Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Thursday, 1/7/21
The 11-game slate on Wednesday was completely nuts. The player pool was so big, that it made it tough to make the perfect lineup. In any case, it was a solid night with recommendations like Domantas Sabonis, Elfrid Payton, and Clint Capela. This Thursday slate is much more manageable though, with only five games on the ledger. These are my favorite types of nights for the NBA because there's enough diversity in the player pool while not being too overwhelming. With that in mind, let's get into it!
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If the first game without Kevin Durant is any indication, Irving is about to be a freak for the next week. On Tuesday without him, Irving provided 29 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, doing that damage in just three quarters of action. That's still 50 fantasy points and he was well on his way to 60 or 70 if that game stayed competitive. That should certainly be the case here, with the Sixers entering this matchup as a 2.5-point favorite. What we really like is that he took 19 shots and posted a 31 percent usage rate which is likely his floor in this expanded role. Just keep using Irving as long as KD is out.
Jones has been starting at point guard ever since Ja Morant went down and he's been doing better than this price would indicate. In the five games since Morant's injury, Jones has scored at least 25 DraftKings points in four of them, averaging over 26 DK points per game. That doesn't sound too dominant but it's a really good floor from a player sitting in the mid-$5,000s. What adds to his intrigue here is the matchup, facing a Cleveland backcourt without Darius Garland and Dante Exum. We're also looking at a 4.5-point spread and that should force Jones into at least 30 minutes in what should be a close game.
We already discussed how the Cavaliers are going to be without Garland and Exum, opening up a ton of minutes, shots, and usage for Sexton. Those aren't the only guys missing though, with Kevin Love dealing with an injury as well. That has allowed Sexton to take at least 15 shots in every game this season, scoring at least 20 points in every game. Most importantly, Sexton has a 29.2 percent usage rate with this current lineup. The best part about using him here might be the matchup though, with the Grizzlies ranked 17th in total defense this season.
Dennis Schroder FD - $5300 DK - $6100
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 28.85 DK - 30.53
Schroder has been better than this price tag would indicate and it's very possible he could be running things for the Lakers here. We say that because Anthony Davis and LeBron James both enter this matchup with questionable tags. It's just a matter of time before one of these guys sits and this is a great opportunity in the front end of a back-to-back set. Schroder has been very good even with those guys on the floor, averaging 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. Those averages make him particularly intriguing on FanDuel at just $5,300 and we can't overlook the fact that San Antonio has been one of the most fantasy-friendly teams to play against this season.
Kyle Anderson FD - $5900 DK - $6400
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 34.84 DK - 36.09
While it would be easy to recommend a guy like LeBron James here, Anderson makes for a much better value. Much like Tyus Jones, Anderson has been a huge contributor in this offense with Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr injured. That has actually forced Anderson into a career-high 26 percent usage rate and led to the best fantasy production of his career. In fact, KA is averaging 32.5 DraftKings points per game across 32 minutes of action since the opener. That's really all you can ask for from a $6K player and we're not worried about a poor rebounding team like the Cavs slowing him down.
Cedi Osman FD - $5200 DK - $5700
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 31.98 DK - 33.6
If we like all of these Grizzlies in this close game, we have to like some of the Cavs too. Osman is one of the sneakiest plays in this game, playing the best basketball of his career right now. Much like Sexton, the injuries to Garland, Exum, and Love have really opened things up for him. In the last two games without those guys, Osman is averaging 11 points, 6.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. Those are shockingly good averages and he should continue to stuff the stat sheet and play big minutes as long as they're shorthanded. We also don't mind the fact that the Grizzlies are surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards so far this season.
Tobias Harris just won Eastern Conference Player of the Week last week and is definitely in play below $8K.
Brandon Clarke FD - $5100 DK - $5300
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 28.7 DK - 27.87
Let's keep the value plays rolling at power forward! Much like the rest of the Grizzlies, this is yet another guy who's stepping up in the absence of Morant and JJJ. Clarke has definitely benefited more from Jackson's absence, playing at least 29 minutes in four of the last five games. Those minutes are really all we can ask for from a guy like Clarke, with the big man averaging 1.3 DK points per minute last season. That's an astounding rate from a player this cheap, particularly with his minutes and usage steadily rising. The matchup isn't too shabby either, with Cleveland surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing PFs this year.
Juan Hernangomez FD - $4200 DK - $4400
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 26.95 DK - 27.46
Here we are again, another player benefiting from injuries. The injury that's opened things up for Hernangomez is Karl-Anthony Towns, who hogged up about 35 minutes, 20 shots, and a 30 percent usage rate in the frontcourt. That has forced Juancho into big minutes, averaging 30 minutes a game over the last two outings. He was fantastic in the most recent game too, dropping a season-best 47 DraftKings points. That equates to 11X at this price tag and anyone with that sort of potential is nearly impossible to fade on a five-game slate. Portland is certainly not a defense to be scared of either, ranked 28th in points allowed and 26th in defensive efficiency.
If LeBron and or AD sits in this Lakers game, Kyle Kuzma would be a fantastic pivot.
Joel Embiid FD - $9900 DK - $9500
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 51.65 DK - 53.12
This dude is on another level right now. On Wednesday night, Emiid provided 38 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals, and three blocks en route to nearly 70 fantasy points. That absurd total is no surprise when you see that he has at least 40 DraftKings points in all six games this season, averaging over 50 DK points per game. That makes it rather surprising that his price remains below $10,000, especially when you consider that Embiid had 39 points and 16 rebounds in his one game against these Nets last season.
Jarrett Allen FD - $6300 DK - $6400
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 41.73 DK - 41.53
With Embiid suiting up for the Sixers, Allen should be asked to play big minutes opposing him. He did just that against Rudy Gobert on Tuesday, generating 19 points, 18 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in one of the best performances of his career. Minutes have really been the only thing holding this guy back throughout his career, averaging 1.4 DK points per minute for the season. That would equate to 42 fantasy points if he plays 30 minutes and that seems like a strong possibility after playing 32 on Tuesday. If you hear that Allen gets the starting nod over the useless DeAndre Jordan once again, get him into as many lineups as possible!
Nikola Jokic eats triple-doubles for breakfast and is obviously a good play on every slate.