Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

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

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Point guard

Kyrie IrvingKyrie Irving FD - $9500 DK - $9400
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 47.63 DK - 48.16

It looks like Kyrie Irving has arrived and is here to stay for the near future. He struggled a little bit at the beginning of the season, but has been on fire as of late - topping 59 fantasy points in back to back contests. He’s driving to the hole better than ever and the balance of the Celtics is giving him some space on the perimeter. The Hawks are already one of the best match-ups for opposing PG’s, and now Young is questionable. That could leave one of the worst defenders in basketball, Jeremy Lin, to cover Kyrie. Look for Irving to have another big night at an affordable price tag. Keep an eye on his status on the second half of a back to back, but if he gets the green light from Stevens he gets the green light from us as well.

Jeremy LinJeremy Lin FD - $4600 DK - $4400
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 22.8 DK - 23.35

Trae Young is currently questionable with an illness, so we will just wait and see what goes down here. If Young plays, I'll avoid the situation altogether as he probably wouldn't play a lot of minutes coming after a bronchial sickness. If he sits, however, Jeremy Lin will turn into one of top plays on the slate. He's already playing 25-30 minutes a night, so if Young is out, he could easily see 35 or so minutes. His price is low on both sites and he's always involved when on the court. The Celtics are a pretty solid defense, but Kyrie isn't a great defender and Lin won't have any issues scoring. If Trae Young is out, Jeremy Lin will be a top cash game and tournament play on the entire night.

Lonzo BallLonzo Ball FD - $7700 DK - $6900
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 35.35 DK - 35.69

With LeBron James off the floor, Lonzo Ball has been extremely consistent. He also seems to be fine tuning his game with the added freedoms to “figure it out”. He’s between 33 and 37 minutes on a nightly basis and has the ball in his hands every possession. He fills up his stat sheet, so if his shot isn’t falling or he can’t get to the boards, he’ll find another way to make it up - he's been a few stats away from a triple double in three straight games. The versatility gives you a ton of upside against a Houston squad that doesn’t play much defense and is missing their PG and C, who also happen to be their two best defenders. Lonzo is in play for me in all formats and I could see a huge game if it stays close.

Shooting Guard

James HardenJames Harden FD - $14300 DK - $13400
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 71.05 DK - 74.62
Austin RiversAustin Rivers FD - $5300 DK - $5600
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 26.1 DK - 27.07
How expensive is too much? James Harden is now over $14,000 and will be extremely tough to fit if you want exposure to other studs. With that said, Harden put up 58 last game and still lost in OT. I expect him to come out on fire and prove a point against a Lakers team that struggles against shooting guards (29th against opposing SG). Without LeBron James, the Lakers are playing extremely fast and have struggled on defense. Expect another 65+ fantasy points with the upside for who knows how many. As for Austin Rivers, he's cheap and has played 36+ minutes in three straight games. He's one of the safest cash game plays on the entire slate. This is a game we're paying a lot of attention to and I intend on getting plenty of exposure.

Rodney McGruderRodney McGruder FD - $3500 DK - $3200
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 22.94 DK - 23.45
Dwyane WadeDwyane Wade FD - $4900 DK - $4800
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 25.1 DK - 25.86

With Josh Richardson out last night, Rodney McGruder played 30 minutes and Dwyane Wade played 28. If Richardson is still sick and has to sit out again, both of these guys are in play. I wouldn't typically play Wade on the second leg of a back to back, but he played under 30 minutes and is facing the Bulls, his hometown team. Wade should play 25-30 minutes again and could easily go off in this match-up. McGruder is bare minimum on both sites and one of the safer plays on the entire slate. Remember, this only stands if Josh Richardson is out again. McGruder will be in 100% of my lineups on FD, where there really is no risk since you can just drop him if it doesn't work out.

