FanDuel NBA Picks – December 9th

I rolled with Quinn Cook yesterday assuming he’d start and that was a move I made to get more balanced around a Boogie and Kevin Durant core. As fate would have it, Cook did not start and the return of Anthony Davis did not make Boogie the necessity that he originally seemed to be.

Cousins still wrecked against his former Kings squad, but I suggested a pivot to Nikola Vucevic (50+ fantasy points) and that would have been the preferred route. Durant (74) was certainly the play at SF, as he was even better last night than the previous night when he notched 66 fantasy points. Clearly he is a must while Stephen Curry is sidelined with an ankle issue.

For what it’s worth, KD and Boogie were fantastic plays and if you built a team with those guys as your core, you had a chance to compete across all formats. My particular lineup carried some duds, as Cook finished with 9 fantasy points, JaKarr Sampson was a total bust and Domantas Sabonis had a smaller role with Myles Turner suiting up.

Sabonis still wasn’t that bad, but I personally ended up pivoting to Marvin Williams, who worked out nicely. LaMarcus Aldridge was fine (38), while both J.J. Barea and Buddy Hield were respectable with 24 and 29 fantasy points. Rajon Rondo was a surprise scratch in the end, and was part of a four-pack of value plays that didn’t work out.

This is the problem with creating FanDuel lineups early in the day. I don’t always have the ability to come back and update these rosters, so remember that you do not need to feel obliged to submit the rosters as you see them into contests. This is more of an example of the type of team you can piece together with me showcasing my favorite studs and value plays.

My value plays didn’t work out last night due to various lineup shifts. Had Turner and The Brow sat out and Rondo not been scratched, things could have ended very differently.

Either way, I’m back for another go of it on Saturday. I have not always done weekend lineups in the past and won’t always be able to do them in the future. I’ll probably base how often I do them on feedback, so if the weekend teams are at all helpful to you, please reply in the comments section that you want me to keep doing them on Saturday and Sunday.

Tonight’s slate is obscene with top-shelf studs, but I’ll do my best to hunt for some value and pick the right elite options for you to build around in GPPs. Let’s get to it:

PG: Dejounte Murray – San Antonio Spurs ($3.6k)

I’m curious to see just how popular Spurs deep dives will be on this slate, but with so many banged up guys and candidates to be rested, I’m seeing a ton of value that can’t be ignored. I’ll dance between Murray and Patty Mills, but in a game with the Suns, I have to think Murray gets a lot of run and produces.

Murray has logged exactly 9 minutes over his last three contests, but San Antonio should get him a lot of run in this game with the Suns. They’re incredibly short-handed and it’s a killer matchup (Suns rank 29th against point guards), after all.

PG: Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder ($10.8k)

If Paul George (calf) sits again tonight, Russ is a must in NBA DFS circles. It’d be so fitting for him to come up lame in that same situation against the Nets, only to turn around and wreck against the Grizzlies.

I think that may make Westbrook a little more contrarian than usual, while a slew of viable point guard options (as well as several other elite options) may lower his ownership. Westbrook hasn’t been quite as dominant this year, but a low-owned Russ is always worth a look and he has thrived in this matchup. The last two times he faced a Mike Conley-less Memphis team, he put up 38 and 45 real life points, respectively.

If you want to save at PG, I also love CP3 at Portland, while Dennis Schroder at home against the Magic also looks fun. Ricky Rubio also remains dirt cheap if you don’t want to go all the way down to Murray, but are still looking to save some cash. Jerryd Bayless is also in line for a big role with T.J. McConnell already ruled out for tonight’s contest in Cleveland.

SG: Brandon Paul – San Antonio Spurs ($3.5k)

BP3 is in play tonight with Manu Ginobili being ruled out tonight for rest purposes. Knowing the Spurs, it wouldn’t be shocking to see more veterans sitting out a date with a bad Phoenix Suns team. The last time Manu took a breather, Paul logged 33 minutes and put up 23 fantasy points.

