Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/10/18

Welcome to NBA Wednesday! We have 11 action-packed games on the board with plenty of injuries to dissect. The value is sufficient, but so are the ways to pay up. With 5 games over a 210+ O/U and none of them expected blowouts, this will be a high-scoring night. Let's jump in and break down the top plays at each position.

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Point guard

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $11100 DK - $11400
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 60.56 DK - 64.07

We kick things off on the high-end with Russell Westbrook. He's one of the 3 most expensive players on the slate and deservedly so. He's putting up 55+ on most nights with the rather-frequent 70 burgers. He's not taking quite as many shots as last year, but holds a similar usage rate in games that he gets hot. The Timberwolves rank dead average against PG's and are in a bit of a weird situation with Jeff Teague coming off of an injury. Vegas has this game at a 211 over/under with a -4 spread, so it's expected to be high-scoring and competitive. We know Westy will get over 35 minutes here and could see 40 if the game goes a certain way. Westbrook will continue his dominance again tonight and can be booked for a floor of 50 if it stays close. His ceiling is hypothetical and you never really know what he can do on any given night. We do know the Timberwolves are going to have trouble with him on the perimeter and don't have any rim protectors to help. He's one of the top superstars of the night and should be considered everywhere.

Chris PaulChris Paul FD - $10300 DK - $9700
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 48.21 DK - 50.56

You have to love Chris Paul tonight. He's doing exactly what we thought without James Harden and doing it consistently. With 45+ in 4 of the last 5, he's one of the safest plays on the entire slate. The ball is in his hands all game long and we know his minutes have no cap. Whether the Blazers have Lillard or Napier at the helm doesn't really matter. Neither are any good at defense and Chris Paul is sure as hell going to dominate either. He's a necessity for this offense right now and I would be shocked to see him under 40 in any friendly match-up. There's also going to be a 60-70 very soon, and I sure hope it's tonight. I slightly prefer Chris Paul over Westbrook for the $, but will admittedly have plenty exposure to both.

Shabazz NapierShabazz Napier FD - $4200 DK - $6200
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 32.6 DK - 32.51

I think FanDuel clicked the wrong button. That or they need some new staff. After putting up 35+ fantasy points in every game with Damian Lillard out, he went from $4600 to $4200. If Lillard is out again, you play him in every single lineup. He would be the first guy of the year I would consider a "must play". On DraftKings, his price has gone in the right direction, but still isn't high enough. He's been a stud with Damian Lillard out and I don't really care if he's facing Chris Paul. The Rockets play fast and have no problem giving it up to the PG. Over the last 10 games, they've ranked 26th in basketball, so I can't say I'm worried. Napier is a plug and play for me with Lillard out and I highly doubt he plays on the 2nd leg of a B2B. If Lillard does play, you can ignore Napier across the board.

Shooting Guard

Lou WilliamsLou Williams FD - $7900 DK - $8100
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 41.91 DK - 43.63

When Blake Griffin is out of the lineup, you have to pay attention to Lou Williams. Sweet Lou has no problem shooting 20 times in a game and is allowed to do whatever he wants to BG out. Griffin already said he expects to miss this game, so I don't see him coming back in a crazy up-tempo game against the Warriors. Lou Will is perfect for this game and has an insane ceiling if his shot is falling. He put up 30 fantasy points in just 24 minutes against the Warriors less than a week ago, and did a lot of his damage on Klay Thompson. He is obviously risky because of the blowout risk, but will put up 40+ if the game stays close. His price is fine on both sites and he needs to get you in the 40's to hit value. Shooting guard isn't the strongest of positions, but I don't see Sweet Lou getting over 25% owned in any format. He's not my favorite way to pay up, but I'll certainly have my fair share if Griffin is ruled out.

