My NBA DFS picks certainly could have been worse last night. There was some bad chalk (Derrick Rose was meh) and Devin Booker got ejected before chasing through a tunnel to go fight Gorgui Dieng:
Devin Booker and Gorgui Dieng ejected for altercation, run to meet each other in tunnel. Developing. pic.twitter.com/bA0ROMHvgY
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 23, 2019
That’s not the greatest of looks and it also forced Booker into failing me last night.
Kyle Lowry, DeAndre Jordan and Luka Doncic all worked out, though, while Pascal Siakam and a few other plays were fine enough.
It was going to be very tough to win with a slew of Kings going nuts in Toronto, though. In addition, KAT wrecked as expected, Damian Lillard went off and both Russell Westbrook and Paul George erupted as well.
I didn’t produce a winner, but first place in my single entry GPP got 396 fantasy points. That’s a pretty big number even on a huge slate, but on a tiny four-gamer, that’s insane.
It’s onward and upward come Wednesday, where the NBA pushes out a big 10-game daily fantasy basketball slate. Let’s see what my favorite NBA DFS lineup looks like for FanDuel GPPs:
PG: Elfrid Payton – New Orleans Pelicans ($5.7k)
Anthony Davis is going to be sidelined for a bit, so there is going to be a ton of minutes and usage for other Pelicans players to soak up.
Normally I’d be a bit hesitant to pull the trigger on Frid, but he’s locked into a solid role and he should be looking at some extra shots.
Payton is also at home and has a good matchup in front of him, as the Pistons don’t defend the lead guard spot very well. Jrue Holiday could be really popular with The Brow out, but he’s almost $10k. I’m going to lean toward the cheaper Pelicans plays for now.
If you’re looking to save even more cash at point guard, consider T.J. McConnell in the event Ben Simmons (illness) is out.
PG: Kris Dunn – Chicago Bulls ($7.4k)
This isn’t an amazing price for Dunn, especially since his recent form has been pretty erratic. That being said, he’s actually provided a solid floor for the majority of the season and he’ll be at home against a shaky Hawks defense (25th in defensive efficiency).
Dunn will also likely see Trae Young defense, which is never a bad thing. The sample size is small, but Dunn has produced much better at home this season and the fact that Chicago host the team with the fastest pace in basketball bodes well for his DFS upside.
In addition, the Hawks are typically a good spot to target. They are dead last in assists allowed per game and rank just 23rd at defending the long ball. Don’t be shocked if Dunn pops off tonight and comes in at low ownership.
Point guard isn’t even stacked tonight, as Kyrie Irving (and a healthy Simmons) is really the only stud to pay up for. His Celtics are massive 16-point favorites, too, so this isn’t the best spot to pay up for him.
SG: Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz ($8.3k)
I will warm up to Jimmy Butler in a hurry if Ben Simmons is out, but Butler himself isn’t even a lock to play. Jrue Holiday is also worth paying up for and of course if you want to shell out $13.5k for James Harden, I won’t stop you.
Victor Oladipo also feels like a nice value, but paying for anyone against the Raptors often feels silly.
Mitchell still has a massive role even with Ricky Rubio slowly working his way back into the rotation, while other injuries in Utah should keep his usage high. He tends to play his best ball at home and with Denver’s Gary Harris still looking at a minutes cap, this matchup with the Nuggets isn’t as scary as it often can be.
Denver as a whole isn’t quite as good on the road, either, while Mitchell gives you an elite late-game hammer to close this slate out.
SG: Zach LaVine – Chicago Bulls ($7.1k)
No, I don’t feel amazing about stacking Bulls players, but they’re at home and the Hawks aren’t very good. If Chicago is going to erupt and actually resemble an NBA team, this would certainly be the spot for them to do it.
LaVine hasn’t been as explosive as he was earlier in the year, but he at least got back to scoring the ball well with 22 and 25 points in his last two games. LaVine dropped 44 fantasy points on Atlanta earlier this year, thrives at the United Center and has one of the better matchups on the board.
I like Butler, Dipo, Jrue and Harden, but I prefer a balanced roster tonight and the intermediate value at SG is specifically pretty appealing.
If you’re looking to save at shooting guard, Eric Gordon ($5.3k) stands out as a viable option. He’s just not 100% healthy, so that will be a risky play.
