Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

'Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/12/18

Welcome to NBA Friday! We have 9 games on the board tonight and a whole lot to go through. With 3 games already releasing with a 217+ total, it's going to be a fun night. We have a few superstars to pay up for and a few concrete value plays, but not a whole lot of obvious glue guys between. Let's jump into the action and take a look at the top picks at each position.

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Point guard

Chris PaulChris Paul FD - $10800 DK - $10600
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 53.88 DK - 56.01

We'll kick it right off with a game that deserves a lot of attention on this slate. With a 227 over/under and just a 6 point spread, we'll look to target guys from both sides. Starting with Chris Paul, he's been dynamite without James Harden. Like we expected, the ball is in his hands for what seems like 80% of every possession and he rarely isn't involved in the final shot. He hit his 70 fantasy point ceiling last game against the Blazers and will do it a few more times while Harden remains out. This match-up with the Suns couldn't be better. Aside from playing faster than anyone in the league, they can't cover guards. On the season, they rank 21st against PG's with 47.1 FPPG allowed. CP3 is a lock for 45 and I don't think it's crazy to expect 60. He is just so consistent in this role and the match-up is perfect. You will find him in every single lineup of mine, full disclosure.

Rajon RondoRajon Rondo FD - $5300 DK - $5900
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 27.2 DK - 27.7

We'll now dip into the low/mid-range with Rajon Rondo. He's been over 30 minutes in 2 straight games and it's the only thing that ever keeps him off of our radar. Rondo would be a $7k player if he got 30+ minutes for a month straight. It's just a fact. He's always active when on the floor and fills up the stat sheet as much as any guard in the league. Tonight, he's facing off with the Blazers. On the season, they rank in the top 10 against PG, but it's completely a fluke. They faced an atrocious PG schedule to start the year and it has started to even out. They are sitting 27th over the last 20 games and are trending towards where they will end up (20-25). Lillard and Shabazz are both subpar defenders and have some of the weakest help at the rim in all of the league. Rondo is going to pick up some easy rebounds against this team and has a floor of 25-30 if given the minutes. His ceiling is huge and his price is way too low. He'll help you spend up elsewhere and will still give you a shot at a big game himself.

Spencer DinwiddieSpencer Dinwiddie FD - $6700 DK - $6600
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 36.61 DK - 36.92

If you're looking for a mid-range PG, Spencer Dinwiddie is easily my favorite. His only real problem this season has been his minutes and it looks like the Nets are letting him loose. Aside from a complete team stinker against the Pistons, Dinwiddie has been over 36 minutes in 3 straight. That's unheard of for a guy that has been seeing 27-30 for a lot of the year. He's the best player on this Nets squad and has carried them quite a few times now. He's. even over 40 fantasy points in 2 of the last 3 and over 25 every single night. He faces off with Dennis Schroeder and the Hawks tonight, who rank 23rd against PG's in January. The game is expected to stay close and Dinwiddie can be trusted for those 36+ minutes and 30+ fantasy points. His price is fair on both sites and warrants consideration in all formats.

Shooting Guard

Devin BookerDevin Booker FD - $7800 DK - $8200
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 39.37 DK - 41.22

With Chris Paul leading us off at PG, Devin Booker will take the reigns on the other side and do his best to keep up. With the Rockets favored by just 6, Vegas has the Suns doing a pretty good job here. That would 100% entail a big game out of Devin Booker. Sure, T.J. Warren can put up 30+ a few times a season, but Devin Booker is the only real scoring threat on this entire team. He's been over 30 fantasy points in all but 1 of his 7 games since returning and has been over 40 three times. He now draws a match-up against Eric Gordon, who's not a good defender. He's not as bad as James Harden, but still ranks 20th since he went out. With this game at a crazy 227 O/U, Booker is going to have to put up a lot of points. His price is fair on both sites and I'll be hard-pressed to fade him in any lineup at all. He's the top option at SG in all formats.

C.J. McCollumC.J. McCollum FD - $7800 DK - $7700
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 36.31 DK - 37.39

McCollum has been steadily dominating over the last week or so and has managed to put up 40 FP for 4 games in a row. His shot is looking good and he's getting extended for 35+ minutes on most nights. The Pelicans are one of the worst defenses in all of the league and a lot has to do with their volatility against the wings. On the season, they rank 26th against shooting guards and dead last in terms of FG%. It'll be Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore at the 2, who are decent defenders. It just has more to do with the style of defense and lack of rim protection the big guys offer, or don't. McCollum is going to have another big night if the game stays close and Vegas certainly thinks it will. McCollum has been just as good with Lillard in as he's been with him out this year, so I'm not worried one way or the other. He will see the same defenders and take 20-25 shots either way. I like Devin Booker as my top SG on this slate and McCollum come in at a comfortable 2nd. Booker will be in every spot I can fit him in over McCollum.

