NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 12/3/15

With Marcus Smart still sidelined, it's time to fire up Isaiah Thomas 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.

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

Kevin Durant - Durant is back healthy and looks as good as ever. In the four games since his return from a hamstring injury, KD is averaging 29 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals in 36.3 minutes per game. He's amassed a 29.1 Usage Rate on the year and is currently tied for fourth in our player power rankings with an impressive 15.9 nERD. Tonight, the former MVP gets a great matchup against a Heat squad that has given up the ninth most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards. They'll also be without their best wing defender Luol Deng. Durant is a truly elite play tonight.

Paul George - Following his gruesome leg injury during last offseason, many people wondered how George would look in his return to the court. Well, the Pacers' star has answered his doubters and then some. PG13 is having a career year through the early stages of the 2015-16 season, posting career-bests in points (27.4), rebounds (8.2) and assists (4.4) per game with a massive 31.6% Usage Rate, all while shooting a ridiculous 46.3% from long range. George is one of the three players that sit atop Durant in our player power rankings -- he ranks third with a 16.2 nERD -- and should have little trouble taking advantage of a plus matchup against a Portland team that ranks 24th in the league in Defensive Rating (105.2). Although his price tag continues to climb, he can still be had for a reasonable price considering his production and is an outstanding play in all formats.

Top Mid-Range Values

Isaiah Thomas - With Marcus Smart still on the shelf, Thomas will continue to start at point guard for the short-handed Celtics. Thomas is playing just under 32 minutes per game while in the starting lineup and has been extremely productive both while in the starting lineup and coming off the bench this season. IT2 is averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 assist, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game with a 30.1% Usage Rate. He draws a dream matchup against a porous Kings' defense that ranks in the bottom five in the NBA in both opposing points per game (108.5) and Defensive Rating (108.2), and plays at the second fastest pace in the league. Look for the Celtics' point guard to make a statement against his former squad in what is expected to be the highest scoring game on tonight's slate by a wide margin.

DeMar DeRozan - With a game against the Nuggets, the Raptors draw the second best matchup on the board tonight outside of the aforementioned Celtics. Denver has given ranks just 25th in the league in both Defensive Rating (107) and Defensive Efficiency according to our metrics, and has really struggled to defend the perimeter this season, allowing the third most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards and the most in the NBA to opposing shooting guards. Both of Toronto's star guards are in play tonight, but I will likely own more of DeRozan than Kyle Lowry due to his less-expensive price tag. Look for both DeRozan and Lowry to dominate the Nuggets tonight, with DeRozan reaching value easily at $7,500 on FanDuel and $7,100 on DraftKings.

Basement Ballers

Bismack Biyombo - Not only have the Nuggets had trouble defending the perimeter this season, but they haven't been able to slow down opposing big men, either. Denver has allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing centers, which means Biyombo is once again one of the best value plays on the board tonight while filling in for the injured Jonas Valanciunas. Although he has not contributed much offensively in his five starts this season, the Raptors big man has been an absolute force on the glass and on the defensive end. In those five starts, Biyombo is averaging 5.2 points, 11.6 boards and 2 blocks in 31.7 minutes per game. He should dominate the glass once again tonight against the banged-up Nuggets front court, especially if they are without Kenneth Faried

Gerald Green - As I mentioned earlier, the Heat will be without Deng once again tonight. That means Green will draw his fourth start of the season. In his three previous starts, Green has averaged 16.7 points to go along with 3.3 rebounds with a 23% Usage Rate in 33.5 minutes per game. While he does draw a tough assignment trying to slow down Durant, Green should see more than enough action to reach value at his low price of just $3,700 on FanDuel and $4,200 on DraftKings.