Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/17/18

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Point guard

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $12000 DK - $11600
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 56.21 DK - 59.8

After a polarizing 4-game slate last night, the NBA has blessed us with a very solid Wednesday slate. 10 games are just the perfect balance between a shirt slate and one that just has too many options. Every game is interesting and deserves to be dissected. We’ll kick it off with a huge surprise in Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is back over $12k and rightfully so. He’s putting up 50+ fantasy points on a nightly basis and driving in 60-70 upside quite regularly. He now gets a match-up against one of the weakest defenses in the league in the Lakers. They’re average on paper against point guards, but play at the 7th fastest PACE. Westbrook played just 27 minutes against these guys in a blowout 2 weeks ago and put up 48 fantasy points in the process. He will easily get over 60 if the game stays close. Lonzo Ball is currently questionable to play, which would turn an already messy defense into a dumpster fire. He’s a great play in all formats with a 50-70 range that is reliable as can be. The price is high, but there is value on this slate and Westbrook could easily be worth it.

Stephen CurryStephen Curry FD - $9800 DK - $10400
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 50.5 DK - 52.34

If you're not able to pay all the way up for Russ, Stephen Curry is quite the pivot. We know the Chicago Bulls are absolutely atrocious on defense and especially against PG's. Kris Dunn is a league-leader in steals, but takes a ton of chances. The Bulls rank 23rd in the league against PG's at 45.6 FPPG. Vegas is yet to drop a line on this game, but I don't think the spread will be over 10 or 11. If these Warriors are given their full allotment of minutes, we'll see 4 or 5 of them destroy value. The Bulls do have some firepower that can be uncovered and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him hang with Golden State inside Chicago. He's been over 33 minutes in each of the first 2 games since returning from injury, so there's no concern on the injury front. It all comes down to whether the Bulls can keep this game close. If they can, Curry is going to end up as one of the top stars of the night. If not, he could see 2-29 minutes and 40 fantasy points. It won't kill you, but you need a competitive game. Personally, I think it does stay close and will pair up Curry with one of the Bulls. In cash games, I'll try my best to pay up for Russ or settle for Ish and pay up elsewhere. That's not to say Curry can't be played in all formats if he fits right.

Ish SmithIsh Smith FD - $6100 DK - $5800
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 31.2 DK - 30.97

Ish Smith is still smooth sailing with Reggie Jackson out and actually saw his most minutes yet last game (34). He's been uber-consistent over the last few weeks over 20 fantasy points, though he will admittedly need you more than that with his price up. Tonight, he gets an elite match-up against a Raptors squad that is decent PG's. On the season, they rank 11th against them. Kyle Lowry is a bulldog, but he gives up a ton of open lanes in the process (3rd most points in the paint). This game does hold a 214 over/under, which is rare for the Pistons. Smith can be counted on for 25 with the upside for 40 and is pretty safe in all formats. I do prefer paying up at the position or going to Ennis (if Lonzo is out), but Smith is a phenomenal option in the mid-range. He doesn't have all that much upside, but makes more than enough sense for cash games.

Shooting Guard

Tyrone WallaceTyrone WallaceFD - $4300 DK - $4600
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 23.57 DK - 23.27

Now for one of the weaker positions on this slate. At least on the high-end. You have DeRozan, Lou Will, and Evans who can all go off, but aren't in anywhere near optimal match-ups. We'll instead save some funds at the position and look towards Tyrone Wallace. Wallace has been a premier value option for a week. Sitting over 32 minutes in each of the last 4 games, he's hit value in each (from 18 to 41). He is a big piece of this offense for now and can be counted on for 30 minutes and 10+ shots. His shot has slightly risen, but it's still not to the point of worry. The Nuggets are average against SG's with a good one in Harris and a putrid one in Barton. Wallace is no slouch on offense and does dictate the 16.1% usage he's been given. He's a strong play in both cash games and tournaments that should be one of the more popular plays on the entire slate. I'm willing to jump on board without much opportunity cost at the position.

Kent BazemoreKent Bazemore FD - $5700 DK - $5500
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 30.61 DK - 30.35

If you're looking to pay up just a bit more, Kent Bazemore is a phenomenal option. He's already one of the more consistent SG's in the league for his price and is on fire as of now. He's been over 30 minutes in each of the last 2 and reached value in both. He's never a guy you play for upside, but hitting 40 isn't crazy in a close game. He matches up tonight with a Pelicans squad that just doesn't play perimeter defense. On paper, they rank 25th against shooting guards. Jrue Holiday isn't a great defender and the 2 big men aren't either behind him. Bazemore is fairly priced in the mid $5k's and only needs you around 25 to hit value. He's not option 1 or 2 on this offense, but nobody really is. Bazemore grabs 10-15 shots a night and is relied upon for his consistency in the squad. At a meh position, you can do a whole lot worse.

Small forward

Kevin DurantKevin Durant FD - $10600 DK - $10600
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 52.56 DK - 52.62

Here we are with another one of the Golden State superstars. Like Curry, Durant is going to put up huge numbers here if the Bulls can keep it relatively close. On paper, they rank 17th against the position. As average as can be. Denzel Valentine and David Nwaba are both way too small for Durant and will be bullied from the tip. He could also be forced to play a few extra minutes with Casspi out and both Iguodala and Green questionable. He’s already the number 1 option and takes 20+ shots, but his upside always rises with Green out because of peripherals now up for grabs. His price is down a bit on both sites and is close to a lock for value if the game stays close. That’s always a huge IF with the Warriors, but I think the Bulls have a very good shot at home.