Andrew WigginsAndrew Wiggins FD - $6400 DK - $6200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 28.46 DK - 28.71

The price is starting to work itself up, but still isn't where it should be. Andrew Wiggins is finally starting to put things together and we knew it was only a matter of time. This is a brand new offense and his role was just swept out from under him, so it's expected. He's now looking comfortable in the offense and has been phenomenal since the start of January. He's still getting 36 minutes on most nights and will always have the potential to take over a game. Tonight, he will have a friendly match-up. With Andre Roberson out, it'll be Terrance Ferguson and Alex Abrines at the 2. Ferguson is supposed to be a defender, but has been average at best. With Paul George on Jimmy Butler, I could see 2 or 3 extra shots working towards Wiggins. He still needs you just around 30 and will do that without issue if it stays close. He's an integral part of this offense and was just going through an adjustment phase. He's an option in fine with in all formats, but do get that he makes more sense in tournaments.

Wayne EllingtonWayne Ellington FD - $4300 DK - $4600
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 21.69 DK - 22.97

If you're looking to pay down at the position, it's Wayne Ellington for me and it's pretty obvious. With Dion Waiters out of the lineup, he's seeing 30-35 minutes a night and getting upwards of 10-15 shots. He is a good shooter and has begun filling up the stat sheet, which heightens his floor quite a bit. The Heat will be playing up in pace against the Pacers and Ellington will surely benefit. He's the best 3-point shooter this team has and Kelly Olynyk is the only other way they've been able to stretch the floor. We can bank on another 30-35 minutes tonight against defenders like Cory Joseph, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Joe Young. He may start with 4 or 5 minutes of Victor Oladipo, but I promise that won't last. Like a lot of guys on this slate, Ellington is a safe bet in cash games to hit value. At shooting guard, that's not always the easiest thing to find.

Small forward

Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $11700 DK - $10700
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 58.07 DK - 58.45

We have a lot of value on this slate, so Giannis has to be considered by default. When you combine that with him being in a strong match-up, this seems like an obvious spot. Giannis hasn't been as consistent of late, but put up 65 just 2 games ago. He's still the same player as ever and will be putting up 50+ a night with ease before long. When looking at Giannis, there's no point in looking at positional DvP. You never really know who will guard him. Tonight, you have to think it's Aaron Gordon. Gordon is extremely athletic, but he's not a very good defender in general and will be taken advantage of everywhere. The Magic lack an interior presence and Giannis will have no problem doing his thing in the paint. His price is high on both sites, but he's one of the 3 safest bets for 50 on the slate and shouldn't be higher than 35% owned.

Joe HarrisJoe Harris FD - $4000 DK - $4400
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 22.65 DK - 23.66

If you're looking for safe value, here we go. With Allen Crabbe expected to join DeMarre Carroll on the bench, Harris is going to be forced into huge minutes. Seeing a whopping 37 with Crabbe in last game makes you think he could very well get to 40. The Nets have no care about his minutes and will play him for as long as necessary. He's an extremely serviceable player when on the floor and is not one to sit in the corner and suck his thumb. He's put up 1.06 FP per min on the year and while that doesn't always carry over to 35+ minutes, I do think his floor is around 25 tonight. In the low $4k's, that's not something you can really pass up. The Pistons are an average match-up and give up plenty of 3's. Harris will be in most of my lineups across the board if Crabbe is officially ruled out.

Darius MillerDarius Miller FD - $3500 DK - $3700
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 19.61 DK - 20.25

With Anthony Davis all but ruled out for this one, Darius Miller should be in line for big minutes. Already seeing 25-33 minutes a night, the absence of Davis should put him close to 40. We know how dangerous he can be from behind the 3-point line and he's also a decent passer if given the opportunity. We saw him dominate for a stretch of games out with AD earlier in the season and got close to $5k. He's far from safe in a terrible match-up with the Grizzlies, but could see 35-40 minutes and hit value by default. I prefer Joe Harris in all formats, but can see the merit for going even cheaper to Miller.


Power forward

Domantas SabonisDomantas Sabonis FD - $5900 DK - $6400
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 36.04 DK - 38.14

As we sit, Myles Turner is doubtful to play. Once he is ruled out, we're looking at one of the easiest plays of the slate. Sabonis is a very skilled big man and he's been seeing a healthy allotment of minutes for a while now. This isn't a situation where we're looking at 35+ minutes, but he should absolutely get to 30. UNder $6.5k, it's more than enough for a guy who's been well over 1 FP/minute. Already putting up 25-35 FP a night, I'm looking for 30-40 tonight. He makes himself involved in the offense and I wouldn't be surprised to see a huge night. He'll match-up with both Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk, who are both very different defenders, though neither are shut down. Power forward is a bit of a mess and you won't find a lineup of mine without Sabonis. Assuming Myles Turner sits this one out, Sabonis is a stone cold lock for cash games. If Myles Turner claws his way to a start, go ahead and ignore Sabonis, though I could still see him getting big minutes.

