Welcome back to the NBA DFS grind and happy Monday to you. It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day and while we certainly want to take some time to remember such a great and impactful man, we also want to enjoy a beautiful MLK Day slate in daily fantasy basketball.
The NBA loves to roll out a full day of games on MLK Day, so you can start the fun off early or wait until tonight’s main slate. I’m going to partake in both, but since NBA news has been slow to trickly out, it may make more sense to target the later GPPs with most of your funds.
That’s also where the big GPPs are, so if you want to aim high for big money, that’s the way to go.
There is a lot to consider on a weird four-game slate that starts at 6:00 pm ET and may not end until the next day. Either way, here are some of my favorite daily fantasy basketball picks to consider using tonight in FanDuel tournaments:
PG: Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers ($9k)
Too cheap. Stephen Curry and Ben Simmons are sexier plays, but they’re both a full $1k more expensive than Thrillard. The matchup stinks, but I have to hop on value like this when it’s staring me in the face.
Lillard is rock solid (40+ fantasy points in four of his last five games and offers 50+ fantasy point upside. He’s a fantastic elite option at a discount tonight.
PG: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors ($10k)
Lillard is a great pivot off of Chef Curry, but I love the idea of pairing these two studs. Curry can erupt at a moment’s notice and is an awesome spot tonight against the up-tempo Lake Show.
Fading Curry probably doesn’t equate to a death sentence, but he’s a lock for 40+ fantasy points most nights and when he’s really hot he can push for 60. I’ll be hoping for the latter tonight.
SG: James Harden – Houston Rockets ($14k)
I won’t waste much time here. Harden’s price is obscene, but he’s not a guy you can fade right now. He should be about 50% owned and if he drops 74+ fantasy points for the sixth game in a row, you’ll want to be on him.
Harden could draw Jimmy Butler defense, but this clash with the 76ers is slated as a very explosive showdown. Our own Andrew Powell broke this game down and while he prefers Philly in his Rockets vs. 76ers pick, Harden is sure to get his.
If you want to spend your cash elsewhere, you can pivot down to Donovan Mitchell or Jimmy Butler, assuming the latter hits the hardwood tonight.
SG: Dion Waiters – Miami Heat ($3.5k)
Tonight feels like a fun “stars and scrubs” slate, so I’m spending up at a few spots and locating some elite values that I think can pan out. Waiters is one of them, as he is slowly working his way back into a good role in Miami’s rotation.
Waiters got hot (21 points) in his last contest and has now logged 20+ minutes in three of his last six games. Miami’s rotation is tough to predict, but he seems to be trending in the right direction and feels like a fine GPP dice roll.
Furkan Korkmaz is another elite GPP flier in the event Jimmy Butler (wrist) can’t go tonight.
SF: Lance Stephenson – Los Angeles Lakers ($3.5k)
Born Ready is probably my favorite punt play on this small slate. He should be popular, as he’s likely going to see a ton of run with LeBron James, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo all on the shelf.
Lakers players are not safe in a tough matchup with the Warriors, but the tempo is to die for and the piling injuries could have a handful of guys eating serious run.
SF: James Ennis III – Houston Rockets ($3.5k)
Kevin Durant is the only small forward worth paying up for tonight, but I’m investing my cash in other spots. I think double-punting SF has it’s merit and Ennis should start and approach 30 minutes.
Ennis was great in his last game (27 minutes, 25 fantasy points) and if he can come close to that rate I think he’s a lock at this price.
PF: Marcus Morris – Boston Celtics ($5k)
I also like P.J. Tucker due to his elite minutes, but I can’t get to him right now. Morris is a fine pivot, though, as he gets 25-30 minutes off the bench and can get hot as a scorer.
PF: Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers ($7.5k)
I don’t know how likely it is that the Lakers hang tight with the Dubs tonight, but they are at home and Golden State tends to let teams stay close. Either way, Kuz should get all of the shots and offers pretty nice upside based on his price.
The power forward position is hot garbage tonight, so I’m thinking about double-punting or paying up for Kuzma. For now, I’ll hope the offense flows through Lance and Kuz and they’re not awful.
C: Nene Hilario – Houston Rockets ($3.5k)
DeMarcus Cousins is tempting at $5.1k and Joel Embiid is the top play at center. However, Embiid (back) is currently listed as questiobable as I write this.
The way I see it, I’m going to punt at center no matter what. Either Mike Muscala will see major run with Embiid out, or Hilario’s defense could be needed if Embiid plays.
Houston prefers to go smaller and Kenneth Faried’s presence could shake things up a bit, but Hilario could easily see 20 minutes if he has to try to limit Embiid. That could make him worth a deep GPP flier.
This is a very risky NBA DFS lineup, as I’m presently rostering as many as five guys that could be absolutely awful. There is logic to every single one of them, though, as well as clear paths to good (if not great) outings.
It also helps me easily land Harden and pay up for three other potential studs in Kuz, Curry and Dame. If those guys don’t deliver then these punts are going to quickly turn into a mistake, but that’s the risk you take on in tournaments.
These types of lineups are all about upside, but if you want to get a bit safer and balance things out, consider dropping down from Kuz/Curry or perhaps even fading Harden.
I don’t see a way around Harden right now, though, and I love this team around him. Hopefully my NBA DFS picks serve you well and help you win in some manner. Either way, good luck with your contests and enjoy the games!