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.
12/29/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Big Jam: $10 entry, $400k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $80k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $15K to 1st!
Game-Winning Shot: $9.99 entry, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $50,000 to 1st!
Sat. Slam: $66 entry, $100k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $20,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for Dec. 29, 2018
Best DFS Guards for Dec. 29, 2018
Kemba Walker at WAS ($9k DraftKings, $9.9k FanDuel)
Walker continued rolling along Friday versus the Nets, racking up 29 points for a 40-plus fantasy-point haul on both sites. He’s also eclipsed 50 on three occasions and hit the 60-mark once over the last 10, which is impressive upside for his current price points. The Wizards tee up for him as another favorable matchup. Washington has allowed the most DK (53.3) and second-most FD (50.6) points per game to point guards. They’ve also yielded the most points (26.8), second-most assists (9.2), the most made threes (3.2) to PGs, along with the third-highest shooting percentage (45.9). Walker sports a team-high 30.6 percent usage rate and should be primed for yet another explosive matchup in a game that will also bring a boost in pace for the Hornets. Washington is averaging 108.7 possessions per game at home, second highest in the NBA.
Jamal Murray at PHO ($6.9k DraftKings, $7.4k FanDuel)
There are several appealing mid-tier guards available Saturday. However, Murray stands out as an especially appealing combination of price, upside, and matchup. Murray racked up a team-high 31 points Friday versus the Spurs. Then, he’d eclipsed 50 fantasy points on two other occasions and 40 once in his prior 10 games, flashing a ceiling befitting of a higher-priced player. The Suns make for quite the inviting target. Phoenix has allowed 48.1 DK and 47.5 FD points per game to PGs. They’re also yielding the sixth-most assists (8.8) and most steals (2.5) per contest to ones. Moreover, Murray already touched up the Suns for 43.3 DK and 43.1 FD points on Oct. 20, furthering his chances of yet another strong return.
Alec Burks at ATL ($4.5k DraftKings, $4.4k FanDuel)
Burks continued his strong run as a starting two-guard versus the Heat on Friday. The veteran racked up just under 30 fantasy points on both sites versus Miami, his sixth straight game of more than 20 FPs. Despite that solid production, his price remains very affordable on both sites. Then, the matchup Saturday works in his favor as well. The Hawks have allowed the second-highest shooting percentage to two-guards (47.0). That’s led to Atlanta yielding the most DK (45.8) and second-most FD (44.3) points per game to two-guards, along with the most points (25.7), most assists (5.3), and second-most made threes (3.3) to SGs. The latter figure stands out when considering Burks is posting his best three-point percentage (34.7) since the 2015-16 campaign.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, C.J. McCollum, Jordan Clarkson, Klay Thompson, Eric Gordon, Emmanuel Mudiay, Collin Sexton
Best DFS Forwards for December 29, 2018
Kevin Durant at POR ($9.7k DraftKings, $10.7k FanDuel)
The Warriors aren’t quite themselves this season, but the blame can’t be placed at Durant’s feet. The multi-time All-Star continues to provide stellar production across the stat sheet. He just eviscerated the same Blazers squad he’ll face again Saturday for a 26-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double Thursday. That led to 63.5 DK and 58.5 FD points. Then, he’s just the latest small forward to exploit Portland’s vulnerability to the position. The Blazers are allowing the most DK (44.7) and FD (44.4) points per game to SFs. They’re also allowing the second-most points (23.5), third-most rebounds (9.0), and fourth-highest shooting percentage (48.2) to SFs, while Durant is averaging over 60 FPs overall across two games against Portland this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge at LAC ($7.1k DraftKings, $7.8k FanDuel)
Aldridge posted a solid 24 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals against the Nuggets on Friday while staying completely turnover-free, his third time eclipsing the 40-mark in fantasy points on both sites over the last seven games. The veteran big remains one of the steadiest mid-priced forwards any time he’s on the slate. He should be primed for another stellar outing Saturday. The Clippers have had trouble defending PFs all season. They’re yielding 47.6 DK and 47.4 FD points per game to PFs, along with a 50.0 percent success rate from the floor. Aldridge is also poised to take advantage of Los Angeles’ vulnerability to allowing scoring near the basket (52.2 points in the paint allowed, third most in NBA). He’s logging 65.2 percent of his scoring in that area of the floor.
Derrick Favors vs. NY ($4.9k DraftKings, $5.8k FanDuel)
Jae Crowder has already been ruled out for Saturday’s game with a thumb injury. That makes what already was a highly enticing matchup even juicier for Favors. The veteran big is fully capable of exploiting a Knicks squad that’s allowed the third-most DK (51.7) and FD (50.1) points per game to fours. Then, New York allows the second-most points in the paint per game (52.5). In turn, Favors logs just under 70 percent of his scoring (69.8) in that area of the floor. He’s also been flashing some nice upside relative to his current prices, eclipsing 30 fantasy points twice over the seven and posting more than 20 in another five during that stretch. With the boost in minutes he should see Saturday, Favors should be poised to improve on the 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds he’s already averaging at home.
Other forwards to consider: Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, John Collins, Tobias Harris, Larry Nance, Jr., Montrezl Harrell, Draymond Green, Kent Bazemore, Danilo Gallinari, T.J. Warren, Thabo Sefolosha, Mikal Bridges, Richaun Holmes
Best DFS Centers for Dec. 29, 2018
Nikola Jokic at PHO ($9.5k DraftKings, $9.7k FanDuel)
“The Joker” finds himself in one of the best matchups for centers Saturday. The Suns have allowed the second-most DK and FD points (61.8) to fives. Phoenix also allows the third-most points (26.1), fifth-most rebounds (17.4), and most steals (2.2) to the position. The versatile Jokic has the ability to exploit all of those weaknesses. He’s already posting career highs in assists (7.3) and steals (1.5). He also is currently equaling the second-highest rebounding average of his career (9.8). And last but not certainly not least, there’s the matter of Jokic’s one prior meeting against the Suns this season. He amassed an absurd 81.3 DK and 79.7 FD points against them over 30.4 minutes.
Jusuf Nurkic vs. GS ($7.2k DraftKings, $8k FanDuel)
Nurkic just trampled the Warriors for 47.5 DK and 43.4 FD points on Thursday on the strength of a 27-point, 12-rebound double-double. He’s averaging over 40 FPs on both sites in two games versus Golden State this season, and there isn’t any reason to think his success won’t extend to a third contest Saturday. The Warriors are surrendering 55.1 DK and 54.3 FD points per game to fives. Golden State is also allowing centers 54.6 percent shooting, and Nurkic has generated a 54.5 percent success rate in their pair of encounters this season. In what should be another closely contested game at an accelerated pace, Nurkic has a solid opportunity to outpace his reasonable prices.
Kevon Looney at POR ($3.6k DraftKings, $4k FanDuel)
Finally, Kevon Looney is a very viable option in a matchup in which he also succeeded this past Thursday. The fourth-year big posted 23.5 DK and 23 FD points over 28 minutes versus Portland. That qualified as his fourth straight game with more than 20 FPs on either site, and his sixth overall in the last 10. The Blazers have allowed a robust 52.4 DK and 52.5 FD points per game to fives. They’ve also yielded the second-most blocks (2.9) per contest to centers, giving Looney another avenue to supplement his fantasy production. With a seemingly secure workload, he has another strong chance of providing a solid return on prices he’s already been outperforming recently.
Other centers to consider: Rudy Gobert, Clint Capela, Marc Gasol, Deandre Ayton, Enes Kanter, Al Horford, Thomas Bryant