NBA DFS

NBA DFS DraftKings.com & FanDuel.com Lineups & Picks for January 5, 2018

For the 1/5 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’re considering for 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.

1/5/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS

Excellent 8’s: $8 buy-in, $400k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Spin Move: $44 buy-in, $200k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Sharpshooter: $3 buy-in, $130k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Layup: $9 buy-in, $99k guaranteed (FanDuel)
Clutch Shot: $4 buy-in, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel)
Slam: $33 buy-in, $200k guaranteed (FanDuel)
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PLAYERS RULED OUT
Mike Conley (Achilles) 
Reggie Jackson (ankle) 
Jeff Teague (knee) 
D’Angelo Russell (knee) 
Dion Waiters (ankle) 
Zach LaVine (knee) 
Tim Haradaway Jr. (leg) 
Rudy Gobert (knee)

INJURY NEWS TO MONITOR
Joel Embiid (hand) 
Andre Drummond (ribs) 
Lonzo Ball (shoulder) 
Damian Lillard (calf) 
Stanley Johnson (hip) 

Best NBA DFS Picks for January 5, 2018

Guards

Kemba Walker @ LAL ($8.3k DraftKings, $8.0k FanDuel)
Both Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard had solid, efficient games against the Kings on Wednesday. But they weren’t needed at all down the stretch in a 131-111 victory. The Lakers, meanwhile, are struggling after getting blown out by OKC on Wednesday but could get Lonzo Ball (shoulder) back and will likely have a healthier Brook Lopez (ankle) and Kyle Kuzma (quad) in this contest. Walker averaged 20.8 PPG with a 27.8 percent usage rate over 15 December games and burned the Lakers for a combined 58 points, 13 rebounds, and 17 assists while shooting 45.5 percent over two meetings last season.

Donovan Mitchell @ DEN ($7.5k DraftKings, $7.5k FanDuel)
The likely frontrunner for Rookie of the Year has resumed carrying Utah’s weak offense with 88 points and 16 assists over four appearances since missing two games with a toe injury. Donovan Mitchell leads all rookies with a 28.5 percent usage rate and he’ll look to carry the Jazz on the road against a Nuggets team that’s eighth in the NBA in scoring. He only needed to provide 16 points in a blowout win over Denver on Nov. 28 and struggled with foul trouble in a decisive loss to the Nuggets in December, but should put up big numbers if this game remains close down the stretch.

Delon Wright @ MIL ($4.5k DraftKings, $4.8k FanDuel)
The Raptors have been searching for a third option behind DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, or at least a consistent presence on both ends of the floor. They may have found it in Delon Wright. The third-year man out of Utah is averaging 13 PPG, 6.25 RPG, and 3.0 STL/BLK per game over his last four appearances. He peaked with a career-high performance (25 points, 13 rebounds) over 30 minutes in Chicago on Wednesday. Milwaukee may not seem like an ideal matchup, but the Bucks rank 23rd in defensive rating and are 30th in total rebounding. Plus, they should sell out to try and stop DeRozan after he burned them for 52 points on Monday.

Others to consider: DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker, Goran Dragic, Gary Harris, Ish Smith, Tyus Jones, Kris Dunn, Tyreke Evans

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Forwards

Ben Simmons vs. DET ($8.6k DraftKings, $8.6k FanDuel)
Even with Joel Embiid (hand) active on Wednesday, Ben Simmons exceeded value with 26 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals over 32 minutes in a win over the Spurs. Embiid is always questionable to play. If he sits tonight, Simmons would see an increase in usage against a Pistons team that gives up the most FPPG (43.29) to opposing SFs this season and the second-most APG (4.5) to that position over the last month. Simmons provided good peripheral stats with 22 rebounds and 16 assists over two meetings with Detroit this year.

Kawhi Leonard vs. PHO ($7.6k DraftKings, $8.1k FanDuel)
The Spurs (-11.5) are prohibitive favorites at home tonight. Kawhi Leonard is still on a minutes restriction, and that’s why he’s so affordable on both main DFS sites. He rested on Wednesday, and the Spurs have another B2B set on Sunday-Monday, so Leonard should get more rest in one of those games. That might allow him to top the 30 minutes he played on Tuesday. With a season-high 25 points on 20 FGA in that contest, Leonard proved that he can still carry the Spurs offensively. They’ll likely turn back to him after losing to the Sixers with a few starters resting on Wednesday.

Michael Beasley @ MIA ($5.3k DraftKings, $6.5k FanDuel)
With Kristaps Porzingis admittedly tired, Tim Hardaway Jr. (leg) still out, and Enes Kanter limited offensively, the Knicks have turned to their bench for offense. Michael Beasley leads that unit with a 33.6 percent usage rate to average 1.26 FPs per minute when those three players are off the floor this season. He’s established a solid floor with double-digit points in four consecutive appearances. Miami’s defense takes a hit with James Johnson (ankle) hobbled. Even the Spurs’ elite unit couldn’t stop B-Easy from pouring in 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting Wednesday.

Others to consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kristaps Porzingis, TJ Warren, Trey Lyles, Evan Turner

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Center

Andre Drummond @ PHI ($9.1k DraftKings, $9.5k FanDuel)
He’s questionable in his own right, but so too is Joel Embiid (hand). Andre Drummond would be free to dominate the paint if Embiid can’t go after playing 35 minutes on Wednesday. Drummond’s rib injury is apparently a “pain tolerance” issue, so he should be able to suit up if motivated. Embiid’s comments that Drummond “doesn’t play any defense” after their Oct. 23 meeting should provide all the motivation Big Dre needs.

With Embiid in and out of the lineup, Philly gives up the seventh-most RPG (15.89) and fourth-most BPG (2.4) to opposing centers this season. To that end, Drummond’s leading the league with a 26.2 percent rebounding rate and 2.5 defensive win shares. If he’s inactive or if Embiid’s presence worries you, Nikola Jokic ($8.8k, $9.7k) is a viable alternative in tournaments against a Jazz team that’s giving up the most FPPG (59.11) to opposing centers over the last month. Additionally, Boban Marjanovic ($4.6k, $5.3k) would become a good value if Drummond sits.

Jusuf Nurkic vs. ATL ($7.3k DraftKings, $7.5k FanDuel)
After struggling throughout most of December, Jusuf Nurkic has seemingly found his stride with averages of 15.8 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 3.3 STL/BLK per game over his last four appearances. His minutes are being managed, but the “Bosnian Beast” is producing a career-best 19.2 points per 36 minutes as a compliment to Portland’s elite backcourt. Atlanta is giving up the fourth-most FPPG (54.46) and sixth-most RPG (15.94) to opposing centers this year. They’re much more vulnerable down low with Dewayne Dedmon (leg) out indefinitely. 

Others to consider: Karl-Anthony Towns, Dwight Howard, Dario Saric, Kyle O’Quinn

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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.