Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/23/18
Hello hoops lovers, and welcome to Tuesday night in the NBA. The Association presents us with a five game slate which is unusually large compared to the three and four game sets we tend to see. We’ve got the usual suspects in the top tier, and some less than appealing matchups. So let’s take a look at the top plays position by position, shall we?
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Stephen Curry FD - $9600 DK - $10500
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 50.53 DK - 52.57
Russell Westbrook FD - $12200 DK - $11800
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 59.59 DK - 62.81
Even with just five games on the agenda for the evening, we kick off point guard with two big money plays who are among the best in the game. Steph Curry and the Warriors host the Knicks tonight while Russell Westbrook and the Thunder welcome the Nets to town. These are two terrible defenses who will counter Westbrook and Curry with names like Dinwiddie and Jack which means these two will eat and eat well tonight. Westbrook is coming off a 20 assists, 23 point game in Cleveland where he was just a board shy of a triple double and has been locked in to minutes in the mid thirties, while Curry is now four games back from an ankle injury and has averaged 1.22 FP per minute since his return. Both of these games have the potential to get out of hand with Golden State seeing the largest spread of the night at 14 points, but they also have the largest projection of 227. Westbrook feels just a hair safer against the worst overall defense at the position, but is going to cost you a ton more, especially on FanDuel. On DraftKings where the prices are slightly closer, Westbrook is coming in as the better play, but I’ll take Curry for a sub $10K price tag on FanDuel all day long.
Kyrie Irving FD - $8500 DK - $8900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 40.96 DK - 42.45
There will be value to be had elsewhere, so we’re going to stay in the top tier at the point with Kyrie Irving. Irving was held out of the Celtics game against the Sixers last Thursday with a shoulder injury, and was questionable coming into Sunday’s game with the Magic, but clearly there were no lingering effects as he dropped 40 points in 40 minutes posting one of his best fantasy outings of the season. Tonight the Celtics head into the Staples Center to take on the Lakers who not only play the fastest game in the association but have been a bottom five defense against the position over their last ten contests surrendering 53.6 FP on average. Lonzo Ball is all but guaranteed to remain out, and KCP is questionable which leaves the Lakers back court extremely thin once again, and the Lakers will be forced to counter Irving with the likes of Jordan Clarkson and Tyler Ennis who are among the worst in the game at defending the perimeter. Kyrie should have no trouble hitting his floor of 40, and if he sees another 40 minutes, 50 or better is not out of the question. Kyrie is another excellent cash play, and I’ll probably get a little tournament exposure to boot.
Evan Fournier FD - $5800 DK - $6100
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 30.04 DK - 31.14
We paid all the way up at the point, but fortunately there’s value to be had at shooting guard where on FanDuel the most expensive play will cost just a fraction of what Westbrook will set you back. Before we get to that guy though, let’s look at a couple of mid range guys. First up, Evan Fournier. The Magic are hosting the Kings tonight and Fournier comes in ranked among the top PPD plays at the position against a defense allowing 60FP on average over their last ten games. Fournier has been a beacon of light for a suffering Magic team after missing most of December with an ankle injury. Since making his return he has scored double digits in every game while contributing across the stat sheet greatly enhancing his upside value. In his last three games he’s averaging 23 points, 3.3 rebounds, and three assists per game while mixing in a block against Boston his last time out and a steal in each of his last two games. He’s locked in for 30-35 minutes per game and should easily hit his floor of 30FP. The Kings don’t run the boards so much as they walk them which will cut into Fournier’s production and could limit his upside, but as cash game plays go tonight, you can’t do much better.
Tim Hardaway Jr. FD - $5500 DK - $6700
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 27.38 DK - 28.22
Prior to a leg injury taking him out of commission for 20 games Tim Hardaway Jr. was going for $6.5-$7K per night. Now five games returned he’s quickly returned to that point on DraftKings, but remains a solid value on FanDuel where the price is significantly depressed from the pre-injury tag. Hardaway has been straight heat since making his return as well, averaging 22.3 points, 4.3 boards, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 3.8 threes per game while shooting 51.8%. It was announced he would be limited to 25 minutes per game on this road trip, but clearly the Knicks are allowing some wiggle room on that as he has ran for 25, 27, and most recently 29. The Warriors are a bottom ten defense this season against SG’s, and over the last ten games only Miami has allowed more FP to the position. If he only sees 25 minutes, THJ should be able to hit his floor for 5X PPD, and any added time is just gravy if you want to lock him in as a GPP play.
Jordan Clarkson FD - $7000 DK - $6500
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 30.49 DK - 31.5
If Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remains out, and as of this writing it seems to be heading that way as he is listed as questionable, then Jordan Clarkson remains a phenomenal play. Clarkson has been out of his mind lately paying 6.8X and 8.5X PPD in his last two games, this coming off the bench. It doesn’t really matter if he starts or not, with Ball and KCP out of commission, Clarkson leads L.A. with a 28.5% usage and is guaranteed to see minutes in the thirties. The FanDuel price has really spiked, but if he’s going to continue putting up 1.53 FP per minute, he’s still a bargain. The only negative thing I can say about Clarkson tonight is the matchup. The Celtics have the sixth best defense in the game against shooting guards, and in the last five games only Milwaukee has surrendered fewer fantasy points. For the price and opportunity though, even in a matchup this tough Clarkson is a solid value.
