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 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 has brought back its late swap for NBA contests.
1/4/19 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Big Jam: $10 entry, $475k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Four Point Play: $4 entry, $130k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot: $15 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Slam: $88 entry, $200k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Top Plays for January 4, 2019
Best Guards for January 4, 2019
Devin Booker vs. LAC ($9.0k DraftKings, $8.8k FanDuel)
The Clippers play an uptempo, DFS-friendly style and give up 115.8 PPG on the road this season. Devin Booker is far and away the top offensive option for the Suns with the third-highest usage rate (32.2%) in the league. Since the Clippers are forced to lean on Lou Williams (whose 31.9% usage rate ranks fourth in the NBA) for offense, they struggle to defend great guards late in games. Phoenix (+4) is only a slight underdog at home, so Booker should get a full slate of run. Back up to speed after his hamstring setback, Booker is averaging 28.8 PPG, 8 APG, and is shooting 40 percent from downtown over his last five appearances. This is the Suns’ fifth consecutive home game, where Booker shoots 35% from three and averages 1.23 FPs per minute. Along with teammate DeAndre Ayton (64.5 DK points), Booker has monstrous upside with a projected ceiling of 64.2 DraftKings points in models on FantasyLabs.
Jaylen Brown vs. DAL ($4.8k DraftKings, $4.5k FanDuel)
With Kyrie Irving (eye) expected to miss another game, Terry Rozier will be a deservedly popular play. Yet Jaylen Brown could fly under the radar as the better per-dollar value on DraftKings tonight. Marcus Smart (shoulder) is going to be limited, and the Celtics will need Brown to try and contain Luka Doncic. Brown has been flashing improved ball-handling and can create his own shot. He’s shooting 59 percent from the floor and is 5-for-12 from deep over his last five appearances. Brown is a low-cost option with decent upside, but we like another Celtics player even more in this price range on DK.
D.J. Augustin @ MIN ($4.3k DraftKings, $4.9k FanDuel)
There are certainly some high-priced PGs to consider tonight, including a premier H2H matchups between Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. But if you’re looking for a value PG to pair with one of those studs, D.J. Augustin offers an excellent floor-ceiling combination. He’s averaging 20 PPG and 6.5 APG while shooting 53.5 percent from the floor over his last four appearances. Augustin is 10-for-22 from downtown during that span. Opposing Minnesota ranks dead last in opponents three-point shooting (.377) while giving up the fourth-most APG (25.8) this season. Then, Jeff Teague (ankle) is questionable, and Derrick Rose (ankle) is doubtful tonight for a Wolves team that gives up the third-most PPG (21.81) to PGs.
Other guards to consider: Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Lou Williams, Tim Hardaway Jr., Terry Rozier, Emmanuel Mudiay, Dennis Smith Jr.
Best Forwards for January 4, 2019
Paul George @ POR ($9.7k DraftKings, $10.2k FanDuel)
Once again, Paul George is a better per-dollar option than his superstar teammate (Westbrook) in a game that you almost have to target. Tonight’s clash between the Thunder and Blazers has a 223-point Over/Under and a Pick-Em line. George finished second in the NBA with 431 points in December and stayed hot with 37 points on a 35.7 percent usage rate in a win at the Lakers Wednesday. Portland ranks 27th in opponent three-point shooting (.370) this season. In turn, George is launching a ridiculous 9.4 threes per game on the road. George owns the fourth-highest projected ceiling (64.6 FanDuel points) in models on FantasyLabs tonight.
Brandon Ingram vs. NYK ($6.8k DraftKings, $6.9k FanDuel)
The biggest beneficiary with LeBron James (groin) on the shelf has been Brandon Ingram. He’s taking over the role of point forward and is averaging 0.22 more FPs per minute with a 25.7 percent usage rate when both James and Rajon Rondo (hand) are off the floor. Ingram owns a 25.2 percent assist rate over his last two appearances and faces a Knicks team that ranks 29th in defensive rating and coughs up the third-most APG (26.2) this season. Ingram should have no trouble blowing past the Knicks’ slower wings tonight and is a legitimate triple-double threat with LBJ out. Kyle Kuzma (back) is also questionable, and he soaks up usage at a rate of 30.6 percent when LeBron is off the floor. Ingram has the potential for 5.2x salary returns tonights per FantasyLabs.
Gordon Hayward vs. DAL ($5.4k DraftKings, $5.9k FanDuel)
While Jaylen Brown stands out as the cheap Celtics wing to consider on FanDuel, Gordon Hayward is a better GPP play in a similar price range on DK. Hayward is slowly working his way back after missing all of last season with a broken ankle. He seemed to finally find his swagger with a 35-point performance on 14-of-18 FG shooting against the T-Wolves Wednesday night. The former Utah star faces another familiar foe tonight in a Mavs team that gives up the fifth-most PPG (20.65) and 3PTM (2.22) per game to opposing SFs this season. Hayward sees a 4.1 percent increase in usage rate (to 24.2) when both Irving and Smart are off the floor. He’s shooting 46 percent from the floor and averaging 12.9 PPG at TD Garden this season versus just 9.3 PPG on 37 percent shooting on the road.
Other forwards to consider: John Collins, Kyle Kuzma, Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Kyle Anderson, Jae Crowder, DeMarre Carroll
Best Centers for January 4, 2019
Rudy Gobert @ CLE ($7.9k DraftKings, $8.8k FanDuel)
With the public chasing the production of Jusuf Nurkic tonight in a tough matchup against Steven Adams and the Thunder, Rudy Gobert represents a great pivot in GPP formats. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year has been incredibly reliable with averages of 14.3 PPG, 12 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.9 BPG over his last 15 appearances. Cleveland yields 2.34 BPG to opposing centers and now ranks dead last in defensive rating while allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 55.5 percent inside the arc this season. With Tristan Thompson (foot) still working his way back from a 10-game absence, the Cavs will be even more vulnerable down low.
Brook Lopez vs. ATL ($5.7k DraftKings, $5.6k FanDuel)
The Bucks lead the league in PPG (117) and are fourth in offensive rating thanks in part to the savvy signing of Brook Lopez. A stretch five with a team-high 95 3PTM on the year, Lopez faces a weak Hawks team that gives up the most PPG (117.8) this season and ranks 29th in opponents three-point shooting (.375). He’s 18-for-39 (.462) from deep over his last four appearances and should see plenty of looks against a Hawks team that leads the league in pace. While Milwaukee (-13.5) is the biggest favorite on this slate, this game has a healthy point total (230.5). Lopez just logged a team-high 30 minutes in a comfortable win over Detroit.
Luke Kornet vs. LAL ($5.4k DraftKings, $5.5k FanDuel)
Luke Kornet was an obvious value play earlier in the week and is less of a slam dunk as a mid-tier option on FanDuel tonight. That being said, he’s worth Cash consideration against a Lakers team that ranks 29th in DvP and allows the fourth-most PPG (20.51) to opposing centers this season. Kornet has provided much-needed offense for the Knicks with his versatility and is shooting an incredible 48 percent from three-point range. Enes Kanter (back) has been up-and-down while seeing far less playing time than Kornet and has met with Knicks GM Scott Perry to supposedly complain about his role. This last-place team has little incentive to give Kanter more minutes when Kornet appears to be part of their future.
Other centers to consider: Karl-Anthony Towns, Deandre Ayton, Montrezl Harrell, Thomas Bryant, JaVale McGee, Enes Kanter