NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 12/16/15
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 - Remember when people used to say that Westbrook and Kevin Durant couldn't co-exist? Well, the Thunder are 16-8 and in third place in the Western Conference, while both Durant and Westbrook currently sit at third and fourth in our player power rankings with a 17.8 and 17.5 nERD, respectively. Both are in play tonight in what Vegas expects to be tonight's highest scoring game, but Westbrook is the preferred play. He gets a plus matchup against Damian Lillard and his less-than-stellar 109 Defensive Rating, while Durant draws a much tougher matchup against Al-Farouq Aminu and his 105 Defensive Rating. The Thunder point guard leads the team with a massive 34.4% Usage Rate, and should see another high usage game tonight in what should be a fast-paced shootout. Westbrook is our top overall projected player on the board tonight.
Andre Drummond - With former frontcourt mate Greg Monroe now in Milwaukee, Drummond has quietly put up historic numbers to open the 2015-16 season. The Pistons' star big man is currently averaging 17.7 points and a league-leading 16.3 rebounds per game. Dennis Rodman and Moses Malone are the only two players since the 1976 NBA and ABA merger to average 16 rebounds per game, with Malone being the only player since the merger to post more than 16 points and 16 rebounds per game for a full season. That's pretty good company for Drummond to be keeping, to say the least. The former UConn Husky great now leads the league with 22 double-doubles on the year -- with the aforementioned Westbrook in second with just 16 -- and he's posted a double-double in eight of his last 10 games. Look for the Pistons' big man to extend his league lead with another huge double-double tonight against a Celtics' frontcourt that ranks just 22nd in Rebounding Differential (-2.6) on the year.
Top Mid-Range Values
Tyreke Evans - Evans has been on an absolute tear since returning from his knee injury. In the seven games since rejoining the Pelicans, the versatile point guard has averaged 16 points, 6.9 assists, 6 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, and that includes a zero-point, 3-assist, 2-rebound disaster outing in just 18 minutes in a blowout loss to the Celtics. With his minutes restriction now lifted, Evans has averaged 22.6 points, 7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2 steals in 36 minutes per game over his last three outings and should see another big workload tonight. While I don't normally recommend playing anyone agains the Jazz defense, with Rudy Gobert still on the shelf, Evans should have a much easier time getting to the rim and should fill up the stat sheet once again despite a tough matchup.
Derrick Favors - While the Jazz have been one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Pelicans have been one of the worst. They have allowed the most points per game in the league at 108.3 and rank dead last in the league in both Defensive Rating and Defensive Efficiency according to our metrics. As I mentioned earlier, Utah's starting center Gobert will miss his eighth consecutive game, which means Favors will continue to start at center for the Jazz. In the seven games that Gobert has missed, Favors has poured in 17.7 points to go along with 8.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 35.2 minutes per game and he should have little trouble reaching those averages tonight against a New Orleans defense that has given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing centers this season.
Matt Barnes - The Grizzlies have now moved to a small-ball lineup with Jeff Green starting at small forward, Barnes at power forward and Zach Randolph moving to the bench. Both Green and Barnes have massively benefitted from this switch, but it's been the journeyman Barnes who has seen the biggest boost in production. Over his last five games as Memphis' starting power forward, the veteran swingman has averaged 15 points with 7.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 33.2 minutes per game. He gets a plus matchup against a Bulls team that has struggled to defend the paint this season and should see minutes in the mid-30s once again. He is an absolute steal at just $4,900 on FanDuel and $5,100 on DraftKings.
Kent Bazemore - Bazemore made a splash in his return to the Hawks' starting lineup, dropping 28 points with 5 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block in 40 minutes of action against the Heat on Monday. He's averaging 16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 steals on a per-36 minute basis and gets a dream matchup against a 76ers squad that has given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards this season. Although there is some serious blowout potential against the worst team in basketball, Bazemore is cheap enough where he should reach value even if he doesn't play his full compliment of minutes.