Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Wednesday, 12/29/21

If you're a fan of chaos, NBA DFS is the perfect vocation for you. It was already crazy before this little term called "COVID protocols," but it's turned into absolute madness since then. If you played a drinking game where that term was mentioned, you'd probably be wasted by the third paragraph of this article! In any case, it does leave a ton of value on the table, and we're here to try to break it down for you guys! With that in mind, let's get into it!

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Point Guard

Jalen BrunsonJalen Brunson FD - $7400 DK - $7900
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 42.16 DK - 43.27

Man, this price is getting somewhat crazy, but Brunson has earned every bit of it. He's been a great player coming off the bench behind Luka Doncic, but he's been playing at an All-Star level when starting for Luka. In fact, Brunson has scored at least 29 DraftKings points in all 14 starts he's made, averaging 38 fantasy points per game in that span. That's what you expect from an $8K player, and it's clear that he's just taking on the monster Doncic usage being left behind. The matchup against Sacramento might be the best part of this, though, with the Kings ranked 29th in defensive efficiency and points allowed.

Payton PritchardPayton Pritchard FD - $6200 DK - $5000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 28.83 DK - 31.01

Pritchard has been stuck near the end of the bench for most of his career, but he's always been solid when given the opportunity. The COVID crisis is the perfect time for him to get one of those chances, starting on Monday in the absence of Jayson Tatum and Dennis Schroder. In the last two games without those guys, PP averaged 20 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists en route to 40 DK points per game. You can't ask for any more from a player in this price range, and he should continue to get a monster workload with so many Boston players sidelined. We also don't mind that the Clippers own a 25th OPRK against opposing PGs.

Ja Morant is sitting around $9K on both sites and should go off against a Lakers team that ranks 27th in total defense and first in pace.

Shooting Guard

Jaylen BrownJaylen Brown FD - $8800 DK - $10000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 49.96 DK - 51.42

You probably could have seen this coming after the Pritchard write-up. Brown and Tatum have been battling touches for the top spot in Boston, but it's JB's job now that Tatum is in COVID protocols. With Tatum and Schroder off the floor this season, Brown leads the team with a 34 percent usage rate while averaging 1.4 DK points per minute. That's a genuinely absurd rate, equating to 56 fantasy points if he plays the 40 minutes we anticipate. He's been crushing whether Tatum's been in the lineup anyway, scoring at least 38 DK points in six straight outings. That looks like his floor here, and it makes him worth it at any price.

Tyler HerroTyler Herro FD - $6200 DK - $6900
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 36.16 DK - 38.88

Miami has struggled to get a full lineup on the court, with Kyle Lowry in COVID protocols and Bam Adebayo injured. That has left Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro to feast, but an ankle roll for JB on Tuesday might force Herro into a ginormous role. We like him whether JB plays or not because Herro's usage is massive no matter what. In fact, Tyler has a 32 percent usage rate with Bam and Lowry off the floor, averaging over 1.2 DK points per minute. We definitely saw that guy on Tuesday, with Tyler tallying 46 DK points across 35 minutes of action. The matchup with San Antonio is sensational, too, with the Spurs sitting sixth in pace and 24th in total defense.

Cam Reddish has been stepping up with Atlanta amid a COVID breakout.

Small Forward

Hamidou DialloHamidou Diallo FD - $6000 DK - $6200
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 35.51 DK - 34.63

Detroit was a dumpster fire when they had a full roster, and now they're looking like the grocery bag flying around in American Beauty. This team is going nowhere, and it's scary that they're missing Cade Cunningham, Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph, Josh Jackson, and Isaiah Stewart. That's nearly 100 percent of the team's production and it's leaving Diallo with a monumental role. Hamidou has played at least 35 minutes in three straight games, dropping at least 28 fantasy points in all of those. That's a brilliant floor from a $6K player and it looks like 40 minutes is a near guarantee with so many guys missing. New York is a fantastic matchup too, with the Knicks sitting 22nd in defensive efficiency.

Joe InglesJoe Ingles FD - $4500 DK - $4000
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 27 DK - 28.94

The splits for Jingles coming off the bench are amazing. He's a completely different player when he's starting, seeing a major uptick in shot attempts, minutes, and assists. It's clear in his fantasy production, averaging 27 DK points per game in his 43 starts since the beginning of last season. He's barely cracking 20 DK points per game coming off the bench in that same stretch and it's led to this dirt-cheap price tag. The most important thing is that Donovan Mitchell is out of the lineup, leaving a ton of usage for Jingles in this starting lineup. All of that is great news against Portland, with the Trail Blazers ranked 26th in points allowed and 28th in defensive efficiency ratings.

Nassir Little is being forced into a 40-minute role for Portland with so many guys in COVID protocols.

Power Forward

Domantas SabonisDomantas Sabonis FD - $8400 DK - $10700
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 41.56 DK - 43.69

This FanDuel price made my jaw drop. The DraftKings price is a bit high for my liking but Sabonis should be a lock in every lineup over on FD. We say that because he's averaging 40 FanDuel points per game, scoring at least 37 fantasy points in 24 of 33 games this season. That's difficult to find from an $8,400 player, especially with Dom dropping 60-plus on numerous occasions this season. We believe he can reach one of those ceiling games in a matchup like this, with the Hornets ranked second in pace and dead-last in points allowed and defensive efficiency.

Kristaps PorzingisKristaps Porzingis FD - $8900 DK - $9400
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 39.58 DK - 39.06

We already talked about how Brunson takes over the Doncic role in Dallas but it's also a huge boost for Porzingis. He's actually the one with the highest usage, leading the club 34 percent usage rate in these circumstances. More importantly, he's averaging nearly 1.6 DK points per minute in that playing time, one of the best rates I've ever seen. To put that in perspective, Porzingis is averaging 56 DK points per-35 minutes that Doncic is off the floor. That was on full display when he dropped 62.3 DraftKings points in his most recent outing and that shouldn't be hard to duplicate against the second-worst defense in the NBA.

Larry Nance Jr is in the same boat as Little for the short-handed Trail Blazers.


JaVale McGeeJaVale McGee FD - $5200 DK - $5100
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 37.07 DK - 38.14

Oof, here we are in the COVID era! It's easy for everyone to make fun of McGee with some of his silly on-court antics, but this guy has developed into an excellent fantasy option. JaVale is averaging 22.4 DK points per game across just 16 minutes a night this season. That equates to 1.4 DK points per minute which is stellar news since McGee is in line for a start and a boost in playing time. He's due for a start because Deandre Ayton has landed in COVID protocols, with McGee averaging 29 DK points per game in his nine starts this year. We certainly don't expect an OKC frontcourt to slow him down, especially since they're missing their top two centers.

Ömer YurtsevenÖmer Yurtseven FD - $5500 DK - $4600
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 36.01 DK - 36.9

I've really become infatuated with this guy. Omer has been asked to start in Miami with Bam Adebayo injured but Dewayne Dedmon and Udonis Haslem landing in COVID protocols have forced him into all the minutes he can handle. That has led to Yurtseven seeing a boost in playing time in six straight games, playing at least 32 minutes in B2B outings. We love that since Yurtseven has at least 12 boards in all of those, scoring at least 33 fantasy points in three of his last four games. Those are amazing numbers from such an affordable player, especially since San Antonio is one of the most fantasy-friendly matchups out there.

Richaun Holmes is just $5,500 on DraftKings and dropped 44 DK points on Dallas in their one meeting earlier this season.





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