Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/8/18

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Point guard

Chris PaulChris Paul FD - $10200 DK - $10000
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 53.91 DK - 55.99

One thing you're going to notice very quickly on this slate is the volume of superstars to pay up for. It'll be important to pick the right ones and just as important to pick the correct value to get there. We'll kick things off at PG with Chris Paul, who's going to steadily produce for as long as James Harden is out. He's been dominant over the last few games and hit 44 in each of the last 2. He now gets a phenomenal match-up with the Chicago Bulls, who rank 26th in the NBA against point guards. Kris Dunn is one of the best in the league at stealing the ball, but takes a lot of chances and gives up a lot of easy buckets in return. Chris Paul doesn't miss easy buckets. He's back to his old 10+ assists a night as the primary ballhandler and is one of the safest plays on the entire slate.

Stephen CurryStephen Curry FD - $9800 DK - $10500
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 52.9 DK - 54.98

With Kevin Durant questionable tonight, we're going to look at a few Warriors. I know Chris Paul and Steph Curry are the 2 most expensive options at the position, but you just can't ignore him if Durant is out. He's put up 47 and 63 fantasy points in the last 2 games with him out and saw his usage rate go from 30% to 33.5%. He now draws a match-up against a Nuggets team that we've been targeting point guards against all year long. If it wasn't for facing some bad PG's over the last 2 weeks, the Nuggets would still rank dead last against the position. They have for most of the season and will be right back there when the schedule evens out. Jamal Murray is not only a bad defender, but Nikola Jokic is one of the worst paint protectors around. Stephen Curry will dice this defense and it's just a matter of the game staying close. If Durant is out, you have to consider him in all formats as a guy with a 50 point floor and 80 ceiling.

Spencer DinwiddieSpencer Dinwiddie FD - $6000 DK - $6100
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 31.71 DK - 31.92

The Nets are a team that typically don't stretch players out over 32 minutes, but Dinwiddie has gotten to 36 in 2 straight and it may be a trend. His price is still depressed to around $6k on both sites and only needs to get to 30 in cash games. He's been at 1.36 FP per minute on the season and I don't think it's crazy to expect 35 here as a baseline. The Raptors have been good against PG's for the entire season, but rank dead last over the last 10 games at 55.3 FPPG. Lowry is a decent perimeter defender that doesn't have any help behind him. Dinwiddie is able to score from anywhere on the court and rarely disappoints when given the minutes. I'm going to do my best to pay up at this position, but Dinwiddie is a fine option if you need to pay down a little bit.

Shooting Guard

Lou WilliamsLou Williams FD - $8300 DK - $7900
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 39.93 DK - 41.76

With so many ways to pay up on the slate, you may be looking at SG as a way to pay down. That's fine. We'll get there. However, if you're able to pay up, there's a strong option in Lou Williams. With Blake Griffin suffering a concussion last game, the bulk of the offense will move back to the hands of sweet Lou. With Griffin back, his usage rate dropped from 36% to 32%. We'll see it jump right back up here in a friendly match-up with the Atlanta Hawks. While Kent Bazemore is a pretty average defender, he has 0 help behind him in the paint. It's resulted in the Hawks ranking 21st against PG's on the season, though dead last in the last 10 games. Lou Williams has been safer this year than ever before due to his ability to fill the stat sheet with more than just points. Vegas has the Clippers favored by just 4 points with a 212.5 over/under, so it'll stay close and be relatively high-scoring. Williams is an easy play at the high-end of SG if you have the funds. You could go to DeRozan as well, but I see a lot more risk in the play.

Avery BradleyAvery Bradley FD - $4900 DK - $5100
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 26.59 DK - 27.26

Bradley saw 37+ minutes in 2 of the last 3 games and has to be considered at the depressed price tag. He has had an extremely disappointing season thus far, but is still extremely talented and you have to pay attention if he's given the minutes. The Pelicans have been one of the worst perimeter defensive teams in the league and rank 23rd in the league, though dead last over the last 10 games. He's on the floor for his defense and it'll be needed against Jrue Holiday, who's the only real perimeter threat this New Orleans team has. Sitting at $5k on both sites, Bradley only needs you 20-25 to make it work. We know he can get to 30 with ease if his shot is falling and this game is expected to stay close.

