NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 12/18/15
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
DeMarcus Cousins - Cousins has been an absolute beast when healthy this season. He's averaging 25.2 points, 10.7 boards, 2.7 dimes and 1.2 blocks per game with a league-leading 34.8% Usage Rate. He's coming off of three straight 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound performances and draws a spectacular matchup against rookie Karl-Anthony Towns and a Timberwolves defense that has allowed the seventh most points per game in the league (104) and ranks 19th in Defensive Efficiency according to our metrics. Boogie should have his way with Minnesota's rookie center en route to another impressive double-double. He is our top overall projected player on the board tonight.
Paul George - After missing nearly a year of action following a gruesome leg injury, George is back and as good, if not better than ever. The Pacers' star is averaging 26.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game -- all career-highs -- and currently sits ninth in our player power rankings with an impressive 11.3 nERD. Although we've seen his production dip a bit over the past few games, all that has done is keep his price down. PG13 is in a great spot to bounce back tonight in a terrific matchup against a Nets team that ranks in the bottom 10 in the NBA in both Defensive Rating (106.4) and opposing points per game (102.7) while giving up the ninth most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards. George is an elite play on a night with a very full slate.
Top Mid-Range Values
Brandon Knight - The Pelicans' defense has been nothing short of abysmal to open up the 2015-16 season, ranking dead last in the league in Defensive Rating (110.6) while allowing the second most points per game in basketball at 107.7. New Orleans has really struggled to slow down opposing guards as well, giving up the second most points per game to opposing point guards and the eighth most to opposing shooting guards on the year. With this in mind, both Suns star guards are in play tonight, but Knight is the preferred option given his significantly less-expensive price tag. While he has been slumping a bit as of late, a matchup against the worst defense in basketball is exactly what the doctor ordered. Knight should have little trouble reaching value tonight in what Vegas expects to be the highest scoring game on the board.
Tyreke Evans - As I just mentioned, tonight's matchup between the Pelicans and Suns should be an incredibly high-scoring affair. While much of this can be attributed to New Orleans' porous defense, Phoenix has been a less-than-stellar defensive unit in their own right. The Suns sit at 17th in Defensive Rating (105.7) and have allowed the sixth most points per game (105.9), all while playing at the second fastest pace in the league. This bodes extremely well for a player like Evans who excels in fast-paced, transition-heavy games. Evans has looked spectacular since returning to the Pelicans' lineup, scoring 15.4 points to go along with 6.6 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 32.5 minutes per game. He should see a heavy workload tonight and will be in prime position to have another monster outing against a Suns' front court that has given up the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards.
Omri Casspi - Ever since Willie Cauley-Stein went down with a dislocated finger, Casspi has started at power forward for the Kings and has looked outstanding while doing so. Over his last seven outings while starting for Sacramento, the Kings' stretch-four has posted 13.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 34 minutes of action per game. He's played at least 37 minutes in each of the Kings' last three games and should be in store for another huge workload in what is expected to be a very close, very high-scoring game against the Timberwolves. Although his price has come up a decent amount on DraftKings, he can still be had for just $5,000 on FanDuel, making him one of the best value plays on the board tonight.
John Henson - Despite coming off the bench, Henson put up a solid 10-point, 8-rebound, 3-block performance against the Clippers on Wednesday. The young Bucks big man has looked excellent while on the floor this season, averaging 15.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 blocks on a per-36 minute basis. As long as Greg Monroe remains sidelined, Henson should play a significant role in the Bucks front court whether or not he is in the starting lineup and could see even more playing time than usual in a possible blowout scenario against the Warriors tonight. Henson makes a solid punt play tonight at his minuscule price of just $4,200 on DraftKings and $3,800 on FanDuel.