Scouting The NBA DFS - Tuesday, January 17

We break down tonight's 5-game slate of NBA action to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel

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Plays of the Day

Value: With Nuggets starting SG Gary Harris (ankle) expected to miss tonight’s game, Will Barton could enter the SLU and he’s almost guaranteed to see a huge increase in usage against a horrible defensive team. As mentioned above, the Lakers rank 30th in defensive rating and cough up the fifth-most PPG (110.2) in the NBA this season. They also allow the fourth-most FPPG (40.05) and second-most PPG (24.73) to opposing SGs this season and Barton is producing 52% of his FP production by scoring this year.

Fade: Ricky Rubio and the Wolves offense has been rolling lately but I find it hard to trust any of those young players at San Antonio against the Spurs top-ranked defense. Rubio produced just 4 points on 2-of-9 FG shooting when last he faced the Spurs and their disciplined defense makes it very difficult for a limited shooter to produce against them.

Games to Target

  1. Los Angeles Lakers (-2) hosting Denver Nuggets (Over/Under = 227.5)
  2. Miami Heat (+7.5) hosting Houston Rockets (Over/Under = 221)

Point Guards

Two Studs

Kyle Lowry (TOR) @ BKN DK:$8,600/FD:$9,000

If you’re going to pay up for a stud at the PG position, Lowry clearly seems like the best option tonight. The Raptors (-11.5) are heavily favored tonight in Brooklyn but Lowry was still quite productive with 20 points, 6 rebound and 6 assists over 36 minutes when Toronto crushed the Nets by 21 at home last week. Brooklyn is always a fantastic team to target because the Nets play at the fastest pace in the NBA and cough up the most PPG (114.9) by a wide margin. They also allow the most FPPG (50.94) to opposing PGs this season and should be without Jeremy Lin (hamstring) for this matchup. Even when the Raptors win big, they’re so dependent on Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to produce offensively that both star guards remain safe plays.

Emmanuel Mudiay (DEN) @ LAL DK:$4,900/FD:$4,500

Nuggets HC Mike Malone continues to give Mudiay more chances to reward the front office’s faith, and the young point guard came up with a huge performance yesterday in a big win over the Magic. Mudiay produced 18 points, 13 assists and 46.5 DK points (41.9 FD points) while the Nuggets dropped 125 points on the Magic. Denver’s offense is clicking with Nikola Jokic facilitating from the high post, while Mudiay continues to thrive in the open court and rack up assists to the Nuggets many wing players. The Lakers happen to cough up the most APG (9.76) and fourth-most FPPG (45.78) to opposing PGs while ranking dead last in defensive rating this season, so Mudiay has a great chance to string together two big statistical lines.

Potential Value

Tony Parker ($4700/$4700) is a relatively safe play with upside since he’s re-asserted his role as the floor general for the Spurs.


D’Angelo Russell ($7000/$6000) will definitely be worth a longer look if Jordan Clarkson (ankle) is out for the Lakers tonight in a fantastic matchup against the Nuggets.

Shooting Guards

Two Studs

James Harden (HOU) @ MIA DK:$12,200/FD:$12,300

It’s obvious who you’re paying up for in cash games on a night without Russell Westbrook or any Warriors superstars. Harden has been a triple double machine with that statistical achievement in 7 of his last 11 appearances and should be asked to play heavy minutes tonight in a tough matchup at Miami. The Heat (+7.5) is playing well enough to keep this game close, but they don’t have the personnel necessary to contain Harden, as they cough up the eight-most PPG (24.69) to opposing SGs over the last month. As long as this game remains moderately close, he should reach his floor of 50 FPs with the potential for much, much more.

Will Barton (DEN) @ LAL DK:$5,600/FD:$4,800

With Nuggets starting SG Gary Harris (ankle) expected to miss tonight’s game, Barton could enter the SLU and he’s almost guaranteed to see a huge increase in usage against a horrible defensive team. As mentioned above, the Lakers rank 30th in defensive rating and cough up the fifth-most PPG (110.2) in the NBA this season. They also allow the fourth-most FPPG (40.05) and second-most PPG (24.73) to opposing SGs this season and Barton is producing 52% of his FP production by scoring this year. While he’s a bit of a mercurial player, the gunner is never worried about the spotlight and he should embrace the bright lights at Staples Center tonight in a premium game to target.

Potential Value

Lou Williams ($4300/$4600) is an appealing value play who will become much more appealing if Clarkson can’t play tonight.


Dion Waiters ($5300/$5200) is really heating up for Miami and he should see added opportunities tonight against the fast-paced Rockets with Josh Richardson (foot) ruled out.

Small Forwards

Two Studs

Jimmy Butler (CHI) vs. DAL: DK:$9,100/FD:$9,500

While The Beard is a virtual must play in cash game formats tonight, fading him in order to craft a more balanced lineup with guys like Butler could pay dividends in tournaments. Jimmy Buckets returned from what seemed to be a serious illness to produce two typical lines with a combined 44 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists over his last two appearances and he draws a favorable matchup with the struggling Bulls (-6) actually favored tonight against the lowly Mavs. This game should be played at a snail’s pace but Butler thrives in halfcourt sets and Chicago’s offense has become increasingly dependent on his playmaking ability. Look for him to carry the load against a Dallas squad that ranks 28th in opponents FG shooting (.472%) this season.

