FanDuel NBA DFS Picks – January 7th

Monday brings DFS enthusiasts a fun eight-game daily fantasy basketball main slate at FanDuel. That comes on the heels of a jam-packed weekend, which featured plenty of NBA DFS contests, as well as NFL DFS playoff action.

It’s all about The Association to start the new work week, however, and there is a lot to consider. To start things off, we know that Kyrie Irving (eye) will finally be back on the hardwood, and that means you should probably try finding value plays outside of Boston.

Elsewhere, daily fantasy basketball gamers will want to keep tabs on the status of Kyle Kuzma. If he’s out, Lance Stephenson could be a nice punt play at FanDuel and every Lakers option would be on the table as a core play.

Keep your eye on any changing news beyond that, but also start your NBA DFS lineup building process early in the day so you can really figure out where you want to go in most spots. Hopefully you’re starting your work with me and my favorite NBA DFS picks.

Without further haste, here’s my favorite squad to roll out in FanDuel tourneys on Monday night:

PG: Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers ($9.2k)

Kyrie Irving is also in contention for the top PG play of this slate, but make no mistake about it; you’re probably choosing between Lillard and Irving up top tonight. Both have good matchups, but Irving is making his return from an eye issue.

Lillard’s point spread is dicey, but he can wreck at home and has no ailments he’s dealing with. I’ll take him as a late-game hammer and hope Irving ends up being the chalkier play.

PG: Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks ($5.1k)

DSJ has not been good, but he’s still a talented player in an up-tempo showdown with the Lakers. Lonzo Ball can defend, but the Lakers can still give up production to point guards and their pace as a whole sets up nicely for Dallas options.

After a couple of terrible outings, this feels like a decent “get right” spot for Smith. Fortunately he’s cheap, so the risk is curbed a bit. And thanks to his awful play of late, it’s unlikely he’ll garner high ownership.

Elfrid Payton and Emmanuel Mudiay have good roles and are just $1k more, but I like the savings here and the DFS environment is about as good as it gets.

SG: Buddy Hield – Sacramento Kings ($7.4k)

James Harden is a very tough guy to fade, but his last game versus the Blazers showed he might be human. He’ll be guarded by Gary Harris for much of the night and he’s almost $13k, so he might be worth fading in some GPPs.

I still love Harden, but for tonight’s NBA DFS lineup, I’ll be going away from him. One reason is because Hield is on fire. He’s poured in 27+ real points in each of his last three outings and there’s no end in sight.

Bogdan Bogdanovic is a fine pivot down at $6.6k, but I feel the need for Hield on this slate.

SG: Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks ($7.7k)

I also covet Luka, so getting two very solid shooting guard options could make fading Harden less damaging. Doncic has been relatively quiet as a scorer lately, but something tells me he’s about to pop off in an explosive matchup with the Lake Show tonight.

Doncic’s price has dropped a bit and he has so much upside thanks to his scoring and peripherals. I’m feeling a 50-burger tonight.

If SG is a place you want to save, consider diving down to Austin Rivers ($4.5k). He’s a terrific price for a guy who is basically playing the entire game for the Rockets right now.

SF: Nemanja Bjelica – Sacramento Kings ($6.1k)

I’m not a big fan of using people against the Magic, but this game is in Sac-town. I suspect the Kings’ fast pace will take over here and fans could get an underrated shootout.

That will surely have me on Orlando a bit, but I won’t force it. Bjelica is one Kings player to look at, namely if big man Marvin Bagley remains out. Bjelica lacks elite upside, but he’s been rock steady with 29+ fantasy points in five of his last six games.

Brandon Ingram has a big role with LeBron James dead, so look to him if you have a little extra cash to spend.

SF: Lance Stephenson – Los Angeles Lakers ($4.2k)

Personally, I’d rather just roll with Born Ready, who is locked into a killer role right now with Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James both sidelined with injuries. James is out no matter what, but I do probably need Kuz to sit again to feel great about Lance.

Still, Stephenson could just end up being my “low score” for this slate, so I’m not too worried either way. The run has been good and he’s always been able to get his hands in all kinds of stats. A positive DFS matchup with the Mavs bodes well if he can hold onto his solid role.

If you have the cash, Giannis Antetokounmpo is obviously the best small forward on this slate. He’s even wrecked the Jazz in the past, but this isn’t the matchup where I feel obliged to spend on an elite player.

PF: Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic ($7.2k)

I like that Magic vs. Kings game, so I have no issues using pieces from that matchup. I’m not against the Orlando side, especially given Gordon’s upside and cheap price tag.

Big man Nikola Vucevic is undoubtedly the top Magic pick tonight, but he’s really pricey. I’ll roll the dice on Gordon’s ceiling and hope he comes to play.

PF: Kevin Knox – New York Knicks ($5.9k)

Power forward is dominated by Anthony Davis tonight, but he is not cheap and a date with the slow Grizzlies is obviously less than ideal. That’s not a matchup I feel great about, so I’ll be going elsewhere at PF on this slate.

Knox is still too cheap when you look at his playing time and scoring ability. Portland is a bad matchup on the road, but Knox is borderline matchup proof these days.

Teammate Noah Vonleh has a chance at some true revenge in this one, but I’m not elated about playing Knicks options that aren’t guaranteed run in the event of a blowout. He’s certainly a viable GPP pivot, however.

C: DeAndre Jordan – Dallas Mavericks ($6.8k)

I’ll cap things off with DJ, who has been shaky lately but is still a double-double threat every time he hits the hardwood. A date with the Lakers in theory is sublime for DFS purposes and Jordan can always rack up the steals, blocks and rebounds.

Should DJ show up a bit offensively, he has a clear path to 40-45 fantasy points. I’ll take that chance at this discounted price tag.

If you’re able to spend at center, Vucevic is the clear play. Nikola Jokic is a distant second.

Summary

I’m taking a calculated risk and fading all of the top studs tonight. This is a purely GPP move, as none of these guys are remotely discounted and they also all have bad matchups on paper.

These players are typically matchup proof, but the defenses they’re going up against aren’t ideal and the pace of play could be a problem as well. Of the trio, Harden is the only one I’d feel comfortable paying for, but for tonight’s NBA DFS picks I’ll be steering clear of all three.

Instead, I’m attacking game environment and matchups.

I think Lakers/Mavs/Kings options for the most part will be the way to go. I doubt sprinkling those players into your NBA DFS lineups will be contrarian, but I have to think stacking them and fading the top studs might be.

Whatever you decide to do, hopefully I help you in some way as you plan your squads for tonight. Good luck and enjoy the games!

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