NBA Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 2/18/16

E'Twaun Moore has stepped up in a big way in the absence of Jimmy Butler. Is he worth a look in DFS 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

LeBron James (FanDuel Price: $11,000) - James has looked spectacular since Tyronn Lue took over as head coach and implemented his new faster-paced offense, posting 25 points, 7.9 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game and scoring at least 20 points in each of those 11 contests. He draws a great matchup against a Bulls defense that has given up the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards and will be without their best perimeter defender in Jimmy Butler. King James is our top overall projected player on the board by a wide margin.

Pau Gasol (FanDuel Price: $9,000) - In the seven games that both Joakim Noah and Nikola Mirotic have missed this season, Gasol is averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 boards and 4.9 assists with a 25% Usage Rate in 33.2 minutes per game. He will more than likely see another massive workload in what Vegas expects to be the highest scoring affair on the slate and should be in store for a monster outing.

Kyrie Irving (FanDuel Price: $7,900) - Finally healthy, Irving entered the All-Star break scorching hot, averaging 27.7 points, 6.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 37.2 minutes per game his last six outings before the break. He draws the best matchup on the board against a Bulls' backcourt that has allowed the third most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards and should have his way with Derrick Rose and his 108 Defensive Rating.

Top Mid-Range Values

Kawhi Leonard ($7,700) - Much like the aforementioned Irving, Leonard looked outstanding heading into the break, amassing 24 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game over his last three performances, scoring at least 20 points with 7 rebounds in each of those three games. He has been one of the most consistent and efficient players in the league all season long -- he currently sits second in our player power rankings with a 21.3 nERD -- and is in play any night his price falls below $8,000. 

Derrick Rose ($6,800) - With Butler, Mirotic and Noah all out of the lineup, Rose should be in store for a massive workload. In the three games that Rose has played without all three of those players, Rose has scored 17.7 points while adding 7.3 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game with a 32.8 Usage Rate. He draws a plus matchup against Irving and his 106 Defensive Rating and should be the focal point of the Bulls' offense. 

Rodney Hood ($6,000) - Hood has emerged as a very strong fantasy performer in the absence of Alec Burks, averaging 18.1 points, 4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in the 23 games Burks has missed. He averaged 23 points, 4.5 boards and 2.5 dimes in 38.5 minutes per game over his last four outings and should have little trouble reaching value against a Washington defense that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing shooting guards this season.

Basement Ballers

Taj Gibson ($5,100) - As I already mentioned, the Bulls are incredibly short-handed, which means Gibson will be forced into a significantly increased role tonight. Although he had issues with an ankle injury prior to the All-Star break, he should be back to 100% after the week off and should see 30-plus minutes in a game that features an over/under of 207.

Tristan Thompson ($4,800) - The Bulls have struggled to slow down opposing big men all season long, giving up the fourth most fantasy points in the NBA to opposing centers this season. He has averaged 31.5 minutes per game since the Cavaliers' coaching change -- more than four minutes above his average while David Blatt was head coach -- and should see all the minutes he can handle tonight against the big Bulls' front court of Gasol and Gibson.

E'Twaun Moore ($4,300) - In the four games Moore has played without Butler in the lineup, he has posted 15.3 points, 4.5 assists and 4 rebounds in 33.9 minutes per game. He should see minutes in the mid-30s once again tonight in a matchup against J.R. Smith, and his career 108 Defensive Rating and is dollar for dollar one of the best values on the board.