Evan FournierEvan Fournier FD - $5500 DK - $5500
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 27.87 DK - 28.86

Now if you need to pay down at SG, good luck. We're going to explore into the $5k's, but that's as low as you can go at this position. Unless some more news breaks, it's one of the weaker positions on the slate for value. If you need some savings, Evan Fournier will get it done. He's the number 1 scoring threat on the team with Nikola Vucevic out and is just getting back into the swing of things. He's been over 34 minutes in 5 of the last 7 games and hit value in 3 of them. He now draws a match-up with a Wizards squad that loves running. The Magic play slower than the Wiz and will be tasked with a few extra possessions. Fournier is never safe as his shot can disappear, but I don't see him falling under 25 fantasy points if given the minutes. If he gets the minutes and plays a normal game against the Wizards, he'll end up at 35-40. This is an extremely good player and one that's relied upon to shoulder the scoring load with the big man down. He's a strong play in all formats, though I still recommend trying to pay up at the position.

Small forward

Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $10800 DK - $10500
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 51.38 DK - 50.51
LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $11500 DK - $11500
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 55.95 DK - 57.34

You're going to want to pay up for one of these guys. It's probably not possible to grab both with so many other options, but you can almost guarantee one of these guys will eclipse 60. Let's touch on the more volatile option first in Giannis Antetokounmpo. We haven't touched on this game just yet, but the Bucks and Warriors will face off in what should be an exciting affair. The volatility comes with the blowout risk, but Vegas has the line at just 6, so you can't bet on it. We know it'll be Kevin Durant or Draymond Green on him for the entire game, but it doesn't matter. He will dominate either and put up a typical 60+ if it stays close. This game is sitting at a 224 over/under, so there's more than enough to go around. Giannis is going to absolutely smash if it stays close, so with just a 6 point spread, it's hard to stay away. Now for LeBron. After 2 disappointing games where he put up just 30 fantasy points, he'll face off with the Indiana Pacers. The same team he put up 60 against earlier in the season. He's simply in a little rut right now and is still the same guy he's been all year. Vegas hasn't dropped a line on this one yet, but I'd suspect a 214-218 total with the Cavs favored. It'll be Stephenson and Bogdanovic on LBJ, who simply have no chance. LeBron is more expensive than Giannis and it'll bump his ownership down. Personally, I prefer Antetokounmpo. I think that game stays close and could be a fantasy goldmine if it does. I'll have a lot of exposure to both, but do lean the alphabet.

Trevor ArizaTrevor Ariza FD - $5300 DK - $4900
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 28.88 DK - 28.93

We'll sandwich the position with a very safe mid-range option in Trevor Ariza. He found a way to put up 0 points in 39 minutes against the Blazers, but still put up 20 fantasy points. He's playing 35+ minutes every single night and against the Suns, yes please. T.J. Warren is a good individual defender, but he has no help around him and it's why they rank 21st against the position. Ariza will have plenty of open shots and will be in there for almost all of the game. With one of the higher over/unders on the entire season, it's not a bad idea to get exposure where you can. I would not at all be surprised to see 40 fantasy points here.

Taurean PrinceTaurean Prince FD - $5800 DK - $5500
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 30.5 DK - 30.52

Taurean Prince is a minutes hog that's facing the Brooklyn Nets. That's all. He was listed as "probable" for each of the last 2 games, but ended up playing 35 and 36 minutes. His finger seems to be perfectly fine as his shot is falling and he was as active as ever on the floor. He's done a good job of carving his role into this offense and turning into a consistent producer. His floor typically sits around 25 on bad nights with the slight upside to hit 40 if he's hot. The Nets are better against SF than any other position, but still play as fast as anyone in basketball and gives up FP across the board. Small forward isn't great, but Prince gives you a solid floor and ceiling, as well as exposure to an offense against the Nets. That's never a bad thing.


Power forward

Dragan BenderDragan Bender FD - $3500 DK - $4300
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 13.91 DK - 14.29

Marquese Chriss irritated his hip against the Thunder last game and has already been ruled out against the Rockets. With this game being a focal point of this slate, you have to pay attention. When Chriss exited last game in just 10 minutes, Bender came in and played 39. He put up 43 fantasy points and is going to do that consistently if playing those minutes. With Chriss out, I think it's fair to project him for 35-40 minutes. He's my personal favorite play on the entire slate and I will have him in every single lineup. The match-up and guaranteed minutes are just too much to pass up. The only possible way he misses value is foul trouble and that's entirely egregious to predict without James Harden on the floor. He is perfectly fine running with the Rockets and matches up well with Ryan Anderson. At near-minimum price on both sites, he's a guarantee to hit value.