Gary HarrisGary Harris FD - $6300 DK - $5900
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 30.75 DK - 30.76
Will BartonWill Barton FD - $6400 DK - $5700
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 29.24 DK - 29.58

If this game is going to stay close, these 2 will play a big part. Both Gary Harris and Will Barton are integral parts of this team and have no problem seeing 35+ minutes in these types of games. Harris is the most consistent option on the Nuggets and it's because of his locked in minutes. He's the best defender they have and will match-up against both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. His price is a bit too low and he's a near lock for value and is guaranteed to see the minutes if it's not a complete blowout. Will Barton is always a bit riskier as he relies on scoring and can go cold from the field. On the other hand, if he gets hot, he could hit 40 with ease in a fast-paced affair. The Warriors play extremely fast and the Nuggets don't mind matching. I do like these guys more if Kevin Durant is held out, but am fine with them either way. The Warriors are a good defensive team efficiency-wise, but give up more FP than anyone because of their PACE. Both of these guys are keys to keeping it close and will be in there until it's out of hand. Both are viable in all formats for me, though I get there is some risk.

Small forward

Kyle AndersonKyle Anderson FD - $5700 DK - $5000
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 30.26 DK - 29.07

In some of the saddest news of the NBA season, Kawhi Leonard is going to miss more time. He now has a tear in his shoulder and will be out for a while. Kyle Anderson will jump back into the mix and go back to his 30 minutes a night. He's now trusted to handle the ball as well, which heightens his floor like crazy. He saw 35 minutes in the last 2 games Kawhi sat out and should be right around there again. His price is fair on both sites in the $5k's and only needs you about 25 fantasy points in cash games. I'm willing to say that's about his floor against the Kings, with his ceiling sitting around 40. The Kings are a bad defense overall and rank 21st against small forwards. The game should stay relatively close and Anderson has to be considered one of the safest plays on the board with no Kawhi.

LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $11400 DK - $11500
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 54.15 DK - 55.41
Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $11100 DK - $10900
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 56.09 DK - 56.75

You're going to want to pay up for one of these guys, and I don't think either is the right or wrong answer. They are both in solid match-ups and have 50+ fantasy point floors. We know the ceilings are non-existent. For LeBron, He's in a game with a 220 total and 1 point spread. That's really all that needs to be said. The Timberwolves are an average defense at best and it doesn't matter how great Jimmy Butler is without help behind him. Especially against a guy named LeBron James. This is one of the best match-ups he can have and it will be a tough fade. For Giannis, it's more of the same. With a 215 over/under and a -1 spread, he's in a very similar situation. If anything, he might be a bigger mismatch. The Pacers don't have anyone to contend with Giannis, so it'll end up being a combo of Lance Stephenson and Thad Young. He'll dominate both of them and have another typical Giannis night. Both of these guys are scary and dangerous to fade, but you'll probably have to. For me, it's slightly LeBron, but I'll have identical exposure to both.

Andre IguodalaAndre Iguodala FD - $4300 DK - $4200
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 21.9 DK - 21.35

Iggy has seen 30 and 22 minutes with Kevin Durant out, so he has to be considered in the low $4k's. We know he will produce when on the floor and the Nuggets aren't a team to stifle any production. If KD ends up out again, his price is just too low for a guy that is guaranteed to see 25+ minutes. Especially Andre Iguodala, who's relied on as a ballhandler and catalyst for the 2nd team. His usage is typically over 20% and you can count on him to put up 1 FP/min, at least. The match-up with Denver is fine, who rank 23rd in the league against SF's at 47.2 FPPG. If Durant does play, I'm not sure I'll have any exposure here. He could still get 20 minutes, but they won't be as active, there's a higher chance of a blowout, and there are other places to go at the position. Keep an eye out for the KD news and pivot accordingly.


