FanDuel NBA Picks – January 11th

Last night was an epic disaster in daily fantasy basketball for me personally. I had a lot of strong picks across the board in GPPs, but saw a slew of would-be reliable options completely crater. Here’s to looking at you, Aaron Gordon.

My NBA DFS picks for The Sports Geek, however, weren’t half bad.

They didn’t produce a winner (298 total fantasy points), but on a crazy 11-game night, you were going to need a lofty score to come close to the top.

I had some gems, though. John Wall was the elite pivot (62.7 fantasy points) off of the pricey point guards I hoped he’d be, while Kevin Durant (51) was a rock solid cap to a loaded slate. A few value picks worked out fairly well, too, as Gerald Green, Avery Bradley, Ryan Anderson and Domantas Sabonis all topped 21 fantasy points.

The problem is I was relying on them all in the same lineup. If you had those guys scattered across more successful rosters, they weren’t necessarily crippling. In fact, 21 was the lowest score I got out of anyone from last night’s daily fantasy basketball picks and sometimes that can be a win by itself.

Justin Holiday also returned solid value (31.8) and Karl-Anthony Towns (35.9) could have been worse.

For me, KAT was the biggest bummer. I loved him at home against OKC, but Minnesota wrecked the Thunder and he simply wasn’t needed. That especially hurt because I had interest in both Andre Drummond and Nikola Jokic is that same price range and both did much better.

The good news is most of my logic panned out. I never saw 50 actual points from Lou Williams coming and I was never on Kemba Walker’s eruption, either. I still had a decent team, but it just wasn’t a night where “decent” got you very far.

Thursday tosses the entire NBA DFS scene on it’s collective side, as just four games hit the docket and one of them starts super early in the afternoon in London. Since that doesn’t give you much time to prepare, I’ll only be breaking down the 3-game main slate.

It’s still an interesting (albeit small) slate, but there is money to be won. Here’s a look at my favorite lineup for GPPs tonight at FanDuel:

PG: Isaiah Thomas – Cleveland Cavaliers ($5.4k)

Lonzo Ball is the top point guard on this slate assuming Kyle Lowry remains out, and that’s something that scares me. Not only am I not excited about using a chalky Lonzo at $7.8k, but I don’t love the idea of targeting a good Spurs defense. Ball has been great and is at home, but this feels like a trap and I refuse to use him tonight.

That has me dropping down at point guard, and it starts with De’Aaron Fox and trickles down from there. He’s not high on my list, either, as both George Hill and Frank Mason could return to the rotation tonight and complicate things. That being said, if one/both remain out and Fox sticks as the starter, he’s one of the top PG plays on the board.

Delon Wright is for now one of the top chalk value plays on this small slate, which is precisely why I’ll fade him. IT2 is just $300 less and despite a minutes limit, he’s the better value play in my mind. I have no clue what his ownership will be, but I would assume it will be lower than the three aforementioned options. That’s the hope with this pivot, after all.

Thomas is going to want to make up for his ejection in his last game, but he’s honestly looked good otherwise as a member of the Cavs. Toronto is without their top point guard defend in Lowry, too, and Goran Dragic absolutely toasted Toronto the other day. Give me all of the IT2 and hopefully nobody else wants to touch him on this slate.

PG: Jawun Evans – Los Angeles Clippers ($5.1k)

I am admittedly somewhat undecided on my second PG option, largely because the Clippers don’t know yet if Milos Teodosic (foot) will play tonight. His presence would drop Evans quite a bit in my eyes and could also impact Lou Williams slightly. For now, Evans is a must-play and a solid value.

That being said, I’m very open to completely punting this second PG spot. Tony Parker is doubtful to face the Lakers, so either Dejounte Murray or Patty Mills appear to be in play. I could also throw caution to the wind and hope it’s Fred VanVleet (and not Delon Wright) that wrecks for the Raptors. Considering I’m fading Wright already, it does make sense as a high level GPP contrarian move.

Again, before I keep going here, this is a full-blown GPP squad. You always need to look at some chalk plays, but in some cases when ownership is obvious, it makes sense to gamble in certain spots. For me, that starts at point guard tonight.

