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.
12/31/18 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Big Jam: $10 entry, $450k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $100K to 1st!
Medium Year-End Special: $36.50 entry, $150k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $20K to 1st!
Shot Machine: $7.77 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Mon. Slam: $33 entry, $140k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $25,000 to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for December 31, 2018
Best DFS Guards for December 31, 2018
Stephen Curry at PHO ($9.6k DraftKings, $10.1k FanDuel)
Curry comes at a nice discount over the highest-priced options at guard, yet he offers virtually the same upside. What’s more, he’s locked into an appealing matchup against a Suns team that’s allowed 49.0 DK and 48.1 FD points per game to PGs. They’ve also yielded the sixth-most assists (8.8) and second-most steals (2.3) per contest to PGs. Curry has eclipsed 50 fantasy points on both sites in two of the last four games, and he already touched up Phoenix for over 50 fantasy points on both sites in his one prior encounter with them this season.
Jrue Holiday vs. MIN ($8.5k DraftKings, $9.3k FanDuel)
Holiday has been blowing past the 40-fantasy-point mark with regularity on both sites throughout the season. He compiled 36.5 DK and 33.8 FD points in his one prior encounter with Minnesota this season, and the T-Wolves come into Monday’s game short-handed in the backcourt. Both Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose will quite possibly miss the contest with ankle injuries. The Timberwolves are also much more vulnerable defending two-guards since trading Jimmy Butler. They’re now allowing the third-most DK (43.4) and eighth-most FD (41.9) points per game to SGs. They’re also yielding the fourth-most points (24.1), second-most rebounds (6.9), and third-most made threes (3.2) to the position. The versatile Holiday is capable of capitalizing on all of those weaknesses and boasts a robust 25.1 percent usage rate.
Austin Rivers vs. MEM ($4.9k DraftKings, $3.8k FanDuel)
Now of Houston, Austin Rivers is set to draw the start Monday in place of Eric Gordon (knee), potentially making him one of the better value options of the night. The opposing Grizzlies are far from an inviting matchup, but Rivers should see more than enough minutes for a strong return, especially on FD. The veteran guard has scored over 20 fantasy points in three of the past four games on both sites. Then, Memphis is allowing 40.5 DK and 39.4 FD points per game to SGs. The Grizzlies are also allowing the 10th-highest three-point percentage (35.8) while Rivers is taking nearly four three-point attempts per game over fewer minutes than he’ll see Monday.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Mike Conley, Klay Thompson, Dennis Schroder, Tyus Jones, J.J. Barea
Best DFS Forwards for December 31, 2018
Paul George vs. DAL ($9.4k DraftKings, $10.3k FanDuel)
George has averaged nearly 50 FPs on both sites in two games versus the Mavericks this season and put up 36 real-life points when these two teams met just yesterday. He’s shooting a stellar 47.8 percent, including 43.5 percent from three-point range, across 16 home games. Despite Sunday’s win over the Thunder, Dallas comes in allowing just under 40 FPs per game on both sites to SFs. Plus, George has flashed a ceiling well north of 50 fantasy points in multiple games this season. That includes a pair of recent contest versus the Kings and Jazz where George posted in excess of 60 and 80 fantasy points, respectively. That type of upside makes even his current hefty prices justifiable, especially considering there are two other players priced higher than him at the position on Monday (Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant).
Andrew Wiggins at NO ($5.9k DraftKings, $6.3k FanDuel)
No one will accuse Wiggins of being the most consistent player around, but there’s no denying the 2014 first overall pick brings upside that eclipses his current prices. Wiggins has admittedly been in a troublesome multi-game shooting slump, but he’s still averaging 28.4 DK and 28.2 FD points per game. Moreover, Wiggins racked up 45.5 DK and 46.2 FD points versus the Pels in his one prior meeting against them this season on Nov. 14. New Orleans comes in allowing 42.0 DK and 41.2 FD points per game to twos, along with the fourth-most assists (5.1) and sixth-most steals (1.7) per game to the position. Plus, the Pels come in yielding the 10th-highest three-point percentage (35.9) while Wiggins is shooting a career-best 35.8 percent from distance on a career-high 4.8 three-point attempts per contest.
Mikal Bridges vs. GS ($4.2k DraftKings, $4.7k FanDuel)
Mikal Bridges continues to draw starts at SF for the Suns, a role that’s currently affording him well over 30 minutes per game. The rookie has been productive with his opportunities more often than not, as he’s eclipsed 20 FPs on both sites in six straight. Bridges is shooting a solid 43.4 percent at home, including 37.3 percent from behind the arc. Then, it’s worth noting Devin Booker is questionable for Monday’s game with a lower back contusion. Bridges is averaging 21.1 DK and 21.0 FD points without Booker on the floor, and tonight’s game could be played even faster than Phoenix’s usual rate. Golden State is also allowing the fourth-most DK (43.5) and seventh-most FD points (42.8) points per game to SFs, along with the second-most points (23.4).
Other forwards to consider: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Julius Randle, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Warren, Robert Covington, Draymond Green, Jayson Tatum, Harrison Barnes, Taj Gibson
Best DFS Centers for December 31, 2018
Karl-Anthony Towns at NO ($9.3k DraftKings, $9.8k FanDuel)
Towns eviscerated the Heat for 86.5 DK and 90.1 FD points Sunday evening. That was a stellar follow-up to an already impressive showing against the Hawks on Friday when he’d racked up 70.25 DK and 69.3 FD points. As those numbers corroborate, Towns’ ceiling is expansive, and the Pelicans are the type of matchup that could continue coaxing astronomical production from him. New Orleans is averaging 106.2 possessions per game, which represents a nice bump in pace for the T-Wolves. Then, the Pels are allowing 54.7 DK and 53.8 FD points per game to centers, along with the seventh-highest shooting percentage (55.3). Towns also boasts a team-high 26.1 percent usage rate and certainly has the skills to exploit New Orleans’ vulnerability to scoring in the paint (50.1 points per game, ninth most).
Steven Adams vs. GS ($7k DraftKings, $6.8k FanDuel)
Adams continues to churn out strong production on both sites, yet his prices remain stagnant. The big man is averaging 35.0 DK and 33.0 FD points per game. Then, he’s averaged 33.5 DK and 33.2 FD points across two games versus the Mavs this season while shooting an impressive 75.0 percent. Dallas has been relatively impressive against fives, but they’re still yielding at least 50 FPs per game on both sites to the position, along with a 52.8 percent success rate from the floor that ranks them just outside the bottom half of the NBA in that category. It’s also worth noting the Mavs have allowed the third-most points in the paint per game (60.7) over the last three, while Adams is scoring 82.0 percent of his points in that area of the floor.
Kevon Looney at PHO ($3.7k DraftKings, $4.2k FanDuel)
Looney has generated tallies of at least 20 fantasy points with regularity as a starting center, but like Adams, his prices remain encouragingly stable. In Looney’s case, they’re also extremely affordable. The floor-spacing big most recently posted 20.25 DK and 20 FD points versus the Blazers in a tough matchup. He’ll have an exponentially easier path to fantasy success Monday. The Suns come in allowing the second-most DK and FD (61.4) points per game to centers, along with bottom-10 figures in points (25.7) and rebounds (17.4) to fives. They’re also yielding the most steals (2.2) per contest to centers, providing Looney ample ways to pay off his modest salaries.
Other centers to consider: Clint Capela, Marc Gasol, Deandre Ayton, DeAndre Jordan, Al Horford, Pau Gasol