Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Wednesday 12/26/18

Well, the presents are all unwrapped, the in-laws have been shuttled out the door and the Christmas hangover is in full effect. But how about a big slate of NBA games to cure what ails you? We’ve got you covered on FanDuel and DraftKings.

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Point Guard

Mike ConleyMike Conley FD - $8600 DK - $7700
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 45.34 DK - 45.82
The Grizzlies are -10 home favorites against the lowly Cavaliers so there’s some blowout risk in this play for sure. But Conley has the advantage of playing against the worst defensive efficiency team in the league and he should be able to take the Cavs’ backcourt to task. Conley is basically back to his ’16-’17 numbers, averaging a little over 20 points per game and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 37% from three. He’s seen a slight uptick in usage this year and is taking more than 16 shots per game. While not cheap, considering the matchup he’s firmly in play for cash games on this slate.

John WallJohn Wall FD - $9700 DK - $8600
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 46.62 DK - 49.07
I’m not interested in the FanDuel price, but he’s coming very cheap on DraftKings. Wall has been all over the place for the last couple of weeks. He piled it on against the Lakers on 12/16, but outside of that game has shot 5-26 from three and committed a ton of turnovers in the other previous five games. In some, he’s made up for things with shot volume, but the fantasy production feels anything but safe at this point. The Pistons allow about 4% more scoring than league average to opposing point guards this season so Wall is in a good spot, but reminder that there’s definitely some risk.

Darren CollisonDarren Collison FD - $4500 DK - $4300
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 25.78 DK - 25.47
Collison is in play here because he’s playing the Hawks and that, in and of itself, is worth taking a look at him in cash games. Though the minutes can come and go for the Pacers’ point guard, he’s played 29 or more in three of his last four and gets to face the fastest-paced team in the league. He’s coming so cheap on both sites that if cheap value doesn’t open up closer to lock, he could represent something like a punt play on Wednesday.

Shooting Guard

Victor OladipoVictor Oladipo FD - $8500 DK - $8700
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 43.51 DK - 44.05
Like I said with Collison, the Hawks represent such a phenomenal matchup every night they take the court. Not only do they play the fastest pace in the league, they also rank 24th in defensive efficiency on the season. Since coming back from injury, Oladipo’s minutes have steadily ticked back up playing 36 in four of the last five games. The shooting has generally rounded back into form and if there was a game to put it all together for a huge fantasy performance, this would be the one. The Pacers are -8 road favorites, so there’s some blowout risk but I’m not overly concerned with Oladipo’s minutes getting buzzed here.

Buddy HieldBuddy Hield FD - $6700 DK - $7200
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 35.41 DK - 37.55
Held has been a monster in the short term, playing a ton of minutes and jacking up career-highs in shot attempts. And it’s working. The Kings have won three of their last five and if you remove the schedule loss they took to the Timberwolves last week, over his last four games Hield is averaging 30.25 points and six rebounds on more than 22 shots per game. The 47% three-point shooting in the short term isn’t likely to sustain, but you have to love the minutes and shot volume. He’s coming at something of a bargain on FanDuel and makes for a strong cash game play even in a tougher matchup against the Clippers.

Torrey CraigTorrey Craig FD - $4200 DK - $3500
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 22.9 DK - 22.92
It sure looks like the short-term plan, in close games, is to play Craig mid-30’s minutes. He’s been tasked with more backcourt duties with Gary Harris still on the shelf and the Nuggets thin on talent considering the amount of injuries they’ve had to deal with. Craig would simply be a minutes’ upside play at these prices considering he’s very much an afterthought in the offensive scheme. But those minutes do have value at these prices, especially on DraftKings where he’s coming close to the minimum.

Strongly consider D'Angelo Russell


Small Forward

Nemanja BjelicaNemanja Bjelica FD - $5300 DK - $4800
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 29.57 DK - 29.52
Bjelica’s minutes had been trending the wrong way as the Kings worked to get Marvin Bagley more involved off the bench. But since the latter went down with injury, Bjelica has played 30+ minutes in three of the five games (one was that disaster against Minny so I’m not really counting it). He does have outside double-double potential (double-digit rebounds twice in the last five) and does enough scoring and defensive work to actually give him upside at these prices. I’m fairly confident in the minutes at this point and he doesn’t fall into too many mismatches against this smaller Clippers’ team.

