FanDuel NBA Picks – January 17th

On a short Tuesday night daily fantasy basketball slate, I thought fading the top studs was in play. Boy, was it not.

Anthony Davis dropped 75+ fantasy points for the second straight game, while Jimmy Butler topped 60, himself. I didn’t use either, and not so shockingly, my team failed to place in any FanDuel tournaments.

I wasn’t without some strong picks, however. Devin Booker was a monster, while you certainly weren’t disappointed if you used guys like Taj Gibson, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kyrie Irving. I really liked Jusuf Nurkic and he only got 24 fantasy points, while Andrew Wiggins and Josh Jackson also disappointed. Jaylen Brown was fine enough with 28 fantasy points.

Fading The Brow and Butler proved costly, but not just because they went nuts. They were both also carried over 38% ownership in my main GPP. That’s never good for your chances of winning.

It wasn’t an ideal night, but like most small slates, you have to nail everything to have a chance. Wednesday gives you a bit more flexibility, as there is a big 10-game schedule and a litany of studs to consider. Let’s dive in and see what kind of lineup I end up with based on my favorites studs and value picks:

PG: Spencer Dinwiddie – Brooklyn Nets ($6.1k)

I normally don’t love targeting a strong Spurs defense, but Dinwiddie averages 10+ fantasy points per game at home. That is quite the jump, while D’Angelo Russell remains sidelined and helps his role stay pretty concrete.

San Antonio could give him fits, but he and the Nets excel at the Barclays Center and he wasn’t terrible (23 fantasy points) earlier this year in San Antonio. I’d take 30+ from him in this matchup and if the game stays close, I wouldn’t be shocked for him to crush this price tag.

PG: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors ($9.8k)

Curry continues to wreck, as his floor has been 42 fantasy points over his past 7 contests. He also lit up the Bulls earlier this year and has been performing well regardless of who is in the lineup with him, so I have no qualms about using him.

The beauty here is Curry is coming to you at a discount. He’s not even $10k and on paper provides you with an elite pivot off of both Russell Westbrook ($12k) and John Wall ($10.1k). I don’t really care about ownership here, though. Curry has been balling and he gets me a safe 40+ fantasy points with a shot at 55-60.

SG: Tyrone Wallace – Los Angeles Clippers ($4.3k)

Austin Rivers and Danilo Gallinari remain sidelined, which means there remain minutes on the wing in Los Angeles. That should keep Tyrone Wallace (32+ minutes in 4 straight games) busy, while he gets a fun matchup at home against the Denver Nuggets.

Gary Harris should be much more worried about containing Lou Williams, so I’m not concerned about the bad matchup (Denver is 4th against SG) by the numbers. Wallace has proven he can post decent peripherals, too, so if he can chip in 10+ actual points, I love his odds of smashing this price tag.

SG: Zach Lavine – Chicago Bulls ($4.1k)

Nobody is going to be using Lavine, as he remains on a pretty strict 19-minute cap. That is a bummer in the event he gets off to a slow start, but he’s currently showcasing a nice 29% usage rate since returning from a torn ACL. He’s also looked absolutely fantastic in the process and racked up 36.5 fantasy points in his last outing.

I’m not demanding that type of production from Lavine at this price, but his role and talent should at least get me back solid value tonight. If the Bulls extend his leash and I get a few more minutes out of him, all the better.

SF: Paul George – Oklahoma City Thunder ($8.3k)

OKC has been notorious for losing gimme games or allowing bad teams to stay close, so I have no fear in regards to using their studs. I don’t really want to pay for Russell Westbrook, but PG-13 worked out swimmingly the last time I used him and he’s a great price again on Wednesday night.

It doesn’t hurt that George gets a great matchup (Lakers are 28th against small forwards), while he did drop a solid 37 fantasy points on them earlier this year. Everything looks good here, while PG-13 meeting or exceeding value should give me an elite pivot off of the top two SF options on this huge slate.

SF: Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs ($8.9k)

Assuming Leonard is a full go (he sat out to rest last game), it’s going to be hard to bypass him with a date against the Nets on hand. Brooklyn actually tends to keep their home games close, too, so Kawhi could be looking at 28-30 minutes against a bad defense (17th versus small forwards).

I’ll need confirmation he’s playing, but the way the Spurs handle their lineups, I can see him going very low owned. A stacked SF position with Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo should deviate ownership, as well. Those guys are worth a look, but Kawhi is super cheap compared to them and potentially gives me another elite pivot play.

PF: Jordan Bell – Golden State Warriors ($4.3k)

Welcome to Jordan Bell chalk night. The rookie forward has already been named tonight’s starting power forward for the Dubs with Draymond Green out, so he’s looking at 25+ minutes in a nice matchup with the Chicago Bulls.

Bell has a versatile skill-set and averages over 41 fantasy points per 36 minutes (per CourtIQ) when Green is off the court. He’s not a lock to wreck, but he’s starting, is cheap and brings some nice upside to the table.

PF: Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers ($8.7k)

Everyone will be on Anthony Davis again tonight, but I’ll make the bold call to fade him, yet again. I don’t call for a full fade, however, as not using this guy in at least one lineup right now is simply asking for trouble.

I’ll leave him alone for this lineup, though. After all, The Brow is on the road and has had his numbers inflated slightly by two OT games. New Orleans has also played 3 games in 4 days now, so he could be a bit tired. Unlike other matchups, a date with the Hawks doesn’t make for an intense barn burner, either.

Instead, I’ll be looking at Griffin, who will be at home against the Nuggets. Nikola Jokic’s presence down low complicates matters, but Griffin has looked good lately and has L.A. (5 wins in a row) looking tough to beat. I love his role, price and upside. He’s a fun pivot off of The Brow when you consider how loaded this slate is.

C: Jonas Valanciunas – Toronto Raptors ($5.5k)

This is a big risk due to the volatility in Toronto’s rotation (especially with their bigs), but JV tends to log solid run anytime the Raptors face a true center. I like his chances to do that against Andre Drummond, especially since he had 23+ minutes in all 4 meetings in this series last year.

Valanciunas also had solid success in this matchup and even dropped 32 points in one of those games last season. I’m not expecting that, but he’s cheap and should have reasonable upside if he can see 25-30 minutes in this contest.

Center isn’t one of my favorite positions tonight, so if I’m not working my way up to get Boogie, I’m looking for a reason to pay down. JV gives me some hope tonight and could be a GPP-winning type of play if he works out like I think he can.