NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Wednesday 1/20/16

Ish Smith has been nothing short of spectacular since rejoining the 76ers.

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.

Oh, and if you're interested, check out our daily fantasy basketball heat chart for today's slate. It's full of information like tonight's Vegas lines, team offensive and defensive efficiency ratings, pace, fantasy points against and so much more.

As for today's picks -- let's get to it.

The Best of the Best

DeMarcus Cousins (FD: $10,700, DK: $10,600) - Boogie comes into tonight scorching hot, having recorded double-doubles in nine of his last 10 games and averaging a ridiculous 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals and a block per game with a monstrous 35.6% Usage Rate over that span. He draws a dream matchup against a porous Lakers defense that ranks 29th in the league in Defensive Efficiency according to our metrics and has given up the third most fantasy points per game to opposing centers on the year. Cousins is our top overall projected player on the board.

LeBron James (FD: $9,800, DK: $9,800) - Now ranking fifth in our player power rankings with an impressive 12.7 nERD, King James is having another outstanding year, posting 25.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6 assists per game. With a matchup against a Nets squad that sits 28th in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency, the four-time MVP should be on everyone's radar tonight at less than $10,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

Kyle Lowry (FD: $9,200, DK: $8,800) - Lowry has flown somewhat under the radar, but he has been one of the best players in all of basketball this season. He's posted career-bests in scoring (21 points per game), rebounding (5.1 per game), steals (2.3 per game) and blocks (0.6 per game) and currently finds himself just behind LeBron at sixth in our player power rankings with a 12.6 nERD. The Raptors' floor general should be the focal point of Toronto's offense tonight with DeMar DeRozan drawing a very difficult matchup against Avery Bradley and should be in store for a huge fantasy outing.

Top Mid-Range Values

Paul Millsap (FD: $8,700, DK: $8,200) - Portland has struggled to slow down opposing big men all season long, ranking inside the bottom 10 in fantasy points allowed per game to both power forwards and centers this season. Meanwhile, Millsap has been red hot, averaging 18.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4 assists per game over his last eight outings. He should have his way with the struggling Blazers front court en route to another impressive performance tonight in Portland.

Ishmael Smith (FD: $7,200, DK: $7,500) - As Jacob Gibbs explained yesterday, Smith has been on fire since reuniting with the 76ers. Since coming back to Philadelphia, the journeyman point guard has scored 16.8 points to go along with 8.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game with a massive 30.1% Usage Rate. He is coming off of a 16-point, 16-assist, 7-rebound effort against the Knicks on Monday and gets another plus matchup tonight against a shorthanded Magic team who will be without their best perimeter defender in Victor Oladipo.

Marcin Gortat (FD: $7,100, DK: $7,100) - Gortat has looked incredible since coming back from his knee injury, averaging 17 points, 12 boards and 2 blocks in 36.5 minutes per game since his return to the Wizards' lineup. Although he will have his hands full with Hassan Whiteside tonight, the Polish Hammer should continue to see a heavy workload as long as he's healthy and makes a strong play at his price point.

Basement Ballers

Tyler Johnson (FD: $4,500, DK: $5,400) - While he is coming off of a 3-point, 4-rebound, 1-assist dud last night, Johnson had averaged 15.5 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists per game in the previous two games with Goran Dragic and Beno Udrih banged up. His ownership percentage will likely go way down tonight, but I expect the young Heat guard to bounce back tonight against a Washington team that plays at the fifth fastest pace in the NBA.

Aaron Gordon (FD: $4,200, DK: $4,200) - Coach Scott Skiles recently speculated that he is considering moving Gordon into the Magic starting lineup, which makes sense given the fact that the sophomore forward has averaged 13.5 points and 9.2 rebounds on a per-36 basis this season. If Gordon were to start tonight against the defensively-challenged 76ers, he would become close to a must play at his minuscule price of just $4,200 on both FanDuel and DraftKings, considering he eclipsed 25 minutes in six of his last eight games. 

Robert Covington (FD: $4,800, DK: $5,800) - With Nik Stauskas out, Covington will likely draw another start for Philadelphia. He has been extremely impressive when given the opportunity, averaging 15.2 points, 6.2 boards, 2.2 dimes and 2.2 steals on a per-36 minute basis this year and should push for minutes in the low-to-mid-30s for the banged up 76ers.