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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: December 14, 2015

I was pretty off my game on Saturday’s slate, so I apologize for that, but as you all know, it happens. While I hit on some, a lot of the top plays that I suggested were just solid, didn’t excel, and Kristaps Porzingis and Marvin Williams… well, let’s just say they won’t be getting a Christmas card from my family this year. I am definitely guilty of over-analyzing the Warriors and Celtics being “tired” after a long game the night before, that’s just on me totally. Nothing to do but keep grinding and strive to be better.

Today I’ll be breaking down this Monday night 10-game slate. Still not use to the big slates on nights that had five games max typically. Nonetheless, below I will dish out my top plays, values and positional rankings for tonight’s slate on DraftKings. As always it’s primarily directed towards cash games, but that doesn’t mean it’s not helpful towards GPP tournaments as well and in some instances I mention strong tournament options.

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Vegas lines and totals

Toronto (+5) @ Indiana — total of 202
Orlando (-2.5) @ Brooklyn — 198
LA Clippers (-2) @ Detroit — 204
Washington (+4) @ Memphis — 199.5
Philadelphia (+13) @ Chicago — 193
Miami (+5.5) @ Atlanta — 190
Phoenix (?) @ Dallas — ???
Utah (+12.5) @ San Antonio — 187
Houston (-5) @ Denver — 208.5
New Orleans (?) @ Portland — ???

Still awaiting a couple of lines and totals to come in as I write this and honestly, I’m going to be so busy at work today that I doubt I get to update things, but I will try. The Houston/Denver game definitely stands out as one to key in on, and there’s a few games that are projected at such a low total that you need to be sure not to stack players involved, especially the big money ones. Let’s get to the top plays of the night.

POINT GUARD

Damian Lillard ($8,800) – This is as chalky a play as it gets tonight, likely. I don’t have to sell you on Dame being an amazing player, I don’t have to sell you on why playing point guards against the Pelicans is always good, so why am I even typing here? It’s ok to be chalky sometimes.

John Wall ($9,700) – Yep, as is the case frequently for me, I’m playing up at point guard tonight. Wall has been in all of my write-ups for the past couple of weeks it feels like, and he hasn’t missed in that long either. Keep riding his hot streak especially in this favorable matchup against Memphis, I do lean to Dame between the two though narrowly.

Cheap risk option: This is a no-brainer play tonight, and while it will be chalky to the knowledgable NBA DFS players, the ones who aren’t as in the loop won’t be on Jameer Nelson ($4,200) tonight. Regardless, with Emmanuel Mudiay out, Nelson will see plenty of minutes and even if he has an off-game he should hit value at this price. Ramon Sessions ($3,800) is also in play with Bradley Beal out. Sessions has played 30 and 26 minutes the last two games with Beal out, posting 28 and 18 DK points in those contests. Beal is still out and his salary is still too low with all of that considered.

SHOOTING GUARD

James Harden ($10,800) – Always hard to fade the Beard, and tonight is no different. While Harden has shot a puzzlingly poor 3/17 from beyond the arc in two games against the Nuggets this year, he’s still averaged 50 FPs in those games. I’m going to bet that he doesn’t have such an off night from deep a third time against anyone, ever and if 50 is the floor, then I can’t wait to see the ceiling.

C.J. McCollum ($6,900) – Shooting guard is pretty loaded tonight, and with five really good players priced from $6,900 – $7,200, it’s not going to be easy to pick and choose. My favorite of that bunch is probably McCollum, and that’s not just because he’s the cheapest, he’s just been really good hitting above value in seven of his last nine games. The matchup against Eric Gordon tonight is one McCollum should be able to easily exploit as well.

Raymond Felton ($4,900) – I will just leave this one short and sweet, if Deron Williams sits out again, Felton needs to be in your lineups at this price, period. If you look at his recent game log, you should really be considering him as a value play even if Deron is active, but if he’s out, it’s a must.

Cheap risk option: Allen Crabbe ($3,800) has hit value or better in seven straight games, and he should continue to do so with the minutes he has earned until his price rises too far. Garrett Temple ($3,500) is also an option playing 28 minutes in both games Beal recently missed. His upside isn’t too great, but he starts and gotten you 19 and 21 DK points in those games. So, consider those guys solid punt considerations to help you pay up elsewhere on this big slate.

