NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Tuesday 12/22/15

With Danilo Gallinari out tonight, Will Barton finds himself in the Nuggets starting lineup tonight in a great matchup against the Lakers.

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

Andre Drummond - Drummond has gotten off to a historic start to open the 2015-16 season, averaging 18.2 points, 16.4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.5 blocks per game this season. If the Pistons' star big man were to finish the season with 18-plus points and 16-plus rebounds, he would become just the second player to post those kind of numbers since the 1976 NBA and ABA merger, with the only other being Hall of Famer Moses Malone. Although he draws a somewhat difficult matchup tonight against Hassan Whiteside, Drummond should be in prime position to add to his league-leading 24 double-doubles considering Whiteside rarely strays away from the paint. With only four games on tonight's slate, there simply aren't many players worth paying a premium for, which makes the Pistons' center a truly elite play tonight. 

Kyle Lowry - After two of the best years of his career over the past two seasons, Lowry has gotten off to a career-best start this year. He has poured in 21 points to go along with 5.9 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 0.6 blocks per game, all of which are career highs outside of assists. He's accumulated a massive 27.1% Usage Rate and has dished out more than 30% of the Raptors' assists while on the floor. The Raptors' star gets a strong matchup against Deron Williams and his career 110 Defensive Rating tonight and should be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after getting ejected from Sunday's game against the Kings. He is our top overall projected player on the board tonight.

Top Mid-Range Values

Marc Gasol - Normally I would recommend fading any team facing off agains the 76ers due to the blowout potential a matchup with Philadelphia comes along with, however, it's hard to completely fade any team on a night with just four games on the slate. That said, if I were to choose one Memphis player to start tonight it would be Gasol. The Grizzlies' big man is off to another terrific start this season, averaging 16.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. He gets the pleasure of facing off against a 76ers squad that has given up the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing centers and should be incredibly productive as long as he remains on the floor. While it's very possible that Gasol does not see his full compliment of minutes tonight, Gasol should have little trouble reaching value even if he sees just 30 minutes per game, especially at just $7,500 on DraftKings. If you don't want to pay up for Drummond, Gasol is easily the next best option at center on a night with a very small slate. 

Will Barton - Danilo Gallinari has already been ruled out for tonight's game against the Lakers, which means Barton will more than likely slide into Denver's starting lineup. Barton has already seen a healthy boost in playing time with Emmanuel Mudiay sidelined and could see minutes in the mid-30s tonight for the banged-up Nuggets. The Nuggets' swing man has averaged 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals on a per-36 minute basis and draws an outstanding matchup against a Lakers' defense that ranks 29th in the league in Defensive Rating (110.9) and has given up the second most points per game to opposing teams on the year (107.2). Barton is dollar for dollar one of my favorite plays on the board.

Basement Ballers

James Johnson - The Raptors have had some trouble defining their rotation with DeMarre Carroll out of the lineup, but seem to have found their starting small forward in Johnson as of late. In his last two games while in Toronto's starting lineup, Johnson has averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.5 steals and a block in 32 minutes per game. He gets a plus matchup against a Mavericks' squad that has allowed the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards over their last seven contests and can be had for less than $4,000 on both FanDuel or DraftKings. The Raptors' forward should provide excellent value on a night were value is very hard to come by.

Jameer Nelson - As I already mentioned, the Nuggets starting point guard Mudiay remains unavailable for tonight's matchup with the Lakers, which means Nelson will draw his fifth consecutive start. In his previous four starts of the season, the Nuggets journeyman point guard has scored 12.5 points to go along with 5.8 dimes and 3.8 boards in 32.5 minutes per game. He draws the best point guard matchup in basketball against a Lakers' backcourt that has allowed the most fantasy points per game against opposing floor generals and still costs just $5,400 on DraftKings and $4,600 on FanDuel. Nelson will remain a great play as long as Mudiay is sidelined.