FanDuel DFS NBA Picks | 12/31/18

James Harden Cash play

This will be the last article of 2018, and I hope your year was a good one! We saw our amazing FTA community grow, and we’re looking forward to more in 2019. I am possibly going to change the format starting tomorrow as an experimental thing (incorporating DraftKings picks into the article). Let me know your feedback, follow me on twitter @jac3600, and good luck tonight!

POINT GUARD

TOP PLAY

Stephen Curry, GS ($10,100)

I’d like to go Westbrook here, but neither of these two guys are cash plays anyway with Harden and AD dwarfing the entire slate. The Warriors have the highest team total at 119.5 points and are facing off against the Suns who rank 26th in overall team defense and 22nd against PGs. It’s actually a pace downgrade for the Warriors, but they’ve picked it back up with Curry and Draymond healthy. Curry is an elite GPP option, as are all the Warriors.

Other options – Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Mike Conley

Mid-tier options – Derrick Rose (depending on his and Teague’s health)

VALUE PLAY

Bryn Forbes, SA ($4400)

Forbes continues to be a nice choice for the FD “punt” option. He has no upside whatsoever, but consistently plays 30 minutes and posts low-end scores to JUST hit value. The matchup is bad, but Forbes is a floor play to help you possibly fit both Harden and Davis.

Other options – Dennis Smith, Tyus Jones, Derrick White, JJ Barea

SHOOTING GUARD

TOP PLAY

James Harden, HOU ($12,600)

Harden has a far worse matchup than AD, but you still have to pick Harden of the two if it only comes down to one. The bearded wonder has a 47% usage rate and a 61% assist rate without Chris Paul on the court this year, which is ridiculous in its own right. Now you throw in the fact that Eric Gordon is also out (he had almost a 27% usage rate without Paul), and Harden’s minutes and rates should be absolutely bananas this evening. Memphis is slow and defensive-minded, but I can’t see building a lineup without Harden in it.

Other options – Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker

Mid-tier options – Klay Thompson

VALUE PLAY

Austin Rivers, HOU ($3800)

It’s double Houston at the SG position tonight. Rivers will start for the injured Eric Gordon tonight, and he played 37 minutes last game (and 33 the game before when Gordon played the whole time anyway). Rivers is a poor per-minute guy (0.62 FPPM), but he should EASILY see 35+ minutes and is near the minimum price tag. He’s an important building block on a slate you at least want to attempt to pay for both Harden and AD.

Other options – Andrew Wiggins, Dennis Schroder, Andre Iguodala

SMALL FORWARD

TOP PLAY

Kevin Durant, GS ($10,500)

Durant falls into Curry’s realm of “elite GPP, but doesn’t fit the cash build” territory. Phoenix ranks 24th against SFs and has no one near the size or athletic ability to guard KD. His rates are a bit more inconsistent with everyone healthy, but KD has lineup-winning upside on any given night. I love him as a GPP pivot off the top two guys.

Other options – Paul George

Mid-tier options – TJ Warren, Robert Covington

VALUE PLAY

Danuel House/Gerald Green, HOU ($4200/$3500)

Green won’t start so you can’t predict his minutes as well as Rivers’ or House’s, but he should see solid usage in the second unit and has posted a 16% UR with Paul out. Gordon’s absence should boost that even more, and if you want to get aggressive and predict 28-30 minutes, $3500 is easy to pay off. House is a bit pricier, but if you want “safety in starters’ minutes”, he’s fine too.

Other options – Rudy Gay, Harrison Barnes, Kelly Oubre, Davis Bertans

POWER FORWARD

TOP PLAY

Anthony Davis, NO ($12,700)

Davis is Harden’s nightly equal in expected production, and he could surpass him tonight with a much better matchup. New Orleans is right on Golden State’s tail for the team with the highest implied total (118) and Minnesota ranks 22nd in rebounding rate despite ranking 12th against centers. Don’t be put off by Davis’ bust last game, it was on the second end of a b2b and Houston has actually been defensively stout against centers lately. Harden is #1, but Davis is a close 1A, and I want both.

Other options – LaMarcus Aldridge

Mid-tier options – Draymond Green, Jayson Tatum

VALUE PLAY

Maxi Kleber, DAL ($4000)

Wesley Matthews looks like he’ll miss another game, which means Kleber will likely draw another start to match with OKC size-wise. The Thunder are a nightmare for opposing centers, ranking second in defensive efficiency and fourth in rebounding rate, but Kleber is too cheap for a role in the upper 20s (29 and 28 minutes last two games). Steven Adams draws fouls below the league-average rate which should keep Kleber on the court, and he has a 12% rebounding rate the last three games. If he busts, just throw out the score.

Other options – Marcus Morris, PJ Tucker, Taj Gibson, Jonas Jerebko

CENTER

TOP PLAY

Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($9800)

Towns was AMAZING last night, putting up an incredible 90.1 points on FD. You obviously can’t expect that again, but he should once again be the centerpiece of the T-Wolves offense, especially if Teague and/or Rose miss again. New Orleans is 15th against centers and sixth in rebounding rate, but they’re also fifth in pace (Minn is 11th) and this game leads the slate with a whopping 238 O/U.

Other options – Julius Randle, Clint Capela, DeAndre Ayton

Mid-tier options – Steven Adams, DeAndre Jordan

VALUE PLAY

Kevon Looney, GS ($4200)

Looney has been a staple of the “cheap centers with upside” GPP section lately. He’s starting every game and is a good bet for 22-24 minutes. That court time caps his upside a touch, but Phoenix ranks dead last against centers while allowing the most FPPG per 48 minutes to them, and is also 27th in rebounding rate. Looney is averaging 0.89 FPPM this season and the matchup could boost that upside a touch.

Other options – None (literally, none. Maybe Al Horford as a sprinkle if he has no minutes restriction)

Fantasy Basketball

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