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.
12/22/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Pullup Jumper: $10 entry, $200k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $50K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $40k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $5K to 1st!
Frosty Shot: $9.99 entry, $175k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $25,000 to 1st!
Saturday Slam: $55 entry, $50k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $10,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 22, 2018
Best DFS guards for Dec. 22, 2018
John Wall vs. PHO ($8.9k DraftKings, $10k FanDuel)
Wall is averaging over 49 fantasy points per game on either site at home while shooting a sparkling 49.8 percent from the field. He’s scored over 60 and over 70 in his last two home games, respectively. Saturday, he’ll face a Suns team that’s allowing 48.0 DK and 47.5 FD points per game to ones. They’re also yielding a bottom-10 figure in assists (8.7) and the most steals (2.5) per contest. Given his skill set, Wall is capable of exploiting both of those weaknesses. Then, Wall sports a team-high 29.0 percent usage rate that essentially locks in a significant workload at a fair price relative to his ceiling.
Devin Booker at WAS ($8.8k DraftKings, $8.9k FanDuel)
Booker is also priced correctly on the other side of the Suns-Wizards matchup. Washington has allowed the third-most made threes (3.2) to two-guards, while Booker is taking a career-high 7.5 three-point attempts per game. The sharpshooting guard has notably been more accurate on the road, draining 45.2 percent of his attempts, compared to 43.7 percent at home. Booker has scored over 40 fantasy points on either site in three straight games, eclipsing 50 in one of those contests. While Bradley Beal isn’t the easiest of defensive matchups, Booker’s team-high 31.7 percent usage rate should guarantee his heavy involvement for all four quarters.
J.J. Barea at GS ($4.7k DraftKings, $5k FanDuel)
Barea continues to offer close to starting-quality production off the bench. The veteran has scored over 30 fantasy points on both sites in three of his last 10 games. He’s also eclipsed 20 in three others during that span. Those are excellent returns on his current prices, and he’ll be in a good spot for another strong game Saturday. The Warriors are weak against point guards in an area in which Barea excels, as they allow the sixth-most assists (8.6) per game to ones. Barea is averaging a solid 5.5 dimes across just 19.7 minutes per contest. He’s also remaining heavily involved off the bench with a career-high 10.4 shot attempts per game. The slight bump in pace Golden State brings should also up Barea’s chances for strong production.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Ben Simmons, Bradley Beal, Luka Doncic, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, Klay Thompson, Eric Gordon, Fred VanVleet
Best DFS forwards for 12/22/18
Giannis Antetokounmpo at MIA ($10.9k DraftKings, $11.2k FanDuel)
Antetokounmpo has eclipsed 60 fantasy points once and 70 twice in the last 10 games, providing a glimpse at his upside. The Greek Freak is shooting a career-high 59.0 percent this season. He also boasts career highs in rebounds (12.9) and assists (6.1). Then, Miami is allowing 47.9 DK and 46.3 FD points per game to power forwards, and they’re ill-equipped to defend Antetkounmpo’s elite athleticism in the frontcourt. While he costs a pretty penny, Antetokounmpo’s ceiling justifies the five-figure price.
Pascal Siakam at PHI ($6k DraftKings, $7.2k FanDuel)
Siakam is likely to see elevated usage again Saturday with Kyle Lowry (thigh) certain to miss, and both Serge Ibaka and Danny Green possibly also sidelined again with knee issues. The Cameroon native and 2016 draft pick generated over 35 fantasy points on both sites against the Cavs in the absence of all three players Friday. Siakam has already averaged over 34 fantasy points on both sites across two prior games against the Sixers as well. Then, Philadelphia comes in allowing bottom-10 figures in DK points (50.3), FD points (48.8), points (23.1), rebounds (12.3), and steals (1.7) per game to fours, giving Siakam ample paths to fantasy production.
Kelly Oubre, Jr. at WAS ($4.6k DraftKings, $4.8k FanDuel)
Oubre seemed to be a seamless fit in his first game with the Suns on Wednesday. He racked up 28.5 DK and 29.7 FD points over 26 minutes against the Celtics. He immediately gets a crack at his old teammates tonight, who allow 40.8 DK and 39.9 FD points per game to small forwards. Washington is also yielding the third-most rebounds (9.3) per game to threes, while Oubre is equaling a career high with 4.5 boards per contest. The Wizards are also allowing the second-highest three-point percentage overall, something Oubre can potentially exploit while taking 4.5 three-point attempts per game.
Other forwards to consider: Paul George, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh Richardson, T.J. Warren, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes, Jae Crowder, Derrick Favors, Jeff Green, Richaun Holmes
Best DFS centers for Dec. 22, 2018
Joel Embiid vs. TOR ($9.6k DraftKings, $10.5k FanDuel)
Embiid has averaged over 45 fantasy points on both sites across two prior games versus the Raptors this season. He could well have an even easier path to production Saturday, considering Serge Ibaka could miss the contest due to a sore knee. Embiid is also averaging well over 50 fantasy points on both sites in his home contests. Meanwhile, Toronto is yielding 54.6 DK and 53.7 FD points per game to centers, along with the most assists (4.7). Embiid is averaging career highs across the board, and he’s logged the double-double bonus in four of the last five games.
Steven Adams at UTA ($7.3k DraftKings, $7.7k FanDuel)
Adams posted over 33 fantasy points against the Jazz on both sites in his one prior meeting with them this season. He’s also been more productive on the road, posting over five more fantasy points per game outside of Chesapeake Energy Arena. The matchup against Rudy Gobert and Utah down low isn’t as tough as it’s been in recent seasons. The Jazz have allowed 56.7 DK and FD points per game to centers, along with the second-most assists (4.7) and third-most steals (1.7) per game to fives. Adams is averaging career highs in both categories and is coming off a 20-point, 23-rebound double-double versus the Kings on Wednesday.
Thomas Bryant vs. PHO ($4.1k DraftKings, $4.6k FanDuel)
Bryant’s production has been a bit hard to trust at times, but he’s taken advantage of favorable matchups like Saturday’s on more than one occasion. The Suns are allowing the second-most DK (62.2) and FD (62.5) points per game to centers. They’re also yielding bottom-10 figures in points (25.8) and rebounds (17.4), and the most steals (2.2) to the position. Bryant has flashed excellent upside relative to his current price by eclipsing 20 fantasy points once and 30 on two other occasions over the last 10 games, and the matchup Saturday could well facilitate one of his better outings.
Other centers to consider: Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, Deandre Ayton, Brook Lopez, Greg Monroe