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 (FD) 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 (DK) has brought back its late swap for NBA contests.
12/17/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Big Jam: $10 entry, $315k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $10K to 1st!
Shot: $9.99 entry, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $50,000 to 1st!
Slam: $44 entry, $110k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $25,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 17, 2018
Best DFS guards for Dec. 17, 2018
Stephen Curry vs. MEM ($9.9k DraftKings, $9.6k FanDuel)
There’s a tendency to avoid rostering players against the Grizzlies. But Stephen Curry is the type of talent that consistently transcends matchups. He already compiled 38.8 DK and 36.5 FD points over 32 minutes against Memphis back on Nov. 5. He’s also coming off a 60-fantasy-point performance against the Kings on Friday and will be well rested for Monday’s contest following two full days off. The Grizzlies have given up a stingy 42.8 DK and 41.7 FD points per game to point guards. However, Curry is shooting 50 percent at home, including an impressive 48.4 percent from a distance. That level of marksmanship gives him more than enough upside to offer a strong return at what will likely be lower ownership percentages than usual.
Emmanuel Mudiay vs. PHO ($6.2k DraftKings, $6.3k FanDuel)
Emmanuel Mudiay has finally started to deliver on some of his considerable potential in his fourth season. He’s averaging career highs in points (12.9), field-goal percentage (46.3) and three-point percentage (33.3). Mudiay has flashed his ceiling in recent games. He compiled more than 40 fantasy points against the Cavaliers and more than 50 versus the Hornets just two games ago. The emerging point guard will have another chance for superior production Monday. The Suns come in allowing 47.5 DK and 47.1 FD points per game to ones, along with the fifth-most assists (8.9) and the most steals (2.6) per contest to the position. It’s also worth noting Mudiay’s current usage rate sits at 23.3 percent, second only to Tim Hardaway Jr. among Knicks starters.
Reggie Bullock vs. MIL ($3.9k DraftKings, $4.2k FanDuel)
Reggie Bullock returned to action against the Celtics on Saturday night after a five-game absence due to an ankle injury. He delivered 15 points, three rebounds and an assist over 30 minutes. He could be in for even better production in his second game back. The Bucks have been a very generous team to shooting guards all season. Milwaukee checks in allowing the third-most DK (44.3) and FD (43.3) points per game to two-guards. They’ve also surrendered the most rebounds (7.0) and third-most assists (5.2) to the position, providing Bullock with more avenues to fantasy production. Then, it’s noteworthy that no team has given up a higher three-point success rate on the road than the Bucks, who allow 40.3 percent of attempts from a distance to find the net. In turn, Bullock is taking a career-high 5.5 three-point attempts per contest and draining them at a 35.5 percent clip.
Other guards to consider: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, DeMar DeRozan, Mike Conley, Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, Jeff Teague, C.J. McCollum, Derrick Rose, Dennis Schroder, Avery Bradley
Best DFS forwards for Dec. 17, 2018
Paul George vs. CHI ($9.5k DraftKings, $9.8k FanDuel)
Paul George has been on a tear of late, scoring no fewer than 40 fantasy points on either site in seven straight games. That sample includes two games over 50 and one over 70, providing a glimpse at his massive ceiling. George has been markedly sharper at home as a shooter as well. He’s drained 48.4 percent of his attempts overall, including 43.5 percent from three-point range. He already touched up the same Bulls squad he’ll see Monday for 43.3 DK and 44.5 FD points on Dec. 5. Plus, Chicago comes in allowing 42.0 DK and 42.1 FD points per contest to small forwards. They’re also yielding the fifth-most made threes (2.9) and second-most steals (2.1) to SFs. Those are two areas of weakness George is amply capable of capitalizing on. Moreover, George’s 28.4 percent usage rate is second only to Russell Westbrook’s 30.7 percent among Thunder regulars.
Danilo Gallinari vs. POR ($6.6k DraftKings, $7.1k FanDuel)
Danilo Gallinari has averaged 32.4 DK and 30.1 FD points over two prior games against the Trail Blazers. He’s shot 47.8 percent in those contests, including a blistering 58.3 percent from three-point range. The success isn’t surprising in the least, considering both Gallinari’s talent and Portland’s season-long vulnerability to small forwards. The Blazers come in allowing the second-most DK (44.4) and FD (44.3) fantasy points per game to threes, along with a healthy 46.6 percent success rate from the floor. Portland is also allowing the most points (23.3), fourth-most rebounds (9.2) and ninth-most blocks (1.1) per contest to the position. Then, Gallinari is averaging a career-high 6.0 rebounds. Additionally, his 19 PPG rank as the second-highest figure of his career, and his 45.6 percent success rate from three-point range is a career best.
