Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/9/18
Welcome fellow lovers of daily fantasy hoops!! It's Tuesday and that means we have a short slate of just four games on the docket for the evening. The bad news; its a pretty funky looking slate. The good news, we already have a key piece of injury info going into the night, so let's not waste any more time and get on to the picks!!
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Russell Westbrook FD - $11800 DK - $11500
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 55.64 DK - 59.12
The Thunder host the Trailblazers tonight and we know coming in that Damian Lillard has been ruled out while he continues to deal with a calf strain, this means two things. First, Shabazz Napier will get the start, and we'll touch on that in a moment. Secondly, and most important, what would've been a tough matchup, at least on paper, for Russell Westbrook, just got much more appealing. Westbrook started out the season a little lackluster for Russ standards, with the additions of 'Melo and George to the OKC starting five, but over the past month or so he has certainly taken back control of the reigns and even in a disappointing loss like the one suffered at the hands of Phoenix on Sunday, Russ is back to putting up MVP type stat lines. He posted his 14th triple double of the season in that game, and it was also his third in four games. Just as on Sunday, Russ is priced significantly over the rest of the field tonight, a $2.5K difference on FanDuel, nearly $3K on DraftKings, and he once again is going to be hard to avoid as he is projected to outscore the field by a mile. You might be able to get away with it in tournaments, but in cash I wouldn't chance it. I for one, will have Russ in all formats.
Shabazz Napier FD - $4800 DK - $5400
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 28.67 DK - 28.75
Damian Lillard as we have already established is out tonight against the Thunder. This means it's time once again to get Nappy with it! Shabazz Napier will start once again for Portland as they head into OKC. Including Sunday, Napier has started six games for Portland in Lillard's absence and has scored an average of 37.1 FP in 36 minutes per game during that stretch which is good for 7.7X PPD at these prices. The FanDuel price in particular is quite appealing, but the DraftKings price is nothing to shy away from either. The Thunder are tough on paper against opposing PG's but for the price it's nothing to be concerned about when looking at the minutes Shabazz stands to see in this one. He's another one I'll consider in all formats.
De'Aaron Fox FD - $5600 DK - $5500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 27 DK - 27.67
If a superstar like Westbrook, and a spot starter at value price like Napier doesn't do it for you, and George Hill is still awaiting the birth of his child, then consider De'Aaron Fox in a huge pace up contest against the Lakers. Fox seems like a different player since returning from his six game absence due to a quad injury, playing 32 and 35 minutes, scoring in double digits both times out, and upping his ball distribution with 11 assists total. I'm writing this prior to tip off of the Kings Monday night contest against the Spurs, so if he happens to throw up a dud and return to his old self take it for what its worth, but keep in mind over their last five games the Lakers, who play the fastest game in the Association, have been a bottom five defense at the position, while the Spurs have been a top five. Matchup is key, and if there's no George Hill again tonight, this matchup is a prime one for Fox.
C.J. McCollum FD - $7500 DK - $7500
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 33.99 DK - 35.24
While I hate to see players dealing with injury, it's a bit relieving to know in advance that Lillard is not playing tonight. The options at shooting guard are plenty thin, and if Lillard was starting it would take a huge chunk of value out of C.J. McCollum. McCollum will take control of the Portland offense once again tonight against a Thunder team that is average at best defending against shooting guards. When Lillard is off the court, McCollum sees a 5% bump in usage which is something we have to stop and take notice of. McCollum has scored 20 or more points in four of his last six games and isn't shy with the peripherals either. He's modestly priced and has a solid floor in a very attractive matchup.
Wayne Ellington FD - $4400 DK - $4700
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 22.14 DK - 23.43
Since there isn't much to love at the two tonight, lets take a look at a way to get out of the position on the cheap with some relative safety. Wayne Ellington has been seeing starters minutes in a bench role for nearly a month now. Dating back to December 11th, Ellington has seen fewer than 30 minutes in a game only three times, while topping off at 39. With all of the injuries the Heat have been dealing with this season, the minutes have been there for Ellington and he has fully capitalized. In his last eight games, he's scored in double digits six times, averaged four boards per game, and even swiped seven steals. This game between Miami and Toronto has the lowest opening line on the slate so Ellington gives us a cheap way to gain exposure with minimal salary commitment while allowing us an easy way out of shooting guard. There's some minor risk, but given the other options, I'll roll the dice.
Harrison Barnes FD - $6800 DK - $7000
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 31.05 DK - 31.76
Harrison Barnes is a play I'll look to in all formats. As a cash game play he's got a ton in his favor. 30-36 minutes in each game dating back to the start of December, Double digit scoring in all but one of those, and four straight games paying 4.7-5X PPD. He's been Mr. Reliable and though the price is on the upswing, it's still at a sweet spot where we can love the safety and the upside. Since we covered the safety, now let's talk about the upside. The Mavericks are hosting the Magic tonight, and the Magic are not only a bottom three small forward defense this season, they've been the absolute worst at defending the position over their last five games with 61.1 FP surrendered on average in that stretch. As if that's not enough, they play the sixth fastest pace in the game. There's so much to love here, I can't stress it enough, play Barnes everywhere.
