Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/25/18
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After a jam-packed Wednesday slate, we're welcomed with a very simple 4-gamer tonight. There's still a lot to decipher, but it's not nearly as messy as what we were working with yesterday. We'll open it up with the most expensive play on the slate in Russell Westbrook. With Westbrook, it just comes down to your roster construction and whether or not you can afford him. We know this game against the Wizards is going to be exciting and Vegas agrees (214 total, -5 spread). John Wall is a pretty good defender, but that's about. He's easy to take advantage of with a stud like Westbrook and I wouldn't be surprised to see Beal on him at times. He's going to dominate both and get as many open shots as he'd like. The Wizards like to play fast and Westbrook is more than willing. It's tough at the price, but I think 50 is a lock with a realistic 70 FP ceiling. If you're paying down elsewhere and have $12k to spend, you play Westbrook. If you have $10k, I don't think you need to switch things around. Let's touch on Curry, who might work in that scenario.
Stephen Curry is still going to cost you a pretty penny, but he's a huge discount from Russell Westbrook. Exactly $2k on FD and $1k on DraftKings. He has been very consistent recently, going for 42-50 in 8 of the last 9 games. He flashed the upside for 63 in one of them. He's no longer the volatile PG he was a few years ago, but rather a guy who can be counted on for 40 with the upside for 60. He's still a bit reliant on his shot, but it's very rarely off and he can stuff the stat sheet when it is. The match-up against the Timberwolves is certainly a great one, considering they rank 20th in the league against PG's. Jeff Teague isn't the worst defender ever, but he doesn't have much help down low and gets a lot of usage pushed his way with stellar defenders in Wiggins and Butler on the wings. Curry will have the ball in his hands a little more than usual tonight and shouldn't have any problem getting to his 45 FP baseline. If it stays close, 60 is never out of the questions. Especially in this game with one of the friendlier match-ups of the team. I prefer Westbrook, even for the $, but just slightly. If you think this game stays super close, go Curry and use those funds to pay up elsewhere.
To me, this is where you may be able to get an edge on this slate. Let me preface this by saying you can be a lot safer here and go with a Jeff Teague Jamal Murray. I just don't really need to tell you that after talking about the 2 most expensive options at the position. Instead, let's look at a situation with a whole lot of layers. For one, George Hill is likely going to get traded. Before a guy gets traded, you'll often see him get showcased. With De'Aaron FOx injured, this is the perfect situation to do. Let's hold out Fox for one game and let Hill run wild for 35 minutes. Sounds like a plan, right? It sounds great in theory and it'll be a lot closer to reality if Fox is ruled out, but there's still a lot of questions here. Check back for the news article around 5PM and I'll make sure to touch on this situation in depth. There is a lot of opportunity here and it could be a spot to take advantage. The Heat are a lackluster defense at best and we know Hill is no average backup. He's a guy you can plug in there and expect a verteran PG prformance right off the gate. If Fox is out, I will have a lot of exposure to Hill in tournaments.
Andrew Wiggins FD - $6500 DK - $7000
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 31.49 DK - 31.7
We could have easily looked at Jeff Teague a position ago and I'll have my fair share of him at such a fair tag. All 5 of these starting Timberwolves are clearly in play and deserve a ton of attention. It's because of the insane minutes Tom Thibodeau is willing to run these guys at. Then you add the injury to Jimmy Butler and 15-20 shots come up for grabs. Andrew Wiggins has been the biggest benefactor and is going to keep up the 30+ every night until Butler comes back. He will end up seeing some tough defenders, but keep in mind that the Warriors give up more FP to wings than 24 other teams. Wiggins is being relied upon for scoring with Butler out and has the ball in his hands a ton. With a 34% usage over the last few, he's a near lock for cash game value. His salary is finally starting to get up to where it should be, but there's still value with him leading the offense. Make sure Jimmy Buckets is out again and plug Andrew Wiggins in everywhere. If Butler plays, Wiggins is a phenomenal tournament play. Still, one of my favorites if we're being honest. He'll still see 35+ minutes in a game against the Warriors with most of the attention off him.
