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By Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It looks like the beat down in Oakland has finally finished, so that means it is time to talk Thursday. With only three games on the slate, the margin for error is razor thin. For that reason and that reason only, most of my selections today will be for tournaments and not for cash game plays. Be warned. If you do not want to be stunned with crazy DFS selections, do not continue.

In this article, I will be providing you with Daily NBA picks for DraftKings for 12/17/15. The picks will range from some of the elite players, to mid-priced options, and value plays.

Without wasting anymore time, let's get down to it!

 

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DraftKings DFS Point Guards

Kyle Lowry (at CHA, $8,500)

Lowry is nearly $2,000 cheaper than Russell Westbrook and he should finish with a fantasy point total close to Westbrook’s at the end of the day. Such is the state of Charlotte’s perimeter defense. Kemba Walker and the Hornets are on the back end of two straight, so there may be some more down time for Walker. Lowry is due to exploit whatever matchup he may face in Jurassic Park. Don’t be scared by Lowry’s recent downslide. He is simply too good to pass up at this price.

D’Angelo Russell (vs HOU, $5,400)

The rookie out of Ohio State is bar none the top value play at point guard of the day, despite most likely starting off the bench. Russell has scored at least 41 DraftKings points in two out of his last three games while averaging about 34 minutes of playing time during that span. Houston’s defense is not really recognized as a stalwart and there is no reason to think the Rocket perimeter won’t allow any type of lift-off on Thursday.

 

DraftKings DFS Shooting Guards

James Harden (at LAL, $10,800)

Speaking of lift-off, it’s all systems go for The Beard. Harden’s usage rate has remained at or near 32% for the season, tops on the board for Thursday’s slate. The Lakers/Rockets matchup opened as the highest projected scoring game of the night, so Harden should get his.

J.R. Smith (vs OKC, $4,900)

A J.R. Smith sighting. Yikes. Despite any preconceived notions about Cleveland’s two guard, Smith’s price is simply too low to pass up for tournaments. Smith has seen a shortage of minutes and a decline in production over his last two games, mainly due to an illness he succumbed to over the weekend, so his price has dropped below five thousand. Oklahoma City is beginning to flex its muscle with their six game winning streak, but the shooting guard position is one to target when up against the Thunder.

 

DraftKings DFS Small Forwards

Nicolas Batum (vs TOR, $7,500)

For cash games, it makes perfect sense to start either LeBron James or Kevin Durant, or both, on Thursday. For tournaments, Batum makes perfect sense. He left Wednesday’s game early due to an illness and is listed as questionable as of this writing, which is the main reason I am recommending him as a tournament play. All these question marks mean that he could very well be lightly owned in tournaments, and should he perform, his owners will really reap the benefits. That being said, he is an automatic fade in cash games.

P.J. Hairston (vs TOR, $3,100)

In Batum’s absence on Wednesday night, Hairston dropped 14 points and two rebounds, securing 19 DraftKings fantasy points. Look, the guy has virtually zero upside and is an absolute Charlie Day type wild card for DFS purposes, but if you roster some heavy hitters like LBJ and KD, it makes absolute sense to add Hairston and his minutes at the utility slot for tournaments. It should go without saying that Hairston is an add if, and only if, Batum is out.

 

DraftKings DFS Power Forwards

Kevin Love (vs OKC, $8,000)

For all you Serge Ibaka haters out there (cough cough, yours truly, cough), we’re going to see if all that practice of him standing out near the three point line has finally paid off. Because Kevin Love will be taking outside shots. And despite Ibaka’s insistence to hang out near the arc, I am willing to bet that Love will crush some outside shots. Love has scored at least 34 DraftKings points in four out of his last five games. Looking at the rest of the field at the power forward position for Thursday’s slate, you’re almost obligated to roster him.

Julius Randle (vs HOU, $6,000)

Whaaaaat>?!? A Randle sighting!!? Be that as it may, the dude is poised for a huge game against Dwight Howard and the Rockets. He scored 23 DraftKings points in only 23 minutes in Saturday’s game against Houston and there is no reason to think he will not continue that trend on Thursday. Houston trails only Philadelphia in fantasy points allowed to opposing power forwards and as a further indictment against the Rocket front court, they have given up the absolute most over the last five games. Even if Randle does not start, he makes for a phenomenal per dollar play in daily fantasy.

 

DraftKings DFS Centers

Dwight Howard (at LAL, $7,000)

I warned you that this was going to be an unconventional piece. You could certainly make a case for Bismack Biyombo, but for whatever reason, Howard makes the most sense for tournaments. And I do emphasize tournaments. Howard seemingly wants to play his best against teams he used to play for, but regularly takes nights off when the Rockets are scheduled to play. To be honest, the more I look at his 12.6/11.6/1.7 stat line, the more I see how erratic his game log is and I don’t like it. Feel free to call me a jabroni.

 

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