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FanDuel NBA Picks – December 19th

Yesterday’s NBA DFS squad wasn’t amazing, but there were still some solid plays that could have helped you. Kyrie Irving was fine enough (34 fantasy points), Robert Covington was serviceable (31), Paul George wasn’t exactly crippling (28) and Al Horford (37) was about as good as you could have hoped for.

Those guys didn’t hurt you, but none of them blew up like I felt they could. Paul George was especially frustrating, but this is something the DFS community has come to embrace with PG-13 this season.

Jordan Bell (21) and J.J. Redick (16) were quite disappointing, but the logic was still there to use them. Kemba Walker (26) was actually great in the first half, but did very little in the third quarter and wasn’t need in the fourth due to a blowout win over the Knicks. Jamal Crawford actually was good (23 actual points) last night, but I pivoted away from him due to the news of Jimmy Butler being active.

Dario Saric beasted out and was my best value play of the night. He made total sense with Joel Embiid resting and paid off if you used him.

Overall, there were some hits and few true casualty plays, but this wasn’t a big winner. Hopefully I can find the right pieces to land a GPP stud for Tuesday night’s 3-game slate:

PG: T.J. McConnell – Philadelphia 76ers ($4.6k)

It looks like the Sixers are starting to trust McConnell’s health, as he logged 31 minutes last night and has topped 26 minutes in 2 of his last 3 starts. Joel Embiid will be back in the starting five tonight, but McConnell should still see 25+ minutes of work, which puts him in play on such a small slate.

John Wall is $9.5k and not really worth it, while Eric Bledsoe hasn’t been living up to his $7.1k price tag, either. I’m punting at both PG spots tonight and I actually think there is enough value to get away with it.

PG: George Hill – Sacramento Kings ($4.7k)

I won’t say that I trust Hill, but he’s certainly in a groove right now (16+ actual points in 3 straight contests) and the point guard market is quite dry on this slate. He represents solid (and necessary) value, while he should be locked into a big role if De’Aaron Fox (quad) can sit out again tonight.

I might need Fox to be out to fully back Hill in this spot, but he’s cheap and playing well. He’ll also have a good matchup by the numbers, as the 76ers rank just 23rd against point guards on the year.

Update (2:49 pm CT): With Hill ruled out, I don’t mind pivoting to either De’Aaron Fox or Frank Mason, depending on who starts. I actually feel a lot better about Mason, who has been surprisingly steady as a rookie. Fox being out again would clear that up, but I’d use whoever starts.

SG: E’Twaun Moore – New Orleans Pelicans ($4.6k)

Moore doesn’t always possess a great floor, but he gets tons of run (34+ minutes in 9 straight games) and he has some nice upside as a scorer. Minutes are key in daily fantasy basketball and with Moore you’re getting a ton of them at a cheap price.

Washington has been tough (6th) on shooting guards, but Moore actually plays the three a lot and the Wiz aren’t as good there (23rd). Washington will be far more concerned with containing the likes of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday, anyways.

A sneaky big game wouldn’t be shocking here, while paying up at shooting guard doesn’t seem like the way to go on this tiny slate.

SG: Bogdan Bogdanovic – Sacramento Kings ($4.7k)

Shooting guard is pretty weak after the first three options, but there’s no way I’m paying $8.5k for Bradley Beal on a slate with so many true studs. Jrue Holiday is interesting and Khris Middleton is in play, but all of these guys are pretty expensive considering the slate at hand.

I’m just dropping down at both SG spots because there’s value that allows for it. Bogdanovic is going to be a risk off of the Kings’ bench, but he’s still playing well and seeing 28-30 minutes per game as the team’s 6th man. Add in a solid matchup against the 76ers (21st against SG) and this looks like an easy call.

I also don’t mind Malcolm Brogdon, but I can’t presently fit him onto this specific lineup.

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

King James is my favorite stud tonight, as he’s on an absolute tear right now with three straight triple-doubles. I’m not sure he gets a fourth, but he has about as much scoring upside as anyone on this slate and only John Wall rivals his assists potential.

James is red hot right now and he’ll be amped up for a tense road battle with the Milwaukee Bucks. That has certainly been the case in two previous meetings, which had James averaging a solid 27.5-8.6-6.5 line. James literally is Cleveland’s offense these days, so I fully expect him to top those averages tonight.

SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks ($12.3k)

I can’t choose between King James and The Greek Freak (although if I had to, I’d choose James), but I also don’t really want to. There are only a few other studs on hand and if I have to spend at a second spot, Giannis is where I’d go.

DeMarcus Cousins isn’t reliable when The Brow is healthy, Anthony Davis hasn’t been truly special at a consistent rate this year, Joel Embiid’s price has seen a serious spike and John Wall isn’t worth his price tag yet. Ben Simmons is worth considering, but I see the potential to punt at PF.

I love the idea of stacking these studs together on FanDuel. I know one of them will garner extremely high ownership, but I’m wondering if pairing them will be somewhat contrarian in tournaments.

PF: John Henson – Milwaukee Bucks ($5.5k)

Normally I don’t give Henson much of a look, but he’s getting solid run with the Bucks and in theory could have a solid matchup against Cleveland. The Cavaliers don’t have an elite interior defense, especially with big man Tristan Thompson still being limited.

Henson isn’t a threat to go nuts, but he can get a double-double if he’s dialed in. With 25+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 outings, he’s a viable value play at a pretty weak position. I also like Dario Saric a bit, but I can’t go at him like usual with Embiid back – not at this price.

The same goes for Zach Randolph. He’s been losing minutes lately and for $7k, I need more stability and upside than he can provide.

PF: Jae Crowder – Cleveland Cavaliers ($3.5k)

Crowder is probably the key to this entire lineup. With Tristan Thompson back and stealing 10-15 minutes, I can’t be sure what I’ll get out of Crowder. All I know is he’s consistently seen 20+ minutes in each of his last 10 games and that shouldn’t change tonight.

Crowder represents elite value as a bare minimum punt play, so he doesn’t really need to have the game of his life to work out for you. He hasn’t shown well in Cleveland this year, but he can rack up defensive stats and hit the long ball. This play is about the combination of price and run. If he can find a way to get around 25 fantasy points, he’d be a smashing success.

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

There are really just three viable center plays tonight. I don’t love Marcin Gortat or Trill in their current matchups, while Boogie and The Process are probably too expensive for this slate.

I’ll just slide down to Love, who positively wrecked the Bucks earlier this year (25 and 14) and again should see a beatable matchup. Love has been in solid form lately (32+ fantasy points in 8 of his last 9 games) and is a pretty good price. I like the value and upside here and if all goes well, you’re not losing that much compared to the top two options.

Remember, you don’t need to feel obligated to feel this lineup exactly as it stands. In fact, I often encourage readers to first build their own team and then build a second lineup with pivots that include some of my picks in place of options they don’t exactly feel comfortable with.

A huge factor is news tends to break late, so sometimes guys I love end up being nullified. Keep all of that in mind as you build your NBA DFS squad tonight, and good luck!

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