Taj Gibson vs. SAC ($4.2k DraftKings, $4.2k FanDuel)
Taj Gibson is expected back in the lineup Monday after taking Saturday’s game against the Suns off due to a personal matter. He’ll walk into an appealing matchup at a very fair price. Gibson has averaged nearly 20 fantasy points per game on both sites in two prior games against the Kings this season. Sacramento also comes in allowing power forwards the sixth-most DK (49.8) and eighth-most FD (48.2) points per game. They’re also surrendering the sixth-most points (23.1) and third-highest shooting percentage (51.6) to the position. Then, no team allows more points in the paint per game than the Kings (52.4) while Gibson logs just over 66 percent of his scoring in that area of the floor. While Gibson’s production has been spotty this season, his price is such that a return along the lines of the 24.0 DK and 24.3 FD points he averages would be more than acceptable.
Other forwards to consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tobias Harris, Draymond Green, T.J. Warren, Montrezl Harrell, Kevin Knox, Noah Vonleh, Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant, Dario Saric
Best DFS centers for Dec. 17, 2018
Andre Drummond vs. MIL ($9.3k DraftKings, $9.8k FanDuel)
Andre Drummond got into foul trouble in his one prior meeting against the Bucks. That led to a so-so outing of 22.0 DK and 21.1 FD points in 30.3 minutes. If he can avoid the same situation Monday, he stands a solid chance of extending a streak of torrid production. Drummond is coming off a 60-fantasy-point effort on both sites versus the Celtics on Saturday — production he generated on the strength of a 19-point, 20-rebound double-double. It was Drummond’s fifth straight double-double overall, a stretch during which he’s also eclipsed 50 fantasy points on both sites in two other games. The Bucks have allowed 52.4 DK and 50.2 FD points per game to centers. They’ve also yielded the seventh-most points (25.3) and third-most assists (4.2) to centers, making it a solid all-around matchup for Drummond in a game that should be close throughout.
Jusuf Nurkic at LAC ($7.5k DraftKings, $8.1k FanDuel)
Jusuf Nurkic sports a robust 24.3 percent usage rate that trails only Damian Lillard’s and C.J. McCollum’s among Blazers regulars. Nurkic has averaged just under 28 fantasy points on both sites in two games versus the Clippers. However, he’ll come into Monday’s game having eclipsed 30 fantasy points on three occasions and 50 in another throughout four of the last five contests. The Clippers could well facilitate an extension of that productive streak. They come in allowing the fifth-most DK (60.1) and fourth-most FD (59.9) points per game to centers. They’re also surrendering the second-most points (27.0) and 10th-highest shooting percentage (54.1) to fives. Moreover, the fact Nurkic logs just over 65 percent of his scoring in the paint dovetails well with the fact the Clippers give up the fourth-most points per game in that area (51.7).
Brook Lopez at DET ($5.1k DraftKings, $5.6k FanDuel)
Brook Lopez netted 26.5 DK and 29.1 FD points over 26 minutes in his one prior meeting against the Pistons on Dec. 5. He’s also significantly upped his offensive contributions lately. He’s taken double-digit shot attempts and scored in double digits in eight of the last 10 games. That level of involvement has led to Lopez scoring over 20 fantasy points on both sites in nine consecutive contests, generating strong returns on his current price. The matchup Monday is an appealing one from an offensive perspective. Detroit checks in allowing the fifth-most points (25.7) per game to centers. They’re also surrendering the eighth-most blocks (2.6) per contest to the position. Then, Lopez’s 1.8 blocks per contest equal the second-highest figure of his career. With a very affordable price that he’s outperformed consistently in recent games, he makes for a viable cost-savings option.
Other centers to consider: Joel Embiid, Clint Capela, Marc Gasol, Willie Cauley-Stein, Rudy Gobert, Deandre Ayton, Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, Robin Lopez