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Daily Fantasy, Jan. 1: Five players to watch on Friday

A five-game night offers some intriguing choices

POSTED: Jan 1, 2016 2:56 PM ET

By Jeff Case, NBA.com

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Hassan Whiteside has put up some stellar defensive numbers over his last seven games.

Every day with FanDuel, you're the GM. Use your NBA knowledge to create the best nine-man team with a salary of $60,000. Once your roster is set, enter a contest, sit back and enjoy the games.

Players To Watch: Jan. 1

J.J. Barea, PG ($4,400)

If you haven't been paying attention to what the diminutive playmaker has been doing in Dallas lately, you are missing out. Over his last four games, he's averaging 22.3 points (well above his 10.4 points per game season average) and has scored 23 or more points in three of his last four games. He's at 30.2 FanDuel points over his last five games and overall has been solid in his last 10 games, with a 21.9 FanDuel average, both of which are above his season mark of 18.3 FanDuel points. A matchup tonight against the Miami Heat (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass) and standout guard Goran Dragic ($5,900) -- who has also been playing solid of late -- should make Barea a solid-yet-cheap option for your lineup.

• Tonight on NBA TV: FanDuel Tip-Off Show (6:30 ET) •

Garrett Temple, SG ($4,100)

Temple ranks second on the Washington Wizards in Defensive Rating (97.8), but is basically first considering the number of minutes he plays. He spent most of the season as a backup, but has been forced into a starting role as Bradley Beal heals from his right leg injury. Temple is averaging 37.0 minutes over his last six games and has been productive with the increased role. He's up to 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals -- all numbers that are well about his season averages. Although he's had three straight games of scoring less than 10 points, a home date against the Orlando Magic (7 ET, NBA League Pass) could give Temple a chance to bounce back. His matchup with the defensively challenged Evan Fournier ($5,600) could be just what Temple needs.

Carmelo Anthony, SF ($8,600)

There aren't a lot of superstars -- in the mold of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, et al -- in action tonight. So that means you can afford to splurge in your lineup. Enter Anthony, who is the fourth-highest priced player in the FanDuel world behind only John Wall ($10,200), Pau Gasol ($8,700), Kyle Lowry ($8,700). Tonight's matchup with the Chicago Bulls (8 ET NBA League Pass) means he'll have a top-notch defensive player (Jimmy Butler, $8,300) following him around the court. But Anthony is above his season FanDuel averages over his last five games in points (24.2), rebounds (7.8), assists (4.2), field goal percentage (51.4) and FanDuel points (37.9). He's scored 23 or more points in six of his last nine games and more and more is looking like the 'Melo of old.

Hassan Whiteside, C ($7,500)

Looking for defensive stats tonight? Look no further than Mr. Whiteside, who has notched four or more blocks in six of his last seven games. In that same seven-game span, he is averaging 12.1 rebounds and shooting 60.3 percent from the field while averaging 12 points, too. Scoring remains an issue for Whiteside as he hasn't passed the 20-point mark since Dec. 20. A matchup with defensive-minded Zaza Pachulia ($6,500) and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks tonight (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass) might not help his offensive game, but there's no reason to expect him to not contribute defensive stats once again.

Cody Zeller, PF ($4,700)

The Charlotte Hornets are going to be without Al Jefferson for at least six weeks after he underwent successful surgery on his right meniscus. While Jefferson was out before that news, Zeller was one of the main beneficiaries in the playing time department. Expect that trend to continue for the Hornets, who were thin in the frontcourt even before Jefferson went down. His numbers as a starter have been marginally better than his season averages (9.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals). Yet in his last five games, Zeller may be hitting a groove -- he's up to 25.4 FanDuel points, outpacing his 18.7 FanDuel points average. A showdown with the Toronto Raptors tonight (7:30 ET, NBA League Pass) means he'll be going up against a decent defensive frontcourt in Bismack Biyombo ($4,900) and Jonas Valanciunas ($5,600). We think he should at least match his recent FanDuel averages if not exceed them.

Daily Fantasy Minute: Jan. 1

Daily Fantasy Minute - Jan. 1st

Check all of your options for your fantasy lineup in Thursday's NBA action.

Daily Fantasy Recap: Dec. 31

Daily Fantasy Recap: Dec. 31st

Look back at Thursday's fantasy results to evaluate your daily fantasy lineup against the perfect lineup.

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