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.
12/28/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Slam Jam: $10 entry, $500k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $120k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $15K to 1st!
Fri. Shot: $15 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Fri. Slam: $88 entry, $200k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $50,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 28, 2018
Best DFS Guards for Dec. 28, 2018
Russell Westbrook at PHO ($10.9k DraftKings, $11.5k FanDuel)
Westbrook’s selection typically needs no justification. However, he stands to be an even better play than usual if Paul George (quadriceps) is forced to miss Friday’s game. Westbrook boasts a mammoth 32.3 percent usage rate and averages 1.63 DK/1.59 FD points per minute without George on the floor this season. Then, Westbrook already lit up the opposing Suns for 49.8 DK and 50.3 FD points in one prior meeting on Oct. 28. Phoenix is allowing 48.2 DK and 47.8 FD points per game to point guards. The Suns also yield the sixth-most assists (8.7) and the most steals (2.5) per game to PGs. Those two categories could hardly dovetail better with Westbrook’s skill set, considering he’s averaging a robust 10.2 dimes per contest and a career-high 2.1 swipes per game as well.
Zach LaVine, CHI at WAS ($6.5k DraftKings, $7.6k FanDuel)
LaVine’s price is especially discounted on DK as compared to earlier in the season. He’s very fairly priced on FD as well. Notably, LaVine has actually been a better shooter on the road. He’s drained 46.4 percent of his attempts outside of United Center, including 37.7 percent from distance. The young sharpshooter also compiled an impressive 28 points in just 26 minutes against the Timberwolves on Wednesday while coming off the bench to return from a five-game absence due to an ankle injury. Interim coach Jim Boylen has already confirmed LaVine will be back in the starting five Friday. That makes him even more appealing at his price point versus a Wizards squad that’s allowed 41.5 DK and 40.2 FD points per game to shooting guards. Plus, Washington has yielded the seventh-most made threes (3.1) per contest, particularly relevant considering LaVine’s long-range marksmanship.
Malik Beasley vs. SA ($4k DraftKings, $4.5k FanDuel)
Beasley has been consistently outpacing his current prices over the last 10 games. To begin with, the third-year guard is coming off a season-high 39.25 DK and 37.9 FD points versus the Spurs on Wednesday. He’d also eclipsed 20 FPs on five other occasions over the prior eight games on DK and four over that span on FD. Beasley is also shooting a solid 46.4 percent at Pepsi Center. Friday, he gets another matchup at the same San Antonio squad he lit up Wednesday. The Spurs come in allowing 41.5 DK and 40.4 FD points per game to shooting guards. Just as important, they’re yielding the third-most made threes per game to the position (3.2), and Beasley just drained four of them on a whopping 12 attempts Wednesday.
Other guards to consider: Kemba Walker, John Wall, Jrue Holiday, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, Victor Oladipo, DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, Spencer Dinwiddie, Derrick Rose, Lou Williams, Kris Dunn, Brandon Ingram, Monte Morris
Best DFS Forwards for December 28, 2018
Anthony Davis vs. DAL ($11.6k DraftKings, $12.6k FanDuel)
Davis is the most expensive forward on either site, but it’s a well-deserved designation. The do-it-all big man is already averaging 61.0 DK and 62.5 FD points in two prior games versus the Mavericks, with the most recent being Wednesday night. Davis brings upside north of 70 fantasy points any time he takes the floor. He’s averaging 1.62 DK/1.67 FD points per minute without Nikola Mirotic (ankle) on the floor, and he’ll be looking to extend his double-double streak to seven games on Friday. Then, despite Dallas being ranked in the top half of the league in DK (50.4) and FD (50.0) points per game allowed to centers, they are allowing fives a 52.9 percent success rate from the floor.
Danilo Gallinari at LAL ($6.7k DraftKings, $7.1k FanDuel)
Gallinari played only 23 minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Kings due to the Clippers’ sizable lead. However, he still found his way to 26.75 DK and 26.5 FD points over that modest allotment of playing time. He’d also eclipsed 40 fantasy points on both sites in three of the prior five games, and he shot over 60 percent in four of those games. His matchup against the equally fast-paced Lakers seems like a recipe for fantasy success, especially with LeBron James (groin) not part of the equation. The Lakers come in allowing 39.5 DK and FD points per game to threes, along with a 45.4 percent success rate from the floor. Meanwhile, Gallinari comes in with a solid 22.5 percent usage rate and averages 1.06 DK/1.02 FD points per minute.
Taj Gibson vs. ATL ($4.4k DraftKings, $4.6k FanDuel)
Gibson checks in at his perpetually discounted price in a good matchup Friday. The Hawks have allowed power forwards to rack up the most DK (53.7) and FD (52.1) points per game. They’re also yielding the second-most points (24.3), fourth-most rebounds (12.1), third-most assists (4.1), most made threes (2.8), and most steals (2.1) per game to PFs. That leaves Gibson no shortage of paths to fantasy success. Then, Gibson has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in seven of the last 10 games on both sites. That’s rock-solid upside for his current prices.
Other forwards to consider: Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, John Collins, Tobias Harris, Larry Nance, Jr., Lauri Markkanen, T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Robert Covington, Kent Bazemore, Andrew Wiggins, Harrison Barnes
Best DFS Centers for Dec. 28, 2018
Nikola Vucevic vs. TOR ($8.2k DraftKings, $9.1k FanDuel)
Vucevic has been eclipsing 40 fantasy points with regularity on both sites, including blowing past the 50-mark on four occasions over the last 10 games. That’s an enticing ceiling at his current prices. The matchup Friday also works in his favor. To begin with, Vucevic already tallied 42.5 DK and 38.6 FD points over 33 minutes in one prior meeting against the Raptors this season. Then, Toronto is allowing 54.8 DK and 53.9 FD points per game to centers. They also allow the second-most assists per game to centers (4.4), while Vucevic is averaging a career-high 3.6 dimes per game. And the Raptors have been particularly vulnerable to scoring in the paint recently — 54.7 over their last three.
DeAndre Jordan at NO ($6.8k DraftKings, $7.5k FanDuel)
Jordan has seen a nice uptick on his typically impressive production recently. The veteran big man has generated a quartet of 20-rebound efforts in his last 10 games, along with eight double-doubles during that stretch. One of those came against the same Pelicans squad he faced Wednesday, a game in which he compiled 40 DK and 37.4 FD points. The Pelicans come in allowing 55.5 DK and 54.6 FD points per game to centers, as well as a bottom-10 figure in points in the paint (51.1) per contest. In turn, Jordan is logging 74 percent of his scoring in that area of the floor, enhancing his already strong appeal in Friday’s rematch.
Thomas Bryant vs. CHI ($3.8k DraftKings, $4.4k FanDuel)
Bryant continues to be a bit up and down with his production, but he draws a matchup that could facilitate one of his better performances Friday. The opposing Bulls come in allowing the third-most DK (61.4) and FD (61.2) points per game to centers, along with bottom-10 figures in points (25.2), rebounds (17.7), and blocks (2.8) per contest to the position. Bryant is shooting a stellar 77.8 percent at home. Although his production has fluctuated, the young big has eclipsed 20 fantasy points on both sites in three of the past 10 games, including one outing over 50. His bargain prices account for his volatility, and the matchup enhances his chance of a strong return.
Other centers to consider: Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond, Myles Turner, Deandre Ayton, Steven Adams, Ivica Zubac, Dewayne Dedmon, Cody Zeller