DeMarre CarrollDeMarre Carroll FD - $5000 DK - $5500
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 26.44 DK - 26.72

Hey, I don't love it either. Nobody wants to play a small forward against the Spurs. However, there are times where it's just the right play. DeMarre Carroll is way too cheap at $5k as a guy who's going to be putting up 25-35 fantasy points a night. He's been over 30 fantasy points in 3 straight games and has held a 24% usage rate in them. Aside from Timofey Mozgov(lol), DeMarre Carroll is the highest paid Brooklyn Net on this team. He is expected to be the best player on this team and is definitely starting to cement himself into that role. His price should be $6k-$7k here, but instead sits at just $5k. He only needs you between 22-27 in cash games and has been far over that for about a week now. The match-up is obviously tough, but his usage is high and the price is too low. At a weak small forward position, he's a great play in all formats.


Power forward

Jordan BellJordan Bell FD - $4300 DK - $4500
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 26.74 DK - 24.8

First things first, this is dependent on Draymond Green sitting out. He's questionable with shoulder soreness and looks to be pretty close to a true 50/50. If he plays, he has to be considered against the Bulls. He's been playing well and the match-up is great. If Green is out, Jordan Bell is immediately one of the top plays on the slate. He would get up to at least 25 minutes and saw 30 with Green out in most games. He is always productive when on the floor and has been over 40 fantasy points a few times when given the start. The Bulls rank 21st against PF's and none of the 3 are much of stoppers. If Green is out, Bell is going to slide into the starting role and hit value at $4.5k. He would be a top option in all formats at one of the weaker positions on the slate.

Kyle KuzmaKyle Kuzma FD - $5900 DK - $5900
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 26.87 DK - 27.64

This is just a little too cheap for the player Kyle Kuzma is. He’s back healthy and got up to 35 minutes 2 games ago against the Mavs. He’s not necessarily the far and away number 1 option, but nobody dictates the ball over him. He’s right up there with Ingram in terms of trust and can see 15-20 shots when he’s feeling it. The Thunder love to play fast and we know Carmelo isn’t all that interested in transition defense. Under $6k for whatever reason, Kuzma makes for a strong play in all formats. He’s a lock for 25 with the upside for 50 if it’s one of his games. Because of the discount, I have no qualms on rostering Kuzma in any format.

John HensonJohn Henson FD - $5500 DK - $4500
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 27.72 DK - 26.35

Here's another mid-range option that deserves attention. I do prefer Bell (if Green is out) and Kuzma, but Henson is extremely consistent and is in a good match-up. The only real issue with Henson is his minutes. Against Hassan Whiteside, go ahead and bank at least 25 minutes with the upside for 35 if he has success. Henson is listed as a PF, but plays center for all of the game. On paper, the Heat are strong against Centers. Henson is a little different than most. He prefers playing in slow games and doesn't like leaving the paint. That will be no issue tonight. His price is still cheap on both sites and he makes for a phenomenal value play on DraftKings at just $4500. Power forward is a weird spot and you can go with any of these guys in cash.


DeMarcus CousinsDeMarcus Cousins FD - $11900 DK - $10800
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 57.99 DK - 60.21

If it wasn't for the overtime game last night, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins would be 2 of the easier superstar plays on the slate. Instead, they both played over 40 minutes against a tough Celtics defense. We don't really know exactly what's going to go on here, but you can't think both of them get stretched out again. With that being said, if one of them is going to play, it's Cousins. He has a much cleaner slate of health over the last few games and has played big minutes in B2B's a ton in Sacramento. The Hawks rank dead last in the league against centers, so the match-up isn't in question. He's the best center in the league and would be a safe bet for 60 if this wasn't after an OT thriller. Keep an eye out for any news that breaks here and is ready to react. For now, I'll have 50% Cousins in hopes they let him go at least 33-35 minutes.


Steven AdamsSteven Adams FD - $6900 DK - $6500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 30.69 DK - 29.67

If you’re looking for a mid-range option, you have 2 solid ones in Steven Adams and Willie Cauley-Stein. We’ll focus on Adams, but WCS is certainly in play against a Gobert-less Jazz interior. As for Adams, he’s been as consistent as possible with his minutes. He’s playing 31-34 minutes every single night and typically getting to at least 25 fantasy points. He’s been over 35 FP in 4 of the last 7 and is a guy that relies pretty heavily on the match-up. He gets a very solid one tonight against a Lakers squad that doesn’t even have a true center. Lopez is one for sure, but you’re just hoping he’s out there for as long as possible with his defense and rebounding skills. Then it’ll be Julius Randle, who’s extremely undersized. Adams is going to struggle with either and will have a typical 30+ fantasy points as long as the game stays competitive. This is a game we want exposure to and Adams gives us it at a very fair price tag.


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9 Visitor Comments

  1. This entire week the pics have been bad I hope you guys get back on track soon or I’ll have to cancel my subscription to your premium service because I’m losing my ass off over the past 2 weeks with your picks and optimizer

    • Not sure what you mean here. DK lineups have cashed every slate since Saturday, FD missed once in that stretch,

  2. Agreed dan you’re absolutely right

  3. Eveerybody got to make money some how. Way of life

  4. Re. Adams. Did you mean to write that he will NOT struggle with either? “Adams is going to struggle with either and will have a typical 30+ fantasy points as long as the game stays competitive.”

  5. If anyone has been losing for weeks straight, that tells me you’re either not checking for line up updates before lock or playing the wrong slate. The optimal are recommended for cash line ups and you should always check for updates till its locked by tipoff. If you’re not doing that, then im sorry, you deserve to lose. Blaming a site for your financial losses is foolish because ultimately, you’re responsible for what you do.. On top of that, its gambling… Get a clue.
    Other than that, DFSR has been profitable, if you’re playing it correctly

  6. If it’s gambling then that makes it illegal Ray!

    • Wow! This is getting heated lol😂😂😂

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