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NBA DFS DraftKings.com & FanDuel.com Lineups & Picks for January 3, 2018

For the 1/3 NBA DFS slate tonight, and for the rest of the basketball season, we’ll be writing up the best picks for guards, forwards, and centers we’ll be considering for our Cash and GPP lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel. The info below can also be used for crafting your strategy on Draft and Draftboard

Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster.

Injuries play a huge role in NBA DFS on a nightly basis, and value plays at the various daily fantasy sites can arise at a moment’s notice. Always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.

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PLAYERS RULED OUT
James Harden (hamstring)
Nikola Vucevic (shoulder) 
Reggie Jackson (ankle) 
Jeff Teague (knee) 
D’Angelo Russell (knee) 
Rudy Gobert (knee)

INJURY NEWS TO MONITOR
Joel Embiid (hand) 
Draymond Green (ankle) 
Lonzo Ball (shoulder) 
Avery Bradley (groin) 
Caris LeVert (groin) 
Kyle Kuzma (quad) 
James Johnson (ankle) 

Best NBA DFS Picks for January 3, 2018

Guards

Russell Westbrook @ LAL ($11.7k DraftKings, $12.3k FanDuel)
The reigning MVP is on an absolute tear. He boasts averages of 32.7 PPG, 10 RPG, and 11.5 APG over his last six appearances and draws a juicy matchup tonight against his hometown Lakers. Westbrook averaged 28 PPG, 12.3 RPG, and a whopping 15.3 APG against the Lakers last year. Now, he has excellent shooters on the wing, along with an improved finisher on the inside in Steven Adams. He’s basically producing on the same level as last year, yet he remains significantly more affordable.

Chris Paul @ ORL ($9.6k DraftKings, $9.9k FanDuel)
The Rockets will be hard-pressed to replace James Harden (hamstring) over the next couple of weeks. Still, they’re lucky to have an elite PG waiting in the wings in Chris Paul. With Harden departing a win over the Lakers on Sunday, CP3 went for 28 points and 10 assists over a whopping 42 minutes of run. He’s averaging 1.78 FPs per minute with a 32.8 percent usage rate with Harden off the floor this season. Orlando happens to give up the most FPPG (50.58) to opposing PGs this season, so along with Paul, Briante Weber ($3.0k, $3.5k) and Gerald Green ($4.1k, $4.0k) are also worth a look as true punt plays. Finally, Eric Gordon (34.7 percent usage rate with Harden off the floor) is a good mid-tier option.

Jamal Murray vs. PHO ($6.7k DraftKings, $7.3k FanDuel)
Jamal Murray is playing efficient basketball right now, and his Nuggets will play host to a Suns team that gives up the most PPG (112.4) this season. Phoenix ranks 29th in defensive rating and allows the most PPG (25.08) to opposing SGs. Therefore, Murray has a good chance to maintain his averages of 19 PPG and 4.4 APG over his last five outings. He’s shooting a scorching 42 percent from downtown at home this season and could run circles around a Suns team that’s on the second half of a B2B set.

Others to consider: Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Donovan Mitchell, Eric Gordon, Gary Harris, Tyus Jones, Terry Rozier, T.J. McConnell

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Forwards

LeBron James @ BOS ($11.3k DraftKings, $11.5k FanDuel)
All eyes will be on LeBron James as he travels to Boston to face former running mate Kyrie Irving. As long as James plays a full slate of minutes on the second half of a B2B set, he should be able to meet or exceed value. In a statement game to open the season, LeBron went for 29 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists against Boston. He’ll likely give a similar effort to assert Cleveland’s continued dominance of the Eastern Conference.

Aaron Gordon vs. HOU ($7.8k DraftKings, $8.0k FanDuel)
With Nikola Vucevic (hand) out, Orlando’s been forced to run its offense through Aaron Gordon. Healthy enough to carry the load, he scored 39 points on 22 shots on Saturday and produced 20 points with 12 rebounds while playing 41 minutes on Monday. The athletic young big man is averaging 21.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG at home this season. He should be able to meet or exceed value against a fast-paced Rockets team tonight. 

Lance Stephenson @ MIL ($6.5k DraftKings, $6.2k FanDuel)
The Pacers’ offense hit a wall with Victor Oladipo (knee) inactive for a third straight game on Sunday, managing just 90 points against Minnesota. That night, Lance Stephenson disappointed as well. Yet he produced 34 points with 24 rebounds over his two previous appearances as a starter, and he’s rocking a 23.2 percent usage rate with Dipo off the floor this season. Domantas Sabonis ($5.1k, $5.6k) is probably a safer play in this price range since he has a higher floor due to his rebounding ability.

Others to consider: Anthony Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, T.J. Warren, Trevor Ariza, Trey Lyles, Michael Beasley

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Center

Nikola Jokic vs. PHO ($9.0k DraftKings, $9.9k FanDuel)
The Suns have plenty of centers, but only veteran Tyson Chandler has enough foot speed to remotely deal with Nikola Jokic. Still, Chandler has certainly lost a step at this point in his career. With Phoenix on the second half of a B2B set, Chandler might cede minutes to Alex Len, who stands little chance of containing “The Joker.” Nikola Jokic is heating up again with averages of 19.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, and 5.0 APG over his last five appearances. He faces a Suns team that gives up the most 2PTM (31.5) per game and third-most RPG (45.3) this year.

Julius Randle vs. OKC ($5.7k DraftKings, $6.9k FanDuel)
The continued absence of Lonzo Ball (shoulder) has opened things up for the Lakers’ backcourt in terms of value options, while also helping Julius Randle get more involved on dump-offs from Jordan Clarkson and other ball-handlers. Of course, the absence of Brook Lopez (ankle) ensures more playing time for the young lefty. Even if Lonzo is able to suit up tonight, Randle has a good chance to keep rolling. He’s managed 62 points and 34 rebounds over his past three appearances.

Others to consider: DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Hassan Whiteside, Bismack Biyombo, John Henson

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Nate Weitzer
Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.