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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks (12/13/18): NBA DFS Lineups

Finding value among tonight's four-game DraftKings slate is about as difficult as going an entire week without a phone or WiFi. Why you would want to do any of these things is the real question. It takes a strong 275 DraftKings fantasy points to even think about getting a foot in the door on an average evening in the NBA. Tonight, however, 250 might just get the job done... Getting there will be the only issue.

LeBron James and James Harden are the only players priced above $10,000 on tonight's slate, and while you could opt to go with both of them, it'd cost you a jaunty 44-percent of your salary cap leaving you to fill six spots with $28,100. Could that be done? Sure. On a full slate. But, due to a combination of injuries, and, well, lack of competitive balance in the NBA, the $3,200 Furkan Korkmaz's of the world aren't exactly prevalent on this particular evening. The Lakers will be taking on the Rockets, the Clippers and Spurs will go at it, Bulls and Magic have a date, and finally, the Mavs will take on the Suns. In other words, there are a handful of all-star caliber guys, two best in the game guys, and then everyone else. (At least Dirk Nowitzki is set to return.)

This feels like one of those nights where quite a few lineups will be composed solely of players under $10k and above $4.5k, seeking to find balance instead swinging for the fences. Not the worst of strategies. However, in my humble opinion, you need either James Harden or LeBron James in your lineup(s) tonight combined with a DeMar DeRozan type. You're simply spotting those who do a minimum of 80 points otherwise, and a quick swipe through the remaining options will fill you in on why that might not be the greatest of plans. Thus, my following siftage through the mid-to-lower-priced players in an attempt to provide you with some lineup fillers which may help you to optimize your DraftKings lineup(s). Also, I wish you the best of luck as you tread down this treacherous path.

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DraftKings DFS Guards

De'Anthony Melton - PG/SG, vs. DAL ($4,900)

Melton ranks second on the Suns in scoring, first in assists, and third in usage over their last five games. He's recorded at least four assists in each of those contests while scoring 12 or more points in four of the five and averaging 28.6 minutes, 14 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. He's also put up 0.98 DraftKings fantasy points per minute played on the season. The Mavericks are on the second half of a back-to-back and will be playing their third game in four nights; fourth in the last six. Opposing guards have shot 36.1-percent from deep against Dallas which is tied for the ninth-highest percentage. Melton has a ratchet...

Need I say more?

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - SG/SF, at HOU ($3,900)

KCP has been the Lakers third-leading scorer in the three games they've played since losing Brandon Ingram to an ankle sprain, and while that's only amounted to 13 points per game, he's put up double-digit points in four straight games and six of the last seven. Unfortunately, he's not a big fan of grabbing rebounds or passing the ball to his teammates who then score, but he offers a decent floor for the price, and sometimes you just have to take what you can get.


DraftKings DFS Forwards

Danilo Gallinari - SF/PF, at SA ($6,600)

I'm old enough to remember when the Spurs were stout defensively. They now appear to be matadors. Gallinari figures to see a combination of DeMar DeRozan (111.1), Rudy Gay (109.7), and Dante Cunningham (111.2) attempting to check him tonight and my money is on none of them being very successful in doing so. Especially, Cunningham! *emoji of the guy dropping a paper wad into the trash can*  Those numbers next to their names are their defensive efficiency ratings, by the way, and of the 232 possible forwards, they rank 199th, 182nd, and 200th, respectively. The Spurs, as a whole, sit sixth from the bottom in terms of defensive efficiency and are allowing a little over 112 points per game (ninth-most). Both Gallinari and Tobias Harris will have to step up their production tonight sans Lou Williams, and I don't imagine either will see much in terms of resistance.

Gerald Green - SG/SF, vs. LAL ($3,700)

This isn't as much about Green as it is James Ennis III who will miss the next week or so due to the hamstring injury he suffered Tuesday night against Portland. Opportunity is one of the biggest keys to finding value down here in the bargain bin. Mike D'Antoni moved Eric Gordon into the starting lineup for that game against the Blazers, and seeing how Ennis was the starter in the 19 games prior it seems fairly likely that Gordon will again find himself in the starting role tonight. Based on that assumption, Gordon should be in for an increase in minutes and possibly production; he just doesn't really contribute much to the box score other than threes. Taking the less obvious approach leaves us to choose from a Rockets bench which is comprised of Green, Nene, Danuel House, Gary Clark and Michael Carter-Williams (who've both drawn consecutive DNPs), and Brandon Knight who will be making his team-debut and hasn't played an NBA game since February 15, 2017... One of these things is not like the others.


DraftKings DFS Center

JaVale McGee - C, at HOU ($4,500)

I can't lie, I miss McGee's weekly appearances on Shaqtin' a Fool. And while I can't say that I feel the same in regards to the frustration derived from watching him practically throw away limitless potential in Washington and Denver, I think he's figured it out. Not only is McGee a force on the defensive end -- he put up seven blocks a few games ago -- but his 11.6 points per game nearly match the career-high he set back in 2011. He's also pulled down double-digit boards in two of the Lakers last three, and while Clint Capela and the Rockets pose a stiff challenge, they're simply devoid the array of bodies necessary to consistently keep him from being a force.

That said, should you want to go ultra cheap, Tyson Chandler comes in at $3,600 and has three double-digit rebounding performances over the Lakers last six. Outside of Capela, the Rockets literally don't have a soul who can keep him off the glass; just don't expect much more than boards from TC. In fact, don't expect anything other than boards from TC. Set the bar at zero - anything else should be considered a blessing.

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