Darius MillerDarius Miller FD - $3900 DK - $4100
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 21.4 DK - 22.07
With Nikola Mirotic out, Miller has started the last three games and averaged 35 minutes per. He’s taking three pointers in this offense (25 total in that stretch) which is where his fantasy value lies. He needs to score in order to pay off even at these cheaper prices considering the rebounding and assists and nearly non-existent. But the shots are for sure there and the minutes feel safe with Mirotic once again ruled out for this game.

There are some other mid-tier small forward plays to consider. Harrison Barnes looks fine enough against the Pelicans. Joe Harris has been playing minutes with Allen Crabbe out. And Bojan Bogdanovic has a great matchup against the Hawks.


Power Forward

Anthony DavisAnthony Davis FD - $12500 DK - $11800
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 63.78 DK - 62.97
Davis makes for the clear big-money payoff option on this slate. With Nikola Mirotic still out and the Pelicans thin on talent, Davis has once again been tasked with playing crazy minutes. He’s gone 39 or more in four of his last five games and short of an ill-timed locker room visit there’s no reason to suspect these rotations change. He averages 28 points per game and is looking at career highs in rebounds (12.7 per game), assists (4.7) and steals (1.7). The guy literally does everything and I’m not worried at all about paying through the nose on this slate. I suspect he’s the chalk big money guy on Wednesday and for good reason.

Thaddeus YoungThaddeus Young FD - $5900 DK - $5600
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 30.33 DK - 28.98
Much like we said for Oladipo and Collison, the key here for Young is it’s such a good matchup against the Hawks. Young, at times, has seen the minutes come and ago but he’s averaged 33 per game through the month of December and put up a 15 point, seven rebound line during that span. He won’t be challenged much on the defensive end and I’m confident enough in the minutes because of the matchup. Young is more in play on FanDuel where we need to play two power forwards and his mid-tier price won’t get you off some of the slate’s other big money plays.

I think you can also take a shot on Rodions Kurucs if you think the minutes stick around 30.



Note: There are a ton of good center options on this slate. I can see ownership being spread around some.

Karl-Anthony TownsKarl-Anthony Towns FD - $9100 DK - $9400
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 55.42 DK - 56.7
Towns is just one of the many centers in great spots on Wednesday. He’ll face a Bulls’ team allowing 8% more scoring and 13% more rebounding than league average to opposing centers. Towns has been up and down in production of late, losing minutes because of foul trouble or blowouts (or both) over the last couple of weeks. But when things break right, this guy has as much upside as anyone in the game and with the variable production, the price has really come down. He’s at his fourth-cheapest of the season on FanDuel making him a crazy bargain. The DraftKings’ price isn’t as advantageous, but the double-double upside in a great matchup makes him a cash game play there as well.

Nikola VucevicNikola Vucevic FD - $8900 DK - $8900
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 48.56 DK - 49.83
Vuce is coming slightly cheaper than Towns on both sites, and has tremendous upside in this matchup against the Suns. Phoenix allows 6% more scoring and 7% more rebounding than league average to opposing centers and Vucevic is putting together the best season of his career. He’s averaging more than 20 points per game to go with 12 rebounds. He’s also shooting the best of his career (52% from the field, 39% from three) and should see mid-30’s minutes in this matchup.

Cody ZellerCody Zeller FD - $5300 DK - $4400
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 29.31 DK - 28.35
Any time the Nets are on a slate, you have to consider the center playing against them. Zeller isn’t a fantasy dynamo, but Brooklyn is just so bad against opposing bigs that the Hornets’ center enters the discussion. You need Zeller to be out there for 25+ minutes at least, which is in play as long as the game stays close. Again, it’s the matchup and price I’m most interested in here, especially on DraftKings where we can roster two centers.

Strongly consider Myles Turner against the Hawks. Also, if Alex Len starts again for John Collins he would be in play again.


image sources

  • JAZZ-PELICANS: (AP Foto/Tyler Kaufman)

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