Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Wednesday, 1/5/21
It finally feels like the COVID protocols are starting to die down! Thank Goodness! With that said, it feels like we still have injuries every night, and it's left a few teams in shambles. All of that has left a ton of value on the board, and this article will zone in on many of those players stepping up. With that in mind, let's kick things off with two of those guys at the point guard position!
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It's sad that Miami hasn't been able to stay healthy all season, but they're still competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. All of the injuries have opened up the door for a few guys, though, with Kyle Lowry expected to get a ton of touches in this game. With Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo off the floor, Lowry has a 24 percent usage rate while averaging nearly 1.2 DK points per minute. He's actually averaging nearly 40 fantasy points per game in the handful of games that both of those guys have sat, and that should be easy to accomplish here. We say that because Portland ranks dead-last in defensive efficiency while surrendering the third-most fantasy point to opposing PGs.
This pricing is clearly a mistake. The DFS sites thought that Damian Lillard had a chance to suit up here, but he's already been ruled out. That's amazing since C.J. McCollum and Larry Nance are expected to sit too, leaving Simons will all the usage he can handle. In this same role on Monday, Simons dropped a career-high 43 points en route to 61 DraftKings points. We don't expect him to duplicate that, but even half of that at this price is still a great game from such a cheap player. The simple fact is, Simons is in line for 35-40 minutes and 15-20 shots while handling the ball on nearly every possession!
If you're looking for a punt play, Tre Jones has started the last few games in San Antonio without Dejounte Murray. Don't forget about Trae Young too, who has scored at least 25 raw points in 16 straight games.
With Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell both out of the lineup, Beal has been the de facto point guard in Washington. In the last four games without those guys, Beal has scored at least 55 DraftKings points in all of them. He's also flirting with a 60-point average in that span, which is truly amazing since he's hovering around $10K on both sites. That increased role is even more attractive in a matchup like this, with Houston ranked fourth in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency. That's as good as it gets, and it really feels like Beal's floor is 50 DK points in such a magical matchup.
Tyler Herro FD - $6500 DK - $6900
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 31.58 DK - 33.93
It looks like Lowry and Herro are going to be asked to do everything with Butler and Bam both injured. With those two guys off the floor, Tyler leads the team with a 30 percent usage rate while averaging 1.1 DK points per minute. We love that with Herro's recent form, scoring at least 30 DK points in five of his last six games. He also flirted with a 40-point average when Butler was out earlier in the season, and we genuinely believe that's his floor against the worst defense in the NBA.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been undervalued all season and should benefit from the same matchup as Beal.
Kyle Kuzma FD - $7800 DK - $7700
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 42.05 DK - 45.05
Man, this price is getting crazy, but Kuzma has been outstanding since Dinwiddie and Harrell went down. Kuz has scored at least 33 DraftKings points in six straight outings, averaging over 45 fantasy points per game in that span. That's the Kuzma Lakers fans wanted to see for so long, and it's becoming clear that a change in scenery is just what the doctor ordered. The matchup with Houston isn't too shabby either, with the Rockets sitting 29th in total defense while surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing forwards. This is the perfect game stack with all of these guys, and Kuzma would definitely have to be a significant part of it.
Norman Powell FD - $7000 DK - $7000
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 36.43 DK - 37.29
With McCollum, Lillard, and Nance all out for Portland, Powell could be in for a huge role. In the last three games without McCollum and Lillard, Powell has scored at least 34 DK points in all of them. More importantly, he's averaging 20 shots and 41 minutes a game while posting a team-high 32 percent usage rate. Those usage numbers are hard to overlook from a $7K player, and it looks like he's the focal point of the offense with those two stars out. Miami looks like a tough matchup when you evaluate the numbers, but missing defensive studs like Bam and Butler make them a much easier matchup.
Devin Vassell has played over 70 minutes the last two games and remains way too cheap on both sites.
Bobby Portis FD - $5700 DK - $6400
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 29.79 DK - 30.37
Portis' price has been dropping with his production, but this dude is too good to be this cheap. We're still talking about a guy who's averaging 33 DraftKings points per game for the season, which is more indicative of a player who should be $1,000 more. The role is still there for him to be that sort of player, too, averaging 13 shots and 30 minutes a game since the opening week of the season. He's also got at least 28 DK points in 21 of those 25 games, an incredible floor from such an affordable player. Not to mention, BP dropped a double-double in his last matchup with Toronto, despite missing eight of his 11 shots.
Trey Lyles FD - $4800 DK - $4700
Opponent - CHA
Proj Pts FD - 25.26 DK - 25.77
Detroit has the worst record in the NBA, and the absences are a major reason why. The frontcourt is definitely the most significant pitfall, missing Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart and Kelly Olynyk. The one bit of good news with that is the fact that Trey Lyles has been asked to play the most prominent role of his career. In fact, Trey has played at least 34 minutes in the two games without those guys, scoring 77 combined DK points in those two outings. That equates to about 8X value at this sub-$5K price tag, and it's hard to understand why he remains so affordable. The matchup with Charlotte is the icing on the cake, though, with the Hornets ranked first in pace, 28th in defensive efficiency, and dead-last in points allowed.
With Portland so shorthanded, don't forget about Nassir Little.
Joel Embiid FD - $10800 DK - $11200
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 53.86 DK - 55.35
Embiid is one of the most dominant players when he's motivated, and he's certainly playing like that recently. The big man has scored at least 53 DK points in four straight games, posting a 62-point average in that span. That's one of the best marks in the NBA, single-handedly taking over this Philly offense. We know he can keep doing that in a matchup like this, with Orlando sitting 25th in defensive efficiency while surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers. He also just picked up a triple-double in the most recent outing, and it appears he's going to do a lot of the ball-handling and distributing in the absence of Tyrese Maxey (COVID)
Jusuf Nurkic FD - $6000 DK - $6800
Opponent - MIA
Proj Pts FD - 31.22 DK - 31.26
I love Nurk in this spot. We already talked about how Portland is without Dame, McCollum, and Nance, leaving Nurk with a ton of usage to fill. With those three off the floor, Jusuf ranks second behind Powell with a 31 percent usage rate, averaging 1.3 DK points per minute. That's an incredible rate from a guy averaging 32.3 DK points per game across 25 minutes a night this season because he could easily be looking at 35-40 minutes without Nance. This would usually be a scary matchup with Bam at center, but we expect Nurk to feast on this weak Miami frontcourt in such a favorable spot.
Nikola Jokic has crushed Utah throughout his career and is definitely worth it if you have the salary.