Power forward

Montrezl HarrellMontrezl Harrell FD - $4900 DK - $4300
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 32.29 DK - 31.54

After Blake Griffin went down last game with a concussion after just 9 minutes, Montrezl Harrell stepped in and played 31. He's trusted by this Clippers team to play big minutes and rightfully so. He's now proven to be a very quality player, but obviously doesn't belong on the court when DJ and Blake are healthy enough to play 35 minutes. The Hawks are a great match-up for Harrell, who struggles on the perimeter. If there is a big stretch 4, there's always a risk of Wesley Johnson or Sam Dekker coming in at the 4. With Collins, Ilyasova, and Muscala seeing most of the minutes there, that's not the case. Harrell will fit in just fine and have no problem putting up 25+ fantasy points. He's probably the biggest lock of the slate and a guy that should be over 50% owned. With so many studs to pay up for, you need a couple value guys and I'm not sure any are safer than Harrell. I expect him to be in every lineup I make.

Serge IbakaSerge Ibaka FD - $5900 DK - $5700
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 32.47 DK - 32.15

Serge Ibaka is still just too cheap and this is a match-up that's nearly impossible to pass up. His minutes have definitely been inconsistent (28-38), but he's still putting up a manageable 25 fantasy points in those down games. He's hit 40 a few times over the past couple weeks and now has a match-up better than any of those games. The Brooklyn Nets rank dead last against power forwards on the season with 49.2 FPPG allowed. RHJ has been a horrible defender this season and the league-high PACE doesn't help one bit. Ibaka is fitting into his role nicely at this point and isn't the same volatile option he was earlier in the year. At a cheap tag in the perfect match-up, he's a phenomenal play in all formats.

Draymond GreenDraymond Green FD - $8300 DK - $8000
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 42.85 DK - 42.24

If Kevin Durant is out again, you have to at least consider Draymond Green. I do think he's a little more prone to getting pulled in a blowout, but I also don't think this game blows out if KD sits. Sure, the Nuggets aren't great, but they have the firepower to stay with this offense if it's at all hindered. If it does stay close and Kevin Durant is out, you can bank Green in for 35+ minutes and 45+ fantasy points. If it's a blowout, he'll typically get around 25-29 minutes and is a toss-up for hitting value. The Nuggets are a pitiful defense overall and they've ranked 28th against PF's since the start of December. Why did I pick that date? It's when Trey Lyles started picking up the bulk of the minutes at the position. If Kevin Durant misses, you'll find me with quite a lot of Dray. If KD plays, you won't find him in a single lineup.


DeAndre JordanDeAndre Jordan FD - $8300 DK - $7800
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 41.38 DK - 42.58

Center is not a very fun position. We have some expensive options (big surprise on this slate), but it's tough to trust anyone under $7k. Unless some more news comes out throughout the day, I'll be finding a way to pay up for one of these two guys. DeAndre Jordan is my favorite and the optimizer completely agrees. With Blake Griffin out, he's locked into 15+ rebounds against a weak Hawks interior. He could get to 20 or 25 to 0 surprise. His normal 10-15 points will be easy as ever and a floor of 35 is safe. His ceiling is well over 50 if the game stays competitive and he sees 35+ minutes against guys like Plumlee and Muscala. Expect another ho-hum dominant performance out of the big man. 

Karl-Anthony TownsKarl-Anthony Towns FD - $9600 DK - $9200
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 43.83 DK - 45.32

If you're able to pay up a little bit more, Karl-Anthony Towns has a whole lot of upside. We know the Cavs aren't very stout down low and it's where you can take advantage of you have the athleticism. We're also going to see LeBron James on Jimmy Butler, which choral push some usage around. KAT will see the likes of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, who are both subpar defenders. With a 220 over/under and just a -1 spread, you have to love this game. We know Towns can get over 70 fantasy points, so it's tough to really book any ceiling. Assuming the game stays close, you know Thibodeau will have him out there for 36+ minutes. He's safe for 40 with plenty of tournament potential. At a weak Center position, I may be willing to sacrifice and pay down at an SG or PF. If you're forced to pay down at Center, Myles Turner is as low as I'm comfortable as of now. Good luck tonight and please do comment below if you have any questions!


image sources

  • lebron: AP Images

1 Visitor Comment

  1. Someone needs to be drug tested, and it’s not me.

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