In addition, Danny Green (groin) couldn’t finish the game last night and has to be questionable for Saturday’s tilt.

I’m not really vouching for Paul as a player, but even if he isn’t initially looking at heavy run, a blowout over the Suns could still produce it. He’s a fine deep dive on this slate, regardless.

SG: James Harden – Houston Rockets ($11.2k)

Harden feels like a discount compared to the other studs tonight, so he’s coming in as my favorite play. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook both have tough matchups on paper, while LeBron James might not have to play a full game against a banged up 76ers team.

Harden has had a lot of success against the Blazers in the past, while their normally stingy defense takes a hit due to a Jusuf Nurkic injury. Harden is an elite closing option in a game that boasts the second highest Total of the night. Here’s to hoping the Blazers can tighten up a gaudy 10-point spread.

SF: Lance Thomas – New York Knicks ($3.7k)

Welcome to the team of deep dives. I love the value that might be available tonight and that shouldn’t stop with Lance Thomas, who could start again with Tim Hardaway Jr. still sidelined. Thomas wasn’t great in his last outing, but he logged 31 minutes and could do so again.

The Knicks need offense beyond just Kristaps Porzingis and if I’m thinking of using shaky guys like Courtney Lee ($5.9k) or Jonathon Simmons ($6.1k), why not just drop down to Thomas? If he has the same role he had last game, I like his chances against a bad Bulls defense that ranks 25th against small forwards.

SF: LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers ($12.k)

All this diving gets me my three favorite studs and if they can meet or exceed expectations, it should be a fun night. King James could easily be rested after playing a hard game last night, but if he plays I love him against the 76ers. He topped 50+ fantasy points in a meeting with them earlier this year and this time he won’t have to face off with Joel Embiid’s defense.

The Greek Freak is in play at the same price and might be more contrarian against Utah, but his matchup is way worse.

PF: Ed Davis – Portland Trail Blazers ($3.5k)

My deep dives continue with Ed Davis, who projects to have a much bigger role with Jusuf Nurkic out with an injury. I’ll probably need him to start to stick on him firmly, but the Blazers are certainly going to need an athletic big to maintain Clint Capela inside.

Davis should be the first guy to try, while he’s clearly really cheap. I like his double-double upside in this matchup if he’s awarded the run.

PF: Davis Bertans – San Antonio Spurs ($3.5k)

The Spurs have also already ruled out Pau Gasol and could easily sit LaMarcus Aldridge after an intense game with the Celtics last night. Kyle Anderson is also on the shelf and Kawhi Leonard isn’t due back until Tuesday. Rudy Gay also started last night and it’s possible even he is held out.

All of the injuries and scratches are bound to open up a ton of value, making Spurs value plays pretty popular tonight. Then again, people don’t often want to risk it with these guys, as they never know who will log the minutes and produce. Bertans is a fine shooter who has performed well in an expanded role in the past, though. Also, #Suns.

C: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($8k)

I would love to get to Vucevic, but I’ve mixed in some elite value with three of the best studs on this slate. Provided the Cavs don’t randomly rest some of their top players, Love is looking like a fantastic pivot off the likely popular Vucevic. Joel Embiid resting today opens up the entire position, but probably drives a ton of ownership toward Vucevic.

That could make Love fairly low-owned, while he also has a way better matchup than the first time he faced Philly. Love struggled (21 fantasy points) with Embiid in the lineup, so I like his chances to shine with less defensive resistance this time around.

Overall, I’m gunning for the studs and taking elite value shots on this slate. I don’t have a great personal history on weekend slates, but the Spurs seem to be parting the seas for me. You can decide to go a different route, but I love this team for tourneys.

If you want more value at center, consider Greg Monroe ($5.3k) if Tyson Chandler and/or Alex Len are out. I also don’t mind Richaun Holmes ($4.3k) with Embiid resting.

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