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.
1/5/19 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Pull Up Jumper: $10 entry, $200k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $50K to 1st!
Spin Move: $44 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)- $5K to 1st!
Pistol Shot: $9.99 entry, $150k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $25K to 1st!
Sat. Slam: $55 entry, $50k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $10K to 1st!
NBA DFS Best Picks & Plays for January 5, 2019
Best DFS Guards for January 5, 2019
Stephen Curry at SAC ($9.7k DraftKings, $10.1k FanDuel)
Curry makes for an excellent play if you’re looking to differentiate and save off James Harden on Saturday. The Warriors point guard boasts excellent upside in his own right, and he’ll face a Kings squad he touched up for 60.8 DK and 60.4 FD points the last time he faced them Dec. 14. Sacramento continues to be exceedingly generous to point guards as well. They allow the fourth-most DK (50.3) and fourth-most FD (49.4) points per game to PGs, as well as the second-most rebounds (6.7) and most assists (9.2). The Kings are also allowing more three-point success on their home floor (35.1 percent, compared to 33.6 percent on the road) and play at an even faster pace (107.6 possessions per game, second most in NBA) than the Warriors. Those are two additional factors that work in Curry’s favor.
Donovan Mitchell at DET ($7.1k DraftKings, $7.4k FanDuel)
Mitchell’s price has seen a notable drop from earlier in the season, yet he’s still offering solid production on both sites as the Jazz’s most trusted and consistent offensive option. The second-year guard has eclipsed 30 fantasy points on both DK and FD on six occasions over his last 10, with two of those tallies topping 40 FPs. Then, the Pistons check in about middle-of-the-pack against SGs, allowing 40.6 DK and 40.2 FD points per game to the position. They’re also yielding bottom-10 figures in rebounds (6.6) and steals (1.7) per game to twos. Mitchell has the skills to capitalize on those weaknesses. He’s averaging a solid 3.6 boards out of the SG position and a career-high 1.7 steals per game.
Austin Rivers at POR ($4.9k DraftKings, $4.3k FanDuel)
Rivers has hit the ground running in his new Houston digs. The six-year vet has proven invaluable in the wake of Eric Gordon’s knee injury. Rivers has posted over 20 FPs on both sites in three of the past four games, topping out at 33.0 DK and 31.8 FD points against the Warriors in Thursday’s OT victory. Those are excellent returns on his current prices, making him a strong value play again Saturday. Gordon is already confirmed as out, which will thrust Rivers into the first unit once again versus a Blazers team that’s allowed 41.5 DK and 41.3 FD points per game to twos, along with the fourth-highest three-point percentage (37.0) overall.
Other guards to consider: James Harden, Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Luka Doncic, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Klay Thompson, C.J. McCollum, Ricky Rubio, Elfrid Payton, Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, Alec Burks
Best DFS Forwards for January 5, 2019
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. TOR ($11.3k DraftKings, $12.4k FanDuel)
Antetokounmpo takes aim at a Raptors squad he already touched up for 54.8 DK and 51.8 FD points in their one prior encounter. The Greek Freak also recently put together a three-game stretch with more than 60 FPs on both sites, just the latest glimpse at his massive upside. Toronto makes for a viable target, as they’ve allowed 46.5 DK and 44.7 FD points per game to PFs and 50.0 points in the paint per game over the last three. That feeds right into Antetokounmpo’s fantasy wheelhouse. Giannis’ 31.7 percent usage rate continues to keep him in the top 10 in the NBA in that category.
Larry Nance, Jr. vs. NO ($6.1k DraftKings, $6k FanDuel)
Nance always seems to be reasonably priced despite his occasional spikes in production. Such is the case Saturday when he’ll face a Pelicans squad allowing 47.8 DK and 46.3 FD points per game to PFs. New Orleans is also yielding a bottom-10 figure in points (22.9) and the third-most made threes (2.5) to fours, along with 49.8 percent shooting. Nance comes in averaging career bests in points (9.1), rebounds (7.7), assists (3.3), and steals (1.5), giving him plenty of paths to fantasy success. Finally, the Pelicans’ propensity for allowing scoring in the paint (50.3 points per game) should serve Nance well. He logs just under 64 percent of his scoring in that area.
Norman Powell at MIL ($3.4k DraftKings, $3.9k FanDuel)
Powell has made for some sneaky value over the last two games. The versatile wing has scored 24.25/27.25 DK points and 25.1/29.6 FD points over that pair of contests, far outpacing his current price. He also has another pair of tallies higher than 20 FPs in the last 10 games. Tonight, Powell faces a Bucks team that’s been susceptible to shooting guards all season. Milwaukee is allowing the fifth-most DK (43.0) and FD (42.2) points per game to twos, as well as the most rebounds (7.1) and second-most assists (5.2) to the position. The Bucks are also yielding the fourth-highest three-point percentage over the last three games (40.4), which dovetails well with Powell’s 42.9 percent success rate from distance in away games.
Other forwards to consider: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, Julius Randle, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Anderson, Danuel House, Jr.
Best DFS Centers for January 5, 2019
Joel Embiid vs. DAL ($10.8k DraftKings, $11.5k FanDuel)
Embiid continues to be worth paying up for every time he’s on the slate. He’s averaging well over 50 FPs on both sites at home. He’ll also come into Saturday’s contest having eclipsed 60 FPs on both sites in four straight. The dominant big man will look to continue producing versus a Mavs squad that’s been effective versus fives overall but is allowing 53.2 percent shooting to the position. Dallas has also been much more vulnerable to scoring near the basket on the road, allowing 50 points in the paint per away contest. Embiid logs nearly half his scoring (47.3 percent) near the basket and boasts a 32.5 percent usage rate. That’s second only to James Harden in the entire NBA.
Jusuf Nurkic vs. HOU ($7.6k DraftKings, $9.1k FanDuel)
Nurkic just exploded for 82.75 DK and 88.1 FD points two games ago versus the Kings to kick off 2019. He then exceeded 40 FPs on both sites versus the Thunder on Thursday as an encore and finds himself in a favorable position again Saturday. Nurkic is already averaging 39.0 DK and 37.5 FD points over two prior games against Houston. The Rockets also come in allowing 55.1 DK and FD points per game to centers, along with 53.7 percent shooting. Then, Houston is allowing the fourth-most points in the paint per game (51.9), including 55.3 over the last three. Nurkic is logging just under 67 percent of his scoring in the paint (average of 9.9 points per contest). Moreover, with the Rockets sporting a bottom-10 shooting percentage on the road (44.4), Nurkic could have a few extra rebounding opportunities on the defensive glass.
Brook Lopez vs. TOR ($5.4k DraftKings, $6k FanDuel)
Lopez didn’t come through in an enticing matchup versus the Hawks on Friday, but he’ll have a chance for redemption Saturday. The Raptors are allowing 55.3 DK points and 54.2 FD points per game to fives. Lopez had scored over 25 FPs on both sites in five straight games before Friday’s semi-clunker versus Atlanta, and he brings serious floor-spacing ability to the center position. Then, his numbers versus Toronto over two prior games this season are impressive. Lopez is averaging 24.4 DK and 24.3 FD points in those contests while shooting a red-hot 46.3 percent from behind the arc.
Other centers to consider: Andre Drummond, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, Marc Gasol, Willie Cauley-Stein, DeAndre Jordan