Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Thursday, 1/16/20
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Lonzo Ball FD - $6500 DK - $7900
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 39.59 DK - 41.02
As a general rule we try to avoid running guys against the Jazz, but I think we have a good reason to run a few tonight. While Holiday has been out for a while, FanDuel has not totally accounted for what his absence means for Ball, as you can probably tell by the disparity between his FanDuel and DraftKings prices. Ball has averaged a triple double in his last three games, has topped 30 in his last 8, and even performed against these very Jazz in that stretch. In that meeting the Pelicans put up 126 points in regulation, and Ball chipped in 21/8/7 in the effort. He's just too cheap on FanDuel right now, and almost match-up proof at these prices.
Elfrid Payton FD - $5700 DK - $5500
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 31.37 DK - 31.06
The trick to playing Knicks this season is grabbing the right Knicks in the right game scripts. Payton has, at times, been one of those "right Knicks," as he should have a lot of time of possession in a roughly 32 minute rotation in close games. Phoenix isn't a dream match-up these days, but they are still plenty solid, playing the league's 10th fastest pace with league average defensive efficiency. Something like the 15/6/7 he put up against New Orleans is very much in play here.
Also considered: Kemba Walker, though I'll be monitoring his status on the second half of a back to back.
Lou Williams FD - $6200 DK - $6900
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 38.57 DK - 40.44
Lou Will grabbed a start on Sunday against the Nuggets and more than answered the call, putting together a solid 26/4/4 in 34 minutes. He headed back to the bench against the Cavs, but I don't think we can draw a lot of conclusions about his reduced playing time given that the Clippers were up by 35 heading into the fourth quarter. His playing time should get back to normal in what should be a closer game with the Magic, and if George is absent again he's essentially a lock.
Donovan Mitchell FD - $6600 DK - $7400
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 39.69 DK - 40.93
Mitchell is just a classic value play on FanDuel right now. His price has dropped unfairly after a couple of bad games, but you're looking at a guy who's averaged 37.5 FanDuel points on the season this year in a great match-up. The Pelicans are a dream spot, pairing the league's 6th fastest pace with the 5th worst defensive efficiency. They do defend shooting guards better than most positions, but not enough so that Mitchell should be 10% cheaper than the price he's paid all season. The floor here looks pretty outrageous.
Keep an eye on: the Pelicans in general. If Redick sits again Josh Hart could be the best shooting guard play on the board.
Mikal Bridges FD - $4500 DK - $4500
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 26.79 DK - 25.29
With Oubre in the concussion protocol and already listed out for Thursday's game, Bridges becomes one of the easiest plays on the board. It's a great match-up with the hapless Knicks, but that's almost beside the point. Bridges just scored 39.6 FanDuel points against the Hawks, and while that's not the normal points per minute expectation that you can expect from him it gives you a picture of the kind of upside we're dealing with here. This is just a straightforward price and opportunity mismatch, and a clear cut opportunity to take some savings and pay up elsewhere.
Giannis Antetokounmpo FD - $11500 DK - $11700
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 59.39 DK - 61.67
I don't even know what to do with Giannis at this point. If you blinked you missed his performance in the Knicks game, considering he was only out there for 21 minutes of action. He did make the most of that time, though, chipping in a tidy 37/9/4 with a block for good measure. The only thing keeping Giannis' price down is the fact that he loses minutes almost every game to a blowout, and one has to think that the team with the second best record and point differential in the East can at least hang long enough to make him work for it. I think Giannis is the premier pay-up option as a result.
Kawhi Leonard FD - $10100 DK - $10100
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 52.82 DK - 52.8
Kawhi is an auto-play if George is out, and a reasonable play if he is in. As of this writing it looks like PG is going to sit, so we're going to green light Kawhi in all formats as a result. Kawhi has averaged 24 shots a game in PG's three game absence, a 20% usage bump over his season averages. He also topped 60 fantasy points in two of those games. Orlando has been a flat out bad DFS match-up this season, pairing the league's 3rd slowst pace with the 5th best defensive efficiency, but that shouldn't stop Kawhi from hitting value with his right hand man out of the game.
Jerami Grant FD - $4000 DK - $4800
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 23.75 DK - 23.61
This rates to be a pretty tricky situation, as Millsap's status isn't confirmed right now. He sat out the first half of the back to back, but we may not know his status until right before tip on Thursday. It's a great spot against the Warriors and their bottom 10 defense, and Grant is just too cheap if he's going to play the 32 minute rotations he has in close games with Millsap out. It's just unfortunate that we might not have total clarity by the 7:30 main slate lock.
Nikola Jokic FD - $9400 DK - $9600
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 48.18 DK - 50.75
Jokic seems to have finally rounded into shape during Millsap's recent absence, and at long last he's looking like the guy who garnered fringe MVP consideration last year. He's averaged 53.6 FanDuel points in his last four, and he gobbled up 27 rebounds in his last two. The Warriors don't really roster anyone that can profitably defend him down low, so expect the Nuggets to feed Jokic early and often. The only risk here is the Nuggets getting up too far to get Jokic his full run.
Deandre Ayton FD - $7400 DK - $7700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 38.39 DK - 39.22
Center is pretty thin today, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. It's been irritating to watch Ayton come off the bench, but given how bad Baynes has been it hasn't entirely affected Ayton's production. Ayton played 32 minutes to Baynes' 14 against the Hawks, and put up a 20/10 in the process. His athleticism should give the Knicks fit down low, but you can't ignore the risk if he's coming off the bench again. Keep an eye on this one, and get ready to run him if he winds up in the starting lineup.