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.
12/27/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Mini Main Event Encore: $15 entry, $500k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $70k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $10K to 1st!
Shot Machine: $7.77 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Thurs. Slam: $33 entry, $110k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $20,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 27, 2018
Best DFS Guards for Dec. 27, 2018
Kyrie Irving at HOU ($8.4k DraftKings, $9.3k FanDuel)
Irving has taken his already impressive game to another level recently. The All-Star guard just racked up 62 DK and 57.5 FD points versus the Sixers on Christmas Day. Plus, he’s been over 40 thrice and over 50 and 60 once apiece in five of the last six on DK. The Rockets aren’t going to be anywhere near as intimidating against point guards as usual with Chris Paul out with a hamstring strain Thursday. Moreover, James Harden is very questionable with a calf bruise. His absence, if it comes to pass, would take a big load off Irving’s shoulders defensively. Moreover, it’s worth noting that although the Rockets have been very stingy against PGs, they’re still allowing the seventh-highest shooting percentage (45.0) to the position.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. at MIL ($6.4k DraftKings, $6.4k FanDuel)
Hardaway just tallied 34 DK and 31.5 FD points against the Bucks on Christmas Day. Plus, he’s averaged over 30 on both sites in three games versus Milwaukee this season. Notably, the Bucks continue to bleed production to two-guards. They allow the third-most DK (43.6) and fourth-most FD (42.7) points per game to the position. Milwaukee is also yielding the most rebounds (7.1) and second-most assists (5.3) per game to SGs, providing Hardaway multiple paths to a strong return on prices as reasonable as they’ve been all season. He continues to average a career best in points (20.8), despite some shooting struggles, and boasts a team-high 26.8 percent usage rate.
Lonzo Ball at SAC ($5.5k DraftKings, $6k FanDuel)
I originally had Rajon Rondo pegged for this spot. However, the veteran will miss Thursday’s contest with a sprained finger. That’s all the better for Ball’s outlook, considering he should see plenty of minutes in a highly favorable matchup, and with LeBron James (groin) absent from the lineup as well. Ball is notorious for his offensive inconsistency, but he’s still averaging a solid 26.0 DK and 25.7 FD points on the season. Then, the Kings will be playing on the second game of a back-to-back Thursday and went into Wednesday’s game against the Clippers allowing the fourth-most DK (50.3) and FD (49.5) points per game to PGs. Sacramento is also yielding the third-most rebounds (6.6), most assists (9.5), and sixth-most steals (2.1) per game to PGs. That certainly bodes well for Ball, whose production in those categories is often much more reliable than it is in points.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, De’Aaron Fox, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, Buddy Hield, Donovan Mitchell, Eric Gordon, C.J. McCollum, Andre Iguodala
Best DFS Forwards for December 27, 2018
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. NY ($11.1k DraftKings, $12k FanDuel)
Sometimes there’s simply no need to overthink things. Antetokounmpo versus the Knicks’ frontcourt is one such example. The Greek Freak eviscerated New York for 64.5 DK and 67.3 FD points on Christmas Day. He’s averaging over 65 fantasy points on both sites against the Knicks in three games this season. New York also comes in allowing the third-most DK (50.5) and FD (48.8) points per game to fours. Those numbers are largely the byproduct of NY allowing the most points (24.4), third-most made threes (2.5), and sixth-most blocks (1.6) per game to PFs. The Knicks also allow the third-most points in the paint per game (52.5, including 56.7 over the last three). That’s a match made in fantasy heaven considering Antetokounmpo’s 17.9 points per game in the paint per contest.
Draymond Green vs. POR ($6.1k DraftKings, $7.1k FanDuel)
Green was starting to hit his stride after a long layoff from his toe injury until running into the ref’s whistle on Christmas Day. The energetic forward fouled out after logging a modest 25 minutes versus the Lakers. However, Green had posted over 30 fantasy points three times and over 40 once on both sites since returning on Dec. 10. He had also eclipsed 20 FPs on both sites in the other four games during that stretch. That makes him a highly appealing mid-tier option Thursday versus a Blazers squad that’s allowed the fourth-most DK (50.4) and FD (48.8) points per game to fours, along with the fifth-most assists (3.9) and sixth-most made threes (2.3) to the position.
