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. Value plays on the various daily fantasy sites can arise at a moment’s notice so always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.
The Full Roster contests on FanDuel include a new scoring system in which the lowest score of the nine selected players is dropped, allowing users to take more risks with a punt play or two. Then, DraftKings has brought back its late swap for NBA contests.
12/5/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Bench Warmer: $12 entry, $450k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Rotation Player: $66 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $10K to 1st!
Shot: $9.99 entry, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $50,000 to 1st!
Slam: $55 entry, $120k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for December 5, 2018
Best DFS Guards for December 5, 2018
John Wall at ATL ($9.4k DraftKings, $9.4k FanDuel)
Wall’s FP averages are up to 43.0 on DK and 42.6 on FD. He’s also exceeded the 50-mark on both sites thrice over the last 10 contests. Point guards have been running roughshod over the Hawks all season. Atlanta has allowed the third-most DK (51.5) and FD (50.5) fantasy points per game to the position on the season. Atlanta has also yielded bottom-10 figures in points (24.7), rebounds (6.5), assists (9.0), steals (2.1), and made threes (3.1) per contest to ones, along with 45.2 percent shooting. The Hawks are also surrendering the highest three-point percentage (38.4) in the NBA while Wall is averaging a career-high 5.0 three-point attempts per game.
Klay Thompson at CLE ($7.1k DraftKings, $7.2k FanDuel)
Thompson thrived in a soft matchup for two-guards against the Hawks on Monday night. He racked up 42.5 DK and 40.6 FD points over an efficient 32 minutes. He’ll be in a position to do similar damage Wednesday. The Cavaliers come in allowing the fifth-most DK (43.6) and second-most FD (43.8) fantasy points per game to SGs. They’re also yielding the fifth-highest shooting percentage (44.9) to the position. Thompson has encouragingly scored over 35 fantasy points on both sites in each of the two games since Stephen Curry’s return from his groin injury, draining 20 of 39 attempts in those contests. Finally, his price has somehow dropped $300 on DK following his breakout versus Atlanta.
Dennis Smith, Jr. at NO ($5.6k DraftKings, $5.9k FanDuel)
Smith is affordably priced for a matchup against the Pelicans’ vulnerable defense, one that’s allowed the second-most DK (51.8) and FD (51.0) per game to point guards. Those numbers are partly the result of New Orleans yielding the second-most points (26.5), most made threes (3.2), and second-most steals (2.4) per contest to PGs. Then, Smith is averaging a career-high 1.2 steals and shooting a career-best 36.5 percent from distance. The second-year guard also headed into Tuesday night’s game against the Trail Blazers having scored over 30 fantasy points on both sites in three of the last five games, providing excellent upside on his current prices.
Other guards to consider: Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, Mike Conley, Bradley Beal, Luka Doncic, Jeff Teague, Trae Young, Dennis Schroder
Best DFS Forwards for December 5, 2018
LeBron James vs. SA ($10.5k DraftKings, $10.7k FanDuel)
James has averaged just 30.5 minutes over the last two contests due to game script. However, he’s scored at least 39 FP on either site in each game, a reminder of the efficiency he’s capable of on a per-minute basis. That much is exemplified in his stellar 26.7 PER, as well as his averages of 27.8 points across 34.7 minutes this season. The opposing Spurs come in allowing the seventh-most points (23.1) per game to power forwards, along with the highest shooting percentage (54.2). Then, San Antonio is also surrendering the second-most points in the paint per game on the road (54.2). In turn, James is logging nearly half of his points (46.6 percent, 13.0 per game) in the paint. With a ceiling comfortably north of 50 fantasy points on both sites, James shapes up as an excellent investment against a defensively challenged team.
