Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 12/2/18

Happy Sunday everyone! We have two pretty solid slates here - but instead of just giving you a token play at each position, we'll break down the early slate as a whole and then do a game by game breakdown for the late slate. Let's get into it!

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Early slate

Phoenix Suns at the Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers are favored by 11 in a game with a 223 total
New Orleans Pelicans at the Charlotte Hornets
Hornets are favored by 3 in a game with a 235 total
We couldn't get either of these games on the main slate? Ugh. These are two potential barn burners, and four teams loaded with fantasy value.

The big news in Phoenix on Friday was TJ Warren's predictable absence, and Devin Booker's surprise absence. This led to a huge playing time mess in Phoenix, and leaves a lot of questions for Sunday's slate as well. Early news is that Booker is expected to play, but Warren is expected to miss. Warren has the second highest usage and plays a ton of minutes, and his absence would make Booker an excellent play. He would also open value for Josh Jackson, who was excellent as a chalk play on Friday. The Lakers play a top 5 pace this season, and while they will likely blow the Suns out they are cheap enough that I'll still be interested.

On the Lakers side, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram all look like great plays to me. I wouldn't touch their centers or point guards for anything other than big tournaments.

The Pelicans/Hornets game is just chalk full of value as well. Kemba Walker's well-documented rise to superstardom makes him a very attractive play here. The Pelicans are likely to trot Tim Frazier out there again, and the Pels have played a top 3 pace with a bottom 5 defensive efficiency this season. Cody Zeller and Marvin Williams are also solid cash game options. As of now Zeller looks good to go in spite of leaving the Jazz game early.

The Pelicans don't have a great match-up here - the Hornets are basically league average in terms of both defensive efficiency and pace. You have to love the relatively tight point spread and the total, though. Tim Frazier is something like a mandatory punt, and Anthony Davis is the premier big money payoff on the slate. You could also stomach Jrue or Mirotic, especially on DraftKings.

This slate is one of the most play-rich small slates in recent memory, and is worth playing even if it means taking a break from the early football games.

Late slate

The late slate might be as bad as the early slate is good, but you pay me the big bucks to write this article, so here I am.

Utah Jazz at the Miami Heat

The Jazz are favored by 3.5 in a game with a 211 total
This game is close to an auto-skip, to be honest. The arrival of Kyle Korver has killed some wing value in Utah, and the good players are mostly over-priced for a tough match-up with the Heat. I'm intrigued by the back to back 30+ minute games from Ricky Rubio, but he's the rare point guard who can just straight up disappear on you. I can't say I'm super excited to get him in there.

On the Miami side, things aren't a lot prettier. Kelly Olynyk is essentially free, and just had a good game on 29 minutes. But who wants to trust the Miami power forward situation? As for the usual suspect, Dwyane Wade is the only guy I really would like to play in a terrible match-up with the Jazz, who rank in the bottom third of the league in terms of both defensive efficiency and pace. No thanks.

Memphis Grizzlies at the Philadelphia 76ers

No line on the game as of this writing
Woof. Memphis is the worst DFS match-up in the league, pairing the league's slowest pace with a top 5 defensive efficiency. Our system still sort of believe in Ben Simmons, since he is the one 76er who potentially could have a mismatch here. Embiid is probably too expensive in a tough match-up with Marc Gasol.

On the Memphis side things get a little more interesting, but not by much. Jamychal Green has been very cheap, and has seen a slight uptick in minutes recently. I don't know if you want to trust it for 50/50s, but for big tournaments there could be real upside here.

Jaren Jackson Jr. and Garrett Temple both look like solid cash game filler.

Portland Trailblazers at the San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are favored by 1 in a game with a 217 total.
We having fun yet? The Trail Blazers bring next to no value to the table, but right now Evan Turner is looking questionable, and if he misses that would probably change. Moe Harkless can disappear on you, but he'd be an easy play at the minimum if you could project him for 30 minutes. Outside of him, CJ McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu are playable and unexciting cash game options.

The Spurs are a DFS wasteland at the moment. Forbes and White are splitting time, and neither are very good in the first place. DeRozan and Aldridge are too expensive. Small forward is a tragedy of the commons, where Rudy Gay is proobably too expensive as well.

Los Angeles Clippers at the Dallas Mavericks

No line on the game as of this writing
Another yikes! What a slate, man. Let's get it over with.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Avery Bradley are great values, and will enable you to make playable lineups. I hate the rest of the Clippers, to a man.

So there's no line on this game in large part because of all of the uncertainty around the Dallas guys.

Right now both Dennis Smith Jr. and Luca Doncic are questionable, which is a huge portion of the Mavericks minutes and usage. The Mavs have some interesting back-up back-court options. JJ Barea will be overwhelming chalk if he looks to get an uptick in minutes. Dorian Finney-Smith could be in line for more minutes as well.

Overall, this slate has potential to bring some value if the right pieces fall into place. But right now I can't say I'm overly enthusiastic about getting my lineups in for this one.


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