Welcome to the NBA daily fantasy basketball plays of the day for December 18th. RotoViz will be providing a ton of NBA content this year. Tune in for the On The Daily podcasts throughout the week for more in-depth analysis on a game-by-game basis.
Damian Lillard @ MIN – DK: $8,900 FD: $8,700
Damian Lillard gets a great matchup with the Wolves tonight, and he’s been playing very well as of late. The Timberwolves haven’t exactly been the turnstile on defense they were just a few weeks ago, but they still aren’t shutting anyone down, especially from the point guard position. This game is set to be a competitive one, and any time you can get a guy with 50-plus FP upside for less than $9,000 on both sites, you have to pay attention. On the other side of the ball, Jeff Teague makes for a strong option as well if Jimmy Butler ends up being ruled out. Keep an eye out for updates.
Yogi Ferrell vs PHO – DK: $5,000 FD: $4,800
Dennis Smith Jr. is currently listed as questionable for tonight’s game, but if he remains out of the lineup then Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea both become fantastic value options. Ferrell is playing enough minutes right now that it would be hard to fade him in any format given a cakewalk matchup with the Suns. Obviously Barea can offer plenty of upside in his own right off the bench, but he would likely be a GPP pivot play off of Ferrell, as it just makes more sense to take the cheaper guy who plays more minutes in cash games.
Also Consider: Russell Westbrook (DK: $11,200 FD: $11,300), Kyrie Irving (DK: $8,500 FD: $8,100)
James Harden vs UTA – DK: $10,500 FD: $11,000
James Harden has Utah’s number and seems to show out whenever he takes the court against them. The defense for the Jazz backcourt is in shambles as they try to develop a rookie star in the making (Donovan Mitchell), and that is something Harden should easily be able to take advantage of this evening. Yes, Chris Paul is lighting the world on fire with his incredible production, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing down Harden who has posted at least 48 DKFP in four of his last five games. The only issue here: this game has the largest spread of the night and could easily be over in a hurry.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope vs GSW – DK: $6,000 FD: $5,400
Although Kentavious Caldwell-Pope isn’t allowed to leave California for the next month or so, he will be playing in tonight’s home game against the Warriors. The Lakers always seem to play the Warriors close, and the absence of Steph Curry and Draymond Green should keep this game more competitive. Caldwell-Pope has been playing heavy minutes for the Lakers lately, and his fantasy production is becoming rather consistent because of it. He has already posted a useful 32 DKFP in 41 minutes the last time these two teams got together. Something similar tonight would be great given his price point.
Also Consider: Victor Oladipo (DK: $8,700 FD: $9,300)
Kevin Durant @ LAL – DK: $11,600 FD: $12,000
Like I’ve already stated, this game should stay close. Kevin Durant will be the guy for the Warriors tonight with no Curry or Green, and he should easily be the highest targeted “stud” on this slate. Durant has posted at least 65 DKFP in three of his last four games, and tonight’s matchup with the Lakers yields a similar ceiling. If you’re looking to gain some cheaper exposure to the shorthanded Warriors team, Omri Casspi makes for a strong value option as well. He’s coming off of a huge outing against the Mavericks.
Brandon Ingram vs GSW – DK: $6,600 FD: $7,000
The Lakers seem to be pushing Brandon Ingram to take the next step in his development, as they force feed him the ball in his extended playing time. He’s seeing shot attempts by the truckload at this point, and playing in the high 30s to low 40s in minutes isn’t hurting his fantasy value either. The last time the Lakers matched up with the Warriors, we saw Ingram post a ridiculous 50 DKFP, and while I’m not fully expecting a duplicate performance tonight, it’s nice to know he has a ceiling in that area.
Also Consider: Harrison Barnes (DK: $6,800 FD: $7,100)
Ben Simmons @ CHI – DK: $9,600 FD: $9,900
Joel Embiid has been ruled out for tonight’s contest for rest, and that is going to leave Ben Simmons as one of the best top tier plays on the board. Simmons fills the stat sheet in a hurry, which balances his occasional struggles to score. This matchup with the Bulls is one that none of us should be particularly scared of, and Vegas believes it will remain competitive. Dario Saric should also see increased playing time and usage, making him a top tier value option against a team that gives up the third-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards.
Taj Gibson vs POR – DK: $6,100 FD: $5,800
Taj Gibson has just been so consistent as of late, and tonight he heads into a plus matchup with the Blazers. Nemanja Bjelica has been missing a lot of time recently, and that is forcing Gibson to play heavy minutes night after night. Bjelica is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. If Bjelica is active, we can still see a productive Gibson game, though it may be in 30-34 minutes as opposed to 40 minutes.
Also Consider: LaMarcus Aldridge (DK: $8,200 FD: $8,400), Nikola Mirotic (DK: $5,900 FD: $7,000), John Collins (DK: $5,400 FD: $6,100)
Karl-Anthony Towns vs POR – DK: $8,800 FD: $10,700
Karl-Anthony Towns will likely become the defacto chalk play at center tonight, as Embiid has been ruled out and Towns has been on a roll. This matchup with the Blazers does look tough on paper, but I’m going to look right past that and focus on what Towns has been doing recently instead. He’s posted a double double in nine of his last 10 games, including five straight with at least 53 DKFP. His price point on DraftKings doesn’t reflect his recent production, and I want to take advantage. FanDuel is a bit tougher of a price point, but he’s still worth it tonight.
Richaun Holmes @ CHI – DK: $4,100 FD: $4,500
Richaun Holmes has been having a good season and should see some extended run with Embiid out tonight. This will likely be one of the most popular value options on the slate, but there is nothing wrong with some cheap chalk. The Bulls have been very mediocre against opposing centers all season long, so foul trouble – always something to worry about with him – is the only thing potentially holding Holmes back from having a great night. UPDATE: Amir Johnson has actually been named the starter for tonight, making him a strong option as well. I think you can go either route here and still fell pretty good about what you have given the price points. I do still prefer the upside of Holmes.
Also Consider: Al Horford (DK: $6,900 FD: $7,600)