Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Lineup Pick for FanDuel and DraftKings - 12/12/18
Wednesday in the NBA means a big slate with some primetime matchups. We've got Raptors-Warrios, Pelicans-Thunder, Mavs-um-Hawks. Well, you get the point. There's a ton to break down from this slate and we'll, of course, have to monitor injury news leading into lock. Let's take a look at a big Wednesday in hoops.
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Ben Simmons FD - $9200 DK - $8900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 50.17 DK - 50.78
Jimmy Butler has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game and that means we could be buying on some Sixers. Jimmy Buckets hasn’t flashed much usage (especially when he shares the court with Embiid) but his absence does free up minutes for Philly and shuffling a couple of them Simmons’ way. Over the last four games, Simmons is averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and we can expect more time on ball for the point forward with the Butler replacements (Shamet, etc) not providing good comps for what he does in the offense. Brooklyn is solid defending wings/guards, but I think this is still a spot to buy on Simmons considering the Sixers are often a team we want to hone in on when a key cog is out with injury. This is just such an opportunity. I also think you can consider Landry Shamet coming on the very cheap if he’s the starter for Butler. Shamet started the second half last game when Butler when down with the injury.
Jalen Brunson FD - $3800 DK - $3800
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 23.83 DK - 24.51
With Dennis Smith out of the lineup again on Wednesday, we’ll get another chance to play Brunson coming on the cheap. He’s started the last two games, playing 30 and 32 minutes respectively and averaging 15 points and four assists. He’s running a little hot from the field (14-18 combined) and isn’t going to run the traditional point guard for this team with Doncic controlling so much of the point of action. But you do have to like the minutes’ floor he’ll get here against the very best DFS matchup going right now in the Hawks.
There are some possible big-money payoffs at point guard beyond Simmons. Russell Westbrook has as much upside as anyone in the game and is playing in a game that rates to be high-scoring and close against the Pelicans.
I also like Kyrie Irving in this spot against the Wizards. Washington gets worse on defense with John Wall back in the mix and Irving could see heavy usage if Gordon Hayward and Al Horford remain out.
Luka Doncic FD - $7200 DK - $7300
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 35.78 DK - 37.13
Like I said with Brunson, this is the very best matchup you can get these days in DFS. The Hawks play the league’s fastest pace (108.6) and in the bottom third in defensive efficiency. The pace is the real key with opposing teams just seeing significantly increased volume (i.e. stats) when taking the floor with Atlanta. The rookie has seen the minutes fluctuate over the last four games with two games ending in blowouts. But he should see around 32-33 in this one as long as it stays close heading into the fourth. It’s worth noting that Doncic doesn’t see an increase in usage with Dennis Smith Jr. off the court so far this season, but the assists do tick up some with the the former running more of the offense. I don’t mind the mid-tier salary on the bigger slate and he won’t face much resistance on the defensive end.
Kent Bazemore FD - $6100 DK - $5500
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 33.92 DK - 33.09
With Taurean Prince on the shelf for the foreseeable future, Bazemore has jumped back into the starting lineup and been able to sustain solid minutes over the last two games (35 and 33). The shooting will always be erratic (8-18 against the Wizards, 2-10 against the Nuggets) but he does find a myriad of ways to contribute across the box score. He has a 10 combined steals and blocks over the last two games and is averaging seven rebounds per. This isn’t an ideal matchup against the Mavericks who rank in the top third of defensive efficiency, and they are -9 favorites which could spell blowout. But I also still think we are getting Baze at a value if he can sustain the same kind of run in the short term.
Luke Kennard FD - $4100 DK - $3500
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 24.7 DK - 25.61
The Pistons are starting to run short on players. Ish Smith is already out and Glenn Robinson won’t play on Wednesday. Kennard got the start against the Sixers at the small forward and promptly put up 18 shots in 37 minutes. He won’t see that kind of usage again, especially with Blake Griffin back in the mix, but the minutes should be there and he’s coming very cheap on both sites. On a big slate, he is in the discussion as a salary-relief punt play who has the possibility of upside if the three ball is falling.
Paul George FD - $8800 DK - $9000
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 45.95 DK - 46.24
Any concerns about Paul George’s fantasy viability while he’s sharing the court with Russell Westbrook have gone pretty much by the wayside in the short term. He’s averaging 28.5 points per game in the month of December (four games) while throwing in more than eight rebounds, four assists and a ton of steals on top. You don’t have to balk at this price against a Pelicans’ team ranked 24th in defensive efficiency and lacking much in the way of wing defense. George and the Thunder come in with the highest opening total of the slate (117.25, GSW doesn’t have a line yet) and the small forward position on FanDuel doesn’t have a ton in the way of cheap/ middle tier value. It could mean spending up here for PG and I think the floor is high enough to consider in cash games.
