Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 12/29/18

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Point Guard

Tomas SatoranskyTomas Satoransky FD - $3800 DK - $3300
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 29.68 DK - 29.57

Welcome to NBA Saturday! We have eight games on the slate tonight and plenty of news to analyze. We'll jump right in with the Wizards, who have frequented the injury report on the daily as of late. John Wall is officially doubtful as we stand, and is fully expected to sit this one out on the second leg of a back to back. If he does, we know exactly what to expect. Satoransky will play 35+ minutes and be a huge part of the offense. He's also absurdly cheap on both sites, making him close to a must play in cash games. The Hornets are a middle of the road match-up and Kemba Walker will likely struggle with the size of Satoransky. He has a ton of upside and at his price, I can't recommend fading him in either cash games or tournaments. With that said, point guard is always plentiful and anything can happen on the second leg of a back to back.

Trae YoungTrae Young FD - $6600 DK - $6200
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 33.38 DK - 34.99

Young has been over thirty minutes in two of the last three games and things have been looking up for him in general. He now draws a match-up against the Cavaliers, who rank 25th against opposing point guards. Collin Sexton is a terrible individual defender and the Cavs as a whole rank in the bottom 10 defensively. They give up a ton of open perimeter shots. Trae Young doesn't have anyone to compete with for shots and he'll shoot 15+ if hot. With a 218 over/under and 4 point spread, Young should get another 30 minutes in this one. His price is solid on both sites and you're really not worried much about him being the reason you lose. Let's look at another savings option.

Emmanuel MudiayEmmanuel Mudiay FD - $5800 DK - $5700
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 33.37 DK - 34.19

Emmanuel Mudiay is seeing 30+ minutes in just about every single game and is very reliable at this price. The Jazz are also not that great against point guards, ranking 17th in the league. This game is expected to stay close and a 214 total is not that small for a Jazz game. Mudiay has turned into a focal point of this offense and he has been over a fantasy point per minute on average. The Jazz are a middle of the road match-up and it's fair to expect another 25-30 fantasy points in cash games.

Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $12500 DK - $11400
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 68.93 DK - 73.09
Austin RiversAustin Rivers FD - $3600 DK - $3800
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 19.62 DK - 20.05

I can throw Eric Gordon in here too, but James Harden and Austin Rivers are a bit more likely to hit value. With Chris Paul out, the minutes are up for grabs. Let's focus on Harden first. He's played 38 minutes in each of the last two games and has put up fantasy point totals of 54 and 62. His price is obviously expecting that, but a raw 50+ fantasy points remains a reasonable floor. He'll now face off with the Pelicans, who rank 27th against opposing point guards. They love to run fast and even a matchup against Jrue Holiday doesn't have me too worried. Harden is the top raw options on the board and should be very heavily owned in all formats. As for Rivers, he's dirt cheap and seeing 30 minutes. He's always going to put up shots and in turn isn't the worst fantasy player by any means. He'll save you a ton of money and could very easily work himself into 20-30 fantasy points. The Rockets are a guard gold mine with Chris Paul out of the lineup.

Bradley BealBradley Beal FD - $8400 DK - $7900
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 49.41 DK - 50.21

With Wall out last night, Beal played 37 minutes and put up 52 fantasy points. It's hard to say he'll play a similar amount on the second leg of a back to back, but he very easily could if Wall is once again out considering the Wiz have been willing to run him a ton this season. The Wizards just don't really have much of an option. Beal is their only playmaker when Wall is out and he's been exceptional all season long. I think he'll rest when Wall is back, as the Wiz don't have the luxury of taking games off. Beal is going to eat this Hornets' defense for dinner and it really just comes down to how many minutes he will get. He's one of the safest shooting guards play on the night and a guy I love in both cash games and tournaments.


Small Forward

Kevin DurantKevin Durant FD - $10500 DK - $9700
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 50.43 DK - 51.38

Small forward is one of the more interesting positions on the entire night. The options are extremely limited and most eyes should be on a few guys, Kevin Durant being the most obvious. He put up the triple double with 26 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds on Thursday against this same squad. Now he'll get them on the road, where the game could very well come down to the wire. Durant has been great as of late and his price isn’t even all that high. At just over $10k, you can live with 40-50 fantasy points in cash games. He still has upside even with Curry around (as evidenced by the last game) and we know the Blazers aren’t going to slow him down individually. They rank 29th in basketball against opposing small forwards and have allowed a silly amount of open perimeter shots. Durant has been the focal point of this offense as of late and this is a night to just let it ride. He’s safe in cash with a ton of tournament upside. I do prefer stars at other positions, but they will be put to the test eventually.

