Daily Fantasy Basketball: DraftKings Cheat Sheet – December 12

CJ Miles

Daily Fantasy Basketball is back, which means each day XN Sports will have a column detailing advised plays and lineups for the remainder of the NBA season. For those familiar with DraftKings, their daily fantasy basketball is formatted differently this season. There is no multi-position eligibility, which makes it a bit harder to set your lineup.

For those unfamiliar with DraftKings, you are given $50,000 in cap space to select a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, a guard, a forward, and a utility player. There are no points deducted for missed shots, which changes the strategy from other sites. To read the full scoring, click here. Keep in mind that a double-double awards a bonus, which can be the difference between cashing in and winning nothing.

Generally, the goal for value is at five times a player’s salary. That brings a lineup to 250 fantasy points, which will cash on most days.

Give DraftKings a shot, as there will be a few freeroll opportunities each night in Daily Fantasy Basketball. Click here to play.

Rather than value plays and lineups tonight, XN will give you a cheat sheet with the best plays at each position.

For those who frequent this column: if you like this idea let us know. If you prefer the other format, let us know as well.

Each position will have a few guys that we like for each night, ranked from top to bottom. To find these players, tools like usage rate, defense vs. position, injuries, minutes, and more are used.

There is a lot of news that will affect lineups tonight, stay informed before tip!

Point Guard

Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies $7,400

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors $9,800

Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks $7,900

Cheap Plays:

C.J. Watson, IND, $4,000

Matthew Dellavedova, CLE, $3,000 (only if LeBron James is out)

Norris Cole, MIA, $3,400

Cole is a value play at point guard again tonight, as he is priced just $400 over the minimum. He has played 59 minutes in the last two games and has reached value in both, notching  21.75 and 29 fantasy points, respectively. Cole’s price is sure to rise soon, but currently value can be attained with anything over 17 fantasy points. The Heat face the Jazz tonight, who are allowing 46.28 fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. The Jazz are also in the bottom third in nearly every defensive category, giving Cole a good matchup for tonight.

Shooting Guard

Alec Burks, Utah Jazz $5,600

Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns $8,300

Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets $6,500

Cheap Plays: Tim Hardaway Jr., NYK, $4,200

Hardaway will get the start tonight with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith out, and is the top value at shooting guard on DraftKings. To reach value, he’ll need 21 fantasy points or more, which he reached in the Knicks’ last game, and added 10 more for good measure. The Knicks face the Celtics tonight, who rank in the bottom three in points allowed per game.

Small Forward

Oddly, there aren’t many top plays at small forward tonight with LeBron James possibly missing the game and Kevin Durant still on a minutes limit. Even if James played, his price is over $11,000, which is incredibly tough to fit into a lineup. Tobias Harris is the only option who is reliable at small forward, and his price will not crush your cap. Nicolas Batum is another name, but his price is a tad high on DraftKings.

Cheap Plays: C.J. Miles, IND, $3,800, Mike Dunleavy, CHI, $4,500

Miles’ price will surely be rising soon, as he is the primary scoring option for the Pacers. Last game, Miles scored 41.5 fantasy points with a 30-point night and reached over 10 times his salary. Can he do that two games in a row? It’s possible, because the Pacers face the Raptors tonight, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards this season. At his price, Miles will be owned everywhere tonight.

Mike Dunleavy is another option for salary relief tonight, as he only needs 22.5 fantasy points to reach value. Dunleavy is averaging 20.6 fantasy points this season, and has over 30 fantasy points in two of his last four games. The Bulls will face the Trail Blazers tonight, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards. But, keep in mind that the Blazers are one of the better perimeter defending teams in the NBA, which could limit Dunleavy’s ability to shoot the three.

Power Forward

Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls $9,200

Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks $5,900

Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs $8,600

Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls $5,900

Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics $7,100

Cheap Plays: Robert Covington, PHI $3,800

Covington cooled off in his last game, but still remains a good value at power forward with his ability to knock down three-pointers each and every night. At his price, 19 fantasy points would give him value. The Nets are giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards.


Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors $5,500

Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers $5,300

Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks $6,800

Cheap Plays: Lavoy Allen, IND, $3,000

Allen is the minimum on DraftKings tonight, which makes him a great punt play as the top big off the bench for the Pacers. Allen averages 20 fantasy points so far this season, and just posted 34.25 fantasy points in the Pacers’ last game. He would need 15 fantasy points to reach value, and the Pacers face the Raptors, who have given up over 83 fantasy points per game to opposing power forwards and centers, both of which Allen plays off the bench.

*Keep an eye on the inactives, as things in the NBA change at the last second. Good luck tonight.

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Josh Collacchi
In addition to writing here at XNSports, my fantasy content can be seen at Pro Football Focus Fantasy, eDraft, and Project Roto. Member of the FSWA and the FWAA and can be reached on Twitter @JoshCollacchi