FanDuel NBA DFS: Pick advice, lineup sleepers for Friday, December 28

Written By Dan Bernstein
(Getty Images)

A wild week of NBA DFS action that’s pushed FanDuel cash game lines past 300 points in many instances figures to take another high-scoring turn Friday, with a 10-game slate featuring some of the worst defensive units in the league. Don’t get overwhelmed, though, as we’ve supplied the best daily fantasy basketball picks to build your lineups around.

Key injury news to watch this evening is whether Thunder forward Paul George (quad), Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) and Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (finger) can go in their respective games. The obvious pivots off those players are included in our analysis. We’ll update their statuses here as soon as they are reported.

Injury updates: Smith is now expected to play. George, meanwhile, has been ruled out. Rondo will be out and is likely to miss 4-5 weeks after finger surgery. John Wall has also been ruled out.

MORE: SN DFS | Player Updates

Amid the hefty slate, there are several games that stand out as particularly appetizing for DFS players. The Wizards and Bulls, for example, face off in a meeting of bottom-10 fantasy defenses. Washington allows the second-most fantasy points per game (234.9), while Chicago gives up the eighth-most (229.7). A battle for Los Angeles between the Clippers and Lakers could also yield positive results for FanDuel cash games.

As part of our multi-step lineup approach, we used Fantasy Alarm’s premium features to analyze points allowed by position and projected point values. Below are the conclusions of that research.

FanDuel NBA DFS: Pick advice, lineup sleepers for Friday, December 28

FAVORITE VALUE — SG Josh Hart, Lakers vs. Clippers ($3,700). There’s a ton of good value in this slate, so it’s difficult to pick just one guy, but Hart does seem a cut above the rest given the likely absence of LeBron James and a good matchup against the Clippers. While most of his teammates got significant price bumps after Thursday’s game against the Kings, Hart has remained near the minimum despite notching 29.8 FD points in the close loss. As a result, just about everyone will be playing Hart in their lineups Friday, so don’t miss out on the action.

STUD TO STICK WITH — PF Anthony Davis, Pelicans vs. Mavericks ($12,600). We just saw this matchup happen on Wednesday, only in Dallas. In that game, Davis posted 32 points, 18 rebounds, two assists a block and a steal. It was actually an off night for him — his 60.6 FD points were below his season average. But if that incredible output is close to his floor, imagine what he can do at home with a day of rest against a team he just faced. His teammate, Julius Randle, is also worth a look after having his price reduced to $8,400.

STAR TO AVOID — PG Kemba Walker, Hornets vs. Nets ($9,800). Walker barely eclipsed 50 FD points against the Nets on Wednesday despite the game going to double overtime and him playing 44 minutes. There are better spend-up options than Walker in a rematch that could feature weary legs despite a day off between games.

TAKE A CHANCE ON ME — C Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves vs. Hawks ($9,600). Atlanta allows more overall fantasy points than any other NBA team, but it’s been decent at times against big men. Here’s a rundown of how the Hawks have fared against offense-minded centers: Joel Embiid — 28.2 FD points; Willie Cauley-Stein— 27 FD points; Hassan Whiteside — 22.1 FD points and 33 FD points; Andre Drummond — 49.7 FD points and 53 FD points; Jonas Valanciunas — 43.6 FD points; Steven Adams — 35.1 FD points; Nikola Jokic — 46.3 and 52.7 FD points. For Towns to hit his value Friday, he would need 48 FD points, a mark reached just three times out of 10 opportunities by the above group. And Drummond, who accounted for two of those, plays a much more physical style than Towns. Atlanta recently lost center Alex Len to a back injury, meaning more court time for strong all-around defender Dewayne Dedmon. If Towns plays to his peak potential, of course, there’s nothing the Hawks can do to stop him, and the upside is certainly there at this price point. Whether you believe in Towns either getting Dedmon in foul trouble or exploiting a weak Hawks bench when Dedmon rests will determine whether this likely popular play is right for you.

INJURY PLAYS — Fred VanVleet, Lonzo Ball, Russell Westbrook. We already know Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (back) will miss this game, which means a likely VanVleet start and probably more than 30 minutes played. We also know LeBron James is out for the Lakers, and if Rondo joins him on the inactive list, Ball would become an elite play. Ball cramped up a few times Thursday night but is not on the injury report, and if nothing else about those cramps comes out before the game, he’s probably fine to trust at his price point. Westbrook, meanwhile, is in line to get almost all of the usage if George can’t play, and he could pair well with Ball in a balanced FanDuel lineup.

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