Brandon Ingram (LAL) vs. DEN: DK:$3,600/FD:$4,000

Another way to go tonight is to save big at SF and pay up for James Harden with the money you save. Ingram is a low-upside cash game option to consider and he could also receive a boost if Jordan Clarkson (ankle) is unable to go for the Lakers. Ancient starter Luol Deng has been dealing with a biceps injury and needed to sit out the second half of a B2B set over the weekend, so it appears that Ingram will get his chance sooner rather than later to take over as the Lakers SF of the future. The rookie is starting to figure out how to use his wiry frame with averages of 12.2 PPG, 4 RPG and 2.8 APG over his last 6 appearances and he draws a great matchup tonight against a Nuggets team that’s played several shootouts over the past couple weeks.

Potential Value

Trevor Ariza ($5600/$5800) is a great cash game play as per usual in a solid matchup at Miami. Wilson Chandler ($5800) is under priced on FanDuel right now and he should see more usage with Harris out for Denver.


Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($3800/$4000) is coming around for the Nets and he’s another value play with slightly more risk than Ingram.

Power Forwards

Two Studs

Nikola Jokic (DEN) @ LAL: DK:$8,100 as C/FD:$8,500

Jokic continued his hot streak with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists against the Magic last night and he’s now averaging 22.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG and 5.4 APG over his last 5 appearances. The second-year pro is flying past the other Nuggets bigs on the depth chart and operating as the main weapon for HC Mike Malone, so he should see plenty of usage against the Lakers’ porous defense this evening. The Lakers cough up the second-most FPPG (50.37) and most APG (3.39) to opposing centers this season and Jokic is certainly capable of torching that weak unit, while he’s young enough to remain quite trustworthy on the second half of a B2B set.

James Johnson (MIA) vs. HOU: DK:$6,100/FD:$5,900

His price tag continues to rise accordingly because Johnson is providing very consistent returns for the Heat. With Justise Winslow (shoulder) done for the season, Miami will be forced to turn to JJ to play heavy minutes on the wing and he’s stepped up with averages of 14 PPG, 5.5 APG and 2.3 STL/BLK per game over his most recent 4 appearances. Tonight he faces a Rockets team that is giving up the third-most FPPG (45.05) and most PPG (22.1) to opposing PFs this season and he should be able to fill the stat sheet in a fast-paced affair.

Potential Value

Taj Gibson ($5700/$5100) remains a safe mid-tier option with Nikola Mirotic battling an illness. Justin Hamilton ($3400/$4000 as C on FD) could see increased run in a potential blowout in Brooklyn.


Kenneth Faried ($4400/$4300) remains dirt cheap on both main DFS sites despite exceeding value by a wide margin when the Nuggets produced at least 125 points in each over their last two games.


Two Studs

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) vs. HOU: DK:$8,400/FD:$8,900

You could consider Karl-Anthony Towns at the top of the board at center tonight, but he draws a tough matchup against the well-coached Spurs and runs the risk of his team getting blown out on the road. The Rockets might get starting center Clint Capela back from leg surgery tonight, but this is still a situation to exploit with Capela likely playing limited minutes and fill-in starter Montrezl Harrell standing just 6-foot-8 next to the massive Whiteside. Miami’s big man is averaging 20 PPG and 14 RPG over his last 3 appearances and finally returns home for this matchup, where he’s averaging 19.6 PPG, 15.8 RPG and 47.4 DK PPG as compared to 38.1 DK PPG in road games this season. Due to their blinding pace, the Rockets are coughing up the seventh-most PPG (107.6) this season and the sixth-most RPG (14.8) to opposing centers over the last month, so Whiteside has a great chance to post a bigtime double double.

Jonas Valanciunas (TOR) @ BKN: DK:$6,200/FD:$6,000

The third most important player for the Raptors, Valanciunas is a good bargain on DK because of the likelihood that he can produce a double double while piling up points against a weak Nets defense tonight. Brooklyn coughs up the most FPPG (53.6) and most PPG (24.16) to opposing centers by far and lacks much toughness down low with the slow-footed Brook Lopez trying to box out athletic bigs such as JoVal. The Raptors center is on a tear with 49 boards over his last 3 appearances and seems to be brimming with confidence since he took apart the weak rebounding Celtics, so he should do just fine against an even worse defense this evening.

Potential Value

Robin Lopez ($4200/$4400) is becoming a consistent part of the Bulls rotation again and he’ll face a Mavericks frontcourt tonight that is vulnerable with Andrew Bogut (hamstring) out.


Lucas Nogueira ($4100/$3800) is getting some minutes alongside JoVal and he could thrive in a potential blowout in Brooklyn.

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