Robert Covington FD - $6400 DK - $5700
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 34.33 DK - 33.09
What you can really like about Covington is his high minutes’ floor in games that stay close. We’ve seen Thibs push him to 37+ minutes in those affairs and RoCo can pile on stats with enough volume. He went through a stretch in which he was jacking up close to eight three-pointers per game and the rebounding numbers have been there as well since coming over in the Jimmy Butler trade. In fact, per 36 minutes (a reasonable assumption in a close game) Covington is averaging 14.5 points, six rebounds, and almost three steals per game for Minnesota. The defensive stats are where he can really make hay and if he gets hot from beyond the arc you are looking at huge upside.
Harrison Barnes FD - $5800 DK - $6200
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 32.3 DK - 33.56
You really need Barnes to put the ball in the basket to realize his fantasy floor and that can be a dicey proposition. It’s also what keeps the price in check on the Mavs’ forward. He’ll take about 13-15 shots per game and is averaging 18 points per over his last five. But he doesn’t pour in a bunch of other stuff around the margins. That being said, these are the Hawks he’s facing and that’s the best time to pick up some of the other peripheral stats while also padding the scoring.
Larry Nance Jr. FD - $5600 DK - $5700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 31.35 DK - 30.43
Tristan Thompson is out for the next few weeks at least, leaving the Cavaliers even shorter on big men. I suspect they’ll start Nance at center in this matchup and hope that he can slow down Enes Kanter on the offensive end. He’d be undersized for the matchup, but Cleveland doesn’t have that many options left. Nance’s upside here is in the minutes. If he starts, and can stay out of foul trouble we should be looking at mid-30’s run at the minimum. He put up a season-high 12 shots last game, but we really can’t expect double-digit shot attempts on a nightly basis. But he should make up for it in volume rebounding and defensive stats. It also helps that power forward continues as a weak position on FanDuel and Nance isn’t price-corrected for the new opportunity if he’s in the starting lineup.
Anthony Davis FD - $12400 DK - $11200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 62.08 DK - 61.21
Because power forward is typically so weak on FanDuel, Davis is almost always in consideration. The Pelicans will once again be without Nikola Mirotic, theoretically moving Davis to more minutes at the power forward position for New Orleans. Davis does lose a lilt bit of usage the more time he shares with Julius Randle on the court, but it’s negligible enough to not have us off AD even at these elevated salary levels. Hell, he got up 34 shots last game against the Celtics in 38 minutes, finishing with 41 points. That he played that much in a blowout bodes well for the heavy run he could see in this game if it stays close against the Thunder.
If Al Horford remained out on Wednesday, then I think you can still consider Daniel Theis if the latter remains in the starting lineup. It’s worth noting though that he didn’t see full run in that same role against the Pelicans and Robert Williams played very well off the bench. This is a situation to monitor. Along those same lines, Marcus Morris is in play if you think he sees an uptick in minutes with the Celts' big men out. The game against the Wiz allows the Celtics to go a little smaller than usual with their rotations.
Joel Embiid FD -
$10400 DK - $10500
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 61.79 DK - 63.8
Embiid makes for the easiest big money payoff on this slate. He’ll face a Brooklyn team that’s been positively blitzed by opposing centers this season, allowing roughly 14% more scoring and 17% more rebounding than league average to the position. They are, by far, the worst team in the league at defending the interior. Embiid returned from a one-game absence because of migraines and was solid if unspectacular against the Pistons, going for 24 points and eight rebounds with two blocks and steals each. It wasn’t exactly what we’ve come to expect from the superstar big man. But this is for sure a bounce back opportunity and the price isn’t anywhere close to what it should be in this matchup. Factor in Butler missing the game and there’s just even more reason to play Embiid here. I suspect he’s the heavy chalk on both sites.
Andre Drummond FD - $9000 DK - $8700
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 48.73 DK - 48.98
I love Drummond as a GPP pivot off of Embiid on Wednesday. Embiid will see much higher ownership, but in the right game script Drummond has an much upside as anyone in the game. His biggest issue on a night basis is just how many minutes he stands to see. The Pistons have played in some wonky games and Drummond will get himself into foul trouble from time to time. But he’s one of the few players in the game with true 20/20 upside and he did just that last time the Pistons played the Hornets. He went for 23 points and 22 rebounds in 37 minutes. Cody Zeller will once again have a tough time matching his size and physicality and I think we could get GPP-winning upside for 10-15% less than Embiid.
Consider Dewayne Dedmon