Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/16/18
Tuesday night brings us a four game slate of NBA action featuring five of the ten worst defenses in the Association and DFSR is going position by position to bring you the top plays of the day, so let’s check out tonight’s picks…
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Kyrie Irving FD - $8200 DK - $8500
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 44.41 DK - 45.59
Point guard isn’t a position we want to skimp at tonight. Payton? No thank you. Teague? Eh…and I'm not even looking Rondo’s way. So that gives us Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving. I’ll get to Lillard in a moment, but first up Kyrie. Irving and the Celtics are hosting the Pelicans tonight who play the sixth fastest game and the hold the seventh worst team defensive rating in basketball. Kyrie will benefit greatly from this matchup against the aforementioned Rondo who just doesn’t even try defensively anymore. Point guards are scoring 45.9 FP on average against New Orleans, which would be right in the sweet spot for Kyrie who should hold a floor of 40 with a ceiling of 50 or higher if this one stays as competitive as the 4.5 spread from Vegas suggests. Kyrie is a play I’ll have in all formats tonight.
Damian Lillard FD - $9300 DK - $9300
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 43.29 DK - 45.12
Next up we have Damian Lillard. Lillard is now three games back from his most recent stint on the injury report with a calf strain and certainly looks to be completely healthy. He’s posted an average of 44FP and 34 minutes per game against the Rockets, Pelicans and TimberWolves. Over their last five games, the Suns have ranked worse than all of those teams, allowing an average of 51.7 FP to opposing point guards in that stretch. This is the one game Vegas is holding back a projection on, though I anticipate it will easily be the highest scoring game of the night by a mile. Point guard is a position where I won’t really stray too much. It should be relatively easy to fit both of these guys into our lineups tonight, and I plan to do just that in all formats.
Devin Booker FD - $7800 DK - $8000
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 39.64 DK - 41.75
We’re going to pick on the Phoenix Suns quite a bit tonight. It’s unavoidable, especially on this short slate. That doesn’t mean we can’t target some Suns against the Blazers as well. Whenever looking at the Suns the first place to look is always Devin Booker. After missing most of December with a groin injury, Booker’s price is now back on the upswing approaching near season highs but he’s not priced out of consideration just yet. In nine games back Booker has scored 20+ points in seven while surpassing the 30 point mark three times, all while maintaining aggressiveness in the boards and passing out plenty of assists. Portland presents an average matchup for the position but in a game with a combined 100.8 pace factor there should be tons of opportunity for Booker to do what he does best. I’ll limit him to cash games on DraftKings, but on FanDuel, he’s in play across the board.
Evan Fournier FD - $5400 DK - $5100
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 26.77 DK - 27.76
It’s been a tough year for the Magic, dealing with one injury after another has made it hard to put together any kind of efficiency. Evan Fournier has been no stranger to the injury bug, but when he is healthy, he has been a bright spot on the court for Orlando. Since returning from an eight game absence with a sprained ankle Fournier has put together a string of nine straight 10+ point outings. The most frustrating part of Fournier’s game is his inconsistency with the peripherals. When he’s snagging rebounds and dishing out assists, Fournier has the ability to crush value at these prices. Minnesota is tough on paper against opposing two guards, but for the price, Fournier is solid consideration at a position that doesn’t offer a lot to love.
C.J. McCollum FD - $8200 DK - $7700
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 36.4 DK - 37.43
Despite the fact that his usage takes a 5% dip with Damian Lillard back on the court, C.J. McCollum didn’t lose much fantasy value in the first two games with Dame back, then he disappeared on Sunday in Minnesota. The price is a little high now that Lillard has returned, but if you think he can replicate his outings against Houston and New Orleans, he could be a solid play. Shooting guard is the one position Phoenix isn’t terrible against, though they’re not exactly good at defending it either. If you have the extra salary and want to pivot off of Booker, McCollum could make for an interesting tournament play. On DraftKings, he's priced well below Booker and can be considered all formats there.
Jaylen Brown FD - $5500 DK - $5900
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 27.07 DK - 27.53
The Celtics have returned from London and are back home tonight to play the Pelicans. Jaylen Brown quite enjoyed his time across the Atlantic, posting his first 20+ point game since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for two games while also grabbing four boards, dishing out two assists, and swiping three Balls. He’ll look to keep the fire burning this evening against the Pelicans in a game with a 99.9 combined pace factor, the second highest on the night. Brown has a solid 25 point floor with potential 35-40 point upside, and is a mid tiered play that I’ll utilize in all formats.
Evan Turner FD - $4100 DK - $4100
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 19.95 DK - 19.85
Evan Turner is a tremendous value play as he represents the cheapest way to attack the Phoenix defense. Since joining the starting rotation last month, Turner has been anything but reliable, but he has shown flashes of upside against the likes of Cleveland, Houston and Chicago. The Suns have been dead average against small forwards this season, but over their last five games, they’re allowing the second most FP to the position. Like C.J. McCollum above, Turner is a play I may limit to tournaments, but at the price, I can’t completely rule him out of cash consideration if I need the savings.
