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.
1/24/19 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, $375k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Slam: $55 entry, $125k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Top Plays for January 24, 2019
Best Guards for January 24, 2019
Russell Westbrook vs. NO ($10.7k DraftKings, $12.2k FanDuel)
Despite dropping a triple-double Tuesday against Portland, Russell Westbrook sees his price continue to drop on DraftKings. He should indirectly benefit from the absence of Anthony Davis (finger) tonight. The combination of Julius Randle and Jahlil Okafor will do next to nothing to protect the rim for New Orleans. Regardless, the Pelicans yield the sixth-most APG (25.5) this season, the eighth-most FPPG (40.76) to opposing PGs, and are coughing up 116.3 PPG on the road. To top it off, they’re on the second half of a B2B set and 1-6 while coughing up 121.6 PPG on zero days of rest. Westbrook has modest splits in two meetings with the Pels this season but averaged 21.3 PPG, 14 RPG, and 13 APG over three matchups last season. Tonight’s tilt in OKC has been assigned a lofty 232-point Over/Under and is clearly a game to target. Westbrook has a monstrous +11.79 plus/minus rating on DK according to models on FantasyLabs, which indicates his volatility should the Thunder (-12) win easily.
Devin Booker vs. POR ($7.5k DraftKings, $8.3k FanDuel)
Here’s hoping Devin Booker will be able to channel the anger that caused him to smack Gorgui Dieng and get ejected Tuesday into a bigtime performance tonight. The Suns will certainly need him to take over with T.J. Warren (ankle) and Deandre Ayton (ankle) out. Booker is rocking a 33.3% usage rate and averaging 1.20 FPs per minute when those players are off the floor this season. He faces a Blazers defense that’s most vulnerable in the backcourt. Portland ranks 27th in DvP against PGs over the last 14 days and yields the most PPG (22.27) to the position. Booker burned the Blazers to the tune of 29.8 PPG and 4.8 APG on 43.8% shooting from 3-point range, and Portland ranks 26th in opponent 3-point shooting (36.6%) this season. Booker has the highest ceiling (61.4 FanDuel points) at his position per models on FantasyLabs.
Rajon Rondo vs. MIN ($5.2k DraftKings, $6.5k FanDuel)
If he’s able to play tonight, Rajon Rondo doesn’t expect to have a minutes restriction. That gives him tremendous per-dollar upside as a player who averages 12.5 points, 9.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes this season. The Lakers will need him to log heavy playing time with LeBron James (groin) and Lonzo Ball (ankle) both sidelined and Rondo averages 0.24 more FPs per minute (1.29) when those players are off the floor. Minnesota is a ripe matchup for PGs, as the Wolves yield the fifth-most APG (25.7) overall and sixth-most FPPG (41.5) to opposing floor generals. Therefore, if Rondo can’t suit up, feel free to gamble on Lance Stephenson ($4.1k, $4.0k) as the Lakers’ de facto PG.
Other guards to consider: Stephen Curry, Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday, Andrew Wiggins, Lance Stephenson, Jamal Crawford
Best Forwards for January 24, 2019
Julius Randle @ OKC ($7.8k DraftKings, $8.9k FanDuel)
Predicting how the Pelicans’ usage will shake out with both Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic (calf) sidelined is one of the biggest keys to tonight’s four-game slate. Julius Randle leads New Orleans with a 32.8% usage rate (5.2% increase) and averages 1.41 FPs per minute when those players are off the floor. Jrue Holiday sees a huge increase of 0.22 FPs per minute when Davis and Mirotic are off the floor, but that still puts him below Randle in terms of usage (29%) and FPs per minute (1.39). Finally, Darius Miller ($3.3k, $3.5k) sees a 5.8% increase in usage rate (to 18.4%) and is a viable punt play with Mirotic out and E’Twaun Moore on a minutes limit.
Randle has been consistent on zero days of rest throughout his career. He’s carried the Pels on the second half of B2B sets this year, too, with averages of 24.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 3.6 APG while shooting 57% from the field in seven such appearances. The Thunder’s fourth-rated defense is tough down low and Steven Adams is virtually immovable, but Randle has a marked quickness advantage on the big Kiwi. He has managed 48 points and 20 rebounds while shooting 19-for-26 (73%) in two meetings with OKC this season.
Brandon Ingram vs. MIN ($6.2k DraftKings, $6.6k FanDuel)
If Rondo returns for the Lakers tonight, he’s still going to be a pass-first PG. That would free Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram up to look for their shots. Ingram sees a 4.3% rise in usage rate (to 28.2%) and averages 0.17 more FPs per minute (1.05) when LeBron James and Lonzo Ball are off the floor this season. His production has trailed off a bit, and his turnover rate has increased as he plays out of position, so Rondo’s return may benefit him in multiple ways. Minnesota is coughing up the second-most FPPG (42.57) to SFs over the last 14 days. And Ingram averaged 19 PPG, 5 RPG, 3 APG, and 2.3 BPG over three previous meetings with the Wolves despite averaging under 29 MPG. He’s locked into 35-40 minutes with LBJ on the shelf.
Dragan Bender vs. POR ($4.6k DraftKings, $4.6k FanDuel)
As long as Richaun Holmes (foot) isn’t ready to return tonight, Phoenix will be forced to start young Dragan Bender at center and give him all the run he can handle. Holmes is a much better matchup for the Suns against Jusuf Nurkic and Portland, so he’ll be worth a look as a value if active. With both Holmes and Ayton out, Bender has produced 30 DK points in consecutive games. He’s also posting the best totals of his three-year career (14.7 points, 11 rebounds, 3.2 assists) per 100 possessions this season. There is value to be found in the Suns’ lineup whether this game stays close or not. If you believe Portland (-8) will dominate on the road, Josh Jackson and Kelly Oubre Jr. are great garbage-time GPP candidates in the mid-tier range.
Other forwards to consider: Paul George, Nikola Mirotic, Kelly Oubre Jr., Josh Jackson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Taj Gibson, Jeff Green, Evan Turner, Michael Beasley, Darius Miller
Best Centers for January 24, 2019
Jusuf Nurkic @ PHO ($8.0k DraftKings, $9.5k FanDuel)
With Ayton (ankle) out and Holmes (foot) doubtful, Jusuf Nurkic stands to benefit as the next true center to dominate Bender. The “Bosnian Beast” has made quick work of diminutive opponents this season. He has been on a tear in January with averages of 17.3 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 3.8 STL/BLK per game over his last 12 outings. A blowout win is the biggest threat to his value, but this game is in Phoenix, and Devin Booker could keep the Suns in it, making him a great correlation play with Nurkic or Damian Lillard. The only likely scenario in which Karl-Anthony Towns justifies his far higher price than Nurkic is one in which Portland coasts to a win and decides to rest its big man. Nurkic has the potential for 5.7x salary returns on DK tonight per FantasyLabs.
JaVale McGee vs. MIN ($4.5k DraftKings, $4.4k FanDuel)
The last time the Timberwolves faced the Lakers, they won by 22 points. In bigger news, they promptly fired Tom Thibodeau the next day. Since then, Karl-Anthony Towns has taken on even more usage under interim coach Ryan Saunders. This will force Lakers coach Luke Walton to game-plan around KAT. Walton started both Ivica Zubac and JaVale McGee in that Jan. 6 meeting against Minnesota and will likely go big again with Taj Gibson lining up next to Towns. Minnesota is a young team that yields the third-most BPG (2.82) to opposing centers. In turn, McGee brings a lot of value with averages of 3.6 blocks and 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Other centers to consider: Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Ivica Zubac, Jahlil Okafor