Juan HernangomezJuan Hernangomez FD - $5600 DK - $5300
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 28.6 DK - 29.39

Hernangomez has been one of the easier value plays on the slates as of late. His price hasn’t risen much and seems to be one of the better deals on the entire slate. He’s always productive when on the floor and it really just comes down to getting the minutes. With him over 30 minutes in three of the last four games, it doesn’t get much safer. The Suns are a friendly match-up and the risk for Hernangomez hurting your lineup is tiny. He’s extremely consistent and at a phenomenal price on both sites. The Suns struggle on the perimeter and are a weak defensive team in general. Hernangomez is one of the safer plays on the board.

Jeff GreenJeff Green FD - $4400 DK - $3900
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 29.59 DK - 30.13

The Wizards gave Jeff Green a night off with just 9 minutes a couple games ago, but picked things right back up for him against the Bulls with 32 minutes and 25 fantasy points. Green was already seeing meaningful minutes, but will now get even more with John Wall and Markieff Morris expected to sit. We should see the same 30-35 minutes of action with a safe 25+ fantasy points. He’s super cheap across the board and a top play in both cash games and tournaments. The Hornets are an average defensive team and Green will assert himself as a key part of the offense.


Power Forward

LaMarcus AldridgeLaMarcus Aldridge FD - $7700 DK - $7100
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 35.72 DK - 35.19

If Anthony Davis didn’t play huge minutes last night, he’d be my favorite option at the position. With that being said, he could very well rest this game and hand the reigns down to Holiday and Randle for the second leg of a back to back. The last thing the Pelicans want is Anthony Davis getting injured at this juncture. We’ll instead take a look at LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s still expensive but controlled. The Clippers rank 22nd in the league against power forwards and Aldridge will play bully ball. The match-up between him and Harris is one to watch and pay attention to. Aldridge is a bit cheap on both sites and I’m a big fan of his in all formats.

Larry Nance Jr.Larry Nance Jr. FD - $7100 DK - $6800
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 38.84 DK - 38.41

Larry Nance Jr. has been extremely solid as of late and is the optimizers favorite option at power forward. The big problem with Nance Jr. has been his minutes and whether or not you can count on him getting extended run on the floor. He's been at 30 minutes in six straight contests and has been over 30 fantasy points in five of those. His price is still fair on both sites and you can play Nance Jr. in both cash games and tournaments. The Hawks not only play fast, but are a weak defensive team in general. Oh ya, they also rank dead last against power forwards in all of the NBA. Nance Jr. is a solid option in all formats and a guy I'll have in 100% of lineups. The optimizer agrees.

Noah VonlehNoah Vonleh FD - $6100 DK - $6200
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 30.93 DK - 31.88

The Jazz are never a great match-up, but they haven't been as bad this year as in years past. They're somewhat susceptible to big men and can be taken advantage of down low. Noah Vonleh has the strength and size to contend with anyone and he's been on his game. Over the last four games, he's been over 33 minutes in each. He's followed that up with 30+ fantasy points in each game. His price hasn't risen at all, so that 30 fantasy points would be enough in either format. Power forward is a weird position and Vonleh can save you some money while still holding on to that upside.



Nikola JokicNikola Jokic FD - $9700 DK - $9500
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 52.15 DK - 53.58
Mason PlumleeMason Plumlee FD - $6200 DK - $5000
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 34.05 DK - 32.21

The center position is an interesting one tonight. There are a lot of options here, but none are without some issues. We're going to look at two guys from the Nuggets, who face off with the Suns. The easiest team in basketball to take advantage of in the paint. Ayton has proven his worth on offense, but has also proven the defensive doubters. On the season, the Phoenix Suns rank 29th in the league against opposing centers. Starting with Jokic, he's been getting solid minutes, but the match-up against a slow-paced Spurs didn't help. He's been playing tremendous as of late and this match-up will give him a shot at 50+. As for Plumlee, he's seeing 30 minutes every night and is always going to produce when on the floor. Depending on how much you're looking to spend, both of these guys are phenomenal options in all formats.

Deandre AytonDeandre Ayton FD - $7600 DK - $7000
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 32.56 DK - 34.01

If you have too much for Plumlee, but not enough for Jokic, DeAndre Ayton is a great pivot. At this point, he's nearly guaranteed 30+ minutes. He's been over that number in five straight contests and has eclipsed 45 fantasy points in three of the five games. Jokic isn't a very good defender and Ayton will have a solid battle with him on the interior. His price is fair on both sites and you can play him in either formats. Personally, I will have just as much exposure to Ayton as I do Jokic. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any questions or comments.



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