Curry in a decent match-up. If you can pay all the way up for Westbrook, he's worth it. Like a lot of the Rockets, he was limited to just 27 minutes last night. The Thunder knew they had a game tonight and it's a great sign that he'll play 35+. The Clippers are going to have a lot of trouble with Westbrook whether it's Austin Rivers or Milos Teodosic. Neither of them is above average defenders and we know the Clippers are weak on the interior. While DeAndre Jordan is intimidating as they get, there's a reason they allow the 6th most points in the paint to guards. The game should stay close and while Westbrook is always a huge mismatch, I see him dicing up with defense with complete ease. His price is the highest on the slate and there isn't a ton of value, so it's kind of tough. However, it could lower his ownership and he could hit 70 fantasy points without batting an eye. Both of the above options are great, but I certainly prefer Paul for the $.

Milos TeodosicMilos Teodosic FD - $5900 DK - $5100
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 26.51 DK - 27.99

If Austin Rivers is out once again, Teodoscic will get the start and play 28+ minutes. The Clips haven't shown a willingness to stretch him for 35+, but that's fine. He is a solid FP/min producer and only needs to be out there for 20-25 for cash game value against a fast-paced Thunder squad. He stiffs the stat sheet nicely and isn't reliant on just 1 stat. The Thunder are league-average against point guards and give up the 7th most assists. Teodosic isn't the most exciting roster on a slate with so many big names, but you're going to need value somewhere. With a whole lot of ways to pay up and not a ton to get down, Teodosic may find himself in the "necessary" category. We'll get to a couple more alternatives for value.

Shooting Guard

Eric GordonEric Gordon FD - $6900 DK - $6500
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 33.72 DK - 35.78
Klay ThompsonKlay Thompson FD - $6800 DK - $6100
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 32.13 DK - 33.6

We're just going to touch on the 3 shooting guards in play. These 2 guys face off in Houston in what is our favorite game of the 2. Like I noted and will continue to, Eric Gordon had his minutes purposely restricted last night so he can get a bunch tonight. The Rockets have played him 38+ minutes plenty of times this year and he fits into this match-up perfectly with Harden out. The Rockets also don't have a choice if they want to stay in the game, as Gordon is one of only 2 or 3 guys that can actually score at the Warriors PACE. His upside is insane at the price and a floor od 25-30 is more than fair. For Thompson, I like him more with Curry in. He takes a lot of the attention away from him and shoots just as much. Chris Paul is going to be on Steph like glue and it should allow Thompson to shoot plenty. His price is lower than it should be and we'll see him right back over $7k very soon, if not next game. Both of these options are under-priced and viable in all formats. Because of the position, they will be close to 30-45% owned by default. It's just something you'll have to swallow. Unless you want to play C.J. Williams or Alex Abrines, of course. Be my guest.

Lou WilliamsLou Williams FD - $7500 DK - $7200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 36.71 DK - 38.51

The other SG worth considering comes in the other game in the form of Lou Williams. With Andre Roberson ruled out for the Thunder, he's going to see a MUCH worse defender than he would have. The 3 guys picking up most time at the 2 have been Terrance Ferguson, Raymond Felton, and Josh Huestis. Felton is probably the most ready defender for Williams and that's saying a whole lot. The Thunder are going to struggle against Williams if he's hot and we could easily be looking at another 40+ fantasy points. His price is fair on both sites and you'll need about 45. I personally prefer Gordon and Thompson for the price, but think Williams comes in a little lesser owned than both of them. In tournaments, he has a higher upside than both. Personally, you'll find me on the other 2 guys in cash games and Williams in about 50% of tournaments. That's not to say you're crazy for playing him in 100%. This is a 2-game slate and you have to take a couple stands.


Small forward

Kevin DurantKevin Durant FD - $10500 DK - $8700
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 49.31 DK - 49.25

We obviously have to look at the most expensive option from this game in Kevin Durant. With Chris Paul on Stephen Curry, I really do love the match-up. Trevor Ariza is a guy that's been dominated way too many times by KD to even consider as a roadblock. He's going to continue dominating this fast-paced Rockets team and it really just comes down to how long he stays in the game. If the Rockets are able to keep this close, which is entirely possible in Houston, he could go for 70. If it's a blowout, 40 is in the works with Curry back in the mix. His price on DK, however, is just stupid and I'll have 100% exposure. On FanDuel, there's a discussion to be had and I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. For me, I'll put the rest of my lineup together and come back to SF> I don't think Durant is a must, but he could outscore the position by 25 if Paul George disappoints.

