Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top NBA Targets, Values for December 12

Wednesday’s fantasy basketball slate has 11 NBA games. The highest point total on DraftKings Sportsbook is in New Orleans for the Pelicans and Thunder, a game with a 232 over/under.

Wednesday’s injury report is extensive and includes notable names such as Giannis Antetokounmpo (neck), Kawhi Leonard (hip), Victor Oladipo (knee), John Wall (heel), Mike Conley (hamstring), Jimmy Butler (groin), Al Horford (knee), Gordon Hayward (illness), Otto Porter Jr. (knee) and Robert Covington (knee).

All of these players’ statuses will need to be monitored throughout the day, and the best way to do that is to download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news, lineups and analysis. NBA news, injury reports and betting lines can change throughout the day, with value unexpectedly open up due to late lineup changes, another reason to have the DK Live app handy.

Let’s take a look at some plays fantasy owners can consider using on DraftKings.

POINT GUARD

Stud

Russell Westbrook, OKC at NO, $10,900 — The Thunder face the Pelicans, who are poor defensively and play fast, increasing possessions for fantasy scoring. The Pelicans have allowed the third-most points to opponents while ranking as the seventh-worst pace-adjusted team defense. The Pelicans are poor at contesting shots, allowing the second-most wide-open shots and second-most wide-open 3s based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter. The Pelicans also are allowing the fifth-most field goals within five feet of the basket, the zone that Westbrook takes most of his shots in.

Other Options — Kyrie Irving ($8,500), Kyle Lowry ($7,200)

Value

Jalen Brunson, DAL vs. ATL, $3,800 — Brunson has started the past two games with Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist) out, playing 30 and 32 minutes and averaging 26 DKFP. Smith will not play Wednesday, opening up room for Brunson to start again. The Mavericks have a strong matchup against the Hawks, who have allowed the most points to opponents in the league, play at the fastest pace in the league and are poor at contesting shots. The Hawks have allowed the third-most wide-open shots based on the league’s player tracking system.

Other Options — Jeff Teague ($6,100), Collin Sexton ($5,100)


SHOOTING GUARD

Stud

Luka Doncic, DAL vs. ATL, $7,300 — For reasons mentioned above, the Mavericks have a strong matchup against a poor Hawks defense that allows a ton of points and is poor at contesting shots. Doncic has generated about nine potential assists per game — tied for most on the Mavs — and the fast pace and poor defense of the Hawks should help Doncic be well positioned to generate assists with his passing. Atlanta is also a poor rebounding team, ranking as the fifth-worst rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound.

Other Options — Stephen Curry ($9,800)

Value

Alec Burks, CLE vs. NY, $4,800 — Burks has started the past two games at wing for the Cavs and is averaging 34 minutes per game over his past three games as the team attempts to determine whether or not Burks has a future with the organization. The Cavs have a soft matchup against the Knicks, who are poor defensively. The Knicks have allowed the fourth-most points to opponents and have allowed the third-most field goals at the rim per game. Burks is averaging 30 DKFP over his past three games and is averaging 26 DKFP per game since being traded to the Cavs.

Other Options — Khris Middleton ($6,200), Jaylen Brown ($5,400)


SMALL FORWARD

Stud

Paul George, OKC at NO, $9,000 — George is appealing for reasons similar to Westbrook. The Pelicans play fast and are poor defensively, which results in them allowing a lot of points to opponents. The Pelicans are also poor at contesting shots and have allowed the second-most wide-open 3s per game, which could help George get hot from 3. George leads the Thunder in 3-pointers attempted, taking about nine per game, fourth most among all players.

Other Options — Kevin Durant ($9,600), Ben Simmons ($8,900)

Value

Luke Kennard, DET at CHA, $3,500 — Kennard started Monday and played a heavy 37 minutes, easily his highest minute total of the season. He scored 42.5 DKFP in the start on 11-of-18 shooting, which is likely to regress today — especially with Blake Griffin ($9,300) returning from rest, but another start and expanded minute load would make him a cheap play at wing.

Other Options — Jayson Tatum ($6,800), Cedi Osman ($4,300)


POWER FORWARD

Stud

Julius Randle, NO vs. OKC, $7,400 — Nikola Mirotic (ankle) will not play Wednesday, which likely means expanded minutes for Randle. Randle is averaging 49 DKFP per game over his past five games, and while the matchup is difficult against a strong Thunder team that is excellent defensively and excellent on the glass, Randle’s bump in volume with Mirotic out makes him an appealing play.

Other Options — Anthony Davis ($11,200), Kawhi Leonard ($9,400)

Value

Semi Ojeleye, $3,100; Daniel Theis, $4,600, BOS at WAS If Al Horford ($6,500), Gordon Hayward ($5,800) and Aron Baynes ($4,300) are all ruled out again, Theis will be a candidate to start his third straight game, while Ojeleye will be a candidate to have an expanded role again after playing 22 minutes Monday. Theis had a monstrous 54.5 DKFP in a start against the Bulls but disappointed with just 14 DKFP in his most recent start against the Pelicans. The Celtics have a strong matchup against a Wizards team that ranks as the worst rebounding team in the league and has allowed the second-most points to opponents, making Theis a candidate to bounce back and Ojeleye a punt play at his $3,100 price tag.

Other Options — Kevin Knox ($4,500)


CENTER

Stud

Joel Embiid, PHI vs. BKN, 10,500 — Embiid has complained about his role in the Sixers’ offense lately, a side effect of the Jimmy Butler trade. Embiid’s usage rate is down to 27 percent over his past four games — from 33 percent previously — and Embiid is not happy about being moved out to the perimeter more often, where he is less likely to play inside and draw free throws. With Butler not expected to play Wednesday due to a groin injury, Embiid is a candidate to get more usage in the offense against a Nets team that ranks in the bottom third in team rebounding and is below average defensively.

Other Options — Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000)

Value

Larry Nance Jr., CLE vs. NY, $5,700 — Starting center Tristan Thompson is expected to miss extended time with a foot injury, opening up room for Nance to start at center. Nance has averaged 31 minutes per game in starts this season — 11 more minutes than he averages off the bench — and will be a candidate to play an expanded minute load against the Knicks, who are poor defensively. As mentioned above, the Knicks have allowed the fourth-most points to opponents and have been poor protecting the rim, allowing the fourth-most field goals at the rim per game.

Other Options — Steven Adams ($6,400)


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

Odds and lines subject to change. See website for actual odds.

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