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.
12/18/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Excellent 8’s: $8 entry, $375k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Four Point Play: $4 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot Machine: $7.77 entry, $350k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Slam: $33 entry, $100k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Top Plays for December 18, 2018
Best Guards for December 18, 2018
John Wall @ ATL ($9.8k DraftKings, $10.4k FanDuel)
The Hawks defense has been an absolute joke lately, coughing up a ridiculous 144 points to an otherwise average Nets offense on Sunday. The Wizards should be able to light it up on the road tonight, and John Wall is likely to be the maestro of that attack after dropping 40 points with 14 dimes for a third consecutive double-double on Sunday. Atlanta yields the most APG (27.7), SPG (10.6), and FTA (27.4) per game while playing at the fastest pace in the league this season. That all plays right into Wall’s game since he’s averaging 9.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, and scoring 29.2 points per 100 possessions this year.
Luka Doncic @ DEN ($7.7k DraftKings, $7.6k FanDuel)
Simply a savant when it comes to half-court basketball, Luka Doncic should thrive against a Nuggets team that ranks 27th in pace. Now that he’s over his hip injury, Doncic is averaging 21.7 PPG, 7 RPG, and 7 APG over his last three appearances. Moreover, he’s earned a whopping 31 FTA during that span. Now, Denver isn’t built to protect the rim with Nikola Jokic standing flat-footed at times. Doncic is posting a 27.7% usage rate since returning from injury, and his shooting percentages are down, so we could see positive regression as he starts to connect on jumpers.
Monte Morris vs. DAL ($4.7k DraftKings, $5.7k FanDuel)
While he’s finally priced appropriately, Monte Morris continues to improve in both DFS and real basketball terms. As a result, he’s earning 27.1 MPG and producing 12.7 PPG, 3 RPG, and 4 APG with a rising 19.7% usage rate this month. Dallas expects to get J.J. Barea (ankle) back tonight, which is certainly great news for Morris’ individual matchup when coming off the bench against a diminutive guard. The Mavericks also run three-guard lineups often, which might give Morris another chance to close out the game. He’s seeing a 1.9% increase in usage rate when both Paul Millsap (foot) and Gary Harris (hip) are off the floor. Morris is far more likely to see meaningful minutes than Torrey Craig, who may start again for Harris.
Other guards to consider: Victor Oladipo, D’Angelo Russell, Lonzo Ball, Trae Young, Rodney Hood, J.J. Barea, Cory Joseph
Best Forwards for December 18, 2018
LeBron James @ BKN ($10.6k DraftKings, $11.5k FanDuel)
The Lakers didn’t show up for the second half of a road B2B set, which led to a notable price decrease for LeBron James on DraftKings. Of course, he’s been flashing tremendous upside with averages of 26.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 8 APG over his last 10 appearances. He also tends to carry a larger load on the road this season: check out that 32.8% usage rate. King James averaged 32.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, and 9.3 APG over four meetings with Brooklyn last year, and while the Nets defense has improved, it’s still 23rd in defensive rating. Brooklyn gives up the most 2PTM (32.3) per game and third-most FTA (25.4) as well. Therefore, James should be able to exert his will by going to the basket early and often.
Thaddeus Young vs. CLE ($6.2k DraftKings, $6.5k FanDuel)
On Sunday, Thaddeus Young took a backseat while Victor Oladipo (26 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals) rediscovered his rhythm. That should lower Young’s ownership tonight despite his surging averages of 16.8 PPG and 7.8 RPG while shooting 56% from the floor this month. Cleveland ranks 28th in DvP against opposing SFs over the last 14 days and yields the second-most PPG (22.11) to the position this year. Cedi Osman is not athletic enough to contain Young, and the Cavs are struggling to protect the paint with Tristan Thompson (foot) on the shelf.
Jeff Green @ ATL ($4.8k DraftKings, $5.3k FanDuel)
Otto Porter (knee) will miss another week, Markieff Morris (neck) could be limited, Kelly Oubre Jr. is traded, and new acquisition Trevor Ariza may not be ready to play significant minutes yet. Combine those injuries with a potential blowout against the last-place Hawks and you have the recipe for Jeff Green to once again exceed value. He’s scored 52 points while shooting 19-for-31 from the field and 9-for-14 from downtown over his last three appearances, and Atlanta ranks dead last in opponent 3-point shooting (38%) this season.
Other forwards to consider: Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr., Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Joe Harris, Trey Lyles, Ed Davis, Torrey Craig
Best Centers for December 18, 2018
John Collins vs. WAS ($7.9k DraftKings, $8.2k FanDuel)
The Wizards’ shorthanded frontcourt could also really benefit John Collins. The Hawks (+4.5) are expected to at least keep things close at home, which makes Collins worth combining in a stack with Wall, Bradley Beal, or Jeff Green. With a 27.2% usage rate, Collins is averaging 23.3 PPG and 12.7 RPG over his last six appearances. Washington has improved lately but is still 28th in defensive rating and plays at the seventh-fastest pace in the NBA. The Wizards give up the second-most RPG (48.4) as a result, and Collins owns an impressive 17% total rebounding percentage this season.
Jarrett Allen vs. LAL ($5.5k DraftKings, $6.0k FanDuel)
If JaVale McGee (illness) misses another game, Jarrett Allen will be an even better option with great per-dollar upside. He’s worth using in GPP formats regardless, as the Lakers are giving up the second-most FPPG (49.57) and most RPG (16.12) to opposing centers while playing at the third-fastest pace in the league. Allen struggled against Joel Embiid and coasted in a blowout win over the Hawks Sunday but can certainly produce if given a full slate of run. He’s averaging 16 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes and owns a 127 offensive rating this season.
Other centers to consider: Myles Turner, Dewayne Dedmon, Mason Plumlee