NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 12/30/15

With Stephen Curry unlikely to suit up, Shaun Livingston will should see all the minutes he can handle tonight.

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 - While I would normally fade any team playing against Philadelphia due to blowout potential, Sacramento is just a nine-point favorite tonight, which indicates that the game should be close enough for the Kings' starters to play their full compliment of minutes. Cousins has put together another masterful campaign to open up the 2015-16 season, filling up the stat sheet with 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 rebounds per game with a massive, league-leading 34.9% Usage Rate. Boogie draws the best matchup on the board tonight against a 76ers interior defense that has given up the second most fantasy points per game to opposing centers in a game that features the largest over/under on the slate at 212. In two games against the Sixers last season, the Kings' star averaged an absurd 36 points and 20 rebounds per game and should be in store for another monstrous outing tonight. Cousins is our top overall projected player for tonight's 10 game slate.

Draymond Green - Stephen Curry is currently listed as doubtful to play tonight with a leg injury. This would be the first game Curry has missed all season, and it will be interesting to see how Golden State run their offense without the reigning MVP. Assuming the Warriors' star is unable to suit up, it will more than likely be Klay Thompson and Green receiving the most substantial bump in usage with Shaun Livingston picking up the start at point guard. Livingston would immediately become one of the best values on the board at close to minimum salary if Curry sits -- more on that later -- but if there was one Warrior I would want to pay up for, it would be Green. The versatile Warriors' forward has already seen both his minutes and usage increase significantly over the past few weeks and has averaged an impressive 17.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game in the month of December. He also draws a spectacular matchup against a Mavericks' squad that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards on the year. Green makes a strong play regardless of whether or not Curry is able to play, but is a truly elite option if his superstar point guard takes the night off.

Top Mid-Range Values

Nikola Vucevic - Vucevic comes into tonight scorching hot, scoring at least 20 points in each of his last six games while averaging 23.6 points, 9.2 boards and 3.8 assists in a whopping 35.5 minutes per game over that span. The Magic big man gets the pleasure of facing off against Brook Lopez and a Nets' defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in the NBA in both Defensive Rating (107.3) and opposing points per game (103.5) while giving up the third most fantasy points per game to opposing centers. Although his price tag continues to increase, it's still very much low enough to keep Vucevic as an elite play tonight, especially at just $7,700 on DraftKings.

Kemba Walker - Charlotte comes into tonight as one of the most banged up teams in the league. Spencer Hawes and Jeremy Lin have already been ruled out for tonight's matchup against the Clippers, while Al Jefferson and Nicolas Batum are both listed as questionable. The former UConn Husky great has eclipsed 40 minutes of action in each of his last six games and will more than likely continue to see a massive workload for the short-handed Hornets tonight. Walker is coming off of his best game of the season on Monday, scoring 38 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks against the Lakers, and, despite a tough matchup against Chris Paul, should be in great position for another big game tonight given his expected usage and playing time. Look for Walker to stay hot in what should be a high-scoring affair against the Clippers.

Basement Ballers

Ish Smith - After holding some early season fantasy value as a member of the Pelicans while Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans worked their way back from offseason injuries, Smith fell back into obscurity as the New Orleans backcourt slowly got back to full strength. With Holiday and Evans back playing their full compliment of minutes, Smith was then traded back to his former squad in Philadelphia and now finds himself as a starting point guard once again. In two games since returning to the 76ers, the journeyman point guard has averaged 18 points, 8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 31.5 minutes per game. He should continue to see minutes in the 30s as long as he remains the Sixers' starting point guard and will likely lead Philadelphia in usage due to the team's lack of experience. Smith is still priced as a backup on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and should have little trouble reaching value against a porous Kings' defense that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing point guards on the season.

Shaun Livingston - As I already mentioned, the Warriors' star point guard Curry is unlikely to play tonight. As I'm writing this he is still listed as doubtful, but his chances of playing look bleaker and bleaker by the minute. Assuming Curry sits, Livingston would slide into the Warriors starting lineup, and should see all the minutes he can handle with Leandro Barbosa also out for tonight's matchup with Dallas. The Mavericks have allowed the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this season, and Livingston's length and athleticism will be very difficult for the Mavericks' diminutive point guard J.J. Barea to handle. His ability to fill up the stat sheet gives the veteran point guard a high floor and his increase in usage will Curry out also gives him great upside in a plus matchup against Barea and the Mavs. Livingston is dollar for dollar my favorite player on the board tonight.