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FanDuel NBA Picks – January 5th

Punting shooting guard was not the way to go last night. My punt options did not pan out, while all three of the top shooting guards poured in 36+ fantasy points. That was always a possibility, but I didn’t really anticipate a 50+ fantasy point outing from Eric Gordon.

Lesson learned, I suppose, but I still had some success with last night’s NBA DFS picks. Chris Paul and Stephen Curry were both plenty solid, while DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Paul George all went nuts. My value plays really didn’t deliver, while going contrarian with a pivot off of Gerald Green (38 fantasy points) also proved to be costly.

It was still a fine GPP try on a 2-game night, but ultimately it didn’t deliver. Hopefully you used a few of the picks and rolled with Eric Gordon and Gerald Green en route to some cash.

Either way, Friday is here again and DFS gamers get a fat 10-game daily fantasy basketball slate to work with. Let’s take a look at the best lineup to be had at FanDuel tonight:

PG: Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks ($5.9k)

DSJ has a relatively tough individual assignment with the pesky Kris Dunn covering him, but the Bulls as a whole don’t defend well and rank just 25th against point guards. That, and Smith is starting to wake up after posting 44, 32 and 29 fantasy point outings over his last three contests.

He isn’t what I’d call “stable”, but he’s an elite, explosive talent with loads of upside. At home in a solid matchup, Smith projects to meet or exceed value tonight. Put simply, he’s just too cheap.

PG: Ish Smith – Detroit Pistons ($6.1k)

I don’t see point guard as a place where I need to spend tonight. Sure, Damian Lillard, John Wall and others are absolutely worth a look, but I prefer to pay up elsewhere. The value at PG makes it easy for me, as both Ricky Rubio ($5.8k) and Ish Smith feel like strong options to pair with DSJ.

I’ll go with Smith, simply because he seems to have a better floor than Rubio these days and also has had less problems with his run. On top of that, he has a fine matchup with the Sixers (21st against PG), where the revenge factor could also come into play.

Reggie Jackson remains on the shelf for Detroit and Andre Drummond could miss a second straight game, so I won’t be at all shocked to see Ish take over in this one.

SG: Nicolas Batum – Charlotte Hornets ($6k)

I’m not in love with shooting guard tonight. There are plenty of solid options, but the top dogs have tough matchups and I don’t feel like spending a ton of cash chasing DeMar DeRozan’s crazy 52-point game. Instead, I’ll drop down to Batum, who gets an up tempo date with the Lakers in Los Angeles.

L.A. has a solid defender on the outside in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but that hasn’t stopped them from ranking 23rd against shooting guards. The beauty with Batum is it isn’t just about scoring, either. He does a little bit of everything and at this price, I’ll assume the risk he carries with him.

SG: C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers ($7.3k)

I have had a tough time getting on the right side of McCollum this year (he’s been quite erratic), but I have to think tonight is a good time to try him (Hawks rank 22nd against SG). McCollum can score on anyone and tonight he’ll be at home against an Atlanta defense that simply isn’t good.

McCollum has been flashing his upside lately, too, posting 48+ fantasy points in 2 of his last 4 games. His inconsistency is maddening, but I’ll take that upside as I pivot away from SG options that have tougher matchups and should be a bit chalkier.

SF: Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs ($8.1k)

Only a late scratch will keep me off of Kawhi Leonard tonight. He’s at home against a terrible Suns defense and is finally playing around 30 minutes per game. His run should only increase going forward, but 28-30 minutes of Kawhi at this price remains a steal.

That was certainly the case his last time out, as Leonard shredded the Knicks (49 fantasy points in 30 minutes). Tonight he’s got an even better matchup and he’s an elite pivot off of far pricier SF options like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler. I’ll be fading both in tourneys and riding Kawhi.

SF: Denzel Valentine – Chicago Bulls ($4.5k)

I’m going to need a little bit of value at some point and one of my favorite deep dives is DV as he takes on the Mavericks. Dallas does tend to slow the tempo down, but this game has a pretty tight spread and should be really competitive. That, and Dallas doesn’t have an elite defense, specifically ranking just 23rd against small forwards.

The Bulls in general aren’t always easy to trust and Valentine doesn’t have the most concrete role ever, but it looks like he’s viable at the moment. With 31+ minutes and 25+ fantasy points in each of his last two games, he’s a value pick I don’t mind rolling the dice with.

PF: Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers ($8.6k)

I’m not sure what Simmons’ ownership will be, but I love his upside tonight despite a troubling matchup by the numbers. Kristaps Porzingis is self-admittedly “tired” and hasn’t been very good lately, so I can’t bring myself to pay for him. LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t have the same upside with Kawhi Leonard back, either, so for me, that makes Simmons the top PF on this slate.

Simmons hasn’t exactly gone nuts in two games against Detroit, but he’s still posted elite peripherals, having no trouble topping 42 fantasy points, on average. Should Andre Drummond sit out a second straight game, I’ll only like Simmons’ ability to get into the paint even more.

PF: Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers ($6k)

Kuzma’s price has dropped quite a bit, largely due to a quad injury that has limited him in his last two contests. He still logged 28 minutes in his last game, however, and should continue to see a huge offensive role for the struggling Lakers.

Provided he doesn’t randomly sit out tonight, I love the discount against a Charlotte team that stinks on the road and are just mediocre (15th) at stopping power forwards this year.

C: Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers ($7.5k)

The Blazers haven’t been great lately, but it hasn’t been because of Nurkic, who has been a bit of a DFS dynamo. He’s absolutely wrecking lately, with 35+ fantasy points in each of his last 4 games and 41+ three times during that span.

Nurk is dialed in at the moment and tonight draws a favorable matchup at home against the Hawks, who are bad in general but rank just 26th against centers. There are a lot of centers to consider on this slate (Hassan Whiteside feels too cheap) but I like the value and upside I get with Nurk Alert.

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