Daily Fantasy

NBA DraftKings & FanDuel DFS Primer: Jan. 16

FantasyPros considers the best player values for DraftKings and FanDuel NBA DFS.

Coming off of his 38,000-point milestone, Lebron James and the Lakers face the Houston Rockets Monday night on MLK Day. 

Monday’s schedule is one of the most interesting slates of the season with games spread throughout the day because of the NBA’s tradition of playing games on Martin Luther King Day. With that in mind, let’s look at this fascinating card!

Injury Report

  • Zion Williamson (hamstring) OUT
  • Brandon Ingram (toe) OUT
  • Bradley Beal (hamstring) Questionable
  • Kyle Lowry (knee) OUT
  • Clint Capela (calf) Questionable
  • Kelly Olynyk (ankle) OUT
  • Lauri Markkanen (hip) Questionable
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) OUT
  • Rudy Gobert (groin) Questionable
  • Anthony Davis (foot) OUT
  • Austin Reaves (hamstring) OUT
  • Lonnie Walker (knee) OUT
  • Devin Booker (groin) OUT
  • Chris Paul (hip) OUT

Core Plays

Julius Randle (PF/C – NYK): $10,300 DraftKings, $9,800 FanDuel
It’s hard to understand why Randle remains around $10,000. The big man is playing the best basketball of his career right now, scoring at least 51 DraftKings points in 11 of his last 13 games. He’s also flirting with a 60-point average in that span, dropping 72 fantasy points in his most recent outing. Facing Toronto is usually challenging, but Randle is posting a 53-point average in their two meetings this season.

LeBron James (SF/PF – LAL): $11,400 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel
LeBron is on another planet right now. The 20-year vet has taken over this Lakers offense in the absence of Anthony Davis, averaging over 52 DraftKings points per game this season. His recent form is even more absurd, averaging over 55 DK points per game since AD went down. That should be capable to reach against the Rockets, who rank 28th in defensive efficiency ratings.

Stephen Curry (PG/SG – GSW): $10,400 DraftKings, $9,200 FanDuel
It’s been a struggle in Curry’s return from his shoulder issue, but this is a get-right spot for the best shooter of all time. We expect Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to sit in this B2B, and that should leave Curry to do everything. That’s huge since he averaged over 51 DK points per game before his injury and faces a 19th-ranked Washington defense here. In their one matchup last season, Curry compiled 68 DK points in a typical Chef Curry cookout.

Cash Game Considerations

Jimmy Butler (SF/PF – MIA): $9,000 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel
Jimmy has been in and out of the lineup all year, but he’s been unstoppable when he’s healthy. The feisty forward has scored at least 32 DK points in all but three games this season, generating a 42-point average for the season. That makes him a worthy play in this $9K price range, especially since he’s being asked to do more ball-handling with Kyle Lowry sidelined. Facing Atlanta is amazing, too, posting a 25th OPRK against opposing forwards this year.

Jordan Clarkson (PG – UTA): $7,200 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
It feels strange to say that Clarkson is a cash game player, but this man has been running Utah’s offense. He’s always been a great fantasy producer in other roles, but he’s tough to fade as the primary ball-handler for the Jazz. Clarkson has at least 40 DK points in three straight outings, averaging 48 fantasy points per game in that span! A matchup with Minnesota should keep that rolling, with the Timberwolves allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to their opposing guards.

Jonas Valanciunas (C – NOP): $6,800 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
Facing Cleveland is concerning but bear with me. The Cavaliers have one of the largest frontlines in the NBA, which means Valanciunas needs to play at least 30 minutes to oppose them. He was already doing that with Zion and Ingram sidelined, scoring at least 43 fantasy points in three of his last four games. If you look at the 17 games Valanciunas has played at least 27 minutes, he’s averaging 39 DK points per game! That would be incredible from a $7K player!

GPP Targets

Alperen Sengun (PF/C – HOU): $7,100 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel
It’s about time Houston starts running their offense through this big man. The absence of Kevin Porter has forced more usage onto Sengun’s plate, scoring at least 31 DK points in seven straight games. The Turkish center is also averaging 36 DK points per game in that span, doing that damage in fewer than 30 minutes a night. Facing the Lakers is far from scary, with Los Angeles ranked 21st in defensive efficiency and 27th in points allowed.

Fred VanVleet (PG – TOR): $7,600 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
VanVleet has struggled over the last week, but this guy is too good to be this cheap. He usually sits closer to $9,000 on both sites, and it’s just a matter of time before he returns there. The guard is still playing 35-40 minutes and attempting 15-20 shots a game, which is all he needs to get back on track. The matchup with NY might be the thing to light the spark, with VanVleet averaging 50 DraftKings points per game in their two meetings this season.

Naz Reid (PF/C – MIN): $4,900 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel
If Rudy Gobert is out here, Reid needs to be in every lineup out there. Naz was already stepping up with Karl-Anthony Towns out but has been an $8K player when both of the big men are sidelined. In fact, Reid has scored at least 40 fantasy points in four of the five games he’s played at least 29 minutes, dropping 50 or more in two of those. That’s ridiculous from a $5K player, and we certainly don’t mind that Utah allows the second-most fantasy points to its opposing centers.

Value Plays

Mitchell Robinson (C – NYK): $5,300 DraftKings, $6,300 FanDuel
Robinson has been in the $5K price range all year, and it makes no sense why. He is regularly playing 35 minutes a night at this point, averaging over 30 DK points per game over the last month. This guy can be an $8K player in a 35-minute role when examining his elite per-minute numbers, and it looks even better since he has a 30-point average in two matchups with Toronto this season.

Max Strus (SG/SF – MIA): $5,500 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
It’s tough to fade Strus with the role he has right now. The sharpshooting winger has played at least 41 minutes in three straight games, attempting 15 shots a night in that span. He’s actually been struggling with his shot, but anyone who could play 40 minutes and attempt 15-20 shots should be at least $1,000 more. If Strus gets that role against a 24th-ranked Atlanta defense, he will be one of the best bargains on the board.

Damion Lee (SG/SF – PHX): $4,900 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
It’s sad what happened to the Suns, but it’s forced Lee into a career role. Devin BookerChris PaulCameron Johnson, and Cameron Payne are all on the injury report for Phoenix, leading to Lee doing a ton of ball-handling. In the last three games without those guys, Damion dropped 37 and 43 DraftKings points in two of those, playing 31 minutes in each. That’s all you can hope for from a $5K player, and they can’t take him off the floor with how shorthanded this Suns team is right now.

Advantageous Pricing


Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.