Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy NBA Basketball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 1/17/19

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Point Guard

Russell WestbrookRussell Westbrook FD - $12500 DK - $11800
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 59.55 DK - 62.09

Welcome to NBA Thursday! We have a solid five game slate on our hands with plenty of injury info to decipher through. We'll kick things off with the biggest sure thing of the night, Russell Westbrook. He's obviously going to cost you an arm and leg, but it's almost always worth it with what he's giving you on a nightly basis. He's playing 35+ minutes every game and has eclipsed 50 fantasy points in eight of the last nine contests. He faced this same Lakers squad just a few games ago and put up nearly 60. They rank middle of the road against opposing point guards, but Westbrook just dominated them with a triple-double on the road. They'll host the Lakers tonight in OKC with a 118 projected total and 10 point line. They should control the game throughout and we should get another 55-65 fantasy points. It obviously just comes down to your preferred roster construction and whether you can afford the $12k price tag or not. If you can, he's the safest play on the entire slate.

Kyle LowryKyle Lowry FD - $8000 DK - $7400
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 38.84 DK - 39.63

Kyle Lowry and the Raptors played a tough match-up against the Celtics last night, but they didn't get extended for too many minutes. Kyle Lowry, who's one of the more consistent players on this team, played just 33 minutes. He's going to see 30+ once again and now sees a tremendous match-up against the Phoenix Suns. They rank 25th in basketball against opposing point guards and don't have anybody that can stay with the strength of Lowry on the inside. He's going to put up 30+ fantasy points and you're getting him for a solid price. Lowry is one of the safer options at the position.

Lonzo BallLonzo Ball FD - $7700 DK - $6400
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 35.31 DK - 35.49

With LeBron James out, there isn't much to dislike about Lonzo Ball. He's not only playing huge minutes, but has been more involved than ever in the offense. He's filling up the stat sheet and his price has not risen to where it should be on either site. The Thunder are typically a tough match-up for point guards, but Ball is far from a prototypical PG. He is way bigger and more physical, and also seems to figure out a way to put up FP no matter what. Even if his shot is struggling, you can count on 30 fantasy points. His upside is closer to 50 and this game is one we're definitely wanting to pay attention to.

Shooting Guard

Malik BeasleyMalik Beasley FD - $4700 DK - $4900
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 25.67 DK - 26.54

Gary Harris is once again questionable, so make sure you pay attention to his status. With Harris out, Beasley has picked up over 32 minutes in five straight games. He's been over 20 fantasy points in each and has reached up to 32. He's not a huge part of the offense, but gets involved and will rarely flop completely. If he does get the nod ahead of Harris, the match-up against Chicago is middle of the road. His price is yet to pass $5k on either site and I'm fine with him in all formats. Shooting guard is probably the weakest spot on tonight's slate and Beasley gives you safe salary relief.

Kentavious Caldwell-PopeKentavious Caldwell-Pope FD - $4500 DK - $4700
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 23.74 DK - 24.28

If Gary Harris gets ruled in or you just don't like the ceiling of Malik Beasley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a phenomenal pivot. He has been picking up some more action as of late and eclipsed 30 minutes for the first time last game. The Lakers will now take on the Thunder, who play faster and fit right into what KCP wants to do. He put up 35 fantasy points against the same Thunder team two weeks ago and got great separation on the perimeter. I don't expect another 35+, but it's fair to project 25. He's similarly priced to Beasley and should be lesser owned.

Buddy HieldBuddy Hield FD - $6400 DK - $6100
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 31.25 DK - 33.14

If you do have some extra funds to spend at shooting guard, Buddy Hield is our favorite way to go. He's playing 28-32 minutes every night and shoots a ton when on the floor. The Hornets rank 27th against opposing shooting guards and struggle mightily from the perimeter. Hield is not too expensive and should be extremely low owned with all the attention on  lower-end value. The Hornets biggest weak spot is against this position and Hield has shown up over and over what his upside is. He's going to shoot 12+ times and give you a strong chance at 30 fantasy points. Shooting guard is spotty at best and Hield could in theory give you a ton of separation from the field.


Small Forward

Paul GeorgePaul George FD - $10400 DK - $9800
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 48.24 DK - 48.52

We can definitely go Kawhi Leonard here, but he sat out the last two back to backs and I don't think you can count on him for big minutes against the Suns. We'll instead go to Paul George, who's facing off with the Lakers at home. Him and Brandon Ingram will likely go back and forth on each other all night and it will be a solid game to watch in general. The Lakers are a bad defense, and also rank 20th against opposing small forwards. George has been playing some of the best basketball of his career and the Lakers don't have LeBron to slow him down. George is an elite option in all formats if you can afford him.

