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.
12/26/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Mini Main Event: $15 entry, $500k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $60k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $10K to 1st!
Wed. Shot: $15 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Wed. Slam: $88 entry, $200k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $50,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 26, 2018
Best DFS Guards for Dec. 26, 2018
Victor Oladipo at ATL ($8.7k DraftKings, $8.5k FanDuel)
Oladipo has a trio of 50-plus fantasy-point outings in his last 10 on DK and a pair of games over the 50-mark within that same span on FD. That’s an excellent ceiling for his current prices, which look even more appealing considering Wednesday’s matchup. The Hawks have allowed the second-most DK (45.3) and FD (43.9) points per game to shooting guards. Those numbers are partly the byproduct of Atlanta surrendering the most points (25.5), third-most assists (5.2), second-most made threes (3.2) and highest shooting percentage (46.9) to twos. All of those numbers spell trouble against Oladipo. He’s averaging career highs in assists (5.3), made threes (2.3), and three-point attempts (6.4). Moreover, the significant bump in pace that the Hawks bring (league-high 108.9 possessions per game) will certainly play to Oladipo’s advantage in the form of some extra opportunities.
Reggie Jackson vs. WAS ($5.4k DraftKings, $5.5k FanDuel)
Jackson stands a chance at being one of the better fantasy-point-per-dollar values on the slate, given both price and matchup. The veteran point guard is averaging 26.7 DK and 25.5 FD points per contest. He’s eclipsed the 20-fantasy-point mark on four occasions and 30 in four other games over the last 10. That alone makes his current prices considerably enticing. Then, there’s the fact the Wizards come in allowing the most DK (52.6) and FD (51.0) per game to point guards. They’ve also yielded the most points (26.7), second-most assists (9.3), and second-most made threes (3.2) per game to PGs, along with the third-highest shooting percentage (45.9). The latter pair of figures is especially relevant when considering Jackson. He’s posting career highs in made threes (2.0) and three-point attempts (5.8).
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander vs. SAC ($4.5k DraftKings, $5.6k FanDuel)
Granted, you usually have to buckle up when rostering Gilgeous-Alexander. He hasn’t exactly been consistent of late. The rookie has alternated three single-digit point totals with tallies of between 13 and 24 points over the last six games. The yo-yo nature of his production has led to a quartet of 30-plus fantasy-point efforts on DK and a trio of them on FD over the last 10 games. Now, Wednesday is one of those matchups that could lead to an upswing. Gilgeous-Alexander already touched up the Kings for 37.8 DK and 41 FD points back on Nov. 29. And Sacramento comes in allowing the fourth-most DK (50.3) and FD (49.5) points per game to point guards. Additionally, the Kings’ propensity for allowing points in the paint (52.9 per game, most in the NBA) could bode well for Gilgeous-Alexander’s production. He’s logged 49.0 percent of his scoring driving to the basket.
Other guards to consider: Jrue Holiday, John Wall, Devin Booker, Kemba Walker, De’Aaron Fox, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, D’Angelo Russell, Kris Dunn, Spencer Dinwiddie, Zach LaVine, Lou Williams, Jamal Murray, Trae Young, Tyus Jones, Reggie Bullock
Best DFS Forwards for December 26, 2018
Luka Doncic vs. NO ($8,3k DraftKings, $8.3k FanDuel)
Doncic has impressed since the opening tip of his first game. However, he’s taken it to another level in recent contests. The phenomenal 19-year-old has posted over 40 fantasy points twice and more than 50 on two other occasions on either site over the last five games. Doncic has drained multiple threes in four consecutive games as well. His Wednesday matchup could prime him for more of the same. After generating some impressive numbers versus small forwards to start the season, New Orleans has seen its metrics versus SFs take a hit. The Pels are allowing the third-most DK (44.4) and the most FD (44.6) points per game to small forwards, along with the sixth-most points (22.0). New Orleans also ranks in the bottom half of the NBA in three-point percentage allowed (35.8). Meanwhile, Doncic is draining 36.4 percent of his six three-point attempts per contest.
