NBA FanDuel Daily Picks and Pivots – December 18

Sep 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (7) pose for pictures on media day at BioSteel Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (7) pose for pictures on media day at BioSteel Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
NBA FanDuel
Sep 26, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (7) pose for pictures on media day at BioSteel Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome to the NBA FanDuel edition of Picks and Pivots, a fantasy basketball column focused on helping you find the best NBA FanDuel lineup! 

The purpose of this NBA FanDuel Picks column is to first identify key building blocks that can be used for any roster construction and then identify pivot points to help differentiate your lineup in hopes of a big payday!

For those of you that are new to Picks and Pivots, we will go through the season tracking trends in this space by looking at the winning GPP lineups each day.

One of the most basic questions when starting out the NBA season is how many points should I be targeting for tournament entries? A good rule of thumb is that you want your players to exceed 6x their salary so on a $60k team salary you are looking for 360+ points. If you spread that out over a roster of 9 players, that is an average of 40 points per player.

A good rule of thumb is that you want your players to exceed 6x their salary so on a $60k team salary you are looking for 360+ points. If you spread that out over a roster of 9 players, that is an average of 40 points per player.

Now it is unreasonable to expect every player to hit that target, especially when you are utilizing value plays but remember that is the average you need over the course of your roster!

To start the year, I would simply build your roster with the simple 6x rule in mine and do the math quickly. Can I see player X hitting 6x their salary? For example, LeBron James is priced at $9,600 so in order to return value he would need to exceed 57 points.

This is not a hard and fast rule, but as we go through the season I will track the trends each night to understand the target multiplier we should use as our baseline.

Over the first 49 slates, we have seen the average winning GPP score at 371.7 a night which means we have needed 6.2x value to win big!

Sunday’s Main NBA FanDuel action kicks off at 6:00PM EST with five games on the main slate and no shortage of superstars to choose from. Without further ado – let’s get into our top picks for the day!

NBA FanDuel
Mar 25, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) drives between Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) and Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass (30) during the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

NBA FanDuel – Top Point Guard Picks

Kyle Lowry ($8,500) We have a very intriguing 5 game slate for Sunday evening with some very clear stay away games and only one truly high-priced player in Anthony Davis who gets a brutal match-up against the Spurs AND is questionable with a leg injury on top of that!

The best team to target on this slate looks to be the Toronto Raptors against the Orlando Magic. The Magic are not a team we typically look to target due to their slow pace of play but the Raptors have the highest projected team total on the slate with the game in Orlando we have a very reasonable 5.5 Vegas spread.

The best spot to attack the Magic is at PG as they are ranked 21st in DvP to opposing PG’s on the season so this is a spot that Lowry should be able to excel in. Lowry has at least 35 FanDuel points in 11 of his last 12 games so he makes for one of the steadiest core plays on the board at a sub $9k price point. On a slate like this with so many bad spots, I am happy to lock in the 35 points from Lowry and let others try to get cute!

Goran Dragic ($7,400) The Celtics-Heat game may not have the highest team total on the board (only 201) but there is some solid value to be had here and this is a game I believe we should look to target aggressively.

The Dragon continues to be a usage monster for the depleted Heat and even with some of the pieces returning, the price point here is simply too cheap for Dragic. These two teams faced off earlier this season and Dragic racked up a monster 27 points, 17 assists and 55 FanDuel points!

We will touch on Center later in this article but I absolutely LOVE Hassan Whiteside in this spot so I am also looking to build my roster construction around a Dragic/Whiteside stack which Boston has proven they have difficulty slowing down already this year!

NBA FanDuel
Dec 5, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) reacts to comments from players on the Cleveland Cavaliers bench (not pictured) in the second half at Air Canada Centre. Cleveland won 116-112. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

NBA FanDuel – Top Shooting Guards

DeMar DeRozan ($8,600) I can count on one hand the number of times I have rostered DeRozan this season as I typically avoid one-dimensional players in DFS but this is a spot at a brutally weak position we may need to lock him in tonight.

The shooting guard landscape is full of lackluster options so I like the idea of paying up to the high-end to lock in the likely top scorer at the position. DeRozan has eclipsed the 40 point mark in three of his last six games and although he may not have the 50+ point upside we would typically look for in this spot, there is a bit of game theory to this selection.

