For any slate featuring three games or fewer, we break down the night by the games rather than player position. 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.
Finally, note there are Showdown slates available with different pricing and lineup structures on both DraftKings and FanDuel. In the “Showdown” mode on DraftKings, there are six utility spots with a $50k salary cap. DraftKings has also debuted a “Captain” mode in which there are five utility spots with a CAPTAIN. This specific player receives 1.5x multiplier but also costs more if deployed in that spot.
On FanDuel, the one-game contests include an MVP spot (2x multiplier), STAR (1.5x), PRO (1.2x), and two utility spots. The Full Roster contests on FD also 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.
12/6/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Big Jam: $10 entry, $400k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Four Point Play: $4 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot Machine: $7.77 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Slam: $55 entry, $100k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Game Breakdown for December 6, 2018
New York Knicks (+12.5) at Boston Celtics (Over/Under – 217.5)
While the Knicks put a beatdown on the Celtics the last time these teams met, sportsbooks don’t expect anything close to a repeat performance. Boston (-12.5) is heavily favored.
Working in the Celtics’ favor is the absence of Trey Burke (knee), who poses far greater matchup issues than Emmanuel Mudiay ($5.7k, $5.7k) as a threat to shoot or drive.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6.6k, $7.4k) posts a 31.7% usage rate when Burke is off the floor this year and is a much better play than Mudiay in a similar price range on DraftKings. Hardaway has a ceiling of 50 DK points tonight per models on FantasyLabs.
Damyean Dotson ($4.8k, $5.8k) is soaking up more minutes with Burke out and has been shooting lights out over his last four appearances. He’s worth a look in tournaments. Then, Kevin Knox ($4.5k, $5.4k) is taking off alongside Dotson as Knicks HC David Fizdale continues to experiment with his rotations. Knox sees a 2.7% increase in usage rate when Burke is off the floor.
Massachusetts native Noah Vonleh ($5.1k, $5.0k) dropped a double-double in his last trip to the TD Garden and should have another good game if he can avoid foul trouble.
Enes Kanter ($6.8k, $7.1k) has averaged a double-double despite playing just 27 MPG over two meetings with the Celtics. Boston ranks 26th in DvP while yielding 50.41 FPPG to opposing centers over the last 14 days. Kanter has great upside relative to his price tag if this game stays close.
The Celtics will, of course, be led by Kyrie Irving ($9.0k, $9.0k). Unfortunately for them, the Knicks rank third in DvP against opposing PGs over the last 14 days, and a potential blowout makes Irving a scary option.
Further limiting Irving’s upside is the sudden ascendancy of Gordon Hayward ($6.1k, $6.4k) and the Celtics’ improved balance offensively. The large spread on this game makes it tough to pay up for Irving, Jayson Tatum or Al Horford, but Hayward is in an affordable price range despite his near triple-double on Saturday.
The return of Jaylen Brown ($4.8k, $4.7k) from a back injury will further crowd the rotation. Brown is worth a look as a value on FanDuel.
This is an emotional night for Marcus Smart ($4.8k, $5.4k) on the anniversary of his mother’s death. Smart should play with extra fire, and his teammates and coach may look to feed him. Smart has been playing heavy minutes lately and is averaging 11.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, and 2.3 SPG over his last four outings.
Marcus Morris ($5.3k, $5.7k) is a mid-tier option to consider against a Knicks team that ranks 25th in opponent 3-point shooting (.368) this year.
Phoenix Suns (+14) at Portland Blazers (Over/Under – 215.5)
Next up, the Suns may get blown out in this game but can still offer plenty of appealing value options with Devin Booker (hamstring) and T.J. Warren (ankle) ruled out.
On Tuesday, De’Anthony Melton ($4.2k, $4.5k) went off (mostly in garbage time) for a career-high 21 points with 5 assists over 23 minutes. Yet Melton is by no means guaranteed minutes. Elie Okobo ($4.0k, $4.1k) remains the safer play as the replacement for Booker in the starting lineup. Just monitor the starters ahead of this game because Suns HC Igor Kokoskov might play around with his lineups.
