NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Sunday 12/31/17
If you're new to daily fantasy basketball -- maybe you started your DFS journey during the MLB or NFL seasons, or maybe basketball is your sport and this will be your first year giving it a shot -- you're in for a treat. The NBA scene changes hugely on a week-to-week, day-to-day, and -- depending on injury news -- even a minute-to-minute basis, making every slate a unique one that requires an ever-changing approach.
With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you out. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a ton of other great resources to help give you an edge.
We'll also be coming at you with this primer every day, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each price point.
Let's take a look at who you should target on today's main slate.
Best of the Best
Russell Westbrook (FanDuel Price: $11,900) - Over his last seven games, Westbrook is averaging 31.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 10.1 assists, and 2.3 steals for 62.0 FanDuel points per game. Go even further back, and the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has finished with at least 52 FanDuel points in 16 of his last 21 games. That includes a near triple-double (28 points, 12, rebounds, 9 assists) for 54.5 FanDuel points the last time he faced the Dallas Mavericks. While the Mavs have been playing better (three-game winning streak), they still rank in the bottom half of the league in FanDuel points allowed to point guards. Add in Paul George likely being out, and Westbrook immediately becomes the top option in Sunday's five-game slate.
James Harden ($11,000) - Harden is coming off his worst game of the season -- a 27-FanDuel-point night -- meaning he may have a lighter than usual ownership rate on Sunday. Despite the poor performance in a blowout loss to the Washington Wizards on Friday, the Houston Rockets' superstar has an ideal game for getting back on track as he faces the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Thanks to the Lakers running at the fastest pace in the league and giving up over 110 points per game, Houston holds a massive implied point total of 120.5, by far the top mark on Sunday's five-game slate. The last time these two teams faced off, Harden scored 51 real-world points as he finished with 68.1 FanDuel points.
Dario Saric ($6,500) - Saric has been on fire lately. The Philadelphia 76ers' forward has posted consecutive 40-plus-FanDuel-point nights, averaging 22.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 steals per night in that span. Sunday's matchup against the Phoenix Suns, who give up the most FanDuel points to opposing power forwards, shouldn't slow down Saric's roll. In the matchup, the Sixers own the second-highest implied point total of the day as the Suns allow the most points of any defense in the NBA (112.1). Opponents are shooting over 36% from three against Phoenix, another weakness Saric can exploit as he has gone 8 for 13 from beyond the arc over the last two games.
Nicolas Batum ($6,300) - Batum has finally started to heat up. After starting the year shooting 39.4% from the floor and 27.7% from three, the Charlotte Hornets' swingman has knocked down 48.7% of his shots across his last four games. He managed to reach double-digit points in three of those contests. While those numbers aren't earth-shattering, Batum is headed in the right direction, and Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers could put him over the top. The Clips have been one of the worst teams at defending opposing shooting guards, ranking 26th in the NBA as they allow an average of 42.0 FanDuel points per night to the position. Add in the Hornets-Clippers game carrying the third-highest over/under of the day, and Batum is in an ideal spot on Sunday.
Ryan Anderson ($4,400) - With the Rockets holding a huge implied total on Sunday, there are plenty of options to consider, including Anderson. The Houston big man has picked up his play lately, posting three games with at least 23 FanDuel points in the last week. While his shot continues to be off, he has been racking up the boards, averaging 8.8 of them to go along with 10.8 points in his last four games. With the Lakers allowing the third-most points to opposing power forwards while giving up over 46 rebounds per game in their last 10 contests, third-most in the NBA, Anderson makes for an excellent value play on Sunday in what is projected to be the highest scoring game of the day.
Josh Hart ($3,900) - The Lakers will be down a couple of backcourt players on Sunday with Lonzo Ball sidelined with a shoulder injury and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope unable to play due to legal issues. That opens up the door for another start (or at least increased minutes) for the rookie Hart. In the last two-plus weeks, he has started five of eight games, averaging 27.7 minutes played. While his stat line has been modest -- 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steals -- he has put up at least 20 FanDuel points five times while averaging 20.6 fantasy points per night. At just $400 over the minimum, Hart is an ideal value play as he could see plenty of run in a fast-paced matchup with the Rockets, who allow the third-most FanDuel points to shooting guards.
Dale Redman is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.
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