NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/12/14

Russell Westbrook has been unstoppable since returning from his hand injury. He tops our list of players to use tonight.

If you’ve never played daily fantasy basketball before, it’s time to start. Unlike traditional leagues, you’re able to select the players you want on that specific day only, giving you a different squad to root for each and every NBA night.

And while there are many platforms to play daily fantasy basketball on, one of our favorites is from our partners over at Never played over there before? It’s time for that to change. Sign up now and use our optimal lineups here at to crush the competition. You won’t regret it.

As for today's lineups - those can be found here. The information below is to help you understand why particular players are being picked, because we don't want you going into the night completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things often change up until tip-off, so make sure you're refreshing the optimal lineups as close to the start of games as possible.

Let's get to it.

Note: Players mentioned here may not be part of some of our daily lineups because of particular sites' cost analysis. Always look at our optimized lineups to see what our algorithms say.

The Best of the Best

Russell Westbrook - Westbrook has been a man possessed since returning from his hand injury. In the six games since his return to the Thunder lineup, he's averaging 26 points, 7.3 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Over that span, the Thunder star has posted at least 21 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds in every single game. That consistency makes Westbrook an outstanding fantasy option every time he is on the floor, especially considering he has as much upside as anyone in the NBA as well. Tonight, the Thunder point guard draws a matchup with rookie point guard Zach LaVine and his abysmal 114 defensive rating. Look for Westbrook to dominate the Timberwolves' young guard en route to another monster game tonight.

Kyle Lowry - With DeMar DeRozan still recovering from his groin injury, the Raptors will be forced to continue to lean heavily on their star point guard. In the six games that DeRozan has missed Lowry is averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game with three double-doubles. Additionally, Lowry has averaged 39.5 minutes per game over that span. The Raptors' star has the pleasure of facing off with a Pacers' defense who has allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season in a game where he will be the best player on the floor. Do not hesitate to fire up Lowry in all formats tonight.

Top Mid-Range Values

Taj Gibson - Joakim Noah will be forced to miss his second consecutive game with an ankle injury, which means Gibson will draw his second straight start tonight. In six starts this season, Gibson is averaging 14.8 points, 7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 blocks per game and is coming off of a huge 11-point, 10-rebound and 6-block performance against Brooklyn on Wednesday. Although his matchup with LaMarcus Aldridge isn't a great one, at just $6,000 on FanDuel and $5,900 on DraftKings the Bulls' forward should have little trouble reaching value.

Amar'e Stoudemire - Stoudemire has seen somewhat of a resurgence, increasing his points per game (13.3), rebounds per game (7.5), assists per game (1.1) and blocks per game (0.9) from a season ago. The Knicks' veteran has also managed to stay healthy, which has allowed Coach Derrick Fisher to insert him back into the starting lineup and increase his minutes. With Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith both expected to miss tonight's game against the Celtics, Stoudemire will arguably be New York's most reliable offensive player on the floor, which could lead to a significant increase in usage rate. Additionally, STAT draws a spectacular matchup against a Boston squad who has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards and the 10th most to opposing centers. Stoudemire is an excellent play tonight in a plus matchup and can be had at a very reasonable price.

Basement Ballers

Tim Hardaway Jr. - Hardaway will be thrust into the Knicks' starting lineup tonight in the absence of Anthony and Smith. In his four starts this season, the Knicks' sophomore guard is averaging 17.3 points, 2.3 boards and 2 assists in 26.3 minutes per game, and should see an even larger role tonight given New York's injuries. The Celtics are one of the worst defensive teams in the league - they have allowed the third most points per game (106.8) and rank 20th in defensive rating (107.1) - and play at the fastest pace in the league. This bodes well for a player like Hardaway who excels in transition and has the ability to knock down open shots. Hardaway is a steal at just $3,900 on FanDuel and $4,200 on DraftKings.

Shawne Williams - Dwyane Wade and Josh McRoberts are both expected to miss tonight's game against the Jazz which means Williams will draw the start at power forward tonight. Although Williams has been in a bit of a slump since being relegated to the bench, he put up solid numbers as a starter earlier this season. In 17 starts this season, Williams averaged 9.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Those numbers certainly don't blow you away, but when you factor in his $3,600 and $3,700 price tags on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively, as well as the fact that Utah has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards this season, Williams becomes an interesting play for anyone looking for salary relief.