Trevor ArizaTrevor Ariza FD - $6000 DK - $5300
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 27.83 DK - 27.83
Gerald Green FD - $4100 DK - $4000
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 19 DK - 17.83

Let's touch on Gerald Green first. A guy that everyone and their brother will be on after last night. It's a very complex situation. On the surface, he's their 6th man right now and a needed spark against a Warriors team that is going to score at will. On the other hand, he only saw so many minutes and shots last night because the Rockets were resting the starters. To be clear, I think Green could see 15 minutes if this game goes a certain way. If it goes another, he could get to 30 and dominate again. I will have a lot of exposure, but it has more to do with the price than anything. I'm willing to admit that I'm slightly chasing points. As for Trevor Ariza, he's a superb cash game play. With just 33 minutes last night, you can lock in 38+ if it stays close. He's going to continue shooting with James Harden out and will have open shots in the corner with CP3 at the helm. Small forward is an important position and I think a lot os decided here. I do like Ariza a lot more than Green, but the price does too. Both of these guys are viable for their own reasons in all formats.



Power forward

Blake GriffinBlake Griffin FD - $8700 DK - $8200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 41.41 DK - 42.44

I think Griffin gives the Thunder a huge headache tonight. For one, Carmelo Anthony can't guard him. Not even a little bit. Without a solid big man to throw in there, Melo will have to try his hand. Eventually, they'll be forced to switch up the defense and I expect a lot Grant/Patterson. You see why Blake Griffin is going to have some fun. Steven Adams is the only guy to worry about down low and he'll have his hands full with DJ on the other side of the paint. Griffin is far more athletic and big than any of the guys that will cover him and isn't afraid to take over a game. This game is going to stay close and I see Griffin with a floor of 45 and a ceiling of 70. His price is down on both sites and I don't think it lasts. He's been over 33 minutes in all 3 games since returning from injury and can be assumed healthy. He's another guy to spend up for, but it's the nature of this slate. Take a pick.

Ryan AndersonRyan Anderson FD - $4300 DK - $4300
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 25.37 DK - 27.19

We do have some very solid value here at PF with Ryan Anderson. He's probably one of the more "annoying" DFS guys in the league due to his inconsistency and untapped potential but has to be in play with James Harden out. He is a guy that's willing to shoot 20 times and you know if you watched him in New Orleans when Anthony Davis was injured. It's far from the same situation, but we saw him put up some huge games when getting hot from behind the line. The Rockets will need his scoring punch from the perimeter to have any hope of staying in the game. The Rockets have played Anderson 35+ minutes plenty of times this year, and it's definitely in the realm of possibilities if it stays close. His price is way too low on both sites and he only needs to get to the low 20's for cash game value. With a lack of value on the slate and plenty of obviously spendy options, Anderson could find his way onto 100% of my lineups. He's not a must and could put up 15 fantasy points, but PF isn't a spot I'm scared of and Anderson is a guy I think has tremendous value at $4300.


DeAndre JordanDeAndre Jordan FD - $7300 DK - $6700
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 36.66 DK - 37.79

I'm not in love with Clint Capela tonight. If James Harden was in there to control the PACE and feed him the ball under the rim, he would be the top Center listed here. I just don't think he can individually stay with the Warriors and he's not worth being on the floor for the offense if the PNR isn't being run. I guess there's a chance he's similarly effective with Chris Paul, but not at all from what I've seen. He's an undeniable tournament play with 50 FP upside, but I think his floor os far lower than any of these next 2 options. DeAndre Jordan and Steven Adams will face off in what will end up being a very bruising match-up. Jordan has been over 15 rebounds in 6 of the last 7 games and is typically sitting around 30-40 FP. The match-up with Adams is obviously bad, but that doesn't matter at all. Jordan doesn't score FP off of plays run for him. He scores off of putbacks and over-commits by the defense. His real FP come on defense, where Adams wills till struggle rebounding over him. The game is going to stay close and we know how consistent Jordan is when on the floor. He's the safest option at center and the guy I'll have the most exposure to.

Steven AdamsSteven Adams FD - $6500 DK - $5800
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 28.62 DK - 27.9

If you want or need to pay down a little bit, stay in the same game with Steven Adams. Like Westbrook, the Thunder held Adams to 26 minutes last night. That tells me you can count him in for 34+ tonight. He will be needed to match the size of DeAndre Jordan and provide some kind of help for Blake Griffin. He's consistent as ever when on the floor and will have a hard time missing 30 fantasy points if out there for a regular allotment of minutes. Unless you're a wild man with no sense, Adams is the cheapest you can go at center. it may push him over 30% owned, which is a problem, but you might not have an option. If that's the case, stick with Adams and try to be a little different elsewhere.


4 Visitor Comments

  1. Durant is out

  2. Blake or George?…

  3. Going to need some value in a slate featuring studs at almost every position. I’ll recommend Huestis, Gerald Green and Iguodala. They’re all 4k or under and should each get 18-20 minutes of run due to injuries.

  4. Chris, can you add rebounds to the spreadsheet.

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