Harrison Barnes FD - $6800 DK - $6800
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 32.16 DK - 32.91
We haven’t looked at this game yet, and won’t look at it again, as it has the slowest combined pace factor of the night as well as the lowest projected total coming out of Vegas. We have to stop for a moment and consider Harrison Barnes at the three though. Barnes has been extremely reliable at these prices dating back to New Years Eve, with four games of 20+ points, and a double double last week against the Hornets. The Nuggets have been average defensively at the position this season, but have surrendered the fourth most FP in their last ten games. You can probably get away with the other two guys at the position, but if you have the funds in cash games Barnes is a safe play that won’t eat a ton of salary.
Taj Gibson FD - $5600 DK - $5400
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 27.4 DK - 26.96
We’ve spent a lot of time picking on the Suns and the Pelicans, but we’ve also got the Magic on tonight’s slate who are a bottom five team in defensive efficiency while playing the seventh fastest pace in the game of 101.6. They face Taj Gibson and the Timberwolves in the game with the highest projection of the three games Vegas has released lines on as of this writing, and also the highest spread. Eight points is a wide spread, but certainly not enough to concern ourselves with, particularly if it allows us to lock in Gibson on the cheap. Outside of a few hiccups along the way, Gibson has been Mr. Reliable this season at the power forward position, one of the safest plays, especially at this price point. Gibson has only hit the 30 minute mark once in his last three games which is a little concerning, but when looking at what he’s done this season with the minutes he gets, like a career high 57.4 shooting percentage from the field, and 7.7 rebounds per game, Gibson is well worth the price of admission.
Aaron Gordon FD - $7500 DK - $7600
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 35.9 DK - 36.32
Gibson will spend most of his night contending with Aaron Gordon. Gordon is coming off a double double in Washington on Friday where he struggled with his shot, but still managed to pay 5X PPD, ending the night with a 14/10/7 line in 38 minutes against the third toughest defense versus power forwards. Minnesota is nearly as tough on paper defensively as the Wizards are but Gordon, who was commanding $8K on the regular prior to going down with a calf injury is priced entirely too cheap for his floor. With Anthony Davis in a tough matchup up in Boston, Gordon is the best way to pay up at the position.
Al-Farouq Aminu FD - $5500 DK - $4700
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 25.83 DK - 25.91
Al-Farouq Aminu saw just 20 minutes against the Timberwolves on Sunday, with Portland being blowout by halftime, he saw little action in the second half, so he never stood a chance of duplicating the outing he had two nights earlier in New Orleans when he posted a 7.5X PPD outing with 19 points and 11 boards. There should be no concern of Aminu losing time against the Suns tonight, and if he can see his usual allotment of 30-35 he should be a lock to hit value and then some given his ability to chip in across the board and stuff the stat sheet.
Karl-Anthony Towns FD - $9500 DK - $9500
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 47.25 DK - 48.96
We’ve got two plays on tonight’s slate priced over $10K, and they have the unenviable task of going up against the top rated defense in the NBA, so there will be no Boogie or brow love tonight. Instead let’s talk about Karl-Anthony Towns at the center spot. KAT has been locked into his game for some time now, closing out a win against Portland on Sunday with his ninth straight double double. Only the aforementioned DeMarcus Cousins has more 20+ point and 10+ rebound games this season, a feat Towns has accomplished four times already in 2018. Orlando’s interior defense isn’t a pushover, but they aren’t shutdown either, ranked 19th overall against centers surrendering 16.5 points and 11.7 boards on average. KAT has 37 double doubles in 45 games this season, and tonight is looking like a strong candidate for number 38.
Jusuf Nurkic FD - $7000 DK - $6700
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 33.92 DK - 33.29
I’m running out of ways to say how bad Phoenix is on defense, and how much we want to target them tonight. While we have covered Portland at each position you can only play four players from a team on FanDuel so there will be some decisions to make. Jusuf Nurkic was another victim of the blowout at the hands of the Wolves on Sunday, seeing just 20 minutes and struggling to keep up with Karl-Anthony Towns. He should be in line for his usual 24-30 minute allotment tonight and stands to benefit from a prime matchup as Phoenix has been bottom ten defending against the five all season long. Nurkic has paid 5X or better at these prices in six of his last ten games and in three of those he went off for 7X PPD. I’m going to try to fit KAT into my cash lineups, while keeping Nurkic for tournaments, but if necessary I’m not against using Nurkic in all formats.
It’s going to be an interesting night, and at least from the initial run of our projection system, a balanced lineup looks to be the best plan of attack. Leave any questions or comments below, or hit up the members chat, and as always good luck tonight! Cheers!
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- Kyrie Irving: (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)