Domantas Sabonis at ATL ($6.2k DraftKings, $6.6k FanDuel)
Sabonis continues to generate starter-quality production off the bench. He’s now averaging 32.5 DK and 31.2 FD points per game after eclipsing the 30-mark in four of his last six contests. Wednesday, he gets a crack at a Hawks team against which he already compiled 41.5 DK and 42.2 FD points over 28 minutes on Nov. 17. Atlanta also comes in allowing the most DK (53.7) and FD (52.1) points per game to power forwards. Then, they’re also surrendering the seventh-most DK (58.5) and sixth-most FD (59.2) points per game to centers. Sabonis is likely to spend time at both spots during Wednesday’s game. Atlanta’s vulnerability to both will leave him in prime position to succeed. And as alluded to in Oladipo’s entry, the Hawks could also afford the normally plodding Pacers extra possessions with their league-high pace.
Rodions Kurucs vs. CHA ($4.6k DraftKings, $4k FanDuel)
Brooklyn’s Kurucs has rather quietly outpaced his current prices in each of his last two games. The rookie eclipsed 30 fantasy points versus the Pacers and Suns. The latter contest also included a double-double. With Allen Crabbe (knee) already confirmed as out for Wednesday’s game, Kurucs will draw another start. The opposing Hornets come in allowing 41.9 DK and 41.8 FD points per game to small forwards, along with the third-most made threes (3.0) per contest to the position. Kurucs has already shown an ability to contribute across the stat sheet and is priced to move on both sites, especially relative to recent production.
Other forwards to consider: Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, Julius Randle, Tobias Harris, Lauri Markkanen, Danilo Gallinari, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Warren, Montrezl Harrell, Kent Bazemore
Best DFS Centers for Dec. 26, 2018
Nikola Vucevic vs. PHO ($8.9k DraftKings, $8.9k FanDuel)
Given the way opposing centers have feasted on the Suns this season, Vucevic could be worth every penny Wednesday. Phoenix comes in allowing the second-most DK (62.4) and FD (62.7) points per game to fives. Their other troubles versus bigs include allowing the third-most points (26.3), fifth-most rebounds (17.4), and most steals (2.2) per game to the position. Vucevic has the talent to exploit each of those weaknesses. The versatile veteran is averaging career highs in points (20.1) and assists (3.6), and he’s currently just short of his career-best figure of 11.9 rebounds (11.8). Meanwhile, Vucevic’s 52.3 percent shooting equals a personal high-water mark, and he’s averaging well over 40 fantasy points per game on either site to go along with a team-high 27.2 percent usage rate.
Willie Cauley-Stein at LAC ($6.5k DraftKings, $7k FanDuel)
Cauley-Stein is an ideal mid-tier center to nab Wednesday if you’re trying to save some dollars at the position. The seven-footer already tallied 33 DK and 30.5 FD points in 30 minutes versus the Clippers in one prior meeting Nov. 29. Then, Cauley-Stein is coming off a 50-plus fantasy-point outing on both sites versus the Pelicans in his last game Sunday, and he’s also blown past the 40-mark on two other occasions over the last 10. Those are excellent returns on his current prices. The Wednesday matchup makes him even more appealing, as the Clippers have yielded the fifth-most DK and fourth-most FD points per game (60.2) to centers. Los Angeles also allows the fourth-most points in the paint per game (51.8), which is where WCS logs 80 percent of his scoring.
Thomas Bryant at DET ($4k DraftKings, $5.2k FanDuel)
Bryant rewarded fantasy owners handsomely two games ago in a triple-overtime marathon versus the Suns. He scored over 50 fantasy points on both sites in that contest. Although that’s far from the norm for the young big, it did provide a glimpse at what his upside could eventually be. The explosive effort also corroborates that he carries a higher ceiling than your average $4K player, making him an interesting option Wednesday. The Pistons come in allowing 53.4 DK and 52.9 FD points per game to fives. That’s partly the byproduct of allowing centers the seventh-most points (24.6) and fifth-highest shooting percentage (56.3). In turn, Bryant has scored in double digits in three straight and is shooting an impressive 65.5 percent, offering a serviceable return if you’re paying down.
Other centers to consider: Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andre Drummond, Myles Turner, Deandre Ayton, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen, Cody Zeller, Robin Lopez