SG: DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors ($9.6k)

DMR feels pretty necessary, seeing as Kyle Lowry is doubtful to suit up tonight and shooting guard is all kinds of terrible on this small slate. It doesn’t hurt that DMR thrives at home and gets a solid matchup against a leaky Cavs defense that ranks 23rd versus shooting guards, either.

SG: Manu Ginobili – San Antonio Spurs ($4.4k)

I certainly would like Sweet Lou here and if Blake Griffin is ruled out ahead of lineup lock, I’ll very likely eat the chalk and slide him in with DMR at shooting guard. If not, I’m going to swing for the fences and hope Griffin comes in at extremely low ownership as one of my studs.

I am not into chasing the points, either, as everyone will be on Lou Williams following his career night. He could explode again, but career nights generally do not happen in succession and if Blake is back, Lou’s upside understandably takes a massive hit.

I also love the role the Spurs have given Manu lately. He’s still a bench guy and always carries risk as a rest candidate, but Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, Danny Green and Tony Parker could all sit versus the Lakers. Heck, maybe LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol will be late scratches, too. You never know with coach Pop.

Regardless, Manu sat out San Antonio’s last game and should be back tonight. He’s getting really nice run and is a featured scorer in the offense when he’s on the floor. With 21 and 26 actual points in his last two games, I’m interested in finding out if he can keep it going in the face of a favorable, up-tempo matchup.

Above all else, this is a huge pivot play, as Lou and DMR are going to be ridiculously high-owned. If Many can continue his tear and (in my case) Lou underwhelms, this could be a GPP-winning type of move.

SF: LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers ($11.5k)

This is a very small slate and SF is pretty awful, so I don’t see a way around rostering King James. In addition, he’s probably pretty miffed about Cleveland’s awful outing in Minnesota, so a sleeping giant could be awoken here.

James meeting value isn’t an issue tonight. No other SF and few other options on this slate in general can touch his floor or upside. He’s a dangerous fade in all formats.

SF: OG Anunoby – Toronto Raptors ($3.5k)

If I want the guys I want, I’ll need to take some calculated dives. Anunoby feels like one I need to take, seeing as he’ll probably be asked to log heavy minutes in an effort to slow down James. He probably won’t succeed, but he’s Toronto’s best bet at keeping him in check.

OG got 30+ minutes both times he faced Milwaukee this year so he could try to limit The Greek Freak and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t see a big role again. Toronto is down two key bodies, too, so whether they go small or not, I anticipate good run from him. As long as he’s out there, he’s a threat to crush this price tag.

PF: Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers ($8.8k)

This is my favorite contrarian play of this slate, assuming word does not break early that Blake Griffin will or won’t play. He should be recovered from a concussion he sustained on Saturday, though, and I think there’s a pretty good chance he returns to the court tonight. I’ll roll with him even if word breaks that he’s playing, but I am not so secretly hoping there are no reports until tip off.

That’s a bold strategy, but if Griffin plays and carries 10% ownership or lower, that’s potentially a massive edge on the rest of the field. If word breaks he’s out, Ridge is worth a look, or you can just punt both PF spots and go get Sweet Lou.

PF: Pascal Siakam – Toronto Raptors ($3.5k)

I’m going deep diving with another Raptors spare. Toronto is down both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka for this game, so they’re going to need to turn to some bench bodies for long stretches in this game. My favorite pivot may be to fade Delon Wright (who should be quite popular) and take a chance on a different value PG.

In turn, I can get Ibaka’s main replacement, as Siakam defends well and could offer upside if he gets the run I’m hoping for. The last time Ibaka sat out, Siakam logged 22 minutes and put up 23 fantasy points. The hope here is Toronto leans on him a little more with so many dangerous weapons to defend tonight. The more run he gets, the more value he’s destined to return.

C: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($6.7k)

DeAndre Jordan is probably a must if Griffin is ruled out, but he sure is pricey. I also can’t get over how cheap Kevin Love is. I know he was absurdly bad in his last game (believe me, I used him and he couldn’t crack 6 fantasy points!), but he’s still a very talented player and is clearly better than that.

On paper the Raptors aren’t the best matchup, but Love is a strong perimeter threat and can rebound with the best of them. I fully expect a bounce-back effort and if that’s to happen, he’s just way too cheap.