NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 11/23/15

Tristan Thompson should see all the minutes he can handle for the banged up Cavaliers.

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

DeMarcus Cousins - Cousins has been nothing short of spectacular to open the 2015-16 season. He's averaging 27.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 blocks per game, has amassed the second highest Usage Rate in the league (35.7%) and has recorded double-doubles in five of his last six games. Tonight, Boogie draws a dream matchup against a Hornets frontcourt of Marvin Williams and Al Jefferson, who have given up the second most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards on the year. Williams is simply too small to contend with the much larger Cousins, and Jefferson has never been known as a strong defender. Look for the Kings' star big man to dominate the paint en route to another impressive double-double in Charlotte.

Kawhi Leonard - Generally speaking I tend to avoid Spurs in daily fantasy due to the inconsistency of Coach Popovich's rotation, but Leonard is the exception to that rule. Leonard leads San Antonio in playing time at 34.3 minutes per game and is one of only two players on the squad who averages more than 30 minutes per game, with the other being LaMarcus Aldridge at 31.1. The Spurs' star swingman also leads the team in scoring (21.3 points per game) and Usage Rate (24.8%) and is the Spurs' best defensive player. Leonard also currently sits at fifth in our player power rankings with a 14.4 nERD. With a matchup against a Suns' squad that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards on the season, the former NBA Finals MVP makes a strong play in all formats tonight.

Top Mid-Range Values

Kemba Walker - As I've mentioned in this column before, Sacramento is always one of the best defenses to target in daily fantasy. They rank just 22nd in the NBA in Defensive Rating (106.7), have given the third most points points per gam in the league (106.9) and play at the second fastest pace in basketball. Vegas anticipates tonight's matchup between the Kings and Hornets to be a fast-paced shootout, with the highest over/under on the board at 210.5. Walker has been red hot as of late, scoring 19.2 points to go along with 5.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 2 steals per game over his last five outings. The Hornets' point guard should have little trouble taking advantage of a plus matchup against Rajon Rondo and has an excellent chance to reach value at just $7,500 on FanDuel and $6,900 on DraftKings.

Tristan Thompson - The Cavaliers are one of the most banged up teams in the league with Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov all on the shelf for extended periods of time. They will also likely be without Mo Williams for tonight's game against the Magic as he remains doubtful with an ankle injury. With all of these injuries, Cleveland has been forced to really tighten up their rotation, and Thompson has been one of the biggest beneficiaries. The Cavaliers' big man is averaging 7.7 points and 9.8 boards in 26 minutes per game, but is coming off of a 9-point, 16-rebound, 5-assist, 2-block performance in 40 minutes of action against Atlanta where he started for the injured Mozgov. Thompson should see another massive workload tonight against a Magic squad that has allowed the second most fantasy points per game to opposing centers over their last seven games and costs just $5,600 on FanDuel and $5,300 on DraftKings. He is dollar for dollar one of the best plays on the board for tonight's slate.

Basement Ballers

Rodney Hood - Hood has played outstanding when on the floor this season. He's averaging 15.8 points, 3.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals on a per-36 minute basis, but was unable to stay out of foul trouble early in the season. That said, he seems to have fixed that issue as of late, averaging 36.5 minutes per game over his last four. The Jazz's sophomore guard should see plenty of action tonight in a great matchup against the porous defense of Dion Waiters and should provide tremendous value at just $4,700 on FanDuel and $5,000 on DraftKings.

J.R. Smith - As I mentioned earlier, the Cavaliers are dealing with several key injuries right now. With Irving and Shumpert still sidelined and Williams expected to sit for at least one more game, Smith should see minutes in the mid-to-upper 30s once again tonight. Although he does draw a relatively tough matchup against Victor Oladipo, the Cavs' guard has a great opportunity to hit value based on volume alone at his low price of just $5,100 on FanDuel and $4,800 on DraftKings. Smith makes a great value play on a night where there simply aren't many to be had.