Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Wednesday, 1/18/23
The number of big games we've seen this month has been insane. There have been nearly 20 40-point games this month already, and we're on pace to break the NBA record. The scoring from these guys is incredible, and it looks like playing defense is impossible at this point. It's not that these guys aren't playing defense; it's that they can't match up with the elite skill on the offensive end. It's made for a great product, so let's kick things off with one of the most talented playmakers in the NBA!
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LaMelo Ball FD - $9600 DK - $9600
Opponent - HOU
Proj Pts FD - 50.37 DK - 54.99
Ball doesn't get talked about enough because he plays in Charlotte, but this guy is a hooper. The point guard has scored at least 41 DraftKings points in 18 of his last 19 games, averaging 24.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in that span.
That's the stud we saw throughout most of last season, and he should have another ravishing performance against the Rockets. In his three career meetings with Houston, Ball is averaging over 50 fantasy points per game. That's no surprise since the Rockets rank 28th in defensive efficiency ratings while surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing PGs.
D'Angelo Russell FD - $6500 DK - $6800
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 34.83 DK - 35.88
It's hard to believe that Russell has dropped below $7,000. This guy has been playing the best basketball of his career since Karl-Anthony Towns got injured, scorning at least 30 fantasy points in 21 of his last 25 games. He's also registering a 35-point average in that span, seeing a massive spike in shot attempts and usage.
A bump like that is huge for a former All-Star player, and we don't expect him to have any issues with the Nuggets. Denver ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency while owning a 27th OPRK against opposing point guards. That's on full display when you see that D-Lo has at least 32 fantasy points in each of their last four matchups.
De'Aaron Fox (FD $8300 DK $8300) faces a 26th-ranked Lakers defense and averages over 40 fantasy points per game. In their three matchups this year, Fox is averaging nearly 50 DraftKings points per game!
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander FD - $10100 DK - $10000
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 52.64 DK - 52.07
SGA has developed into one of the best players in fantasy, and he should continue his elite stat-stuffing for this underwhelming offense. This weak Oklahoma City roster needs Gilgeous-Alexander to do everything, leading the way with a 30 percent usage rate. That's led to SGA scoring at least 40 fantasy points in all but four games this year, generating a 50-point average.
A floor and average like that are hard to match, and they should be in for a bump in this incredible matchup. Indiana ranks 22nd in points allowed and 23rd in defensive efficiency. In their most recent matchup, SGA sliced them up to the tune of 61 fantasy points at the end of last season.
Bennedict Mathurin FD - $5500 DK - $5600
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 32.23 DK - 33.72
This Oklahoma City-Indiana matchup is the best game to stack on this slate. These are two of the worst defenses in the NBA, leading to a massive 240-point total. That's huge with all the value on these teams, with Mathurin looking like the best bargain in Indiana. What makes him so valuable is the Tyrese Haliburton injury, with Mathurin leading the team with a 31 percent usage rate in his absence.
In the last four games without Hali, Benny is averaging 13 shots and 30 minutes a night in a bench role. He's also averaging nearly 30 fantasy points per game, which is really all you can ask for from such an affordable player. We also don't mind this outstanding matchup, with Oklahoma City ranked 21st in points allowed.
Buddy Hield (FD $6700 DK $6400) will see the same usage bump as Mathurin and could be in line for 35 minutes and 20-plus shots against one of the worst defenses in the NBA.
LeBron James FD - $11400 DK - $11500
Opponent - SAC
Proj Pts FD - 56.31 DK - 57.67
Fade King James at your own risk! The greatest player of my generation is in his 20th year, but he's playing as well as ever. LeBron has his season average up to 54 DraftKings points per game and has been even more ridiculous since Anthony Davis went down. LBJ is averaging nearly 60 fantasy points per game since AD's injury, playing nearly 40 minutes a night.
An increased role from one of the greatest players of all time is obviously ginormous, but the matchup with Sacramento is equally as sensational. The Kings rank 25th in both points allowed and defensive efficiency, with LeBron posting a 59-point average against them in their two matchups this year.