T.J. WarrenT.J. Warren FD - $5900 DK - $6000
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 32.23 DK - 32.33

Warren doesn't draw the most favorable match-up against Kawhi Leonard, but he's way too cheap and has been very consistent. He's playing 35 minutes on most nights and is the clear second option behind Devin Booker. He may also get lucky, as I could easily see Leonard covering Booker and Danny Green switching to Warren. He would be a premier option in that case and could be a huge payoff in a tournament. I don't see the reasoning behind his price dropping and am all in on a mid-priced T.J. Warren in a game with a high total. You're paying a great price for 35 minutes of high-usage play, assuming this one stays.

Michael Kidd-GilchristMichael Kidd-Gilchrist FD - $3800 DK - $3500
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 21.68 DK - 20.81

Now we're on to value. Kidd-Gilchrist has picked up 25 minutes in back to back games and has been getting involved. He struggled against a slow Spurs squad, but played very nicely against the same team he'll be playing tonight, the Kings. Sacramento plays fast and gives up a ton of peripherals. They rank 24th against small forwards and play at a top 10 league PACE. MKG is close to the minimum on both sites and will only need to get you 20 in a cash game. He's safe and will help you pay up elsewhere.

Power Forward

Bobby PortisBobby Portis FD - $4800 DK - $4600
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 31.99 DK - 32.76

Wendell Carter Jr. has already been announced as out for this game, so there will be 25-30 minutes up for grabs. With Portis already getting 16-20 a night, it's fair to assume he will play 25-30 tonight. He's extremely solid on a point per minute basis and I would be far from surprised to see him put up 35 tonight. He only needs you 25, which I count as close to a lock as long as his minute do see an increase. The Nuggets are a good match-up for scoring and Paul Millsap is a middle of the road defender at this point. The peripherals are up for grabs against this squad and an underpriced Bobby Portis is always something to pay attention to. You won't find a lineup of mine without Portis.

Pascal SiakamPascal Siakam FD - $6700 DK - $7000
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 37.34 DK - 36.74
Serge IbakaSerge Ibaka FD - $6400 DK - $6500
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 36.02 DK - 35.41

We're looking at some more guys from the Raptors here on a back to back. They didn't play huge minutes last night and now see an elite match-up against the lowly Phoenix Suns. They play fast and rank 21st to opposing bigs. Both Ibaka and Siakam played well last night and it was against a much tougher Celtics interior. I personally like how Ibaka is getting involved, but we know Siakam has a ton of upside and can get a huge double-double on any given night. Power forward is a pretty tough spot and both of these guys have a reasonable floor.

Jerami GrantJerami Grant FD - $6200 DK - $5500
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 31.13 DK - 29.88

The upside of Jerami Grant is finally shining through. He's always been super raw and the ceiling has always been envisioned, but he has never been able to put everything together. That's all changed this year, with him finally averaging double-digits and raising his FG% over 50% for the first extended period of time. His price has definitely risen considerably, but the minutes are consistent and he's extremely involved in the offense. It seems like with Westbrook and George always drawing the opposing squad's best defenders, Grant is often left with an extreme mismatch. He's a solid middle of the road option and should be pretty low owned with Portis a bit cheaper.



Nikola JokicNikola Jokic FD - $11300 DK - $10600
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 52.43 DK - 54.35

You have to love Nikola Jokic tonight. There's just a ton of things working on his side tonight. For one, he has to be extremely well rested after playing just 23 minutes last time out. He'll be ready to run against a Bulls team that we all know struggles against bigs. They rank 26th in basketball against Centers and dead last against centers that can stretch the floor. They're now missing Wendell Carter and are an even bigger than normal mess. If you're able to afford Jokic, he's right next to Westbrook as my favorite option on the slate. Expect 55 and don't let 70 surprise you.

Steven AdamsSteven Adams FD - $7800 DK - $7200
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 37.15 DK - 37.39

The only way I don't play Jokic against the Bulls is if Steven Adams is the pivot. He draws a phenomenal match-up against the Lakers and should control the interior all night long. He put up 40 fantasy points against them a couple weeks ago and should give his home crowd an encore tonight. His price is solid in the mid-$7k's and he's a guy you just plug in and don't worry about. Take your 35-45 fantasy points and move on. He's also a solid guy to pair with Westbrook and Ball, as they all play into each other. All in all, this is a game to target and Adams is extremely cheap. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any questions. Thanks!



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1 Visitor Comment

  1. What about the blowout risk with jokic tonight

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