NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 12/15/15

Two of the worst defenses in the NBA square off tonight in Sacramento, which should provide plenty of value on a very small slate.

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

James Harden - As I've mentioned a number of times in this column, the Kings are one of my favorite defenses to target in daily fantasy. They currently rank 28th in Defensive Rating (108.2), have given up the second most points per game in the league (108.2) and rank 28th in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency according to our metrics. They also play at the fastest pace in the league, which gives opposing teams an even greater boost in value on a nightly basis. Although the Rockets' have been a massive disappointment this season, Harden still continues to produce, scoring 28.9 points to go along with 6.7 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals in a league-leading 38.6 minutes per game. He's accumulated an enormous 32.9% Usage Rate and should see another massive workload tonight against a Sacramento defense that has surrendered the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards on the year. The Beard is our top overall projected player on the board tonight.

DeMarcus Cousins - As bad as the Kings are on defense, the Rockets have not been much better. They now rank 27th in both Defensive Rating (108) and opposing points per game (107.1), and sit one spot below Sacramento also at 27th in Defensive Efficiency. Just like the Kings, Houston also play at one of the fastest paces in the league -- they rank sixth in pace so far this season -- and tonight's game should be an incredibly fast-moving shootout. Although a matchup against Dwight Howard is less-than-ideal, the Rockets are on the second night of a back-to-back, which likely means their star big man will be on a minutes limit. Cousins is one of the most talented, athletic big men in the league, and should have no problem taking advantage of a Houston interior defense that has given up the 11th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers on the year, especially with Howard limited. He makes an elite play in all formats tonight in a game with an absurd 220 over/under.

Top Mid-Range Values

Greg Monroe - After a bit of an inconsistent start to the season, Monroe finally seems to be getting the consistent playing time we've all been waiting for. He's played at least 33 minutes in five of his last six games and is averaging 17.5 points, 11.7 and 2.1 assists with five double-doubles over that span. The Bucks' center gets an outstanding matchup against a Lakers team that has given up the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing centers on the season and rank  just 28th in rebounding differential (-4.6) on the year, which is the exact type of opponent Monroe excels against. While I will likely be paying up for Harden and Cousins and going with a studs and duds approach tonight, Monroe makes a strong play if you have the cap space to fit him in. 

Omri Casspi - As I've already mentioned, the Rockets are a terrible defensive squad and tonight's matchup between Houston and Sacramento is expected to be by far the highest scoring game on tonight's slate. Casspi has started four consecutive games at power forward for the Kings and has posted 14 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 35.3 minutes per game over that span. His ability to run in transition, attack the paint and score from long-range is a perfect skill-set for this type of fast-paced shootout, and he should have little trouble reaching value against a Rockets' team that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards on the year. The Kings' stretch-four is definitely in play at $5,600 on DraftKings and is an absolute steal at just $4,700 on FanDuel.

Basement Ballers

Darren Collison - Rajon Rondo is suspended for tonight's contest with the Rockets, which means Collison will slide into the starting point guard position for the Kings in a dream matchup. The Kings' veteran point guard is averaging 16.8 points, 5 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals on a per-36 minute basis this year and much of those stats came while playing alongside Rondo as the shooting guard. With Sacramento's starting point guard unavailable tonight, Collison could push for minutes in the mid-to-upper 30s and should see a huge boost in usage without the Kings' floor general on the court. He is dollar for dollar my favorite play on the board tonight at just $5,000 on FanDuel and $4,900 on DraftKings.

Jameer Nelson - Emmanuel Mudiay will miss his second consecutive game due to an ankle injury and the veteran Nelson will draw his second straight start for the Nuggets. In heavy workloads in the Nuggets' last two outings, Nelson has averaged 15 points, 7 assists, 5.5 rebounds and a steal in 37.5 minutes per game. He should see similar minutes tonight in a plus matchup against the Timberwolves and can be had for just $4,200 on FanDuel and $4,500 on DraftKings. If it weren't for Rondo's suspension, Nelson would be my favorite value play on the board tonight.