NBA DFS Plays, Totals, Injury News for January 9, 2017

As NFL DFS comes to a close, we turn our attention to the National Basketball Association to scratch our daily fantasy sports itch. NBA DFS is fast-paced, high-scoring, and the right work and research, an incredibly fun variant of daily fantasy that can be quite profitable.
Each day that there’s a good slate, we’ll give you the lay of the land in the NBA as well as some players that we’re considering for our lineups. Be sure and monitor any of the injury news that comes out throughout the day, as value plays can arise in a moments notice. Keep in mind, nearly every player that gets any sort of minutes is technically a “GPP play” on such a small slate. Now, on to the picks.
PLAYERS RULED OUT

None

INJURY NEWS TO MONITOR

Jimmy Butler (illness) 

GAME TOTALS, SPREAD & START TIME

Pelicans @ Knicks -4 (7:30p): 215

Mavericks @ Timberwolves -4.5 (8:05p): 195.5

Thunder -1.5 @ Bulls (8:05p): 209

Top Tier

Russell Westbrook ($13k DraftKings, $12.4k FanDuel)

What’s not to love about a guy that’s averaging just over 65 FanDuel points over his last three games? It’s not a hard sell here. His usage rate is absurd. He’s an automatic double-double with triple-double upside every single time he takes the court. If you’re playing cash games on this tiny slate, Westy needs to be the first name you click and build from there. Do not get cute here. There’s always merit in a fading a guy in GPPs that costs as much as Westbrook does today. That said, I will not be going that route. I’ll find the money to get to Russ while other people spend their money on Anthony Davis, a player who’s topped 60 DraftKings points just once in his last five games, while BestBrook has done it in four of his last five (including two 70+ and one 80+).

Mid Tier

Jrue Holiday ($6.6k DraftKings, $6.9k FanDuel)

There’s going to be some interesting lineup constructions tonight after people roster Westbrook. Is there a way to go stars and scrubs, or it is Russ and some mid tier and value guys? I assume there won’t be enough open up to go full-on stars and scrubs, so the latter is the most likely scenario. Using my crystal ball that doesn’t exist, I think people opt to save some cash on their second PG play and go Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, or even Michael Carter-Williams. All are viable, but I’ll do my best to differentiate by going with the guy with the highest floor and projection of the group, while possessing the same tournament upside. Holiday’s minutes are rock solid and he’s put up at least 10 shots in each of his last 9 games. Add in a nice implied team total 105.5 in the highest projected over/under of the night, and we’ve got ourselves a winner.

Bargain Tier

Donatas Motiejunas ($3k DraftKings, $3.8k FanDuel)

On a very short slate with very little injury news early in the day, Motiejunas sticks out as one of the best ways to save some salary in GPPs. In his first game of this season, he put in 20 minutes off the bench for New Orleans, scoring 25.75 DraftKings points in the process. Will he see 20 minutes again tonight? Who knows! That’s why we’re using Donny in GPPs only tonight on both sites. Understand going in, if the minutes are not there, the floor here could quite literally be 5-6 fantasy points. But if he does see 20 minutes again (and I kinda feel like he should), he is a very real candidate to 6x his salary with 8x upside considering the Knicks can be had by bigs.

If, Then Player

If Jimmy Butler does decide to sit this one out due to an illness, then Doug McDermott ($4.2k DraftKings, $4k FanDuel) becomes a very strong option. He’s already ‘in play’ due to his small salary, projected minutes, and limited options on a three-game slate, but he’d move into near ‘must play’ territory should Butler take the night off. And obviously, Dwyane Wade gets a huge bump as well. His usage rate goes up over 9%/36min with Butler off the court.