With so many stay away games and Anthony Davis likely out tonight, I expect GPP scores to be down significantly off their season average. As such, rather than take crazy shots at 6x value, I am looking to build around players that I believe can get me 35-40 FanDuel points which would put me well over 300 FanDuel points and if one or two players drop 50+, we could be set up for a nice pay-day!

Evan Fournier ($5,900) The second SG spot on FanDuel is UGLY tonight, but I am heading to the other side of this Toronto game to get some exposure to the Magic.

The Magic are projected to score roughly 10 points more than their season average in this game so a mini-game stack here allows you to maximize your exposure to the contest that Vegas believes will be the highest scoring.

Fournier has been rock solid for the Magic in recent weeks, playing over 30 minutes and scoring over 20 actual points in four straight games. The price point on Fournier is such that he only needs 35 FanDuel points to hit 6x value, a figure he has hit in three of his last four games!

NBA FanDuel
Dec 11, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) drives to the basket as Detroit Pistons forward Stanley Johnson (7) defends during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

NBA FanDuel – Top Small Forward Picks

Robert Covington ($5,000) Small forward is a spot I am looking to pay down at on this slate as the top two options are in match-ups I am looking to avoid. Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs are already 11.5 point favorite and if Anthony Davis sits out, the Pelicans are going to get run out of the building so I am staying away from the Spurs. Gordon Hayward and the Jazz take on Memphis in a game featuring two of the slowest paced teams in the NBA and a brutally low 185 combined team total.

The Sixers on the other hand get a high team total (second highest on the Main slate) against the defensively challenged Brooklyn Nets. Typically the Nets are a team we want to stack against but with other great options at the Guard and Center position, Small Forward may be the best place to get exposure here. The Nets are giving up the most fantasy points to opposing SF’s on the season and Covington looks to be finally emerging from his early season funk.

Since returning from injury, Covington has played over 30 minutes in each of his last four games and is averaging 28.2 FanDuel points per game which would exceed 5.6x value at this price point. Covington is actually a safe cash game play here in this spot with tremendous GPP upside and will be a core play for me tonight.

Aaron Gordon ($4,400) I rolled out this duo on Friday night and I am heading back to Orlando tonight to lock in A-Aron. Gordon’s price is simply too low relative to his upside as he dropped 41 FanDuel points just two games ago.

It would be unrealistic to expect that tonight going up against DeMarre Carroll but at this price point, Gordon only needs 26 FanDuel points to hit 6x value and with the Magic projected to see a pace uptick and material point increase, he makes for a great GPP play at a tough to fill SF position.

NBA FanDuel
NBA FanDuel /

NBA FanDuel – Top Power Forward and Center Picks

Hassan Whiteside ($8,900) I typically start here with the PF’s but I am starting with Whiteside tonight because he will be the first player I click on in every single lineup tonight. Whiteside gets an ideal match-up tonight against a Celtics team that is 25th in DvP against Centers this season and frankly has nobody capable of stopping Whiteside from getting whatever he wants inside.

More from FanSided

In this same match-up earlier this season, Whiteside dropped 25 points, 17 boards and 50 FanDuel points and frankly I expect more of the same tonight. With The Brow likely out, Whiteside is my predicted top scorer on the slate and makes for a great pairing with Dragic at PG!

Terrence Jones ($4,800) Speaking of Anthony Davis, the Brow(and killer of my Friday night GPP lineup) is questionable for tonight’s game against the Spurs with a leg injury. If he is ruled out Terrence Jones will be a massively chalky play as a value PF so a part of me hopes this is a full game-time call and as the only 7pm EST game maybe we get lucky and get the news after lock!

Even without confirmation that AD is out, Jones makes for a great play as he is averaging nearly a double-double over his last three with 11 points and 9.6 rebounds while exceeding 6x value in two of his last three games. I will lock in Jones regardless tonight and hope that AD “tries to give it a go” and leaves Jones under owned in this spot!

Serge Ibaka ($6,400) For the second PF spot I am looking to complete my Magic-Raptors stack with another under-priced Magic option in Ibaka. The best place to attack the Raports from a DvP perspective is at PF as they rank 16th in DvP to opposing PF’s.

Ibaka is similar to Fournier in the sense that they are locked into 30+ minutes each night and he has eclipsed 36 FanDuel points in three of his last four games.

Next: FanDuel NFL Picks

Best of luck tonight in your NBA FanDuel contests and stay tuned to Fantasy CPR on Twitter all day for the latest roster updates and late breaking news!