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NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/28/18

Leading the Lakers in usage without LeBron, Kyle Kuzma offers big upside against the Clippers tonight.

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

Anthony Davis ($12,600): By far the safest high-priced play in the league this year, Davis has topped 60 FanDuel points in 65% of his games this year. Nobody else has done so more than 35% of the time. Additionally, only one player has topped even 50 FanDuel points more regularly than Davis has topped 60. Even in a tough matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, this makes Davis an incredible cash game play, though you may not need to pay all the way up in tournaments tonight.

Russell Westbrook ($11,500): More cost-effective as far as upside goes, Westbrook has topped 65 FanDuel points in 4 of his last 14 games, with 70-plus in two of those. Since returning from injury on November 19, he's averaging a triple-double with 18.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game. He's also adding 2.9 steals per game and has racked up 53.7 FanDuel points per game in that time. The Phoenix Suns give up big numbers in all of those areas, allowing the seventh-most points, sixth-most assists, seventh-most rebounds and second-most steals per game to opponents, making this a terrific spot for Russ.

Kemba Walker ($9,800): Putting up some huge offensive volume this year, Walker's 19.8 field goal attempts and 9.2 three-point attempts per game are both career-highs by big margins. His previous best marks were 18.3 field goal and 7.6 three-point attempts per game. In addition, his 29.2% usage rate is his highest since the 2013-14 season, and he's sporting a usage rate north of 30% (30.7%) for the first time in his career. He has turned this volume into strong fantasy production, with 50-plus FanDuel points in four of his last eight games, and that isn't likely to slow down against Brooklyn, who ranks bottom-10 in defensive rating this season,

Mid-Range Options

Kyle Kuzma ($7,200): Kuz led the Los Angeles Lakers in usage in their first LeBron James-less game last night, posting a 35.4% usage rate. That didn't come as a surprise, either, as he leads the team in usage (32.1%) in minutes with LeBron and Rajon Rondo off the court this season. Kuz has already topped 36 FanDuel points (5.0 per $1,000 of salary today) in 8 of his 13 games in December, and last night he topped 6-times value with 43.8. This expanded workload leaves him continuing to offer big value.

Lonzo Ball ($6,500): In his first game with LeBron on the shelf, Lonzo showed every bit of his big baller potential, flirting with a triple-double (20 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block) in 36.9 minutes, notching 55.8 FanDuel points. That's twice in his last seven games that he has topped 55. In minutes with both LeBron and Rondo off the court this season he has averaged 1.09 FanDuel points per minute. He should continue turning his workload into production tonight against a Clippers team that has posted the NBA's second-worst defensive rating in December.

Justise Winslow ($6,500): Playing point guard for the Miami Heat with Goran Dragic on the shelf, Winslow has played 30.5 and 32.9 minutes in his last two games, putting up 12 and 16 field goal attempts, notching 5 and 4 assists and scoring 22 and 21 points. This has given him marks of 46.7 and 31.4 FanDuel points in his last two outings. In 11 games in December, Winslow has topped 40 FanDuel points four times, averaging 30.8 per game if you remove an injury-shortened outing on the 16th. A matchup tonight with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who rank dead-last in defensive rating, puts him in a great spot to continue producing well at the point.

Basement Ballers

Danny Green ($4,500): With Kyle Lowry on the shelf, Green has topped 33.9 minutes in three of his last four games, averaging 34.0 per game in that sample. Lowry has already been ruled out tonight, so we can expect minutes into the mid-30s for Green again. Even for a guy averaging 0.70 FanDuel points per minute, that workload is enough to create some big value. We've also seen Green produce more efficiently in his games without Lowry, averaging 0.77 FanDuel points per minute.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,800) and Josh Hart ($3,700): KCP and Hart haven't seen their salaries budge, so for the second day in a row they both offer great fantasy value in LeBron's absence. Caldwell-Pope played 28.0 minutes last night, and while he didn't do much on the offensive end (4 points on 4 field goal attempts), the increased workload should still allow him to produce some decent fantasy value moving forward. Hart offers more than just appealing minutes, as his 0.73 FanDuel points per minute aren't terrible for a guy priced only $200 above the minimum. He started and played 32.9 minutes last night, notching 29.8 FanDuel points, and with his salary unchanged he makes for Friday's best value option.

Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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