Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Monday 12/17/18

While there are some interesting real-life NBA games on this slate (Rockets-Jazz, Blazers-Clippers, etc) those games don’t always rate to be the best DFS matchups because of slower paces and solid defense. But we can find plenty of value in some of the other off-beat games which might not appeal to the average NBA fan. Let’s break down Monday’s basketball action on FanDuel and DraftKings.

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Point Guard

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $11600 DK - $11200
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 59.21 DK - 61.71
Westbrook isn’t likely to ever be a great shooter at this point in his career, but even for him, he’s run bad from the field in the short term. Over his last two games, he’s 9-32 and is only shooting 36% for the month of December. And yet he’s still averaging a triple-double (21 points, 10.5 rebounds, 10 assists) on the season and heads into a matchup against the Bulls who’ve been playing bottom-third defense this season. Getting Kris Dunn back (and Zach Lavine off the court) does improve their defensive outlook, but I’m still looking at Westbrook as the top big money option on the slate. There’s some blowout risk here with the Thunder -13.5 home favorites, but again, the Bulls are slightly improved with their current construction (less Jabari and Lavine, more Markk and Dunn) and could keep the game closer.

Ricky RubioRicky Rubio FD - $6300 DK - $6000
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 32.99 DK - 33.58
The Jazz haven’t played many close games in the short term. In fact, only three of their last seven have finished within ten points. But the plan sure seems to play Rubio mid-30’s minutes in closer games and Vegas has this game opening with Houston as -5 home favorites. Rubio was on his way to a solid line last time they played the Rockets about a week ago when he finished with 13 points, six rebounds and three assists in only 24 minutes (the Jazz won by 27). Look for a more evenly-matched game this time around and it looks like Rubio is coming in a solid mid-tier value play at a weaker point guard position. He’s taking more threes this season (4.3 per game) though still struggling from beyond the arc (31%). But the per minute scoring and assist numbers are still in line with career averages and I think we are buying just a bit low on him in this matchup.

Consider Emmanuel Mudiay

Shooting Guard

Bogdan BogdanovicBogdan Bogdanovic FD - $6100 DK - $5800
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 32.26 DK - 33.58
Buddy HieldBuddy Hield FD - $6400 DK - $6200
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 32.81 DK - 34.71
If Iman Shumpert is out again on Monday, then these two would once again be candidates for major minutes on the wings. The Kings pulled off a solid road win against the Mavericks on Sunday evening with Hield and Bogdanovic playing 39 and 37 minutes respectively. Sacramento is already without Marvin Bagley as well, so they are running low on scorers. Bogdan went for 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Hield went nuts for 28 points on a team-high 23 shot attempts. Both would have such high floors on the minutes alone if Shump. That’s the key here and even pairing them together in cash games works on FanDuel. Minnesota isn’t an ideal matchup especially with Covington putting in work on defense, but again those minutes would be tough to pass up.

Justin HolidayJustin Holiday FD - $5800 DK - $5800
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 30.23 DK - 30.4
Speaking of guys with higher minutes’ floors, Holiday is coming off consecutive games of 38 and 42 minutes in regulation. With the Bulls without Lavine and Jabari Parker relegated to oblivion, Chicago is settling on a tighter rotation of their younger players. Holiday doesn’t crush it per minute from a fantasy perspective and even in those 42 minutes last game only put up eight points, two assists seven rebounds. But he ran bad from the field (1-12, 1-10 from three) and that should turn around even in the worst of matchups. Again, it’s tough to pass on a guy who plays 35 minutes in anything but an epic blowout.

Consider Donovan Mitchell


Small Forward

T.J. WarrenT.J. Warren FD - $6800 DK - $6700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 35.22 DK - 35.29
Mikal BridgesMikal Bridges FD - $4600 DK - $4100
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 25.95 DK - 25.28
I’m writing these guys up on the assumption that both Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers are still a game away from making their Suns’ debuts. We will have to wait on that news, but if Phoenix is playing short-handed again then big games out of Warren and Bridges could once again be in store. The Suns have been careful about working Warren back from injury, but he looks like he’s back to full minutes and even with Devin Booker back, the former is still a scorer in this offense. He got up 19 shots in 33 minutes against the Timberwolves and continues to shoot well from three. That’s been the biggest shift in his game this season. He went from attempting about 1.5 threes per game at about a 29% clip for his career to now jacking up four per game and knocking them down 45% of the time. It’s so much easier to keep him on the court now that he’s moved away from the midrange game and he’s still something of a bargain on this slate.

