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.
1/7/19 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Big Jam: $10 entry, $425k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Four Point Play: $4 entry, $125k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot: $9.99 entry, $400k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Slam: $55 entry, $150k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Top Plays for January 7, 2019
Best Guards for January 7, 2019
James Harden vs. DEN ($12.0k DraftKings, $12.9k FanDuel)
It will make sense to fade James Harden at some point, but as long as the Rockets are slated to get into close games, his floor-ceiling combination will remain unmatched. The WCF-leading Nuggets (+1) are formidable enough to keep tonight’s game close but generous enough to let Harden maintain his torrid pace. Even after a “down” game in a loss at Portland, reigning MVP is averaging 40.4 PPG, 9.2 APG, 6.9 RPG, and 5.9 3PTM per game over his last 12. Denver ranks 22nd in DvP against opposing SGs and, more importantly, the Nuggets yield the second-most FPPG (45.46) to opposing SGs over the last 14 days. Harden is controlling everything with a usage rate of at least 42.2 percent in each of his last seven appearances. With Chris Paul (hamstring) and Eric Gordon (knee) still out, Harden is likely to see close to 50 percent usage once again.
Luka Doncic vs. LAL ($7.7k DraftKings, $7.7k FanDuel)
If you can’t afford Harden, Luka Doncic is a fine alternative in the mid-tier for Cash lineups. The likely Rookie of the Year is 21.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 5.0 APG while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range over his last seven appearances. Doncic is sporting a 25.7 percent assist rate on the season, and his usage rate has climbed to 29.8 percent since the start of December. He’s facing a Lakers team that ranks 25th in DvP against PGs and 27th against SGs for the last two weeks. Finally, the Lakers play at the third-fastest pace in the NBA. Doncic has really ramped up his efforts on the glass with a 24.3 percent defensive rebounding rate over his last four outings. You can also consider Dennis Smith Jr. as a value on DK, while Doncic offers the highest per-dollar rating of any player on FanDuel per models on FantasyLabs
Shabazz Napier @ BOS ($3.4k DraftKings, $3.9k FanDuel)
With DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris ruled out on the second half of a B2B set, Shabazz Napier becomes a great value option to consider in all formats. Even in a tough matchup against Boston, he’s looking at extended run and increased usage with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (hip) also out. Napier averages 1.17 FPs per minute when Carroll, Harris, RHJ, and Caris LeVert are off the floor this season. Even with Carroll active and playing well, Napier is averaging 18 PPG and 4.5 APG over his last four appearances and shooting 44% from three over his last five. It is also a homecoming game for the native of Roxbury, Mass. and Napier has never shied away from taking big shots in big games.
Other guards to consider: Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay, Josh Hart, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Derrick White, Marcus Smart, Dennis Smith Jr.
Best Forwards for January 7, 2019
LaMarcus Aldridge @ DET ($7.4k DraftKings, $8.6k FanDuel)
If you pay up for Harden, squeezing a stud forward like Giannis Antetokounmpo into your lineup will be almost impossible. Thus, you’ll have to look for values in the mid-tier range. LaMarcus Aldridge could fit the bill. The Spurs’ 1B option behind DeMar DeRozan, he draws an appealing matchup tonight against Blake Griffin and the Pistons. Detroit leads the league in 3-point defense, but that funnel style leaves them vulnerable inside the arc. That’s where they allow the fifth-highest shooting percentage (.541) this season. Aldridge has lower usage (26.5%), but his efficiency is up (111.2 offensive rating) with DeRozan in town. Detroit ranks 24th in DvP against opposing PFs and has been bottom five against all other positions over the last 14 days. Currently, the Spurs offense is firing on all cylinders.
Gary Harris @ HOU ($5.0k DraftKings, $6.2k FanDuel)
The Rockets are very shorthanded right now. And as good as he’s been offensively, Harden remains a liability on defense. Houston coughs up the fourth-most FPPG (37.32) and second-most PPG (23.07) to opposing SGs this season and is vulnerable in the backcourt with uninspiring defenders Austin Rivers and Gerald Green flanking Harden. With 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists against Charlotte Saturday, Gary Harris proved to be in rhythm after a 10-game absence. Nuggets HC Mike Malone has already insinuated that Harris and Paul Millsap are poised to take their starting spots back soon. Harris would be underpriced on DraftKings as a starter in this appealing matchup.
Nemanja Bjelica vs. ORL ($4.8k DraftKings, $6.1k FanDuel)
Even if Marvin Bagley (knee) is ready to return to the court tonight, Nemanja Bjelica should maintain a steady role and, quite likely, his spot in the Kings starting lineup. Bjelica has met or exceeded value on DK in eight straight appearances and is averaging 12.8 PPG and 8.3 RPG while shooting 40 percent (10-of-25) from 3-point range over his last six outings. Orlando ranks 28th in opponent 3-point shooting (.372) and yields the second-most 3PTM per game (0.98) to opposing PFs this season. The Magic are also on the second half of a road B2B set. Finally, Bjelica averages 13.2 PPG at home compared to 9.3 PPG on the road and shoots 45 percent from three in Sacramento. He has the potential for 5.9x salary returns on DK per models on FantasyLabs.
Other forwards to consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brandon Ingram, Noah Vonleh, Paul Millsap, Al-Farouq Aminu, Danuel House, Lance Stephenson, Rodions Kurucs
Best Centers for January 7, 2019
Jusuf Nurkic vs. NYK ($8.0k DraftKings, $9.5k FanDuel)
Despite continuously flashing upside equal to the top centers on the board, Jusuf Nurkic remains moderately priced on DK. The shorthanded Knicks are rotating between natural PF Luke Kornet and defensive liability Enes Kanter at center. While they’ve limited fantasy production from opposing centers, the Knicks are 29th in defensive rating, 28th in opponents FG shooting (.478), and cough up the third-most RPG (47.7) this season. Clearly, capable centers can post huge lines against the Knicks, and Nurk proved capable of just that with a historic 26-point, 25-rebound “5×5” game against Sacramento last Tuesday. He went for 13 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in a meeting with the Knicks earlier this season and is playing at a much higher level right now. Nurkic leads all players in per-dollar rating on DK tonight per models on FantasyLabs.
Clint Capela vs. DEN ($7.5k DraftKings, $9.0k FanDuel)
Houston’s short rotation makes it easy to target their starters with confidence, and Clint Capela is an ideal partner to pair with Harden. He’s corralled 21 rebounds in consecutive games and is averaging 18.2 PPG, 16.2 RPG, and 1.6 BPG over his last five. Denver yields the third-most FPPG (46.06) to opposing centers, and Capela cruised to 24 points on 11-of-15 FG shooting in a matchup with Nikola Jokic earlier this season. Despite their solid defensive rating, the Nuggets rank 21st in opponents 2-point shooting (.527) this season. They’ll likely leave Capela open on the weak side after Harden forces help with dribble drives.
Other centers to consider: Nikola Jokic, Julius Randle, Marc Gasol, Enes Kanter