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Scouting The NBA DFS - Tuesday, December 27

We break down tonight's 4-game slate of NBA action to help you cash in DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel

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Plays of the Day

Value: Lou Williams is averaging 16.7 PPG and 27.7 DK PPG while playing just 25.1 MPG over his last 6 appearances and he might log more minutes than usual if the rest of the Lakers guards struggle to find openings against Utah’s elite defense. Because he’s such a crafty scorer, Williams seems to thrive in the toughest matchups, and sure enough, he’s averaging 27.5 PPG and 43.75 DK PPG over 2 meetings with Utah’s top-ranked scoring defense this season.

Fade: Harrison Barnes flashed some upside when the Mavericks were extremely shorthanded earlier this season, but he’s settled in as a mid-tier option with limited upside lately. Deron Williams and Dirk Nowitzki are finding their stride along with several other scorers for Dallas and it’s hard to imagine Harry B putting up great numbers as the de facto most expensive SF on this slate.

Games to Target

  1. Miami Heat (+3) hosting Oklahoma City Thunder (Over/Under = 208)
  2. Dallas Mavericks (+6.5) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 212.5)

Point Guards

Two Studs

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) vs. MEM DK:$7,900/FD:$7,900

I think I’ll pass on Russell Westbrook at $13K on FanDuel, but he’s certainly an appealing superstar to target on DK given his ability to earn double double and triple double bonuses. That being said, Thomas seems like a safer play on a nightly basis and not just because he dropped a career-high 44 points against these Grizzlies last week. IT is doing damage against defenses both poor and great and even if Memphis coordinates better in an attempt to corral the Celtics PG tonight, he’s shown the ability to pass out of double teams and he’s produced 23 assists over 3 appearances since torching the Grizzlies. Just named the ECF Player of the Week for his incredible ability to get buckets during the fourth quarter, Thomas will once again be asked to provide late-game heroics with the Celtics (-6.5) expected to pull out a close win over a tough opponent.

Deron Williams (DAL) vs. HOU DK:$5,600/FD:$6,700

Williams is playing great ball right now and his playing time remains quite secure with J.J. Barea (calf) unable to stay on the court. D-Will was once a Top 5 PG in the NBA and he’s playing like an above average floor general at the very least with averages of 19.2 PPG and 7.5 APG while shooting 49.4% from the field over his last 6 appearances. The Rockets are a team to target despite their decent defensive rating, because they can pile up points in a hurry and justify getting assigned with the highest Over/Under (212.5 points) on yet another slate. Houston is usually tough against opposing PGs, but defensive stopper Patrick Beverley (thigh) could be inactive or limited tonight, opening things up for Williams and the rest of the Mavs backcourt.

Potential Value

The Lakers are not an intimidating matchup for Shelvin Mack ($5000/$4700) by any means and he’s been solid against below average defensive teams.

Longshot

Mike Conley ($6400/$6800) couldn’t really guard Isaiah Thomas in his first game back from back surgery last week, but now that he’s healthier he might take on that matchup and make it a personal battle.

Shooting Guards

Two Studs

James Harden (HOU) @ DAL DK:$11,400/FD:$11,400

Harden’s price tag drops on DK because he struggled in relative terms during his first 2 meetings with Dallas this year, but he bounced back with 18 points, 16 assists and 9 rebounds in a blowout win over the Mavericks at home earlier this month. The Rockets (-6.5) aren’t huge favorites on the road tonight and Dallas is getting healthier with Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris re-entering the fold lately, so perhaps The Beard will be asked to do a little bit more in terms of scoring this evening. He put up a huge double double (32 points, 12 assists) while logging just 30 minutes in a blowout win over Phoenix last night and should be rested ahead of this rivalry tilt.

Lou Williams (LAL) vs. UTA DK:$4,900/FD:$5,500

Williams has become a less popular option with D’Angelo Russell back in action for the Lakers, but he continues to provide solid returns at a mid-tier price tag. Sweet Lou is averaging 16.7 PPG and 27.7 DK PPG while playing just 25.1 MPG over his last 6 appearances and he might log more minutes than usual if the rest of the Lakers guards struggle to find openings against Utah’s elite defense. Because he’s such a crafty scorer, Williams seems to thrive in the toughest matchups, and sure enough, he’s averaging 27.5 PPG and 43.75 DK PPG over 2 meetings with Utah’s top-ranked scoring defense this season. Give him a look as a value play with upside at home tonight.

Potential Value

Eric Gordon ($5500/$5700) has been rock solid whether the Rockets win easily or have to battle down the stretch and he makes for a great consolation play if you can’t afford Harden.

Longshot

Rodney Hood ($5300/$4800) could only manage 13 minutes while playing through an illness last Friday but he should be healthy ahead of this plus matchup at the Lakers.

Small Forwards

Two Studs

Gordon Hayward (UTA) @ LAL: DK:$8,000/FD:$7,800

The Jazz aren’t usually an offense you want to target because they play at the slowest pace in the NBA, but they’re facing a young Lakers team tonight that runs at the fourth-fastest pace. Even in a half court game, Hayward is producing as Utah’s unquestioned top option with averages of 22 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 3.8 APG on the season. He’s also the unquestioned top option at SF on this short slate and clearly has the highest floor-ceiling combination amongst the choices at his position. The Lakers also happen to give up the second-most FPPG (41.9) to opposing SFs and Hayward has been very solid in both meetings with the Purple and Gold this season.

