DraftKings & FanDuel NBA DFS Lineups & Picks for December 22, 2017

Posted By Nate Weitzer on December 22, 2017

NBA DFS DraftKings.com & FanDuel.com Lineups & Picks for December 22, 2017

For the NBA DFS slate tonight, and for the rest of the season, we’ll be writing up the best picks for guards, forwards, and centers we’ll be considering for our Cash and GPP lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel. The info below can also be used for crafting your strategy on Draft.

Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster.

Injuries play a huge role in NBA DFS on a nightly basis, and value plays at the various daily fantasy sites can arise at a moment’s notice. Always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.

12/22/17 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS

Excellent 8’s: $8 buy-in, $350k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Triple Threat: $33 buy-in, $150k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Sharpshooter: $3 buy-in, $110k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Layup: $9 buy-in, $99k guaranteed (FanDuel)
Clutch Shot: $4 buy-in, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel)
Slam: $33 buy-in, $125k guaranteed (FanDuel)

PLAYERS RULED OUT
Damian Lillard (hamstring)
Hassan Whiteside (knee) 
Chris Paul (abductor) 
Stephen Curry (ankle) 
Aaron Gordon (calf) 
D’Angelo Russell (knee) 
Blake Griffin (knee)
James Johnson (ankle) 
Avery Bradley (groin) 
Tim Hardaway Jr. (leg) 

INJURY NEWS TO MONITOR
Draymond Green (shoulder) 
Dennis Schroder (ankle) 
Clint Capela (heel) 
Gary Harris (elbow) 
Evan Fournier (ankle)
Goran Dragic (elbow) 
Otto Porter (hip)

Best NBA DFS Picks for December 22, 2017

Guards

James Harden vs. LAC ($11.5k DraftKings, $12.0k FanDuel)
Chris Paul (abductor) will miss his shot at revenge against the Clippers tonight. This leaves more up to James Harden to avenge Houston’s surprising collapse on Wednesday, which ended their winning streak. He dropped 51 points in CP3’s absence two nights ago and could produce similarly against a Clippers team that’s given up the most FPPG (49.71) to opposing SGs over the last month. Lou Williams, Austin Rivers, and Milos Teodosic stand no chance at containing “The Beard,” who is rocking a 39.4 percent usage rate and averaging 0.91 points per minute with Paul off the floor this year.

C.J. McCollum vs. DEN ($7.0k DraftKings, $6.9k FanDuel)
In a clear-cut boost to his upside in a good matchup, C.J. McCollum will look to carry the Blazers’ offense with Damian Lillard (hamstring) ruled out tonight. Lillard barely ever misses games. Yet while he’s off the floor this year, CJM is rocking a 33.8 percent usage rate. Plus, the silky smooth guard averaged 31.2 PPG when Lillard missed a five-game stretch last season.

Mario Hezonja @ NO ($4.7k DraftKings, $4.4k FanDuel)
The injury-plagued Magic should be without Jonathan Isaac (ankle), Evan Fournier (ankle), Terrence Ross (knee), and Aaron Gordon (calf) tonight. This should force Frank Vogel to give young Mario Hezonja extended run. He was less productive in his second start at PF, producing 12 points with two rebounds over 24 minutes in a blowout loss. However, he should find more success against a Pelicans team that gives up the second-most PPG (111.9) overall and third-most FPPG (43.29) to SFs this season. In any case, Hezonja provides a solid floor for a player in this price range provided Evan Fournier ($6.0k, $5.6k) doesn’t make his return.

Ish Smith vs. NYK ($3.8k DraftKings, $4.4k FanDuel)
The Pistons will be looking for answers after a blowout loss to lowly Dallas in which Reggie Bullock and Langston Galloway looked downright dreadful as potential replacements with Avery Bradley (groin) out for a week. Those results may convince HC Stan Van Gundy to slide Reggie Jackson ($5.5k, $5.4k) over to SG with Ish Smith running the point. Ultimately, this should benefit both players. As for tonight, the Knicks are allowing the third-most FPPG (49.92) and most APG (9.93) to opposing PGs this season. Furthermore, New York will be starting 34-year-old Jarrett Jack at that position on the second half of a B2B set.