Small forward

Giannis AntetokounmpoGiannis Antetokounmpo FD - $11400 DK - $10700
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 54.86 DK - 56.33
Things are looking perfect for Giannis tonight. The Bucks limited his minutes in their last back to back set and now he’s fully rested and ready to go. He’s one of the more consistent players in the whole league at over 50 fantasy points in his last game in spite of playing just 21 minutes. Tonight, he faces off with the Magic, who play pretty quick and have an average defense. They do struggle down low, though, and we know where Giannis likes to live. I expect him to control the paint throughout the game and for it to stay very competitive. The Magic were disappointing last night and should come out on a mission here. Because of the athleticism, it’ll likely be Gordon that matches on Giannis, but he won’t be enough. Gordon could also miss this one with the same back injury that pulled him from last night's game, so things could get even easier. Expect another 50+ fantasy points and know there is upside for 70 if the game stays close. Giannis is my favorite superstar on the night with price and position scarcity considered.

Brandon IngramBrandon Ingram FD - $7500 DK - $6600
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 35.04 DK - 35.65

Ingram is playing huge minutes and the Lakers are doing their best to get him involved. He’s been around that 30 fantasy point mark, but should sit around 40-45 on most nights with this usage. He finally put everything besides his scoring together last name and finished with 30 fantasy points on 8 real-life points. If he can get his shot to fall tonight, the Rockets will give him open looks. He’ll also have a ton of opportunity on the boards with Capela out. I expect P.J. Tucker to cover Kuzma, leaving Ingram with either Gerald Green or Austin Rivers. Yes, please.

Gerald GreenGerald Green FD - $5000 DK - $4600
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 27.88 DK - 29.34
Gerald Green has played 30 and 40(35+OT) minutes in each of his last two games. He’s put up 28 fantasy points in each and has asserted himself as a threat opposite of Harden and Rivers. If his shot does run hot, you can see a random 40 burger out of Green with no issue. Especially when he’s playing this much and has so much room with all the attention elsewhere. Green is a solid value play in tournaments, though I’d probably go elsewhere in cash games. He’s just never a guy that can be leaned on for safety.

Power forward

Bobby PortisBobby Portis FD - $5200 DK - $5700
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 30.21 DK - 30.89

With Wendell Carter Jr. out last game, Bobby Portis got up to 27 minutes. That's huge for a guy that is extremely involved when on the floor and priced way too low. He put up 30 fantasy points and didn't even play that well. Expect another 25+ fantasy points to be safe and 40 if you're greedy. Him and Markkanen will grab a lot of minutes from Carter and will only get better and better working together. Portis is going to be covered by the likes of Adebayo and Derrick Jones, which are both mismatches. Portis is going to shoot a ton like always and should be a safe option in all formats.

Omari SpellmanOmari Spellman FD - $3600 DK - $4100
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 20.36 DK - 20.2

John Collins has been one of the more impressive players on this young season. He hasn’t gone crazy, but has turned the corner into a guy that defenses must focus on. He’s currently listed as questionable, so there may be a ton of minutes and opportunity up for grabs. Omari Spellman has already been playing increased minutes (21-29 in his last two) and would figure to get 30-35 is Collins is forced to sit. Spellman is productive when on the floor and the Celtics can be taken advantage of in the paint. If Collins is out, Spellman makes for an intriguing play across the board.


Ante ZizicAnte Zizic FD - $4400 DK - $4600
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 23.99 DK - 23.82

First things first, make sure Tristan Thompson is ruled out. He’s currently questionable, but I don’t expect him to play. Ante Zizic has scored 33 fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games. The only game he didn’t he played just 10 minutes. He’s absolutely crushing it when on the floor and now draws a match-up against the Nuggets where size is more than necessary. You can book Zizic in there for another 25+ minutes and fantasy points. He’s still cheap enough on both sites, and will be a chalk option if he gets the start again. That’s not to say there isn’t some alternatives, however. Let’s get to those.

Nikola JokicNikola Jokic FD - $10700 DK - $10100
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 47.32 DK - 49.55

Full disclosure, the blowout risk is obvious here. The Cavaliers are beyond terrible and the Nuggets are elite. With that being said, they should keep it close enough to keep the starters playing full minutes. Nikola Jokic has only played 25 minutes in back to back games for that exact reason. If it does stay somewhat close, he’s ready to play 34+ no problem. Oh ya, he’s also facing one of the worst defensive interiors in basketball, without Tristan Thompson. Jokic will destroy all night long and it’s just a matter of him being on the floor. If the game stays close, he’s a very nice pivot from the other expensive options. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any comments or questions!


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