Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DFS NBA Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Tuesday 12/21/21
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Kemba Walker had been buried on the Knicks bench after getting moved out of the starting lineup a few weeks ago. It sure looked like that was the end of the line for the once-great guard. But then Covid protocols hit and there another chance to get some minutes. He made the most of the opportunity. Walker played 37 minutes against the Celtics, his first game in nearly a month and promptly dropped 29 points on 8-20 shooting while adding in six rebounds and three assists. Early accounts are that he’ll get the starting nod again in this one with Derrick Rose questionable and Immanuel Quickley out. The price didn’t move enough for the potential minutes and Walker is a good play against the Pistons.
After struggling to start the season, and also dealing with injuries, Dame has started to turn it around over the last couple of games with CJ McCollum on the shelf. He’s scored 32 and 43 points respectively on 21-38 shooting from the field. Today he’ll play against the Pelicans and their 28th-ranked defense, marking another great matchup for Lillard after he faced the Grizzlies and the Hornets back-to-back (both wins). With the Blazers really needing to pull back into this thing in the West, I think we are going to get a steady diet of major Dame minutes in the short term. And some of the early season struggles could be behind him.
The Timberwolves are still going to be without Anthony Edwards and Patrick Beverley in this game, leaving more ball-handling duties and usage to head Russell’s way. He led the team in shots last game, a similar situation, going 8-16 from the field though he handed out only three assists in the Timberwolves win over this same Mavericks’ team. We should see the minutes in the mid-30s in what is another plus matchup. I’d like to see the minutes trend up a little higher to feel safer on these price points, and he’s going to need to add more across the stat line, but this is still a good spot for Russell.
Norman Powell FD - $6300 DK - $6400
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 31.73 DK - 34.08
Even with Damian Lillard surging in the short term, there is still room for Norman Powell to get up a dose of shots in this offense. Over the last four games, with Lillard back in the mix, Powell has seen plenty of shots. He’s averaging 17 looks from the field, including nine three-point attempts in close to 40 minutes per game. That’s fantastic and he should be in line for similar usage once again. He’s scoring dependent which means you can get burned on his production if the shot isn’t falling, but he’s been able to add just enough rebounds and assists lately to not have it be a complete disaster. And this Pelicans’ team shouldn’t provide much in terms of defensive resistance.
Evan Fournier FD - $5200 DK - $5100
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 27.69 DK - 30.35
Alec Burks FD - $5600 DK - $7600
Opponent - DET
Proj Pts FD - 32.52 DK - 34.59
Fournier is another one who saw more minutes last game because the Knicks were playing short-handed. That sure seems like it will be the case again this time around. New York did sign some hardship exceptions, but this is Thibs we are talking about and it stands to reason he’ll run mostly what he knows. Fournier played 43 minutes last time around and jacked up a team-high 24 shots. He scored a season-high 32 points and went 4-10 from three. While the points are likely a bit of an outlier, the minutes probably aren’t. Against a weaker Detroit team, I think we can run Fournier pretty safely here at these price points.
Burks falls into this category as well and should see a ton of minutes in this game against the Pistons who are 23rd on defense this season. Burks didn’t have quite the usage rate as Walker and Fournier last game but played plenty of minutes. The FanDuel price hasn’t moved enough with this current opportunity and I think stacking the entire Knicks’ backcourt is probably the way to go on that site. On DraftKings, it’s a little closer with Burks a tad more expensive over there.
Power Forward/ Center
Jonas Valanciunas FD - $7800 DK - $8300
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 41.85 DK - 45.26
Valanciunas has been one of the most consistent fantasy performers this season, one of the rare centers who also sees steady minutes in his team’s rotations. It’s paying off from this perspective and the price is perfectly fair on this slate. He’s double-doubled in six of his last seven games with 24+ points in two of them. He’ll face a Portland team that’s among the worst defensive teams in the league this season, ranking 27th overall. They also allow opponents to block shots at an above-average rate as well. This is a great matchup for Jonas who is a very good bargain on FanDuel especially.
Larry Nance Jr. FD - $5400 DK - $4600
Opponent - NO
Proj Pts FD - 25.03 DK - 25.55
Nance is in this starting lineup for the Blazers now, taking over for Robert Covington at the four for the time being. From a fantasy perspective, it’s been mostly a win with Nance getting just enough scoring, rebounding and defensive stats in the aggregate. They just haven’t been piled into one game yet, but that is, for sure, on the table. Against a weak defensive team in the Pelicans, he has a good shot to put up a value game at these prices and fills a need at a weaker power forward position.
If Kristaps Porzingis (FD 8700 DK 9000) is playing against the Timberwolves then I think he is a great play at these price points. If not, then we could see a ton of minutes out of Maxi Kleber (FD 5000 DK 4000). This is a situation to keep an eye on because Kristaps availability could swing a lot of lineups.
Also, if Porzingis can’t go here then Julius Randle (FD 8800 DK 10300) would be a strong pay-up option on FanDuel. The minutes could push 40 again if the game stays close. I do think the DraftKings price is a little too high.
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