Others to consider: Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Reggie Jackson, Eric Gordon, Jeremy Lamb, Dennis Smith Jr., Shabazz Napier

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Forwards

Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. CHA ($11.3k DraftKings, $12.0k FanDuel)
It would certainly be a contrarian move to fade Kevin Durant for Giannis Antetokounmpo in GPP formats tonight given the Warriors’ reliance on KD in recent games. Yet “The Greek Freak” arguably draws a better matchup against a weak Hornets defense. They’ve coughed up the most RPG (9.59) and seventh-most FPPG (42.86) to opposing SFs this season. As we know, Giannis plays positionless basketball and fills the stat sheet with plenty of peripherals while scoring at will. Plus, he’s averaging 29.9 PPG on efficient 56.2 percent FG shooting at home this year. 

Brandon Ingram @ GSW ($6.8k DraftKings, $7.0k FanDuel)
While Kyle Kuzma ($6.3k, $6.8k) grabbed all the headlines with 38 points in a comeback win over Houston Wednesday, Brandon Ingram continued to fit perfectly into the new-look Lakers’ system. He logged 13 points, six rebounds, and six assists over 40 minutes of run. At similar price tags, Ingram is clearly the superior Cash play with a great floor and plenty of upside. That’s exactly what he flashed while dueling Kevin Durant with 32 points in an OT loss to Golden State last month. KD is forced to do so much offensively with Steph Curry (ankle) out. And if Draymond Green (shoulder) can’t go, it’ll be much easier for Ingram to score on drives to the basket.

Michael Beasley @ DET ($5.2k DraftKings, $6.3k FanDuel)
Michael Beasley clearly deserves consideration after dominating the Celtics in the second half en route to a 32-point game last night. That came with Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup, although the big man could be limited by his knee injury or rested on the second half of a B2B set. The Pistons happen to give up the most FPPG (43.77) to opposing SFs this season. “B-Easy” is a classically streaky player, who thrives with a bit of confidence.

Mike Scott @ BKN ($4.6k DraftKings, $5.0k FanDuel)
With Markieff Morris struggling and Otto Porter (hip) banged up, the Wizards have given Mike Scott a test drive. They have to like the results thus far. The former Hawks forward has produced 75 points on lights out 69.5 percent (32-for-46) FG shooting over his last four appearances and should continue to earn minutes and hoist shots with Bradley Beal (ankle) nicked up. Up next for Washington is a road tilt at the Nets, who give up the third-most PPG (110.7) and cough up the sixth-most FPPG (48.65) to opposing PFs this season.

Others to consider: Kristaps Porzingis, Jonathon Simmons, Kyle Kuzma, Kelly Olynyk, Julius Randle, Andre Iguodala, Kelly Oubre Jr. 

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Center

DeMarcus Cousins vs. ORL ($11.1k DraftKings, $11.0k FanDuel)
In reality, it might make sense to fade Kevin Durant to afford the center with the most upside on this slate — DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie is sharing the ball with Anthony Davis (wrist), who is always one fall away from departing the game. Still, Cousins is crushing it with career-best 47.3 percent shooting on a healthy 34 percent usage rate. He faces a depleted Magic frontcourt and a below-average defender in Nikola Vucevic tonight. The only reason he produced modest results (12 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) in his previous meeting with Orlando’s 27th-ranked defense this season was the blowout nature of that game.

Jusuf Nurkic vs. DEN ($6.4k DraftKings, $6.8k FanDuel)
Understandably, Jusuf Nurkic produced modest results with 15 points and six rebounds on Wednesday against a Spurs team that’s always been stingy against opposing centers. Now, he faces a Nuggets defense that’s been hemorrhaging FPs to opposing bigs with Nikola Jokic (ankle) struggling while on a “responsible return to play program” over the past week. Jokic got the better of his former teammate in a meeting earlier this year and is a great play in his own right at just $7.4k on DK. However, Nurkic dominated “The Joker” last March with 33 points and 15 boards. He’s clearly motivated to prove he’s as good as the player who blocked him from seeing the court while the Bosnian was in Denver.

Others to consider: Nikola Vucevic, Steven Adams, John Collins, Kyle O’Quinn

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Nate Weitzer

Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.

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