Kevin Durant FD - $10500 DK - $10500
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 51.67 DK - 51.62
LeBron James has underperformed in four of his last seven, and tonight faces a Spurs team that play at just a 96.7 pace while allowing the second fewest FP to opposing threes, so we’re not going anywhere near that, instead if you want to pay up at small forward we have Kevin Durant. KD has been less than stellar himself lately, paying just 4-4.3X in four of his last six while coming in at 4.9X and 5.6X in the others, but he sees a far more appealing matchup in the form of the New York Knicks. New York plays a slightly faster game, which when paired with Golden State gives us a combined 100.5 pace factor, and though they’re the fourth best defense at the position on paper this season, over their last five games they’ve allowed 10 more fantasy points than their season average, which is good for the sixth worst at the position in that stretch. Among the big money plays, I prefer Westbrook and Curry, especially on FD where Steph is much cheaper, on DK Steph and Durant are priced the same, and the system gives Curry the slight edge, but it’s so close you could just split exposure.
Jonathon Simmons FD - $4800 DK - $5300
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 27.1 DK - 27.39
Since stepping into the starting role in late November, Jonathon Simmons has been streaky at best. Over his last four games has scored 23, 4, 16, and 9 points though his ability to contribute across the board has helped him to make up ground when the shooting is off, and crush value when making his shot. The streaky shooting, coupled with reduced minutes after returning from a two game absence with a back injury has led to Simmons price hitting the downswing across the industry which makes him a solid value play against the Kings who have been average on paper defending against the three this season. Simmons comes with some risk, but at a position that doesn’t offer a whole lot to love, he presents a cheap way out and should have little trouble hitting his floor.
Jaylen Brown FD - $5500 DK - $6200
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 27.67 DK - 28.28
Jaylen Brown managed to score 17 points in what was otherwise the Kyrie show Sunday against Orlando. Despite Kyrie’s takeover of the offensive game, Brown managed to put together a solid effort in 36 minutes and ended the day with a 17/7/1/1 line, and would have easily exceeded 5X if not for the four giveaways. Brown should be a lock for 30-35 minutes tonight against a Lakers team who play the fastest pace in the game and are terrible defending against the three. The 46.1 FP they surrender to the position on average is second only to Cleveland. The DraftKings price gives me pause, but Brown is an absolute bargain on FanDuel and should easily hit his floor there.
Kyle Kuzma FD - $5200 DK - $5600
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 30.89 DK - 31.69
Fasten your seatbelt, things get real ugly, real quick from here on out. We open up the power forward position with Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma saw just ten minutes coming off the bench against the Knicks on Sunday. He scored 15 points in that time, but did nothing else. Coach Walton blamed the lack of minutes on defensive issues, though he did also jam his right index finger early in the game as well. Kuzma isn’t showing up on injury reports, and the X-ray came back negative, so we should expect to see him return to his standard 25-35 minute role tonight against the Celtics who have allowed nearly 60FP per game over their last five to opposing power forwards. The price on Kuzma has taken a significant dive following Sunday’s game which means he should have no trouble hitting the 25 point floor, as long as the minutes bounce back on track, and if he can hit 30+ he’ll have the chance to crush these prices.
Marcus Morris FD - $4700 DK - $5000
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 24.28 DK - 24.95
Marcus Morris drew the start for Aron Baynes on Sunday, who moved to the bench while dealing with a sinus infection. Boston could very well stick to the same small ball rotation tonight against the Lakers, though Morris tends to see a consistent run of minutes in the mid twenties regardless of whether he starts or comes of the bench in a reserve role. Morris has performed better when running with the starters this season averaging 12 points, 5.5 boards, and 1.5 assists on 43.5% shooting as a starter. This game has one of the lowest projections of the evening but is expected to remain competitive throughout. Regardless of starting or coming off the bench, Morris is priced to a point that we just can’t ignore tonight.
Also consider: If you think the Knicks can keep it competitive with the Warriors, the system likes Kristaps Porzingis as a 5X PPD play, but that’s a big if, and he has underperformed in two straight games now, so proceed with caution.
Al Horford FD - $7100 DK - $7300
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 37.48 DK - 37.56
Power forward wasn’t pretty, and center is outright ugly. We have Al Horford, and a bunch of dreck. Horford himself hasn’t been phenomenal lately, over his last four games he’s averaging 4.6X PPD but tonight he draws a Lakers defense that is ranked sixth worst at defending against the five, and as we’ve already established presents a huge pace up for the Celtics who play a much slower game. This will present Big Al with some added opportunity while his price continues to decline. The position as a whole just doesn’t present a lot to love and Horford is just in one of the better spots of the night.
Joffrey Lauvergne FD - $3500 DK - $3300
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 21.3 DK - 22
Originally I had Pau Gasol here, but he was then ruled out, so let’s talk about the guy who should draw the start and see an increased workload in his spot. Joffrey Lauvergne started for Gasol last month in a game against the Jazz and ran for 25 minutes scoring 11 points and picking up six boards. The Cavaliers are similarly ranked defensively to Utah against opposing big men. It’s a tough matchup, but Lauvergne is priced at the minimum across the industry, which presents him with a reasonably low floor with huge potential upside, plus, he allows you to fit two of those three top tiered plays we covered earlier with relative ease. I prefer Horford for cash games, but Lauvergne can be considered in all formats if you need the savings.
There you have it. It’s going to be an interesting Tuesday night. Good luck as always and leave any questions or comments below, or pop on into the member chatroom. Cheers!!
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- Russell Westbrook: (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)