FanDuel NBA Daily Picks and Pivots – January 14

Dec 14, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks the ball against the Boston Celtics during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 108-101. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
FanDuel NBA
FanDuel NBA /

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

The purpose of this FanDuel NBA 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 73 slates, we have seen the average winning GPP score at 372.3 a night which means we have needed 6.2x value to win big!

Saturday’s Main FanDuel NBA action kicks off at 5:00PM EST with four 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!

FanDuel NBA
FanDuel NBA /

FanDuel NBA – Top Point Guard Picks

Before we get into today’s picks, keep in mind that today’s slate kicks off at 5PM EST and we have huge injury news to keep track of among the days biggest stars as Anthony Davis, John Wall and Jimmy Butler (the top 3 priced players on the slate) are all questionable with injury!

Jrue Holiday ($6,800) With John Wall nursing a wrist and finger injury that required X-Rays and an MRI, I expect he will sit out and even if he plays, I would want nothing to do with a ball dominant PG with a hand injury for nearly $10k on FanDuel.

Holiday becomes the top PG option on this slate with a favorable match-up against MCW/Rajon Rondo and the Bulls! If Anthony Davis remains out, Holiday becomes a near lock in every format as he sees a 5% usage increase with The Brow off the floor. In that scenario, Jrue leads the team in usage at 30.6% and puts up 1.06 fantasy points per minute.

Even with Davis on the floor, I expect Holiday to be able to top 30 FanDuel points, a number he has eclipsed in six of his last ten games.

T.J. McConnell ($5,400) McConnell has officially taken the Sixers starting PG job and run with it, becoming a DFS fixture each night in “The Process.”(see what I did there – awesome, I know)

Over his last six games, McConnell is averaging 35 minutes a game and putting up 28.8 FanDuel points which would exceed 5.3x value at this price point. With Joel Embiid scheduled to sit out this game, McConnell should be asked to carry more of the offensive load as the key play-maker and gets the added bonus of either facing Trey Burke or a banged up John Wall!

On this slate, I have no interest in paying up for Wall or Eric Bledsoe against the Spurs so I am happy to drop into the mid-range with McConnell and Holiday and lock in two PG’s that will get 30+ minutes.

Both players should be able to approach the 30 FanDuel point mark tonight, which would mean I get 5x value across my PG spots which would build a solid foundation for my roster while allowing me to spend up at other positions!

FanDuel NBA
FanDuel NBA /

FanDuel NBA – Top Shooting Guard Picks

Bradley Beal ($7,000) This pick is somewhat dependent on the status of John Wall, but I could argue that Beal is the top SG play regardless of Wall’s status.

The one issue we may have today with Washington is that their game does not start until 8PM EST, which is 3 hours after lock. As a result, we may not get any clarity on Wall’s status for this game prior to lock so that is something to keep in mind when building your roster.

If Wall is out, Beal becomes a must play for me in all formats. With Wall off the floor, Beal sees a significant usage bump that results in a team leading 32.6% usage, a 3.4% bump over his numbers with Wall on the floor.

The Sixers are ranked 16th in DvP to opposing SG’s this season and without Joel Embiid inside, Beal should be able to get whatever he wants against the Sixers defense here. Beal comes into this game after dropping 45 FD points against the Celtics and makes for a safe cash game play with elite GPP upside if Wall is ruled out.

Dwyane Wade ($7,200) With Nikola Mirotic already ruled out and Jimmy Butler questionable with an illness, Wade may be forced to run the show for Chicago for a second straight outing. In his last game out with these two players off the court, Wade put up 30 FanDuel points against the Knicks, his third straight 30+ FD point outing.

With Butler and Mirotic off the floor, Wade sees a 42.5% usage which is a massive 10% bump putting him in the realm of Russell Westbrook in terms of usage, albeit a much smaller sample size!

With this game being the first on the slate, we will have the advantage of getting the Jimmy Butler news prior to lock which should make this game a top target/stacking option. Wade gets the added bonus of facing a New Orleans team that has one of the worst defensive real plus/minus ratings against SG’s so he makes for a solid cash game play with GPP upside assuming Butler is out again!

FanDuel NBA
FanDuel NBA /

FanDuel NBA – Top Small Forward Picks

Kawhi Leonard ($8,700) The Spurs and Suns are the only game with a team total/spread as I write this early in the AM, and although we have some potential blow out concerns, the fact that this game is in Phoenix should help keep it close. The Spurs last played on Thursday and do not play again until Tuesday so this feels like a spot where all the Spurs biggest stars will suit up and play a full complement of minutes.

The Spurs see a massive pace bump against the Suns and are projected to score 6 points higher than their season average in points. The Suns are ranked 19th in DvP to opposing SF’s and Kawhi was able to rack up 18 points, 10 rebounds and 39 FanDuel points in only 27 minutes the last time these two squads met up.

Otto Porter ($6,200) With Jimmy Butler questionable and Gordon Hayward in a terribly blah match-up against Orlando, I am happy to pivot down to Otto Porter against a Sixers team that is ranked 23rd in DvP against opposing SF’s this season.

Earlier this year, Porter dropped 15 points, 13 rebounds and 42 FanDuel points against this same Sixers team without Joel Embiid on the floor, which is the same situation we get tonight.

Keep in mind however, Bradley Beal missed that game which drove some added usage for Porter that night but we may see John Wall sit out this game, setting up Porter for a similar scenario!

FanDuel NBA
FanDuel NBA /

FanDuel NBA – Top Power Forward and Center Picks

LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,300) Heading back to the Spurs again, I am happy to build a mini-stack with Kawhi and LMA tonight, especially with Aldridge priced just above $7k!

The Suns are ranked 23rd in DvP to opposing PF’s and LMA has averaged 33 FanDuel points this season against the Suns. Aldridge has long been considered a safe cash game play, but his game logs would reflect he is actually a more volatile GPP play. Over his last ten games, Aldridge has put up 40+ FanDuel points in five games but has conversely put up less than 20 FD points in three of those contests!

More from FanSided

This spot seems like a favorable one for LMA but keep in mind there is risk in rostering him so I would utilize him more as a GPP play than a cash game staple!

Dario Saric ($3,900) Up to this point, you will notice I am building a more balanced line-up and essentially avoiding the high-priced/questionable stars on this slate. It sounds like Anthony Davis will play tonight and if that is the case, I am happy to fade The Brow who I expect will be highly owned while nursing an injury.

One of the benefits on a short slate of fading a player like AD is that our roster construction will likely be completely different from those who have to fit in his inflated salary! The one value play I do have interest in tonight is Dario Saric and that is a direct result of Joel Embiid sitting out tonight!

In the last 5 games that Embiid has missed, Saric has put up 21.7 FanDuel points per game which would exceed 5.5x value at this price point. On a short slate like this, I expect GPP scores to be lower than the season averages so I am happy to target guys with 5-5.5x upside as the base of my roster construction and hope I can hit on 1-2 guys for a big 6x-7x night!

Rudy Gobert ($7,500) I haven’t spent any time yet on the Jazz-Magic game and frankly that is for good reason – I do not intend to have much exposure to this snoozefest! These two teams met earlier in the year and played to a rousing 87-74 slugfest! Seriously – 87-74 was the score of an NBA game this year.

The one and only player I am looking towards in this spot is Rudy Gobert who was able to put up 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks and 37.1 FanDuel points in that game against the Magic earlier this year. Center is an ugly position tonight, especially with Embiid out, so I expect most will try to nail a value play when building their rosters. Instead I will look to lock in a 35-40 point player in Gobert as part of an overall balanced roster construction!

Next: DraftKings NBA Picks

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