Tobias Harris at MEM ($7.5k DraftKings, $8.1k FanDuel)
Harris has been one of the surest things in the decidedly unsure world of DFS this season. The floor-spacing big man is posting career bests in points (21.6), rebounds (8.4), shooting percentage (52.0) and three-point percentage (42.2). He also boasts the top usage rate among Clippers starters (23.3 percent) and is averaging over 35 fantasy points per contest on both sites. Memphis’ numbers versus power forwards do look good on paper, but Harris is far from a typical player at his position. His ability to rack up points away from the basket should help him avoid some of Marc Gasol’s defense down low. The fact that the Grizzlies allow the seventh-highest three-point percentage (35.8), including the fourth highest over the last three (42.4 percent), is certainly another point in his favor.
Kent Bazemore vs. WAS ($4.4k DraftKings, $5.3k FanDuel)
Bazemore has small forward eligibility on DK and is listed as a SG on FD. He’s set to draw the start at the three on Wednesday in the absence of Taurean Prince (ankle), placing him in an excellent matchup. The Wizards have been vulnerable to small forwards all season. They’ve allowed the fourth-most DK points per game (44.2) to the position and 42.0 FD points per contest to threes. Those numbers are partly the byproduct of Washington yielding the most rebounds per game (10.2) to small forwards. Bazemore has his best rebounding average (4.0) since the 2015-16 campaign and is shooting a career-best 44.4 percent. Considering his affordable prices and his matchup versus another team with a top-10 pace, he stands an excellent chance of offering a strong return.
Other forwards to consider: Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Montrezl Harrell, Aaron Gordon, Harrison Barnes, Robert Covington, Markieff Morris, Pascal Siakam, JaMychal Green
Best DFS Centers for December 5, 2018
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. CHA ($9.5k DraftKings, $9.6k FanDuel)
Towns checks in at a nice discount over top options Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid while offering comparable upside. The fourth-year big has averaged over 45 FP on both sites. He also topped 50 in his most recent contest against the Rockets on Monday. Towns has scored over 60 in four games this season as well. Then, the Hornets have allowed 56.7 DK and 56.0 FD points per game to fives. That includes surrendering the third-most blocks (2.9) to the position while Towns’ 1.5 blocks per game are his best figure in that category since his rookie 2015-16 campaign. Charlotte is also yielding 49.2 points in the paint per game (tied for 10th most), and Towns scores nearly half of his points (47.1 percent) in that area of the floor. Towns’ team-high 26.1 percent usage rate also essentially locks in his involvement in a game that should be tightly contested.
Steven Adams at BKN ($6.7k DraftKings, $7.7k FanDuel)
Adams is a steady provider of scoring and rebounds. Both could be in ample supply Wednesday against the Nets. Brooklyn has allowed the most DK (66.0) and FD (64.7) points per game to centers. That’s largely the result of the Nets yielding the most points (28.0) and rebounds (20.3) per contest to fives. Brooklyn is also surrendering the fifth-most points in the paint at home (51.0), and 82.1 percent of Adams’ points originate from that area. Plus, Adams has eclipsed 30 fantasy points on either site in nine of his last 10 games while also averaging career bests for the season across the stat sheet. If not paying up for one of the top-tier centers, Adams presents as an excellent mid-tier alternative who could outpace his prices by a solid margin.
Brook Lopez vs. DET ($5.2k DraftKings, $5.5k FanDuel)
Lopez has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in four of his last five games. He’s taken a whopping 16 three-point attempts over the last pair of contests as well, the latest example of his willingness to space the floor. The Pistons have been particularly vulnerable to centers of late: they’ve yielded 21 points to Steven Adams, 28 to Wendell Carter, Jr., and a 16-point, 14-rebound double-double to Enes Kanter in three of their past four contests. For the season, they’re allowing the fourth-most points per game (26.8) to fives as well as the highest shooting percentage (60.4) to the position. Lopez has the skill set to take advantage of those deficiencies, and he’s averaging a career-high 36.7 percent from three-point range. The combination of his modest price and upside render him an appealing choice for those wishing to save some cash at center.
Other centers to consider: Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond, Nikola Vucevic, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Kevon Looney