NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 11/16/15

As long as Kevin Durant remains sidelined, Russell Westbrook needs to be in your DFS lineup.

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.

Today's lineups 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.

The Best of the Best

Russell Westbrook - Any time Kevin Durant is unable to suit up, Westbrook becomes an elite daily fantasy play. In the 40 games that Westbrook played without his running mate, the Thunder point guard posted an outrageous 30.6 points, 9.1 assists, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals with a massive 40% Usage Rate in 35.1 minutes per game. In the two games he's played without KD this season, Oklahoma City's star guard is averaging 24 points, 10.5 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals and a block per game. Westbrook ranks second in the league in Usage Rate at 34.7%, and will see a significant boost on that number without Durant in the lineup. Memphis is far from the shut-down defensive unit they once were and Westbrook should dominate their backcourt that has given up the eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season. He is our top overall projected player on the board tonight.

James Harden - While I don't recommend fading Westbrook tonight, if you're looking for a different player to spend the big bucks on Harden is your guy. After a very slow start to the season, the Rockets' star has caught fire over the past two weeks. In his last eight games, Harden has scored 30.8 points while adding 6.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists with a massive 35.2 Usage Rate in a whopping 40.1 minutes per game. Although the Celtics rank fourth in defensive efficiency according to our metrics, they do play at the fifth fastest pace in the league and have given up the ninth most fantasy points per game to both opposing shooting guards and small forwards on the year. Harden makes a tremendous play in what Vegas expects to be the highest scoring game on tonight's slate.

Top Mid-Range Values

Jared Sullinger - It took a little while for coach Brad Stevens to really lock down his rotation, but he seems to have found a combination that he likes over the past few games. Sullinger has started each of Boston's last six games and has been very impressive over that span. In those six games, the Celtics' big man has posted a double-double, averaging 11.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 26.2 minutes per game. He's also forced 10 steals and blocked 7 shots in those six games. Given the way he has played on both ends of the floor -- he has earned a spectacular 91 Defensive Rating while in the Celtics' starting lineup -- there is little reason to believe Coach Stevens will cut back his workload any time soon and with a matchup against a Rockets' squad that has given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards in the NBA tonight, Sullinger makes a great play at a very reasonable price.

Zaza Pachulia - Much like the aforementioned Harden, Pachulia had a bit of a slow start to the season. Also similarly to Harden, the Mavericks' big man has really come on strong over the past few weeks. Pachulia is averaging a double-double over his last eight games, scoring 11.6 points to go along with 10.3 boards in 27.9 minutes per game. He has played at least 30 minutes in each of his last three games, averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 boards and 2.6 dimes over that span, and draws a dream matchup against the defensively-challenged 76ers tonight. Look for Pachulia to dominate the paint en route to another double-double against a Philadelphia squad that ranks dead last in the league in rebounding differential. 

Basement Ballers

Metta World Peace - Kobe Bryant didn't travel with the team to Phoenix today, which means that World Peace will once again slide into the Lakers' starting lineup tonight. The controversial swingman has not seen much action this season, but has played pretty well when on the floor, posting 12.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks on a per-36 minute basis. Although I don't expect him to top 30 minutes tonight, the veteran forward should see minutes in the mid to upper 20s against a Suns team that has given up the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards and plays at the fastest pace in the league. World Peace can provide some serious cap relief at just $3,500 on FanDuel and $3,200 on DraftKings so that you can fit guys like Westbrook and Harden into your lineups.

Amir Johnson - As I already mentioned, Boston seems to have settled into their rotation over the past few games and it has been Johnson starting at center alongside Sullinger at power forward. The Celtics' big man is averaging 13.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1.6 assists on a per-36 minute basis and has topped 30 minutes each of his last two outings. He draws a solid matchup against a Rockets team that ranks 29th in the league in Defensive Efficiency and has given up the eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. Johnson should provide excellent value at just $5,200 on FanDuel and $4,300 on DraftKings.