Rookie Mikal Bridges ($4.1k, $4.9k) started for Warren but managed just 7 points on 3-of-12 FG shooting over 34 minutes. Josh Jackson ($5.4k, $5.5k) also disappointed over 27 minutes. Both are risky options against Portland’s solid defense. Jamal Crawford ($3.9k, $3.7k) will see increased run and usage with Booker out and may be able to create more scoring against the Blazers should those aforementioned wings struggle.
The best value should be PF/C Richaun Holmes ($4.3k, $5.1k). He’s averaging 16.3 points, 12 rebounds, and 4.4 STL/BLK per 36 minutes this year and double-doubled over just 22 minutes on Tuesday. He has the potential for 5.4x salary returns per models on FantasyLabs.
Portland’s defensive rating (now 21st) continues to slide. Plus, the Blazers rank 28th in opponents 3-point shooting (.378). That puts Trevor Ariza ($5.6k, $5.8k) on the radar as the Suns’ best perimeter shooter.
A poor defensive showing from the Blazers could mean a close game. That’s the only way Damian Lillard ($10.1k, $10.5k) meets value at his lofty price tag. Phoenix gives up the ninth-most PPG (20.99) to opposing PGs and ranks 28th in defensive rating. Lillard is coming off a near triple-double in a loss at Dallas and has seen a rise in production with the Blazers dropping 8 of 11.
Evan Turner ($5.6k, $4.6k) returned to provide 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists over 30 minutes Tuesday. He’s a great value to consider on FD in a game that could get out of hand, leading to more minutes for the leader of Portland’s second unit.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($5.2k, $5.9k) is also a good bet for production against the Suns’ depleted frontcourt. The other Blazer to consider would be Jusuf Nurkic ($7.3k, $8.5k), as the Suns yield the seventh-most RPG (15.69) to opposing centers over the last 14 days with rookie Deandre Ayton looking downright disinterested at times. Nurkic has the highest per-dollar rating on FantasyLabs with a projection of 38 DK points.
Houston Rockets (+2) at Utah Jazz (Over/Under – 216.5)
This could be the lone close game tonight, and if that’s the case, James Harden ($10.8k, $11.4k) would pay off as the top stud on the board.
Since Houston ranks 28th and Utah 23rd in DvP against opposing SGs over the last 14 days, Harden and Donovan Mitchell ($7.6k, $8.5k) stand out as the best combined stack in a game with shootout potential.
Mitchell and the Jazz starters coasted in a blowout win over the Spurs Tuesday. He’s fully capable of roasting Harden and the rest of Houston’s deteriorating perimeter defense. We should also see the pace increase in this meeting even though both teams are bottom 10 in pace. Utah’s averaging 113.3 PPG over its last six contests.
Rudy Gobert ($8.3k, $9.8k) has been dominant with averages of 17.2 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and 2.8 BPG during that span. Houston is bottom six in every DvP category over the last 14 days, including 24th against opposing centers.
Joe Ingles ($5.8k, $6.2k) is shooting 40.9% from deep and averaging 14.7 PPG and 4.8 APG over nine home games this year. He has more potential tonight than Jae Crowder ($4.9k, $5.5k) since the Rockets allow the second-fewest 3PTA per game, and Ingles has a much more refined dribble-drive game.
Derrick Favors ($4.6k, $5.1k) offers a decent floor with limited upside at a modest price tag on DK.
Back to the Rockets side, Chris Paul ($7.7k, $8.1k) could be a sneaky option to use at a more modest price tag than Harden, allowing you to fully stack this game. The same applies for Eric Gordon ($5.0k, $5.1k), a pure scorer with the potential to get hot in a back-and-forth affair.
Finally, Clint Capela ($8.0k, $9.1k) is a reliable Cash option at center but doesn’t have the same upside as Gobert.