Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Sunday, 1/9/21

These NBA slates have been crazy. The COVID protocols have made things challenging over recent weeks, but it feels like that trend is finally starting to die down. What's not dying down are the injuries, though. We have several star players likely sitting here, which is a significant theme in this article. There's a lot to discuss, though, so let's kick things off with two backup point guards stepping into starting roles.

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Point Guard

Anfernee SimonsAnfernee Simons FD - $7500 DK - $6500
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 35.47 DK - 37.87

Simons has always been a talented player, and it's nice to finally see him getting a starting gig. It's taken a disastrous turn for Portland to put him in this situation, though, with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both out for the foreseeable future. That's about 50 percent of the team's offense out the door, and Simons is happy to take on most of it. With those two guys off the floor, Anfernee has a 25 percent usage rate, posting some of the best lines of his career. In fact, ANT is averaging 46 DraftKings points per game across his last three outings. That makes him really attractive here, with Sacramento surrendering the second-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season.

Tyus JonesTyus Jones FD - $4900 DK - $4200
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 30.69 DK - 30.73

It's sad that we're going to miss out on a Ja Morant game because that dude is the most exciting player in the NBA, but Jones isn't too bad himself. He's actually been excellent when starting for Morant, scoring at least 22 DraftKings points in 10 of his 12 starts this season, en route to a 29-point average. Those are absurd numbers from a sub-$5K player, especially since Jones has the best assist-to-turnover rate in the NBA as well. That ability becomes even more attractive in a matchup like this, with Los Angeles ranked second in pace and 24th in total defense. They also own a 30th OPRK against opposing point guards, making Jones all the more enticing.

If Luka Doncic is out, don't forget about Jalen Brunson

Shooting Guard

Desmond BaneDesmond Bane FD - $7200 DK - $6400
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 35.58 DK - 37.01

Bane has benefited from absences in Memphis all season long, and this might be the best spot of them all. We already mentioned that Morant is out of the lineup, but the Grizzlies are also expected to be without Steven Adams, John Konchar, Dillon Brooks, and Kyle Anderson as well. That means Bane might be the focal point of the offense, generating a 32 percent usage rate with this current roster. The usage matches the production, with Dez scoring at least 29 DK points in 14 of his last 17 games. He's also got a handful of 40-point gems in that span, too, attempting 16 shots while playing over 32 minutes a night. We expect those to be his floor here, and it should be easy to duplicate another masterpiece against this terrible Lakers defense.

Tim Hardaway Jr.Tim Hardaway Jr. FD - $5600 DK - $5700
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 27.75 DK - 28.77

It looks like Dallas could be without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis for this game yet again. If that's the situation, Hardaway should get all the usage he can handle. With those two studs off the floor, THJ leads the team with a 31 percent usage rate while averaging 1.2 DK points per minute. Those are astounding rates from such an affordable player, and we know that Timmy will fire up shots at will with so many points needing to be made up. Facing Chicago is no easy task, but it really doesn't matter with how cheap Hardaway is and the potential 20-25 shots he could be looking at.

With New Orleans so shorthanded, DeVonte' Graham could be looking at an expanded role.

Small Forward

Nassir LittleNassir Little FD - $5500 DK - $5000
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 29.53 DK - 29.2

We already talked about how Portland is missing their two usage hogs, and it's left Nassir with the most prominent role of his career as well. While his usage isn't high, his minutes and fantasy production have been brilliant. That has led to Little playing at least 30 minutes in seven of his last nine outings, averaging 30.1 DK points per game in those seven outings. You can't ask for any more from a $5K player, and it looks like he should be locked in with so many players missing. The matchup with Sacramento is the icing on the cake, though, with the Kings ranked 28th in points allowed and 27th in defensive efficiency.

Garrett TempleGarrett Temple FD - $4000 DK - $3400
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 21.36 DK - 21.4

Temple is far from exciting, but there are not many better bets out there to reach 6X value. All you need is 20-25 fantasy points to achieve that at this price tag, and Temple is definitely in a great spot to do just that. New Orleans is currently missing Zion Williamson, Josh Hart, and Tomas Satoransky, leaving GT with a start and 30-35 minutes as one of the only forwards remaining. Whenever he's been given that role, Temple has been impressive. In fact, Garrett has played at least 23 minutes in 11 games this season, averaging 29 DraftKings points per game in those outings. Those 23 minutes look like the floor, and if you get 30 fantasy points from someone this cheap, you've already stumbled into a piece of the optimal lineup.

LeBron James is a guaranteed 50-60 fantasy points with the way he's playing right now.

Power Forward

Jaren Jackson Jr.Jaren Jackson Jr. FD - $6200 DK - $6300
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 34.47 DK - 33.81

Did you see the gem that this guy posted on Saturday afternoon? JJJ finished that masterclass with 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals, and five blocks. That sort of game is what gets fans so excited when it comes to Jackson because this dude can be one of the best all-around players when he's rolling. All of the absences in Memphis only add to his intrigue, generating a 29 percent usage rate with all of those guys off the floor. This is quite simply one of the most talented athletes in our game, and Memphis needs him to step up with Morant, Brooks, and Adams all sidelined. Facing the Lakers only adds to his intrigue, with Los Angeles ranked 26th in total defense.

Maxi KleberMaxi Kleber FD - $5600 DK - $4400
Opponent - CHI
Proj Pts FD - 28.99 DK - 29.28

Maxi can be inconsistent in terms of fantasy production, but this $4,400 price tag on DraftKings is silly. What makes it so ridiculous is the fact that Dallas might be without Doncic and Porzingis. The KP absence is actually guaranteed, and that's the one that really matters when talking about Kleber. Dating back to last season, Maxi is averaging 27 DK points per game whenever Porzingis is sidelined. He's also playing nearly 35 minutes a night in those circumstances, making him one of the best values out there in this price range.

Brandon Clarke is averaging 34 DK points per game across his last five outings and should continue to see an expanded workload with so many Grizzlies missing.


Nikola JokicNikola Jokic FD - $11300 DK - $12200
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 60.78 DK - 63

We've had many cheap players in this article, so let's get to the big dog! Jokic is quite simply the best option in fantasy basketball, scoring at least 41 DK points in all but one game this season. That's the best floor in the NBA, and it's backed by a league-leading 59 fantasy points per game. That's why he's earned this lofty price tag, but he's worth every penny since you're talking about a guaranteed 60 DraftKings points. That sort of gem should come even easier in a matchup with OKC, considering the Thunder own one of the worst frontcourts in the NBA. Just imagine how badly The Joker could abuse guys like Derrick Favors and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

Jusuf NurkicJusuf Nurkic FD - $7300 DK - $7200
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 39.87 DK - 41.35

Let's cap off our Portland stack with Big Nurk! This guy is probably the best player on Portland right now, posting a 28 percent usage rate with those aforementioned guys off the floor. More importantly, he's averaging over 1.2 DK points per minute in these circumstances, which is right on par with his impressive season averages. The most significant variable is the absence of Larry Nance Jr, though, guaranteeing Nurk for 30-35 minutes. That has led to Nurkic scoring at least 32 DK points in four of his last five games en route to a 39-point average in that span. That should be easy to replicate against one of the worst defenses in the NBA, especially with Jusuf averaging 52 DK points per game in their two meetings this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns gets to face a Houston team surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing centers.





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