Aaron GordonAaron Gordon FD - $7100 DK - $7700
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 36.75 DK - 37.19
Markieff MorrisMarkieff Morris FD - $5000 DK - $5200
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 26.78 DK - 27

These 2 strong PF options face off in a game that we should be targeting more. While a 227 and 223 over/under are rightfully overshadowing it, a 218 is nothing at all to scoff at. Both teams like to run and neither plays much transition defense. Starting with Gordon, he's the focal point of the offense without Vucevic. He's taking as many shots as he wants and has seen his usage rate go up 4% (a ton). The Wizards are great against prototypical PF's, but we know Aaron Gordon is just about the opposite. With his added 3-point shot, he's as deadly as any PF in this league when hot. As for Markieff Morris, he's a phenomenal value option. He's been over 32 minutes in 3 of the last 4 and hit value in each. He should be closer to $6.5k and I'm playing him in every good match-up until that day comes. Depending on what you need out of the position, Gordon and Morris both fit well. Bender is where you go for cheap.



DeMarcus CousinsDeMarcus Cousins FD - $11000 DK - $10800
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 57.5 DK - 59.95

For now, Anthony Davis is questionable. DeMarcus Cousins is a much better play if he sits out, but makes for a strong option either way. Let's say Davis sits. Cousins picked up 40 minutes last game and dominated against a brutal Grizzlies interior. His usage spikes from 32% to 36% with AD out, which is an extra 3 or 4 shots and 3-4 assist opportunities, at least. Boogie Cousins and the Blazers have a long-heralded history and he has usually don't the beatings. They will toss out Nurkic, but eventually lean on Leonard, who has a strong rivalry with Cousins and has deemed himself a "stopper". Cousins will continue defecating in his mouth every time he steps in front of him and should be on his way to 60+ tonight. If Anthony Davis plays, just temper your expectations. He's still going to dominate and could end up over 60, but the ball will be occupied for a few more possessions than it would be. Take the news and do with it what you will. For me, I'll have a ton of Cousins if Davis is ruled out. Only a little bit if he's ruled in.

Marcin GortatMarcin Gortat FD - $4500 DK - $4900
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 26.05 DK - 25.9

I know he isn't the most exciting roster around, but there's no denying what's up with the price here. Gotta take is looking like the 2016 version of himself and not the one in concrete sneakers. He's been over 20 FP in 4 straight, but has gone over 35 in 2 of those. He's directly linked with John Wall and his injury-riddled season has a lot to do with the stumbling of Gortat in general. He's ongoing to continue getting the minutes and Wall almost forces him to produce in most cases. The Magic have one of the weakest interiors in all of the league and Biyombo will do nothing to the PNR game. Gortat is way too cheap and an elite cash game option because of it.


image sources

  • DeMarcus Cousins, Udonis Haslem, Wayne Ellington: (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

13 Visitor Comments

  1. Surprising not to see Davis in the recommendations. They recommend him every game along with that stiff Rubio.

  2. Article has been corrected and comments deleted to cover his tracks – too funny. That’s so corrupt – What a loser.

  3. if you are charging customers to use your site or product, you CANNOT delete, alter, or edit information that has been distributed. If an error occurred then you can add an addition with a comment mentioning the error but the original must remain intact. This is comparable to a company shredding documents prior to an investigation. Your editing of your errors today and deleting the comments to cover it up are comparable to this. I think it would be wise of you to republish the original article and comments asap.

    • This part of the site is free and are just opinions.

    • I switched one single word in the entire article. I’m not sure anyone who read it after 9 AM wants a weird note about a correction that isn’t relevant. Sorry about the initial mistake, but didn’t think it could possibly mislead anyone. Was about the backup center who will see 8-15 minutes. Have a good one.

    • Ah, nevermind. I see these are all coming from Bobbert the jolly. Thanks Bob, have a happy night.

  4. What did I miss?

  5. First of all, great job as always Austyn. More importantly this is a free article and even though y’all are trolling today you all will be back to read it again tomorrow! This guy writes good, FREE articles to help you simple minded people win money. Show some respect!

  6. People are trolling because they are insecure, and/or cannot win any money on their own account, so they want to take it out on the writer. Wow, so Austyn “deleted, altered, or edited the information he distributed”, — don’t get your panties in such a bunch man, I’d prefer it be updated/corrected rather than leave something incorrect.

    If you were actually smart people, you would take his recommendations as a grain of salt and just another opinion, and then decide your own lineup in the end.

    • I agree Chris 100%.

  7. I make money with these tips on the regular…
    It’s free, who cares if content was edited?

  8. thank you chris….

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