Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Thursday 1/10/19

Welcome to a nice and short Thursday slate of DFS NBA! I know you appreciate honesty, so I'll be straight with you: today's slight kinda sucks. There is often money to be made on these short and grizzly slates, but they don't come without their risk. Instead of highlighting a few plays at each position, I'll go game by game to try to give you the inside scoop as to what you should be looking out for.

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The Boston Celtics at the Miami Heat

The Celtics are favored by 1 in a game with a 210 total.
The Celtics are on the second half of a back to back in which none of their starters played more than 25 minutes. For their purposes I'm basically treating this like it isn't even the second half of a back to back. Nobody got worked particularly hard, and they should be coming at this with a full head of steam. Still, traveling from Boston to Miami is no joke, and their might be some grogginess to consider.

Jaylen BrownJaylen Brown FD - $4200 DK - $4500
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 24.23 DK - 24.38
The premier Celtics play at this point appears to be Jaylen Brown. It's always annoying to recommend a guy the night after he goes off, but honestly, our system isn't even aware that the Pacers game happened at this point. On a small slate you're looking for straight value plays so you can afford the big money payoffs, and without a lot of punts surfacing right now Brown might be as good as we get. And still, that's pretty good. He seems to be in line for 28 minute rotations right now, and he seems to be playing with an unusual confidence on the offensive end. With 15 shots in 2 of his last 5 games, we could be buying low on a guy who should settle in at a $5k+ price tag in the not too distant future. The Heat aren't a great match-up, but I think we're buying here.

There are other playable Celtics as well, of course, but it's not on a long list in a game with a 210 total. Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving are the kind of plays that could show up in our cash game lineups, even if I'd be pretty hesitant to dream on much upside for big tournaments.

The Miami side of this game looks even bleaker, to me. With the return of Dion Waiters we've officially got too many cooks in this particular kitchen. Josh Richardson is the only member of the Heat to play 30+ minutes in a 4 point game against Denver, but are you going to play him against a Boston team that plays a bottom 10 pace with a top 3 defensive efficiency? I'll pass. I am going to do my best to stay away from the Heat today, perhaps outside of an honorable mention to Wade or Whiteside for big tournaments.

The Los Angeles Clippers at the Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are favored by 5.5 in a game with a 226 total.
This game has a higher total, but does it feature any better DFS plays? We'll start with the Clippers, who appear to be in a terrible spot here heading into Denver. Not only are they mostly efficiently priced, but Denver has been a brutal match-up for most positions this season. Their match-up data is the inverse of Boston's, playing the 4th slowest pace with the 11th best defensive efficiency. Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari are playing regular minutes, but all that's happened as a result is that they are too expensive for their average production. Bad spot.

Our lineup optimizer is drawing out some value on the Denver side, though.

Torrey CraigTorrey Craig FD - $4300 DK - $4000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 21.89 DK - 21.91
Malik BeasleyMalik Beasley FD - $3900 DK - $3800
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 23 DK - 23.74
The big question on this slate looks to be the health of Gary Harris. If he sits, you should see huge opportunity for guys like Craig and Beasley once again. Both had their season highs in terms of minutes against the Heat, but only Craig really took full advantage of it. Still, both would be excellent plays in the "price and opportunity mismatch" category if Harris were to sit.

The other guy I could be interested in here is Paul Millsap. He's still priced like a guy coming back from injury, but he topped 30 minutes in a close game with the Heat. The minutes aren't guaranteed for him, but with 30+ fantasy points in three of his last 5, and the minutes pointing in the right direction, he looks like a very reasonable cash game option. I could also consider Nikola Jokic at center if I had to, though the value isn't amazing.

The Oklahoma City Thunder at the San Antonio Spurs

The Thunder are favored by 1 in a game with a 224.5 total.
The rough match-ups abound. You've got the league's best defensive team in the Thunder against the league's 5th slowest team in the Spurs. You can't really afford to skip games entirely here, though, so let's see what we can find.

LaMarcus AldridgeLaMarcus Aldridge FD - $8100 DK - $7200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 40.05 DK - 39.58
On the Spurs there's really only one guy inching toward cash games for us. With Gay out for a while and some combination of Bryn Forbes and Derrick White handling the guard duties, the Spurs are left in desperate need of volume scoring. It's the second half of a back to back for the Spurs, but I still like Aldridge here. The recent game log doesn't reveal that Aldridge normally plays 35+ minute rotations, and you have to figure that a game with a spread of 1 point rates to be close enough that he should be out there the whole time. Given how bad power forward is generally, I think you can run him here.

After him? Eek. Not really seeing much.

Paul GeorgePaul George FD - $9700 DK - $9800
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 48.48 DK - 49.2
Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $12100 DK - $11300
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 58.98 DK - 61.13
The Spurs have been slow this year, but they've only been middle of the pack defensively. Our system is drawing out both Westbrook and George as solid payoff options, with George getting the slight edge on a fantasy points per dollar basis. Both of these guys have been a little underwhelming on their current price points recently, but I can't be overly concerned about that on such a small slate. George has been ice cold from the field, shooting 16 for his last 42, which can account for some of his poor performance. When that sort of thing normalizes he should look a lot better. You also have to love that the Spurs have been starting Poeltl for the injured Gay, the former of whom has no chance to be able to stick George. He presents a serious mismatch situation for the Spurs, and I think he does great here.

Jerami GrantJerami Grant FD - $5400 DK - $4800
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 28.52 DK - 27.57
Nothing to write home about, but if he's really going to play the 32-33 minute rotations he has in the last two you have to think he has a reasonably high floor at a god awful position. If he gets you 13 and 5 with a couple defensive stats you'll feel like you got away with something given how bad PF is. He's even flashed 35+ fantasy point upside, if you want to try him for big tournaments.

The Detroit Pistons at the Sacramento Kings

The Kings are favored by 5 in a game with a 224.5 total.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first: our system sees no good plays on the Kings side of the ball. To a man their starters are priced like they were when they were playing more consistent minutes, and given that they've moved to deep rotations, they've lost basically all of their value. Throw in a slightly below average match-up with Detroit and there just isn't much you can do here.

Things get slightly sunnier when you look at Detroit, but we have yet another team on the second half of a road back to back. And the Pistons are also playing on the West coast! Gross.

Andre DrummondAndre Drummond FD - $9800 DK - $9100
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 51.07 DK - 51.23
We flirted with Drummond against the Lakers, and I happen to be writing this before that game went off. If you scroll up a bit here you'll notice a precious lack of good center plays on this slate. You've got multiple teams that don't even field a fantasy center, over-priced guys like Jokic and WCS, and banged up guys like Horford. And then you've got Drummond at a very reasonable price in a match-up with the Kings, who have allowed the 6th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers this season. They Kings are also just the best fantasy match-up on the slate, playing the 2nd fastest pace with the 8th worst defense. Drummond seems like a particularly easy call here.

Outside of him, though, things are a little scary. Doug has been a big believer that Reggie Jackson's true rotation is 28-31 minutes. If that's true, he's another great play here. Our system thinks Blake is just overpriced, unfortunately.


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