Evan Turner at GS ($3.9k DraftKings, $4k FanDuel)
Turner shapes up as very interesting and affordable on the other side of the Blazers-Warriors matchup Thursday. The wily veteran is contributing across the stat sheet as usual and averages 21.6 DK/21.2 FD points per contest. Most recently, he’s eclipsed 20 fantasy points on both sites in three of his last seven games. Those are strong returns on his current prices, and the matchup Thursday is favorable as well. Golden State not only brings a boost in pace for the Blazers but also allows the fifth-most DK (43.5) and seventh-most FD (42.6) points per game to SFs. The Warriors also allow the most points (23.9) and most made threes (3.5) per contest to small forwards, furthering Turner’s case as a value option.
Other forwards to consider: Kevin Durant, Kyle Kuzma, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Knox, Marcus Morris, Noah Vonleh, Derrick Favors
Best DFS Centers for Dec. 27, 2018
Rudy Gobert vs. PHI ($7.5k DraftKings, $8.9k FanDuel)
Gobert put on a dominant Christmas Day showing in a tough matchup versus Jusuf Nurkic, posting over 50 fantasy points on both sites. As for tonight’s matchup, the Stifle Tower scored 28 DK and 25.2 FD points in just 28 minutes against the Sixers in one previous meeting Nov. 16. He’s averaging 39.4 and 39.8 points on DK and FD, respectively, for the season. Philadelphia comes in allowing 52.5 DK and 52.0 FD points per game to centers, as well as a robust 51.2 points in the paint per game on the road. In turn, Gobert, as customary, is doing most of his scoring in that area of the floor (76.3 percent, 11.2 points per game). While others may flock to higher-priced options in GPPs, Gobert makes for an appealing mid-tier selection. He still offers 50-fantasy-point upside on any given night.
Ivica Zubac at SAC ($5.4k DraftKings, $6.5k FanDuel)
It’s impossible to ignore what Zubac has accomplished over his last three games as the Lakers’ starting center in place of JaVale McGee (illness). The third-year big has scored over 30 fantasy points on both sites in each of those contests, generating a pair of double-doubles along the way. The Kings make for an ideal matchup Thursday. They’ll be on the second game of a back-to-back and have been vulnerable down low all season despite Willie Cauley-Stein. Sacramento came into Wednesday night’s game versus the Clippers allowing bottom-10 figures in DK (58.5) and FD points (57.2), as well as in blocks (2.7) per game to fives. Then, they’re allowing the most rebounds (19.5) per game to centers, enhancing Zubac’s candidacy even further. Finally, the fact they’re already allowing the most points in the paint per game (52.9) dovetails perfectly with Zubac scoring 91 percent of his points in that area of the floor.
Mike Muscala at UTA ($3.8k DraftKings, $3.6k FanDuel)
Muscala has recently disappointed with a pair of sub-par games. However, he’d eclipsed 20 fantasy points on both sites in seven of the prior eight games. The sixth-year pro has seen time at both power forward and center. Both spots offer him reasonable matchups Thursday. Utah has particularly been vulnerable to centers despite Rudy Gobert’s presence down low. They’re allowing 56.1 DK and FD points per game to fives. They’re also yielding the most assists (4.6) and third-most steals (1.7) per contest to centers. Meanwhile, Muscala is boasting career bests in points (8.0), rebounds (4.6), assists (1.4), and made threes (1.6) across a career-high 23.3 minutes per game. As those numbers imply, he should have no shortage of paths through which to offer a strong return on near-minimum prices.
Other centers to consider: Joel Embiid, Clint Capela, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jusuf Nurkic, Enes Kanter, Al Horford, Brook Lopez