Justise Winslow (MIA) vs. OKC: DK:$5,300/FD:$5,200

Winslow couldn’t follow up his man-sized double double (23 points, 13 rebounds) with a huge game at New Orleans last Friday, but he still met value and notably played 38 minutes in a narrow loss. Heat HC Eric Spoelstra clearly wants to keep his young wing on the floor as often as possible and that often leads to success in DFS contests. Tonight’s tilt against the road-tripping Thunder provides a favorable matchup for the athletic Winslow, as OKC gives up the fifth-most PPG (20.89) to opposing SFs this season. He’s been far more comfortable at home this season, where he’s averaging 12.4 PPG and shooting 41.3% from the field (31.5% on the road), so you can use Winslow in lineups that target this potential shootout down at American Airlines Arena.

Potential Value

I would use Trevor Ariza ($5200/$5400) over Luol Deng because of their respective matchups tonight.

Longshot

You could consider Joe Ingles ($4300/$4600) as more of a punt play if you believe that he’s earned a steady spot in Utah’s rotation.

Power Forwards

Two Studs

Julius Randle (LAL) vs. UTA: DK:$5,800/FD:$6,100

His matchup is far from ideal, but Randle has become far more appealing with Larry Nance Jr. (knee) on the shelf for the Lakers. Now operating as a true starting PF for HC Luke Walton instead of a tenuous option in a timeshare, Randle is averaging 15.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.8 APG and 2.6 STL/BLK per game over his last 4 appearances. He’s sort of a poor man’s Draymond Green the way he can pile up peripheral stats, while the Lakers will ask him to score more often tonight given the difficult matchups they face at other positions. Utah is weakest at PF with Derrick Favors (knee) unable to play significant minutes and a shoddy combination of Boris Diaw and Trey Lyles operating behind him, so look for Randle and the Lakers to exploit those matchups on the low block tonight.

Ryan Anderson (HOU) @ DAL: DK:$5,300/FD:$6,200

The PF position is extremely thin tonight and it’s easy to pay up for the perceived top options, but that doesn’t make Anderson a safe play by any means. The Rockets sharpshooter still depends on knocking down outside shots to produce in DFS contests and he’s a much better play on DK at a cheaper price tag than Randle with a bonus award for 3PTM on that site. Tonight, Anderson happens to face a Mavericks team that ranks dead last in opponents 3PT shooting (.401%) and 22nd in overall defensive rating. While Ryno hasn’t posted great splits against the Mavs this season, he’s coming on strong over the past few weeks with Clint Capela (leg) injured and he can now be considered a high-upside option as one of James Harden’s preferred running mates.

Potential Value

James Johnson ($4600/$5000 as SF on FD) continues to fill up the stat sheet despite playing modest minutes for Miami and he has a good chance to meet value against the Thunder tonight.

Longshot

Amir Johnson ($3500/$4300) could serve as a great value play once again for the Celtics, but it’s hard to trust HC Brad Stevens to stick to his rotations.

Centers

Two Studs

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) vs. OKC: DK:$8,700/FD:$9,200

I have a feeling Whiteside will be lightly owned tonight because he posted such a weak line (5 points, 12 rebounds) in his only other meeting with the Thunder this season and OKC has a reputation as one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA right now. While that’s certainly true, Whiteside’s poor numbers in that contest were skewed by the blowout nature of that road tilt as well as his own health, because he was listed as a game-time decision prior to that November tilt with a knee injury. Now Mr. Whiteside is healthy and putting up bigtime averages of 19.8 PPG, 16 RPG and 2.4 BPG over his last 5 appearances, while he’s also posted much better averages (20.1 PPG, 48.8 DK PPG) at home this season. As long as the Heat give the Thunder a game, which seems quite likely with Victor Oladipo (wrist) still inactive, Whiteside should provide excellent returns.

Rudy Gobert (UTA) @ LAL: DK:$7,700/FD:$7,900

He’s appropriately expensive on DK tonight because Gobert is very close to a lock for a double double against the Lakers weak interior defense. He’s averaging 15.6 PPG and 13.2 RPG over his last 5 appearances and is fifth in the NBA at 11.9 RPG this season. Gobert has produced 27 points, 30 rebounds and 9 blocks over 2 meetings with the Lakers this season and that’s not surprising considering the fact that the Lakers cough up the third-most FPPG (49.92) to opposing centers this season. He’s produced 32-plus FPs in 10 straight appearances and remains a rock solid cash game option when compared to the erratic Marc Gasol for example.

Potential Value

Montrezl Harrell ($4800/$4300) is a very steady value play right now and he could rip through an under manned Mavericks frontcourt this evening.

Longshot

Enes Kanter ($4900/$5500 as PF on FD) is playing a lot more and producing with Oladipo inactive for the Thunder. I would still consider Marc Gasol ($7200/$7800) in GPP formats against a Celtics team that struggles in the paint.


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