We hope 2018 has been good to you, in life and while playing NBA DFS. Before bidding farewell to the year, we have a seven-game slate to take care of featuring far less chalk than the previous few days. As a result, FanDuel cash game lines should be more reasonable, and you can potentially make some money heading into 2019.
Injuries to monitor include Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Rudy Gay and Devin Booker. We’ll update this post when the statuses of those players are disclosed.
Update: Gay (wrist) has been ruled out. Teague and Rose have also been ruled out. Booker is expected to play.
Most of Monday’s games are expected to be close, with just two spreads of more than 10 points. The highest scoring game is expected to be Pelicans vs. Timberwolves, while the lowest scoring game is expected to be Rockets vs. Grizzlies.
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, which you can use to optimize your DFS performance.
FanDuel NBA DFS: Pick advice, lineup sleepers for Monday, December 31
FAVORITE VALUE (All-day slate) — SF DeAndre’ Bembry, Hawks @ Pacers ($4,100). The Hawks were already without forward Taurean Prince, who averaged 14.1 points per game last year, and they’ll be without Kent Bazemore moving forward after the guard suffered an ankle injury. Bembry already played 35 and 29 minutes in the previous two games with Bazemore available, and he should now get an even heavier workload on the wing. The matchup with the Pacers has blowout written all over it, but the Hawks are so young and so undermanned that Bembry should play at least 25 minutes even if Atlanta loses by 40. In the 14 games he’s played 25 minutes this season, he has averaged 26.4 FD points and scored below 20 FD points just four times.
FAVORITE VALUE (Main slate) —PG Tyus Jones, Timberwolves @ Pelicans ($4,500). If Derrick Rose misses this game, you absolutely have to play Jones in cash games. With Rose out Sunday, Jones amassed 38.3 FD points, and he’s averaging 28.5 over his past four contests. The Pelicans are one of the worst teams in the league at guarding perimeter players, and the game has a tasty 230.5 O/U. Point guard Jeff Teague (ankle) is also listed as a game-time decision, but he has a much lower usage rate (18.4 percent) than Rose (26 percent), so his presence would not inhibit Jones’ production.
STUD TO STICK WITH — PG Russell Westbrook, Thunder vs. Mavericks ($11,700). Westbrook is mad right now, and we like to play Westbrook when he has a point to prove. On Sunday, he shot 4-for-22 from the field and missed each of his eight 3-point attempts. Now, playing at home against the same team that just shut him down, he is primed to give us a vintage performance. Keep in mind he still netted 44.8 FD points Sunday despite scoring just nine actual points, meaning the peripherals are there for him to reach more than 60 FD points if his shooting even slightly improves. He’ll also likely be fairly low-owned considering the other appealing top-dollar options.
STAR TO AVOID — C Clint Capela, Rockets vs. Grizzlies ($8,700). Memphis is extremely stingy against all positions, but it can be particularly difficult for centers to get going inside against Marc Gasol and Jaren Jackson Jr. There are plenty of safer cash game options at the position than Capela. We suggest looking toward Steven Adams as a starting point.
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME — SG Jrue Holiday, Pelicans vs. Timberwolves ($9,300). The Pelicans almost never make it easy on the themselves, going down to the wire in most of their games regardless of opponent. During a stretch of six losses in the past seven games, they’ve not fallen by more than eight points. As a result of keeping so many games close, their players generally make for safe DFS choices. New Orleans gets Minnesota on a back-to-back on Monday night in what should be another tight, high-scoring affair, and Holiday is positioned to post his seventh consecutive 40-FD-point game. We like spending up at one of the SG spots in this slate, and Holiday is perhaps the most reliable option available. There are several elite shooting guards in play, though, making this a difficult choice.