SMALL FORWARD

Kawhi Leonard ($8,600) – Kawhi just seems to get it done. He’s a safe option due to his ability to fill the stat sheet every night. The only worry here is if the Spurs blow their opponents out, which can happen any given night. Still, even a couple nights ago when they did just that, Leonard managed 42 FPs in 26 minutes. On the flip side of this, you want to steer totally clear of Gordon Hayward tonight who will be shadowed by the Claw.

Trevor Ariza ($5,500) – I am really drawn to Ariza at this price in a game projected to have 208 points scored. The Nuggets haven’t been good against opposing small forwards and Trevor should have no issues at all eclipsing value at this low price tag tonight. It’s the Christmas season you guys, take advantage of savings when you can!

Cheap risk option: I’m not a big fan of any of the SF options at $4,200 or below, but if I had to go with one it’d be Corey Brewer ($4,200) who gets solid minutes off the Rockets bench. Like I said though, there’s enough options in that $4,700 – $5,500 range, that I will likely just steer clear of this.

POWER FORWARD

Anthony Davis ($10,600) – The top play of the night is right here. Portland is awful against opposing big men, and Davis isn’t your average big, he’s one of the best in the league. The Pelicans will be giving the Brow all he can handle tonight, and I think fading him tonight will likely leave you crying in the shower like Ace Ventura after he found out Einhorn was Finkle.

Thaddeus Young ($7,200) – While his rebounds dropped off last game against the Clippers, I expect Thad to return much closer to where he grabbed double digit boards the four games prior to that one. The Magic will have Tobias Harris, Channing Frye and Andrew Nicholson on Young, and that’s favorable for his fantasy upside. Look for right around 40 FPs from Thad tonight.

Cheap risk option: Andrew Nicholson ($3,900) is one of the only cheap-o options at power forward I’d even think about, but he’s not a smart play at all due to uncertain minutes.

CENTER

Nikola Vucevic ($6,800) – The Magic played on Saturday but were blown out so badly that it was basically no more than a practice, so if you look at it that way, their big man should be super fresh off of four nights off. Either way you look at it, Vucci Mane is priced really low for his skills and it’s something you should take advantage of before he get up over $8K in time. The matchup versus Brook Lopez here should be a good one, but Lopez has been allowing solid fantasy nights most of the season to the good big men out there.

Marcin Gortat ($6,200) – Tat has been hot (sorry, I it was there, I just had to…) lately putting up 35+ FPs in five of the last six games he’s played in, and while the Grizzlies are known for their defense, opposing centers have been doing just fine against them in fantasy terms. I like saving a bit of money at center tonight with these solid mid-level priced options. While I also like Jahlil Okafor at just $200 more, the Sixers will be playing their fourth game in five nights, so I’m just a little skittish of the rookie tonight.

Cheap risk option: Aron Baynes ($3,100) is my punt option at center tonight. He’s not been great or consistent, but he’s almost minimum price, there’s reason to have worry of Drummond’s foul trouble against DeAndre and his game log shows 14 – 21 – 15 – 11 – 17 FPs the last five, it’s ok as long as you make the most of the saved money elsewhere. More of a GPP punt IMO.

Cash game rankings:

This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most DraftKings points. Rather, the rankings are aimed to find the best price, value and production combo to help you win cash games, also taking into account potential ownership levels for each player.

PG
1) Damian Lillard
2) John Wall
3) Jameer Nelson
4) Reggie Jackson
5) Elfrid Payton
6) Ramon Sessions
7) Deron Williams (if he plays)

SG
1) C.J. McCollum
2) James Harden
3) Raymond Felton (goes to #1 if Williams is out)
4) DeMar DeRozan
5) Eric Bledsoe
6) Wesley Matthews
7) Will Barton
8) Victor Oladipo

SF
1) Trevor Ariza
2) Kawhi Leonard
3) Danilo Gallinari
4) Paul George
5) Kent Bazemore

PF
1) Anthony Davis
2) Thaddeus Young
3) Chris Bosh
4) Kenneth Faried
5) Paul Millsap

C
1) Nikola Vucevic
2) Marcin Gortat
3) Dwight Howard
4) Pau Gasol
5) DeAndre Jordan
6) Jahlil Okafor
7) Joakim Noah

As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 7 p.m. EST. I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day, but the best way to get the latest is always to follow me on Twitter @BigZack44, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.

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