NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 11/19/15

Jamal Crawford is coming off his best outing of the season, and should see all the minutes he can handle tonight for the banged-up Clippers.

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

Blake Griffin - If it weren't for Stephen Curry's historic start to the season, Griffin would warrant serious consideration for the early season MVP. The former Rookie of the Year is averaging 26.6 points, 9 rebounds and 4.3 assists with a 30.8% Usage Rate, and currently sits third in our player power rankings with a 14.9 nERD. Griffin is coming off of a monster 34-point, 9-assist, 8-rebound performance in 42 minutes against Detroit and should another massive workload tonight with Chris Paul expected to miss his third consecutive game. Although a matchup against Draymond Green is less-than-ideal, Vegas expects tonight's tilt between the Clippers and Warriors to be the highest scoring game on the slate by a mile which means there should be plenty of opportunity for the Clippers' star to amass fantasy points. He makes a great play in all formats for tonight's three-game slate.

LeBron James - It's hard to imagine, but with guys like Griffin, Curry, Russell Westbrook and even Kawhi Leonard playing at such a tremendously high level King James has kind of flown under the radar early in this season. That said, LeBron continues to post his usual outstanding numbers, scoring 27.3 points to go along with 6.7 boards, 6.1 dimes and 1.8 steals per game. He's averaged 36.6 minutes per game with the third highest Usage Rate in the league at 33.8% and has been one of the most consistent players in fantasy through his first 11 games of the year. While the 194.5 over/under in the matchup between the Cavaliers and Bucks leaves a lot to be desired, Milwaukee has given up the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards on the year and there simply aren't many other options at the position tonight. Do not hesitate to plug the King into your lineups tonight despite his expensive price tag.

Top Mid-Range Values

Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh - Sacramento is always one of my favorite teams to target in daily fantasy. The Kings have been terrible defensively -- they rank just 21st in Defensive Rating (106.7) and have given up the third most points per game (107.5) in the NBA -- and play at the fastest pace in the league. While basically any Heat player seeing significant playing time is in play tonight, the Kings' interior defense has been particularly suspect. They have given up the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards and the fifth most to opposing centers, which means both of the Heat star big men are in play tonight. Both make strong plays at their respective price tags, but Whiteside is especially interesting following his ridiculous 22-point, 14-rebound, 10-block explosion against Minnesota on Tuesday.

Klay Thompson - Thompson has gotten off to a bit of a slow start this season, scoring 6.2 points per game less than a season ago and shooting just a pedestrian 36.4% from distance. That said, tonight should provide a perfect opportunity for the young Warriors star to bounce back. The Clippers are incredibly short-handed in their backcourt with both CP3 and J.J. Redick expected to miss tonight's game, which means Thompson should see a ton of Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers, who have earned abysmal 110 and 109 Defensive Ratings on the year respectively. With Vegas projecting tonight's over/under at a whopping 212.5, there should be plenty of scoring opportunities for both teams and Thompson could very well be the biggest beneficiary against a Clippers team that has allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards. Buy low on the Warriors' guard now while you still have the chance.

Basement Ballers

Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers - As I just mentioned, Paul and Redick are both listed as doubtful for tonight's matchup with the Warriors, which means Crawford and Rivers will both slide into the Clippers' starting lineup. In Los Angeles' last game on Saturday against Detroit, Crawford exploded for 37 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in an outrageous 41 minutes of action, while Rivers added 13 points, 3 boards and an assist in 42 minutes. Both should continue to see massive workloads tonight and should have little trouble accumulating fantasy points in what is expected to be a shootout. At just $4,400 on FanDuel and $4,600 on DraftKings, Crawford is dollar for dollar the best play on the board tonight, while Rivers should reach value on volume alone at just $3,800 on FanDuel and $3,900 on DraftKings.

J.R. Smith - While Crawford and Rivers are the two clear-cut strongest value plays on the board tonight, Smith makes a pretty solid play in his own right. The journeyman guard comes into tonight having played an average of 43.5 minutes per game -- albeit one was an overtime outing against the Bucks -- and could see extra playing time tonight if Mo Williams is unable to suit up tonight. Although he lacks the consistency you want in a daily fantasy play, Smith has tremendous tournament upside and can be had for a very reasonable price. I very much prefer both Crawford and Rivers, but if you're looking for a contrarian value play for tournaments Smith could be your guy.