Kyle Anderson FD - $6300 DK - $5600
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 29.21 DK - 28.19
Anderson doesn't get enough credit because this guy has been a consummate professional throughout his career. He'll never wow you with his athleticism, but this guy gets it done with intelligence. He's usually a good option in a bench role, but he's tough to fade since he enters the starting lineup in the absence of KAT. In his 19 starts this season, Kyle has compiled a 29-point average across 31 minutes a night. His most recent outing shows what makes him so good, with Anderson accruing 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists en route to a season-best 51 DraftKings points. We don't expect that to happen again, but his 35-point average across his last seven outings is tough to argue with.
Kenyon Martin Jr. (FD $5300 DK $4600) has been starting in Houston and playing 30 minutes a night. If he's doing that, he should be a $6K player.
Michael Porter Jr. FD - $6100 DK - $5500
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 30.6 DK - 31.95
It's been a disappointing season for MPJ, but this price tag is just too cheap. This talented 24-year-old has been closer to $8K at times throughout his career, and we believe he'll get closer to that since he's finally healthy for one of the first times ever. It shows in his recent form, scoring at least 26 fantasy points in four of his last five games.
What's most important is his role, playing 30 minutes a night and attempting nearly 15 shots per game in that span. As long as this sharpshooter does that, Porter needs to be more expensive. The matchup with the T'Wolves is tremendous, too, with Minnesota ranked fourth in pace and 20th in points allowed.
Robert Covington FD - $4500 DK - $3600
Opponent - UTA
Proj Pts FD - 13.48 DK - 13.3
I hate to play the guessing game, but I have a hunch about RoCo here. This guy has always been a great fantasy producer when given the opportunity, but he's been out of the rotation in LA for most of the year. The good news is that he's back in it, playing 24 minutes a night over the last five fixtures. The reason we want to ride him here is that this is the second half of a B2B for Los Angeles.
That means they could be without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Nicolas Batum, and John Wall! If even two or three of those guys are out, Covington should play a 30-minute role. In the 30 games RoCo played at least 30 minutes last year, he averaged 32 fantasy points per game. If you get that from a $4K player, you've stumbled into one of the best value plays of the day!
Jaylin Williams (FD $3700 DK $3000) has been starting at center for OKC and faces an Indiana team allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing centers.
Nikola Jokic FD - $11500 DK - $11400
Opponent - MIN
Proj Pts FD - 58.14 DK - 60.98
There's going to be a ton of value on this slate, so let's get the most reliable option in fantasy into our lineup. The consistency from Jokic is unmatched, with the big man scoring at least 39 DraftKings points in all but seven games since 2020. That's three years of dominance, but his floor has become even better this season.
The big man has scored at least 51 fantasy points in 23 of his last 25 games, generating a 61-point average in that stretch. He's also got eight 80-point games this year, and Luka Doncic is the only comparable guy at this point. We already discussed how terrible the Timberwolves' defense has been, which is no surprise since Jokic has at least 60 fantasy points in their last two matchups.
Mitchell Robinson FD - $6300 DK - $5500
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 32.33 DK - 30.04
It's hard to understand why Robinson's price remains around $6,000. The only gripe with the big man over the last few years is his role, but that's not an issue anymore. Robinson has played at least 34 minutes in five of his last six games, averaging 33 DK points per game across 35 minutes a night. This was one of the best per-minute producers in the past, and we believe Mitch-Rob can be an $8K player if he continues to play 35-40 minutes.
He's actually averaging over 30 fantasy points per game across the last month, and that should be his floor in a matchup like this. Washington ranks 17th in defensive efficiency and 16th in points allowed while posting a 19th OPRK against opposing centers.
Alperen Sengün (FD $7500 DK $7700) just had a career-high 70 fantasy points in his most recent outing and faces a Charlotte team allowing historic averages to opposing centers. Also, don't forget about Naz Reid if Rudy Gobert is out!