Meanwhile, Bridges played 40 minutes against Minnesota and finished with a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds). He doesn’t see much in the way of a price increase and is a great bargain on DraftKings if these minutes are anything close to the reality again on Monday. Again, look out for news on Oubre and Rivers to understand what kind of value you are getting from Warren and Bridges.

Nemanja BjelicaNemanja Bjelica FD - $5200 DK - $4400
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 31.89 DK - 32.18
He’s another one who’s likely contingent on Shumpert’s status. Much like Bogdan and Buddy, Bjelica saw more minutes for the Kings on Sunday, but his increase was even starker. Though he’s been starting, Dave Joerger has been hesitant to run him for major minutes. That wasn’t an issue against the Mavericks when Bjelica played 35 and finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He got hot from three (4-7) and with Bagley also out of the picture we could see more short-term minutes out of Bjelica who can play both the three and the four. I’m not comfortable penciling him in for another 35 minutes because we’ve seen too many games of low 20’s run, but the price is a value even at something like 30.

Strongly consider Jae Crowder if he’s in the starting lineup against the Rockets. Crowder started last time they played Houston and was on his way to a solid game (at his price point) until it got out of hand in a blowout.


Power Forward

Lauri MarkkanenLauri Markkanen FD - $7000 DK - $6500
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 36.94 DK - 37.1
I suspect Markkanen likes having Zach Lavine off the court. Last game, with the latter on the shelf, Lauri put up the second-most shots on the team (18, Kris Dunn had 19) and finished with 23 points. The most encouraging sign though was he played his season-high in minutes (37) signaling that team feels he’s fully back from injury. There’s blowout risk of course, but if this kind of usage is in the cards for Markkanen then we are getting him at a discount because of the minutes’ issues over the last five games.

Noah VonlehNoah Vonleh FD - $5500 DK - $5500
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 32.32 DK - 33.51
Typically, I’m of the opinion that even one Knick is too many in cash games, but considering they get Phoenix on Monday I’m willing to make something of an exception. The Suns rank 27th in defensive efficiency this season though it’s worth noting they’re playing at a slower pace. Vonleh’s minutes have been *safe* in the short term, playing 30 or more in three of his last five. It’s the Knicks so that run isn’t always safe, but at a weaker power forward position on FanDuel we’re often forced to consider this guy. He’s been a competent three-point shooter this season (42%) but is only 3-13 in his last two games. The rebounding is still there in bunches with double-digit boards in the three of his last four. He’s a cash game play on this slate but tread lightly because these are still the Knicks we are talking about. Also, consider Kevin Knox who’s a strong DraftKings’ play. He’s a little too expensive for me on FanDuel.

If Taj Gibson sits again, Dario Saric would instantly become one of the best values at the position. Keep an ear out for this news.



Enes KanterEnes Kanter FD - $7000 DK - $6700
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 39.04 DK - 41.21
Remember when I said one Knick was almost more than I could stomach in cash games? Well, we might be looking at two (or gasp, three) in lineups on Monday. That’s what happens when you play a team like the Suns. Phoenix has allowed about 5% more scoring and rebounding than league average to opposing centers this season as they continue to bring DeAndre Ayton along and rotate in Richaun Holmes as well. That leaves a great opportunity for Kanter who’s coming off a 20 point, 15 rebound game on Sunday against the Pacers. Again, with New York, we need to take the word “safety” out of our vocabulary because these guys can lose minutes in a heartbeat. But that’s also what keeps the price in check for the starters.

Steven AdamsSteven Adams FD - $7300 DK - $6900
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 37.85 DK - 38.12
If you want a bit more safety for around the same price point, consider Adams instead of Kanter. The Thunder played the Bulls last week and Adams finished with a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) in 31 minutes (he had a little foul trouble). The Bulls are allowing 7% more scoring and 11% more rebounding than league average to opposing centers and Adams could do work in this game. I really like the DraftKings’ price and his FanDuel salary won’t kill you. Blowout risk? Sure, but on this slate we might need to just take the risk.

Consider Brook Lopez


image sources

  • Thunder Lakers Basketball: (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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