Tim Hardaway Jr. just got up to 34 minutes last game. In other words, he may finally be healthy. He's the clear number 2 option on this offense, but will absolutely outscore Porzingis in a lot of games. He showed us that in the beginning of the season with some insane explosions in the middle of a cold streak. He then got hurt and it allowed Courtney Lee to pick up huge minutes. Now that they don't really have a SF, they are both seeing huge minutes. As very different players, they don't really eat into each other too much. Sure, they probably won't both go off in the same game, but Hardaway can go for 50 while Lee still does his usual thing. They are both going to see over 30 minutes and have match-ups against a Nuggets squad that doesn't play much defense. Gary Harris is also questionable, who's their far and away best defender. If he's out, these guys are in an even better spot with guys like Will Barton and Malik Beasley picking up the minutes. Hardaway has more upside and Lee is a tad bit safer, but both make sense in all formats for me at a position without much opportunity cost. Also, keep in mind that Porzingis is questionable. If he sits, there are 20 or so shots to go around and a whole lot of usage. Both of these guys will be impacted heavily.
Nemanja Bjelica FD - $4500 DK - $4500
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 24.35 DK - 24.96
This just comes down to Jimmy Butler. If he plays, ignore Nemanja Bjelica. If Butler sits, Bjelica is the top value on the slate. Should I stop now? Well, that would look weird, so let's not. There were some questions surrounding this situation after Bjelica got just 24 minutes in the first game Butler missed, but it was clearly just a match-up issue. He's gotten the starting nod in each of the last 2 and has gone for 34 and 35 minutes. He easily hit value in both and will do more of the same if given the opportunity tonight. He'll be the last fiddle on the Warriors mind and it should leave him with plenty of open shots. His price has slightly risen, but is not anywhere close to where it should be with Butler out. He's still an extreme value on both sites and close to aa must if Butler is ruled out. He matches up well with the atheltiism of the Warriors and could very well see some time at the 4 if Gibson struggles. Bjelica will be in 100% of my lineups if Jimmy Butler is ruled out.
Michael Beasley FD - $5900 DK - $6200
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 37.54 DK - 37.89
Kristaps Porzingis is questionable, so we know what that means. Michael Beasley is back in our lives. With the Knicks finally realizing that he's most certainly one of their best players, he has been getting a few minutes, but they've still been extremely inconsistent. At his upped price tag, you can't trust him without an injury to Porzingis. He picked up 34 minutes last game with Porzingis out and put up 31 fantasy points. We know he'll be the focal point of this offense next to Hardawy Jr. and will likely take 15+ shots if the game stays close. The Nuggets are one of the more underwhelming defenses in the league, ranking 21st against opposing PF's. It'll be a mix of Wilson Chandler and Trey Lyles, who both have clear disadvantages in one way or another. We're not all over this game like the others, but it should stay close and be rather high-scoring. Beasley has the upside for 50 points in any game and is a lock for 30 if Porzingis is ruled out. If Porzingis plays, ignore Beasley.
Paul George FD - $8100 DK - $7600
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 39.1 DK - 39.91
If you want to pay up at small forward, you certainly can. Kevin Durant is the most expensive option and isn't a horrible one in a game against the T-Wolves that could end as a fantasy gold mine. He's just not in as good of a match-up for the $ as Paul George is here. For one, the Wizards struggle more against SF's than any other position. They rank 22nd in the league and are only on the way down over the last month. They also have a questionable Otto Porter Jr., so we may be looking at an even worse defense. George is obviously the clear number 2 option, but he's been consistently productive. At just $8k, his 40 point baseline is very nice. He's even cheaper on DK and a guy I love in all formats for the safety. Assuming this game stays close, like Vegas expects, you can guarantee 35-40 minutes and 35+ fantasy points out of PG. I definitely prefer Beasley and Bjelica if things break right, but they might not. In that case, George is a phenomenal pivot.
