Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Sunday, 12/5/21

Sunday slates can be ugly, and this is undoubtedly one of those. We have just four games in total and three making up the DFS card. What makes it even more bizarre is that one of these clubs is amid a COVID breakout. That will cause chaos on this slate, but at least we have the information beforehand for once! We also have some of the worst defenses in the NBA on display, and it should lead to some high-scoring games. With that in mind, let's get into it!

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Point Guard

Trae YoungTrae Young FD - $9600 DK - $10300
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 47.84 DK - 51.67

With so many cheap players available, it's imperative to get a guy like Young into your lineup. The Atlanta point guard has been one of the most consistent players in the NBA recently, scoring at least 45 DraftKings points in six straight games. He's also got a 50-point average in that span as well, which is not far off of his impressive 47-point average for the season. All of that makes him an easy choice against anyone but facing Charlotte is sensational. We say that because the Hornets rank third in pace and dead-last in points allowed. Just take the guaranteed 40-50 fantasy points and build the rest of your lineup from there.

Ish SmithIsh Smith FD - $5000 DK - $4800
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 24.29 DK - 23.89

The Hornets are amid a nightmarish COVID breakout, and it's going to make this Charlotte roster challenging to figure out. The most significant players they'll be missing are Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball. That makes up their backcourt, and it should force Ish into the starting point guard job. This guy has always been productive in these fill-in spots in the past, averaging 27 DK points per game in his 24 starts since 2019. His speed and playmaking ability have led to that impressive average, and he should be asked to do a ton with the two guards out of this lineup. Facing Trae Young defensively is a nice bonus, too, with Young being one of the worst defenders in the NBA. If you hear that James Bouknight is starting instead, he'd be a brilliant pivot.

Shooting Guard

Gordon HaywardGordon Hayward FD - $7600 DK - $7000
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 36.34 DK - 37.12

We just talked about how Ish will start at point guard with LaMelo and Scary Terry out, but you better believe Hayward will do a lot of the playmaking in their absences. He was already doing work with them in the lineup, averaging 32 DK points per game in fewer than 34 minutes a night for the year. We really love the bump in usage here, though, with Hayward looking at 35 minutes, 20 shots, and a 30 percent usage rate for this shorthanded team. He thrived in this matchup earlier this season, too, dropping 33 fantasy points across 34 minutes of play. That's far from surprising when you see that Atlanta ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency ratings.

Devonte' GrahamDevonte' Graham FD - $5200 DK - $4800
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 28.38 DK - 29.49

This is my least favorite recommendation of the bunch, but the salary simply doesn't match the production. Graham has been a $6K player for most of his career, and his 27 DK points per game indicate that he should be closer to that. A recent slump has lowered this price tag, but it's gotten to a point where we can't pass up. We're still talking about a guard who's doing a ton of ball-handling, scoring at least 25 DraftKings points in 14 of 22 games this season. You can't ask for any more from a $5K player, and it becomes more likely here with Houston playing at the fastest pace in the NBA while owning a 27th OPRK against opposing guards.

Small Forward

Brandon IngramBrandon Ingram FD - $7700 DK - $8800
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 34.35 DK - 36.6

Ingram was barely hovering over $7,000 this time last week, and these sites are finally realizing that he needs to be in the $8,000s on both sites. The simple fact is, Ingram is running this offense with Zion Williamson sidelined. That's on full display when you see that Ingram has at least 37 DK points in five of his last six games, generating a 42-point average in that span. All of that makes him an obvious choice with so much value on the board, but the matchup might be the best part of this. The Rockets currently rank 27th in total defense while playing at that blistering pace we mentioned before.

Miles BridgesMiles Bridges FD - $8600 DK - $8400
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 39.06 DK - 39.32

I don't really like this pricing, but it looks like Bridges will be the focal point of this offense with Ball and Rozier sidelined. He was that guy through the first month of the season, but Ball and Rozier have taken over recently. In any case, Bridges is still averaging 39 DraftKings points per game, dropping at least 36 fantasy points in 18 of 23 games. Good luck finding that sort of consistency from a guy below $9K, especially with Bridges looking at a massive uptick in minutes, shots, and usage. We already talked about how bad Atlanta's defense is, and that was crystal clear when Miles mauled them to the tune of 54 DK points three weeks ago.

Power Forward

P.J. WashingtonP.J. Washington FD - $6000 DK - $5700
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 33.16 DK - 33.47

If you asked me who my favorite per-dollar play on the board is, I'd say it's this dude. Washington was already stepping up in Charlotte with Mason Plumlee out of the lineup but imagine how special he can be without Ball, Rozier, and Jalen McDaniels. That means this rotation is extremely thin and should force PJ into 30-35 minutes of play. That's been the only thing holding Washingon back throughout his career but scoring at least 24 DK points in four straight fixtures shows just how much his role has improved. Facing a guy like Clint Capela will only put more minutes on his plate, which is incredible since PJ has a 34-point average in the 38 games he's played at least 28 minutes since the start of last season.

Herbert JonesHerbert Jones FD - $5000 DK - $3900
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 20.07 DK - 18.88

Herb Jones has been taking over the Zion role in New Orleans, and it's turned him into a fantasy-relevant player. Saying he's in the Zion role is a bit of a stretch, but he's taking all of his minutes at PF. In fact, Jones is averaging 24 DK points per game across 31 minutes a night over his last seven outings. That's by no means a remarkable stretch, but it's all you can hope for from such a cheap player. That increased role and solid production should be easy to duplicate in a matchup like this, with the Rockets surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards while posting the ugly defensive statistics we mentioned before.


Jonas ValanciunasJonas Valanciunas FD - $8000 DK - $9000
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 40.37 DK - 42.78

We've saved a ton of salary on this slate, so let's pay up for two of the best centers on the board. JV has been a breakout player in general, averaging a career-best 41 DraftKings points per game. That alone makes him a good value in this price range, especially with Valanciunas scoring at least 28 DK points in all but three games this season. That presents us with a fantastic floor, and that's one of the most underrated assets on a short three-game slate like this. The pace of Houston only adds to his intrigue, giving JV more rebounds, blocks, and scoring opportunities. In their most recent matchup, Valanciunas tallied 30 points and 15 rebounds if you needed any more incentive to use him.

Clint CapelaClint Capela FD - $8200 DK - $8200
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 40.48 DK - 40.75

Speaking of consistency, Capela is one of the most reliable options on every slate. What makes him so consistent is his ability to rebound, leading the NBA in boards last season. He's right on track to compete with that again this year, averaging 11.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Much of that damage has been done recently, with Cap scoring at least 45 fantasy points in four of his last six games. That's way above our projections, and it's clear that he's feasting the boards on both ends of the floor right now. Swallowing up rebounds should be even easier to accomplish here, facing a shorthanded Charlotte team that plays at the fastest pace in the NBA. That's why they've surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing centers, which was evident when Cap dropped 45 DK points against them across just 24 minutes of play earlier in the season.





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