Brandon Ingram FD - $7000 DK - $6800
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 32.45 DK - 32.63
Vegas has dropped lines on three of tonight's four games, all are projected for totals within six points of each other, and all share a 6.5 point spread. With that you'll see we're not really favoring any one team throughout, and the picks are evenly distributed, with the best teams to target at each position. I can't justify paying up for Paul George at the three, particularly against a Blazers defense that has gotten progressively better defending against the three, so paying up at small forward will consist of Brandon Ingram, and we really don't have to pay up all that much to get there. At 35 minutes per game, Ingram has seen more court time than anyone on the Lakers squad this season, and is coming off of back to back 20+ point games. I won't do Ingram in tournaments, as the Kings play a sluggish game which is going to surely bring down even the Lakers league leading pace factor, and limit his upside. Even getting to the 35 FP needed for 5X PPD might be asking much, as Ingram has only hit that mark twice since returning from a quad injury that held hime out a couple of games last month, but his play has been trending in the right direction, and he has certainly come close enough to that 5X mark enough to warrant consideration in cash.
Josh Richardson FD - $5600 DK - $6200
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 30.37 DK - 30.07
If Ingram feels a little too risky for you, or you need that extra bit of salary relief then we have Josh Richardson. If I were to recommend a team to stack in tournaments tonight, the Heat are a cheap way to gain exposure to a ton of available minutes, against a Raptors team that plays a top ten pace and is at or below average defending against most positions. While they are a top ten defense at the three this season, over their past five games they've allowed nearly 10 FP more than their season average. This is perfect territory for Richardson who has paid off 5.6X PPD or better in five of his last six games capping off with a 6.7X PPD showing against the Jazz on Sunday, and what's crazy is his price is actually on the downswing. This is the perfect time to get in on Josh Richardson, who is coming in as one of our top overall PPD plays on the night, and is an excellent play in all formats.
Aaron Gordon FD - $8300 DK - $8600
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 40.23 DK - 40.66
Aaron Gordon is coming off of a strong showing against Cleveland on Saturday where he posted 30 points while coming just two rebounds shy of a double double for the second straight game. Tonight he heads into Dallas for a very favorable matchup against the Mavericks who are allowing power forwards to put up 58.6 FP on average over their last five games, the seventh most of any team in that stretch. This game sports the highest projection on the night of 214 points, and sports a respectable 99.6 combined pace factor. Gordon has been a little spotty since returning from a calf injury that held him out of five games at the end of December, but when he's on he's been able to crush value at these prices. He should be a lock for 35-39 minutes, and as long as the shot is falling he should get us right where we want to be. There may not be much upside for tournaments, but consider Gordon a viable cash game option.
Kelly Olynyk FD - $6000 DK - $5700
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 32.16 DK - 32.94
Serge Ibaka FD - $5900 DK - $5600
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 31 DK - 30.69
Next we have a pair of guys who will see a healthy helping of each other throughout the night. Kelly Olynyk has been locked into minutes in the thirties in all but one of his last six games, and has managed two of his three double doubles this season in that span. While the fantasy production has ranged from the 3.2X to 7.2X PPD range, there's a lot to like in that matchup against the Raptors who have allowed a whopping 58.7 FP to opposing fours in their last ten games, the second most of any team in that time. Coming in cheaper, and perhaps a little safer, is Serge Ibaka. Ibaka is priced entirely too low for his production this season. He's paid value in all but one of his last 15 games, with four of those going for over 6X PPD. The minutes are a little wonky, but for the consistency he's shown despite the erratic playing time it really doesn't matter. No matter how long he's out there Serge finds a way. After these three there's very little safety at the four, I'll likely pair Gordon with one of these guys, probably Serge in cash and Olynyk in tournaments, though Serge is tournament worthy as well if you need the little bit of savings.
Bismack Biyombo FD - $5600 DK - $5800
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 25.41 DK - 24.72
Good gravy. I just took a look at the choices at center tonight and actually felt my stomach turn a bit. Definitely a pay down kind of day at the five. I'm not paying that price for Whiteside unless I can get written confirmation that he'll see 30+ minutes. Same for Cauley-Stein. Nurkic sees a slight usage bump with Lillard off the court, but still going to pass. So the smart play is to find a cheap option out of the position, and nobody beats the Bis. Bismack Biyombo has seen his price nearly double since taking over for the injured Nikola Vucevic but it hasn't stopped him from paying 5X value or better in all but one of those starts, that being a blowout loss at the hands of the Rockets. Removing that game from the equation, Biyombo has averaged 30 minutes per game and dropped 9.2 points, and 12.6 rebounds per game since moving into the starting five. The matchup against Dallas isn't perfect, but for the price and given the other options out there, Biyombo is about as safe as we're going to find on this short slate with few solid options.
Julius Randle FD - $7100 DK - $6100
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 30.26 DK - 30.62
Paying up at center tonight means Julius Randle. Despite the minutes being all over the place, it's been an impressive stretch for Randle over the past couple of weeks. He's double doubled in three of his last five games, and on Sunday against the Hawks was just a rebound shy of his fourth. Another could easily come today against a Kings team surrendering 19 points and 11.9 rebounds to opposing big men, making them the second most generous defense at the position in the NBA. If Randle can get to the 30 minute mark he should be able to absolutely crush at these prices, and even if he doesn't his recent game logs and a sweet matchup suggest a far more favorable chance of hitting value compared to some of the other names out there. Randle is an excellent cash play, and one I won't entirely dismiss in tournaments either.
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, or pop into the members chat. Good luck out there tonight!!
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- Thunder Lakers Basketball: (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)