NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 12/21/15

With Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both out tonight, Allen Crabbe should get his opportunity to shine.

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 one of the most talented basketball players on the planet. Period. He's averaging 27 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.2 blocks and a steal in 35.3 minutes per game while currently sitting third in our player power rankings with an impressive 18.1 nERD. While KD does rank second on the Thunder in usage behind Russell Westbrook and his massive 34% Usage Rate, Durant should see a boost in his 29% rate tonight given the fact that he draws a much more favorable matchup against Luc Mbah a Moute than his running mate Westbrook does against Chris Paul. Vegas expects tonight's matchup between the Thunder and Clippers to be very close and extremely high scoring, which bodes well for the Thunder star forward. The former MVP is our top overall projected player on the board tonight.

John Wall - As I've mentioned many times in this column, the Kings are my favorite defense to target in daily fantasy. They rank 24th in the league in Defensive Rating (107.2), have given up the 3rd most points per game in the NBA (106.9) and play at the 3rd  fastest pace in the league. The Wizards have played less-than-stellar defense in their own right this season, ranking 25th in Defensive Rating, have allowed the 5th most points per game in the league (105.8) and play at the 4th fastest pace in the league, which means tonight's game between Washington and Sacramento should have fantasy value galore. While DeMarcus Cousins is a very strong play tonight, Wall is definitely the superstar I prefer in this matchup. Wall has posted 24.6 points, 10.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game over his last 11 outings and should see a significant increase in both usage and playing time with Bradley Beal sidelined and Otto Porter questionable to suit up. Wall is also cheaper than Boogie across the industry and should absolutely dominate the aging Rajon Rondo. He is as close to a must start as it gets tonight.

Top Mid-Range Values

Kemba Walker - Speaking of star point guards facing off against terrible defenses, Walker draws a terrific matchup against the struggling Rockets tonight. Similarly to both Washington and Sacramento, Houston ranks in the bottom 10 of the league in both Defensive Rating (106.8) and opposing points per game (106) while playing at one of the fastest paces in the league -- the Rockets rank sixth in pace on the season. Despite Patrick Beverley being a strong on-ball defender, Houston has still not been able to slow down opposing point guards this season, giving up the seventh most fantasy points to the position on the year. Walker has seen a decent increase in usage with Al Jefferson out of the lineup and should be in store for a big night in what Vegas expects to be the second highest scoring game on tonight's slate.

Nikola Vucevic - Vucevic has had a bit of an up-and-down season. However, much of that can be attributed to his inconsistent playing time. The Magic big man is averaging just 30 minutes per game on the year, but there have been a number of games where he did not see his full complement of minutes with his squad involved in a blowout scenario. With Orlando playing in two straight close contests, Vucevic has played at least 34 minutes per game in each of his last two outings while scoring 20-plus points with 11 rebounds in both. The Magic are just three-point underdogs tonight against the Knicks, which means their star big man should be in line for a heavy workload for his third consecutive game. He gets a plus matchup against a New York defense that has given up the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing centers over their last seven games, and he can be had for a very reasonable price across the industry. Do not hesitate to plug the Magic center into your lineup in all formats.

Basement Ballers

Allen Crabbe - Portland will be without both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum tonight, which means we will see some interesting lineup combinations tonight. While Tim Frazier and Gerald Henderson are both very intriguing options at close to minimum value across the industry, Crabbe will be the Blazers' value guard that I am most excited about tonight. The third-year guard has seen his minutes increase dramatically as the season has progressed -- he averaged 20.5 minutes per game in October, 23.1 in November and is up to 26.8 in December -- and is far and away the most talented scorer available to play for Portland tonight. Not only will Crabbe likely see minutes in the mid-30s tonight, but he will more than likely lead the team in Usage Rate and gets a plus matchup against Kyle Korver and his 106 Defensive Rating. Crabb is dollar for dollar my favorite play on the board tonight.

Garrett Temple - Temple is coming off of by far his best game of the season, pouring in 21 points with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 35 minutes against the Hornets on Saturday. The Wizards' veteran guard will earn his second consecutive start tonight with Beal still unavailable and could see minutes in the mid-30s once again if Porter misses his second game in a row. Temple gets a tremendous matchup against Ben McLemore and a Kings backcourt that has given up the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards on the year. He should see more than enough action to reach value at just $3,900 on FanDuel and $4,000 on DraftKings in what should be one of the highest scoring games of the year.