Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks and Lineup Advice for FanDuel and DraftKings - Friday 1/4/19
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Russell Westbrook FD - $11600 DK - $11300
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 61.23 DK - 62.92
The Thunder are basically playing a two-man game with Westbrook and Paul George. And it’s working. They’ve won seven of their last ten and over the last five games, Westbrook is averaging 23 points, 11.4 rebounds, and nine assists. It’s not quite a triple-double (he says with a wink) but we’ll take it and he’s also piled on 16 steals in that stretch. The Blazers are allowing about 9% more scoring than league average to opposing point guards this season and with this being yet another leverage Western Conference game we can expect big minutes out of Russ.
Lonzo Ball FD - $6800 DK - $7700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 36.45 DK - 37.06
I’d love to feel ultra-confident with Lonzo in this spot considering he’s (basically) playing elite minutes and the Lakers are without their top usage guy in Lebron. Oh and he’s also playing the Knicks. But then you see lines like last game against the Thunder in which he only went 1-4 from the field in 35 minutes and was barely involved in the action. OKC is a great defensive team so I’m generally able to look past it, but the concern is there for sure. That being said, this is a guy who has double-double potential and draws the 29th ranked defensive efficiency team in the league. Going back to Lonzo in this spot for cash is fine at his middle-tier price points.
If Ricky Rubio plays (he’s currently questionable) then he makes for a good play against the weak Cavaliers’ defense. If he were to sit then Dante Exum would immediately jump to the top of the value list for Friday’s slate.
Josh Hart FD - $6400 DK - $6200
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 33.4 DK - 33.2
Hart has played a lot of minutes since Lebron James went down with the groin injury. The former played 40 and 38 over the last two, putting up a crazy 13 point, 15 rebound line last time out against the Thunder despite hitting only 1-8 from three. The most encouraging signs are the 14 and 16 shots over the last two signaling that he’s finding his looks in the offense (sometimes an issue when sharing the court with Lebron). It can be tough fully adjusting projections when a guy like James is off the court for a team, but with Hart, I feel moderately confident in both the minutes and the offensive output (with the rebounds from last game something of an outlier).
Josh Okogie FD - $3800 DK - $3900
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 22.66 DK - 22.54
Okogie drew the start for Robert Covington last game and was pretty bad even at these low prices. He had three points, three rebounds, and two assists in 24 minutes of play. He was 0-4 from the field, though he did chip in two steals. Some foul trouble ate into his playing time and with Covington out again I do think last game represents something like the floor of his fantasy production in this role. I’m willing to play him if he’s still in the starting lineup and coming near punt prices on both sites. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but Thibs will keep the minutes if Okogie comes out of the gate playing well and I like him as a buy-low, under-owned option at a weaker position.
With the Bulls shipping Justin Holiday to the Grizzlies, it should open up some shooting guard minutes. You could see a lot more run out of Zach Lavine which could make him an interesting play. You could also see more minutes out of Shaquille Harrison or maybe Antonio Blakeney. Keep an eye out for who the Bulls run out there in place of Holiday.
Brandon Ingram FD - $6900 DK - $6800
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 39.99 DK - 40.49
From a fantasy perspective, Ingram is one of the big winners with Lebron James off the court. The former sees big bumps across the board and has averaged 18 points, seven assists, and nine rebounds over the last two games without James. He’ll get something of a cake matchup against the Knicks who don’t provide much in the way of resistance and are constantly trying out new rotations (read: tanking). Ingram’s mid-tier pricing does help in many lineup-building scenarios and he has such a solid floor because it’s a near lock he plays close to 40 minutes as long as the game is within striking distance.
T.J. Warren FD - $6200 DK - $6200
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 34.18 DK - 33.88
Warren is coming off a brutal game against the Sixers in which he picked up four first-half fouls and then committed number five about 40 seconds into the second half. He wasn’t playing well to begin with and that was effectively the end of his night. I like him for a bounce-back game here against the Clippers on Friday. He’d been putting up about 16.5 shots per game over the previous seven games and scoring at a relatively effective clip. Much of his fantasy game revolves around scoring and steals (with the occasional rebound to pad) but the minutes are there in close games. The Clippers are only -4 road favorites in this one, signaling it could stay within range for the Suns.
Paul George FD - $10200 DK - $9700
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 48.42 DK - 49.15
And then there’s Paul George who’s putting up one of the best stretches of his career. Over his last nine games, George is averaging 33 points, 8.5 rebounds and a crazy 2.5 steals per game. And over the last three, he’s even run bad from three, shooting 25% (7-28) in that stretch. The biggest change has been the increased usage considering he’s getting about 25 shots per game up. That’s a marked increase from what he’s seen during the rest of his Thunder tenure when Westbrook is on the court. With each passing game, it looks like he’s going to sustain this kind of work in the offense. I do think the shots (and the steals) are coming in a little on the high side but it’s tough to ignore what this guy’s been doing.
As far as the big money options go, it’s tough to ignore Giannis Antetokounmpo in a dream matchup against the Hawks who play at the fastest pace in the league and are barely trying on the defensive end. But the Bucks are -13 home favorites and have shown the ability to blow the doors off other teams this season. I’m worried about Giannis losing minutes.
Kevin Knox FD - $5800 DK - $5900
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 31.1 DK - 32.3
Noah Vonleh FD - $6300 DK - $6500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 31.59 DK - 32.73
Can you ever trust the Knicks? No. But man, it sure does seem like the plan is to play Knox all of the minutes. He’s played 36 or more minutes in each of the last seven games and some of those have been ones in which New York was getting their doors blown off. He’s getting up more than 16 shots per game and about six from beyond the arc. He rebounds the position moderately well at about six per game in that stretch. The price is up some, but Knox’s minutes’ floor is especially on FanDuel where we need to roster two power forwards.
Vonleh doesn’t have quite the same amount of safety, but he’s not all that far behind Knox here and I don’t even mind the strategy of stacking them together on FanDuel. Vonleh has become something of an elite rebounder since coming over the Knicks, averaging 12 per game over his last five and close to nine per game on the season. He’s always a foul waiting to happen which can cut into his playing time, but that’s somewhat built into his price. I really like this pairing against the Lakers in what should be a fast-paced game.
If he’s cleared to play, then Kyle Kuzma would jump to the top of the list of power forward value plays. He’d once again be in line for huge minutes and plenty of usage. At the time of this writing, he’s questionable and the timing of the game (10:30 PM start) could be problematic for the main slate lock. Here’s to hoping we get word well in advance.
I’m moderately interested in Jayson Tatum with Kyrie Irving out again. Tatum does see a slight usage bump with Irving off the court and his price doesn’t break the bank at a tough position on FanDuel.
Karl-Anthony Towns FD - $10600 DK - $9900
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 54.39 DK - 55.92
KAT is on a crazy four-game stretch, averaging 30 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks in more than 38 minutes per. His three-point shooting has been lights out (41% in that span) but it's the rebounds that are really something else. I suspect he's running a bit hot in that respect because the numbers are well beyond what he's done in the past, but there's been a clear increase in him getting to the glass. It's a good matchup against Nikola Vucevic and we should see plenty of run for Towns again.
Thomas Bryant FD - $6900 DK - $6000
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 35.49 DK - 34.48
Bryant draws a tougher assignment against the Heat on Friday. But man, Bryant has been on a crushing tour of late. Over his last three games, when the Wiz have felt fine running him major minutes, he’s averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks a game. Sure, that was against Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago, but at least on DraftKings I think we are still getting him around bargain prices.
Consider Hassan Whiteside
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- Thunder Lakers Basketball: (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)