Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Wednesday, 12/8/21

I love basketball as much as anyone, but these scheduling decisions are silly. We should not have three games on Tuesday and then 13 games on Wednesday! That doesn't make sense, and it's hard to understand why the NBA does this. From a DFS perspective, trying to navigate 26 different teams with injuries and COVID is very tough. Luckily, we've buckled down here and feel like we have a good read on what's going on. With that said, there will inevitably be some chaos before lock, so be sure to check injury reports before 7ET!

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Point Guard

Kyle LowryKyle Lowry FD - $6500 DK - $7200
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 33.54 DK - 35

With Jimmy Butler reaggravating his tailbone issue on Monday, it looks like he'll sit again here. That's bad news for Miami with Bam Adebayo out as well, but good news for Lowry's fantasy value. With those guys off the floor, Lowry has a 21 percent usage rate while averaging 1.1 DK points per minute. I thought that usage would be higher, but it's encouraging to see him be so productive because that rate will inevitably increase. Those injuries have opened up some ceiling games for Lowry, too, scoring at least 37 fantasy points in seven of his last 14 games. That'd be a monster total from someone in this price range, and we certainly don't mind that Lowry averaged 37 DK points per game against Milwaukee last season.

Dennis Smith Jr.Dennis Smith Jr. FD - $5500 DK - $5800
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 42.25 DK - 40.74

With Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both injured in Portland, this is DSJ's show. This guy has generally been considered a bust because of his high draft price, but he's always been productive when given the opportunity. That's evident in his recent form, averaging 36.5 DK points across 38 minutes a night in the two games without those two. Quite simply, it's 70 minutes, 40 shots, and 40 percent of the team's usage out the window, and Smith will be happy to take on as much of that as possible. He's also not going to be a victim of a blowout either because Portland has no one else to stick in there.

If you have the salary to pick him, Stephen Curry faces a Portland team that ranks dead-last in defensive efficiency!

Shooting Guard

Dillon BrooksDillon Brooks FD - $5900 DK - $6100
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 32.69 DK - 33.33

Brooks isn't the most aesthetically pleasing player to watch with the bad shots he takes, but DB is too good to be this cheap. We're talking about a guy averaging 28.3 DraftKings points per game, despite seeing limited minutes in his first two weeks back from injury. That restriction has been lifted recently, with DB being one of the primary playmakers with Ja Morant injured. Brooks leads the team with a 31 percent usage rate with Morant off the floor, taking 25 shots per 36 minutes played. All of that makes him a fantastic value in this price range, particularly against a 17th-ranked Dallas defense.

Cody MartinCody Martin FD - $5000 DK - $5000
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 30.54 DK - 29.63

The Hornets are amid a COVID breakout, and it's forcing some of these role players into monster performances. Most of these guys have seen a massive bump in price, but Martin hasn't for whatever reason. In the last two games without LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, and Mason Plumlee, Martin is averaging 32 DK points per game across 37 minutes a night. Those are absurd numbers from a $5K player, and he's going to have to continue to play 35-40 minutes for this shorthanded Charlotte team. He's not the only Hornets player we'll be honing in on, so let's transition into another one!

If Butler and Bam are out as expected, don't forget about Tyler Herro!

Small Forward

Kelly Oubre Jr.Kelly Oubre Jr. FD - $6800 DK - $7500
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 36.7 DK - 38.46

Oubre is one of those players who need a vast role to give him the confidence he needs to succeed. That sounds strange to say about a professional basketball player, but it's the case with a guy like this. All of the absences in Charlotte have forced Oubre into being one of the primary scorers on offense, leading to Kelly collecting at least 29 DraftKings points in seven straight games. He's coming off a 58-point gem in his most recent outing, playing 43 minutes and taking 24 shots. That shows just how much usage is on the table with Ball and Rozier out, and you better believe Oubre is happy firing off shots at will. Not to mention, that season-high 58 fantasy points came in this exact same matchup.

Norman PowellNorman Powell FD - $5200 DK - $4800
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 40.16 DK - 41.15

This is the most mind-boggling pricing on this slate. I figured Powell would be above $7,000 with McCollum and Lillard out of the lineup, but he's sitting around $5,000 for some unknown reason. In the first game without those two, Powell provided 36 fantasy points, thanks to 44 minutes and 24 shots. Anyone taking 20-25 shots and playing 40-plus minutes should be at least $8K, and it's hard to understand what these DFS sites are thinking. He's even been productive with those guys on the floor, averaging over 25 fantasy points per game for the season. That's a good total on its own for a $5K player, and we certainly don't mind that Golden State plays at the fifth-highest pace in the NBA, either.

Don't forget about Miles Bridges seeing a usage bump in Charlotte with so many players out.

Power Forward

Jaren Jackson Jr.Jaren Jackson Jr. FD - $6300 DK - $7000
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 38.08 DK - 37.13

JJJ is one of the most talented players in our game, and he's showing his true colors with Ja sitting on the sidelines. Jackson matches Brooks with a team-high 31 percent usage rate with Morant off the floor, leading the team with 1.35 DK points per minute. That's a genuinely ridiculous rate, with JJJ seeing his minutes, shots, and usage rise in these circumstances. That's evident in his fantasy numbers, averaging 34 DK points per game across 27 minutes a night over his last 11 outings. You might be concerned by that 27-minute average, but it's far from worrying when you see how many blowouts Memphis has played in that span. That shouldn't happen with this narrow spread, and we love that Dallas is one of the worst teams in the NBA against opposing bigs.

Isaiah StewartIsaiah Stewart FD - $5300 DK - $5600
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 28.19 DK - 29.11

Stewart was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons a couple of weeks back, but he's put his head down and played some excellent ball since that scuffle with LeBron James. The big man is averaging 32 DK points per game across 32 minutes a night over his last three fixtures. That bump in playing time is no surprise with Kelly Olynyk out for the next two months, with no other big men on this roster to take away minutes from Beef Stew. You can't ask for any more from a player in this price range, especially with Washington owning a 26th OPRK against opposing centers this season.

Draymond Green should flirt with a triple-double against the worst defense in the NBA.


Joel EmbiidJoel Embiid FD - $10400 DK - $11700
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 52.81 DK - 54.61

Joel has been struggling with his shot recently, but it doesn't matter for him from a fantasy perspective. The big man has scored at least 44 DraftKings points in six straight outings, averaging 58 fantasy points per game in that span. His floor has been incredible all year anyway, scoring at least 36 DK points in all but two games. His best game of the season came against this Hornets team on Monday, too, with Joel collecting 43 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists en route to 75 DraftKings points. That's far from surprising when looking at Charlotte's subpar defensive numbers, ranked 29th in defensive efficiency and dead-last in points allowed. Look for Embiid to feast yet again!

Daniel GaffordDaniel Gafford FD - $5600 DK - $4700
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 29.5 DK - 27.15

This is a risky play because of Gafford's volatility, but this dude is too talented to be sitting around $5K on both sites. The big man has been one of the best per-minute producers since his inception, scoring at least 31 fantasy points in four of his last seven games. Gafford is also generating a 30-point average in that span, despite playing 23 minutes a night. Foul trouble is one thing that's held him back, but Gafford is a lock for 5X value if he can play just 20-25 minutes. We believe he can reach that 25-30 fantasy points in a matchup like this, with Detroit sitting 22nd in defensive efficiency this season. In his three meetings with the Pistons last season, Gafford scored at least 25 fantasy points in all of them, despite never surpassing 16 minutes in any of those.

Rudy Gobert has scored at least 32 DK points in 20 of 23 games this season and is one of the best cash-game options on the board.





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