Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DFS NBA Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Tuesday 12/28/21
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After effectively getting benched just a couple of weeks ago for poor play, Kemba Walker has returned to the Knicks’ starting lineup and become a reincarnation of peak Russell Westbrook or something. It’s pretty amazing and Walker is coming off a fantastic Christmas Day game in which he dropped 39 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds in the win over the Hawks. Frankly, his performance since rejoining the starting lineup has been amazing. I don’t think the price, especially on DraftKings, has fully caught up with the production either. I am fine running him in cash considering Thibs is fine running him more than 40 minutes a game when things are close.
Garland continues to have a breakout season and is a major reason, if not *the* reason, why the Cleveland Cavaliers have turned into one of the truly great stories in the NBA. They are 20-13 with the best point differential in the league and Garland is a huge reason why. He’s averaging 20 points per game and has seen the usage only climb once Colin Sexton was lost for the season because of injury. On Tuesday he’ll face off against the Pelicans who own the 26th-ranked defense this year and will be without Brandon Ingram as well. It’s a good matchup for Garland who will play high-30s minutes when the game stays close.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk FD - $4500 DK - $4900
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 28.68 DK - 31.51
It looks like the Toronto Raptors are going to be really thin heading into this game as well and we could have another run of a lot of minutes for both Watanabe and Mykhailiuk. Last game, in which the Raptors were completely smoked by the Cavaliers, these two still played minutes in the high 30s because the Toronto roster is so depleted. Watanabe led the team with 20 shots and finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The price has climbed, but these are strange DFS days and I actually think he’s still something of a value if the minutes are on the safer side.
Meanwhile, Mykhailiuk didn’t have quite the same stat line but did play 36 minutes in that one. He finished with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, and some defensive stats as well. We have a decent-fish track record on his per-minute production over the last couple of seasons and I think this kind of projected playing time would make him a safer play at these prices. The FanDuel salary is especially attractive. One thing to keep an eye out for here is if Gary Trent returns.
Strongly consider R.J. Hampton (FD 5300 DK 3200) on DraftKings if he gets the start. He came off the bench for the Magic last game, but still managed 32 minutes in that role. He could slide into the starting lineup for this game.
LeBron James FD - $10900 DK - $11300
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 59.95 DK - 62.71
The Lakers have fallen to 9th place in the Western Conference and have lost five games in a row. They are on the struggle bus right now and things might be looking a bit grim because of the Anthony Davis injury and the makeup of the roster in general. But for our DFS purposes, Lebron makes one of the best plays there is on the slate. He pulls a matchup against the Rockets who are a sieve on defense, ranking 29th while running the fifth-fastest pace. LBJ is playing major minutes because the Lakers are getting desperate here and from a fantasy perspective he’s been amazing averaging 35 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists over his last four games. He feels like one of the safest plays on the slate and is a clear spend-up option.
Jimmy Butler FD - $8500 DK - $9300
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 45.49 DK - 46.76
Jimmy Butler returned from a 20-day absence on Sunday, stepping right in and playing 35 minutes in the win over the Orlando Magic. With Kyle Lowry out in Covid protocols, and Tyler Herro getting an early ejection, Butler was second on the team in shots and finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. I think we could be in line for a minutes increase in this one and it stands to reason that we see an improvement on the 5-14 shooting from that first game. The Wizards don’t play at a fast pace, but they’ve dropped now to the 22nd ranked defense on the season.
Power Forward/ Center
Chris Boucher FD - $5500 DK - $6200
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 33.79 DK - 35
Dalano Banton FD - $3900 DK - $4000
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 28.08 DK - 30.87
D.J. Wilson FD - $5500 DK - $3800
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 29.73 DK - 32.91
I’m piling all of these guys together for many of the same reasons discussed around Watanabe and Mykhailiuk. The Raptors are just so threadbare on their roster when it comes to real NBA players and even this list is probably pushing that definition. Boucher is the big question mark considering what we know about his fantasy performances in the past coupled with how little Nick Nurse and company want to play him at times. It’s frustrating because his game has major fantasy upside, but the run just isn’t always there. He played just 28 minutes last game even as a starter and finished with 21 points and five rebounds, not terrible but not quite up to snuff at these prices. I think I’m still willing to risk it though on Tuesday.
And then there is Banton who also got the start, but struggled in his 24 minutes. The price is so low for him on both sites, and power forward is weaker that I think I would go back to the well here. But if he is just going to get buzzed off again it could be frustrating.
Finally, Wilson who just got on to the team like 10 minutes ago was the best of this group on Sunday, totaling 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals in his 34 minutes. His price didn’t move nearly enough on DraftKings where at under $4K he makes for an excellent cash option if he’s in the starting lineup once again.
Ömer Yurtseven FD - $5400 DK - $4800
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 36.35 DK - 38.49
Yurtseven joined the Heat starting lineup on Sunday in the absence of Dewayne Dedmon who is out in the Covid protocols. Yurtseven was excellent in the role, dropping 16 points and 15 rebounds in the Heat victory. He’s been able to fill it up in limited minutes before and the price really hasn’t moved enough if these are going to be the kind of minutes he’ll play. The matchup is a good one against the Wizards. And his minutes appear very safe at this point considering how banged up Miami is in the frontcourt.
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