Markieff Morris FD - $4400 DK - $4700
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 21.67 DK - 21.9
This is just a case of a guy being way too cheap. Markieff Morris is by no means a dominant PF, but you just can't ignore him under $5k. He's a $6k-$7k player and it's where he's been for the past 4 years. He's run through some rough patches this season, but is still relied on as one of their top guys and has no problem shooting. His box scores are inconsistent as ever, but he's still not killing you in the bad games at this price. The usual 25-35 outings are what we're looking for here. We know the minutes will be there if it's close and he won't be seeing any intimidating defense. Carmelo Anthony, as we all know, has no intentions of playing lockdown defense against a banger like Markieff Morris. The Thunder are decent against PF's, but not one like Morris that prefers playing in the paint. We've been all over the Thunder side of this game, but haven't looked at a single Wizard. John Wall and Brad Beal are both very much in play, but just barely didn't make the cut. I'll instead get the bulk of my exposure to Morris and Gortat, who should have success against a Thunder front that doesn't play much defense. You only need 20-25 here to be happy in cash games.
Draymond Green FD - $8100 DK - $7500
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 42.61 DK - 42.2
After 3 straight Timberwolves from this game, let's get back to the Warriors. We skipped over Thompson and Durant, but just wanted to touch on them for a second. With us targeting this game so religiously, you can obviously go there in tournaments and they can have one of their explosive games. This is still KD and Klay we're talking about. However, the Timberwolves have some clear weak spots and some clear strong spots on defense. Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins are the 2 cornerstones. Assuming Butler returns tonight, it'll be those 2 on Klay+KD. If Butler sits again, I have a lot more interest in Kevin Durant at small forward. As for Draymond Green, he's in play no matter what tonight. Facing up against a lifeless Taj Gibson, he will do a ton of work on the perimeter. The T-Wolves like to play fast and it's why I expect a total around 220-225 in this game. Green is a do-it-all guy that strives in high-total, competitive games. He's also the first one to the bench in blowouts, so it goes both ways. If this stays close like we expect, Draymond should be in there for 35-38 minutes of very productive floor time. For a guy that's already match-up proof in a lot of ways, the Wolves won't help themselves. Expect another 40 from Dray with the upside for 60. You can also play him with any Warrior you want and not worry about them eating into each other's production.
Marcin Gortat FD - $4300 DK - $4800
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 23.31 DK - 23.15
If you need to pay down at center, it's pretty easy. Marcin Gortat is an unbelievably frustrating player to roster, but that's at his usual price. At $4300, you don't need much. At all. The price is just insane and you can seriously be happy with just 18-22. e used to need 30-35 in this same spot. The player is still the same and he's been getting worked into the offense a little more as of late. The minutes are just as inconsistent as his play, but he seems to match-up nicely with Steven Adams. He put up 30 fantasy points in a stretch of 4 games just last week, so it's still there. We just need 25 minutes and some quality John Wall offense. For me, I see Gortat getting over 20 almost every time here. The Thunder are a team that likes to run and doesn't have much of a defensive presence outside of Adams, who's negligible for a non-scoring Center.
Karl-Anthony Towns FD - $9000 DK - $9200
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 46.25 DK - 47.98
Center is a perplexing position on every slate. While I'll probably stick with Gortat in my cash games and pay up elsewhere, there's an argument to be made for Karl-Anthony Towns. It's an argument better made in tournaments, but I still get it. He played just 30 minutes last night, so you know Thibs is ready to run him for 36-40 tonight. He's been able to dominate the Warriors in the past and has actually matched up nicely with Draymond Green down the stretch. There's obviously the blowout risk and it's scary, but if this game blows out, the whole slate is going to take a huge hit. I personally think it stays relatively close, so I'll stick with my exposure to everyone. Towns is now down to $9k and needs you in the 40's for cash games. It shouldn't be tough at all if the game stays close and competitive. Personally, I want Russell Westbrook, so I'll go with Gortat, but I get the move either way. Thank you so much for the read and feel free to comment below with any questions! Good luck tonight!
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- Thunder Lakers Basketball: (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)