SF: Nikola Mirotic – New Orleans Pelicans ($6.7k)
I’m going to continue the trend of Pels options, which I’m sure won’t be the least bit contrarian. Outside of Jrue and Julius Randle (both of which you still will want to sprinkle in other NBA DFS lineups), there is a lot of value to be had via New Orleans players.
Niko is one of them, as he can blow up as a scorer and will see more run and usage with The Brow out with an injury. Mirotic is still too cheap given his role and upside.
SF: Rudy Gay – San Antonio Spurs ($5.5k)
Kawhi Leonard will not play again tonight, so paying up at small forward isn’t a necessity; at least not at both slots.
Gay doesn’t have an amazing ceiling, but he’s been pretty good for the Spurs and could have a nice fast-paced matchup in front of him in Philly. If Jimmy Butler plays he’s probably going to be busy guarding DeMar DeRozan, so Gay could be a sneaky option here.
I wouldn’t mind punting the second SF spot if awesome value opens up. J.J. Redick and Taurean Prince are also on my radar for salary-saving plays tonight.
PF: Lauri Markkanen – Chicago Bulls ($6.9k)
Three Bulls players in my lineup; what could go wrong? But hey, that’s the GPP life and I love the matchup for them at home.
Markkanen has a nice role and a solid matchup in front of him by the numbers and stacking this game might be one of the better strategies of the night. You won’t feel good about it, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
PF: Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic ($6.8k)
Blake Griffin is a fine stud to pay for at power forward, while I also like intermediate options like John Collins, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka.
Gordon should return from a back issue, though, and he offers a lot of upside based on his discounted price. Usually you need to pay somewhere between $7-8k to land Gordon, while a date with the Nets offers some solid DFS potential.
Gordon and the Magic as a whole are tough to trust on the road, but he did drop 36 fantasy points in his previous meeting with Brooklyn. Provided he suits up, he’s one of my favorite intermediate plays tonight.
You can also pay up for Julius Randle or try to save with Kenneth Faried. Suffice to say, there are quite a few different directions to go at the PF position on this slate.
C: Jahlil Okafor – New Orleans Pelicans ($5.5k)
I’ll wrap things up with my third Pels play, as Okafor is an elite value given the run he seems locked into with Davis down for the count.
Okafor logged 35 minutes and produced 41 fantasy points in his last outing, which was actually a way more difficult matchup against the Grizzlies.
Detroit isn’t quite as good on the road and Andre Drummond isn’t what I’d call an elite defender down low. Okafor feels like a risky play, but let’s not forget he’s actually a very good scorer inside and he can also chip in with rebounds and blocks when he’s dialed in.
This would be the time for him to care, as he should get an amazing opportunity to showcase his ability for a bigger role in another city.
You’re passing up some elite plays to take this dive with me, to be sure. Nikola Vucevic and Joel Embiid are in money spots, while you can argue Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert are both worth your time as well.
I like the savings Okafor gets me, however, and if he can do what he did in his last game I think using him will be the right call.
Fading the top studs is always a roll of the dice, especially when you note the heaters guys like Harden and Irving are one. Embiid will also be a difficult fade in the event Ben Simmons and/or Jimmy Butler are sidelined.
I do think there will be merit in trying to cram one or two of these guys in, but as things stand I don’t see enough elite value to make me want to do it.
Instead, I’m soaking up value with the Pelicans and Bulls and if they pan out I could be in really good shape. Make adjustments as needed, but this lineup could be a good starting point regardless of what your final intentions are with this slate.
The good news is it should be easy to transition from what I have here to a team with your favorite stud. For instance, if you covet Harden, just swap him in for Mitchell and pay down at the other SG spot, one SF spot and one PF spot.
If that’s where you’re going, I’d suggest rolling with something like Taurean Prince, Dwyane Wade and Kenneth Faried to pair with Harden. You can do something similar if you want Embiid, too. Just drop down from Mitchell and also try to save at SF and PF.
I’m personally sticking with this NBA DFS lineup unless something crazy changes.
In that same breath, one good practice is to always leave your initial team alone and if you plan on making alterations, import that same lineup and make edits in a separate GPP. That allows you to tinker without wondering “what could have been” had you stuck with your gut the first time around.
Thanks for stopping by and I wish you luck. Enjoy the games!