Lauri MarkkanenLauri Markkanen FD - $5900 DK - $5900
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 31.03 DK - 31.59
Bobby PortisBobby Portis FD - $4900 DK - $4700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 25.88 DK - 26.55

With Nikola Mirotic questionable to play, both of these guys jump into relevancy. With Mirotic out last game, Markkanen saw 34 minutes and Portis got up to 33. They're both too cheap if given those minutes and have to be considered in all formats. They are both very efficient when on the floor and Portis has a monstrous ceiling. The Knicks are slightly below average against PF's and while Porzingis is an intimidating individual defender, he doesn't have any help and can be taken advantage of from the outside. Markkanen is the safer of the 2 as he will see a guaranteed 30 minutes, but is also much more expensive. Portis is the guy I prefer as he could hit 40 FP with ease in 30+ minutes. As long as Nikola Mirotic remains out, both of these guys work as plug and plays in any format. For me, it'll be a lot of Bobby Portis in all formats.

Tobias HarrisTobias Harris FD - $6700 DK - $6900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 31.84 DK - 32.55

Tobias Harris is always a tough player to project, but it's never because of the talent. We all know he can put up 40 fantasy points a night when given the minutes and shots. He just has the tendency to disappear out of nowhere. He's been over 34 minutes in 4 of the last 6 and has come through with 43 and 41 FP in his last 2. He's still under $7k and only needs you in the low 30's. Tonight, he gets an optimal match-up with the Brooklyn Nets, who rank dead last in basketball against the PF position. Harris is going to have a huge advantage over RHJ in the halfcourt set, but should thrive just as much in the open court. He's a very versatile power forward that can spread it out or go back to the basket. Van Gundy has put a lot of the offense in his hands and he's proven worthy. He's a strong play in all formats at a fair price across the industry. This is a game you'll want exposure to.


DeMarcus CousinsDeMarcus Cousins FD - $11600 DK - $11000
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 56.45 DK - 59.29

I know it's hard to play any superstar against the Grizzlies, but it's also really hard to fade DeMarcus Cousins with no Anthony Davis on the floor. His usage rate goes from 32.5% to 38%, which speaks volumes. That's an extra 30-40 fantasy points sitting there if he handles that usage correctly. The match-up with Marc Gasol is undoubtedly tough, but he's done damage against him in the past and put up 28/10 with AD in the lineup just this season. It's very doable and this is not the same Grizzlies team we were looking at with Tony Allen and a healthy Mike Conley. Gasol is still a great man-to-man guy, but it's a lot tougher when the defense around you is crumbling. Especially with a big man that has no problem going for 10+ assists. He's going to cost you a pretty penny, but Center is pretty bad on this slate and his price is fair. Assuming it stays close and Marc Gasol sits, Cousins will have a hard time staying away from 60.

Andre DrummondAndre Drummond FD - $9300 DK - $8700
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 45.18 DK - 45.94

Center is obviously not a spot we're looking to pay down at. Hopefully some news comes out and opens up some spots, because there is nothing to love right now under $7k. We'll stick in the upper tier here with Andre Drummond against the Nets. It's just a very obvious play. Against a team that ranks 28th against centers and plays at the leagues fastest PACE, he will dominate. There is nobody to get him into foul trouble and more importantly, nobody that can rebound over him. Drummond can be locked in for his usual double/double with the upside for a 20/20. The Nets are a pitiful interior and Drummond will suffocate whoever is at the 5. I do prefer Cousins if you can work for the extra funds, but see the reason to pivot away from a big man against the Grizzlies. Drummond will be in about 35% of my cash games and tournaments, which should end up slightly above the field. Good luck tonight and make sure you comment below with any questions! Thanks!


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