NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 12/23/15

Paul George, after going through a bit of a slump the past few games, looks to bounce back tonight in a great matchup against the Kings. Is he worth a look in DFS?

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 - The Lakers have been one of the worst defensive teams in basketball this season, ranking 29th in Defensive Rating (111) while allowing the second most points per game in the NBA (107.2). They have been particularly terrible against opposing point guards, giving up the most fantasy points per game in the league to the point guard position on the season. Contrarily, Westbrook has been one of the best players in all of basketball this season, scoring 25.4 points to go along with 9.4 assists, 6.8 rebounds and a league-leading 2.4 steals per game. He ranks second in the league with a massive 34.2% Usage Rate and currently sits third in our player power rankings with a 18 nERD. While there is a strong chance of a blowout tonight, given Westbrook's enormous Usage Rate and an outstanding matchup with the Lakers, the Thunder star makes an excellent play in all formats tonight.

Paul George - Speaking of terrible defensive teams, the Kings have not been much better on the defensive end than the Lakers this season. Sacramento ranks 25th in the league in Defensive Rating (107.5) and has allowed the third most points per game to opposing teams (107.1) all while playing at the third fastest pace in the league, which is why they are always one of my favorite defenses to target in daily fantasy. Although his production has been down over the past few games, George has put together the best season of his career thus far, posting career-highs in points (25.5) and rebounds (7.8) per game, while adding 4 assists and 1.6 steals. The Pacers' star should have little trouble taking advantage of a Kings' defense that has allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards on the year and can be had for a very reasonable price across the industry. Do not hesitate to plug PG13 into your lineup tonight despite his recent slump.

Top Mid-Range Values

Will Barton - Danilo Gallinari will miss his second straight game tonight, which means Barton will be in line for another massive workload. Despite coming off of the bench, Barton is averaging 28.5 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 37 minutes of action over his last two outings. He's played at least 30 minutes in eight of his last nine games, and should see a significant bump in both usage and playing time with both Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay out. The explosive Nuggets' guard draws a great matchup against a Suns team that has given up the fifth most fantasy points per game against shooting guards this season, and still costs less than $7,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Barton is as close to a must start as it gets on a 13-game slate.

C.J. McCollum - Damian Lillard will not suit up tonight, but McCollum will make his return to action after missing Monday's game against Atlanta. The Blazers' guard has had a breakout season in his third year in the league, shattering his career-highs in points (20.1), assists (3.9), rebounds (3.3) and steals (1.3) in 35.1 minutes per game. He ranks second on the team behind Lillard in Usage Rate -- McCollum has earned a 26% Usage Rate while the next closest after him is Gerald Henderson at 21.6% -- and should see a huge increase in both minutes and usage tonight with his running mate Lillard out. McCollum gets a dream matchup against a Pelicans squad that ranks dead last in the league in both Defensive Rating (111.2) and opposing points per game (108.2) while allowing the second most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards and seventh most to opposing shooting guards. Much like Barton, McCollum is a near must-start.

Basement Ballers

Allen Crabbe - As I just mentioned, Lillard will miss his second consecutive game tonight, which means Crabbe will likely draw another start at shooting guard tonight with McCollum sliding over to point guard. Crabbe's minutes and usage have been trending upward over the past few weeks, and he made the most of  his first start since opening night, pouring in 19 points with 4 rebounds and 2 assists on 18 shots in 32 minutes. He should see 30-plus minutes for the third consecutive game and will more than likely be the second option on the offensive end behind the aforementioned McCollum tonight. At just $4,400 on DraftKings and $4,200 on FanDuel in a terrific matchup against New Orleans, Crabbe should provide excellent value tonight.

Jameer Nelson - The Nuggets' starting point guard, Mudiay, has already been ruled out for tonight's game against the Suns, and Nelson will start at point guard for Denver yet again. In five starts this season, he's averaged 11 points, 6.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 32 minutes per game, and should see plenty of action once again tonight in a plus matchup against the Suns who have allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season. Although his price has come up some on DraftKings, Nelson still costs just $4,600 on FanDuel, making him a truly elite value play at point guard.