NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 1/22/16

With Dwight Howard sidelined, Terrence Jones will draw the start at power forward for the short-handed Rockets 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.

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

Stephen Curry (FD: $11,100, DK: $10,400) - The reigning MVP has put together another masterful campaign to open the 2015-16 season, leading the league in scoring (29.9 points per game), Player Efficiency Rating (32.1), Win Shares per 48 minutes (.338) and Plus/Minus (12.3) while currently sitting number one in our player power rankings with a 25.9 nERD. Curry should be in store for another huge outing tonight in a game that Vegas projects to be the highest scoring on tonight's slate by a wide margin.

Russell Westbrook (FD: $10,700, DK: $10,600) - Westbrook comes into tonight scorching hot, averaging 18.5 points, 11.1 dimes, 8.2 boards and 2.3 steals in the month of January, despite playing just 31.8 minutes per game over that span with Oklahoma City involved in several blowouts. The Thunder star will likely see his full compliment of minutes in what is expected to be a close game in Dallas and should absolutely dominate the aging Deron Williams and his career 110 Defensive Rating.

Pau Gasol (FD: $8,500, DK: $8,400) - The Celtics have struggled to slow down opposing big men all season long, allowing the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards and the 12th most to the center position. Gasol, who has averaged 17.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 blocks in 33.1 minutes per game in 12 games without the injured Joakim Noah, should have his way with the undersized Celtics' front line en route to a huge fantasy outing.

Top Mid-Range Values

DeAndre Jordan (FD: $8,200, DK: $7,500) - Jordan has been very impressive in the 10 games he has played without front court mate Blake Griffin this season, posting 13.8 points with 14.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 35 minutes per game. He draws a plus matchup against a Knicks' front court that has given up the 13th most fantasy points per game to opposing centers on the year and provides both a high floor and high ceiling as Griffin remains out of commission. 

Nikola Vucevic (FD: $7,500, DK: $7,500) - The Hornets are one of the most banged-up teams in the league right now and will once again be without both their starting big men -- Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller -- tonight. This bodes extremely well for Vucevic who should absolutely dominate the less-than-stellar defensive pairing of Spencer Hawes and rookie Frank Kaminsky.

Khris Middleton (FD: $7,400, DK: $7,000) - Middleton has put together a breakout season in his fourth year in the league, averaging career-highs in points (17.6 per game), assists (3.9 per game) and Usage Rate (21.7%). He comes into tonight scorching hot, scoring 21.8 points with 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebonds per game with a 25.1% Usage Rate in a whopping 38.5 minutes per game over his last 10 outings, and gets an outstanding matchup against a Houston defense that ranks just 23rd in Defensive Efficiency according to our metrics.

Basement Ballers

Jeremy Lin (FD: $5,200, DK: $5,100) - On top of the aforementioned injures to Jefferson and Zeller, the Hornets will be without Nicolas Batum tonight and maybe Jeremy Lamb as well. Lin should draw the start at shooting guard and see all the minutes he can handle in what should be a close game in Orlando.

Terrence Jones (FD: $4,500, DK: $4,700) - With Dwight Howard out tonight, Jones will slide into the Rockets' starting lineup. He's averaged 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks on a per-36 minute basis and could see minutes in the 30s in a dream matchup against the Bucks who rank 29th in the NBA in Defensive Efficiency.

Aaron Gordon (FD: $4,200, DK: $4,400) - Coach Scott Skiles has alluded to inserting Gordon into the starting lineup for weeks and tonight is likely to be that night. The Magic sophomore forward has been very impressive when given the opportunity, averaging 13.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per-36 minutes and could push for 30 minutes tonight against a short-handed Hornets squad who has allowed the fourth most fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards on the year.