NBA Picks: Top Fantasy Basketball Targets, Values For January 17

For the third time this week, the NBA has six games on the schedule this Thursday, but the fantasy basketball slate will be focused on the five games in the evening while the afternoon contest from London gets its own single-game Showdown focus. The five games on the main slate still leave us some nice matchups on the board highlighted by the Pacers hosting the Sixers and the Lakers visiting the Thunder in the two games on the national TV doubleheader.

There’s a lot of value options on the 10 teams in action, as well as some stars that should offer big totals. As you get your team together, check out my top studs and values at each position, and always make sure to stay tuned in to the DK Live app or for any late-breaking news.

Point Guard


Lonzo Ball, LAL at OKC, $6,400 — Ball is one of many Lakers that have gotten extra usage with LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (hand) sidelined. He has taken at least 13 shots in four of his past five games while continuing to contribute good non-scoring numbers as well. In those five contests, Ball has averaged 37.4 DKFP on 13 points, 7.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. He had more than 40 DKFP in each of the Lakers’ two most recent contests, while approaching a triple-double. Both the Lakers and Thunder play with plenty of pace, so Ball should thrive in this high-scoring game and could end up with his second road triple-double of the season if things break his way. Other Options — Russell Westbrook ($11,800)


De’Anthony Melton, PHO at TOR, $4,300 — Melton has been mired in a shooting slump, going just 1-for-14 from the field over his past two contests. He has managed to score just nine points combined over his past three games. However, he still has been a decent fantasy play since he has contributed across the board in other categories. He still has put up at least 23 DKFP in each of those three contests and is averaging 27.4 DKFP on 4.8 points, 7.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocked shots per game over his past five contests. Even with Devin Booker ($7,800) back from his back injury, Melton should stay involved enough to be a nice value play at this price since he can chip in stats that matter across so many categories.

Other Options — Darren Collison ($5,400), T.J. McConnell ($3,700)

Shooting Guard


Jamal Murray, DEN vs. CHI, $7,300 — The Nuggets will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s tough loss to the Warriors and take out their frustration on the hapless Bulls. Murray has been playing well for the former leaders of the Western Conference and had 21 points and 34.75 DKFP in their blowout loss Tuesday. He has at least 32 DKFP in five straight and has shot at least 50 percent from the field in three of his past four. Murray had 32.5 DKFP in 43 minutes against the Bulls when they met earlier this season and should be a solid investment in the rematch as well. He brings a high ceiling since he can go off against weaker defenses like he did around New Years against the Suns (69.5 DKFP) and the Kings (36.75 DKFP). Other Options — Jimmy Butler ($6,800), Buddy Hield ($6,100)


Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO at TOR, $5,200 — Oubre has emerged as a key offensive contributor off the bench for the Suns over the past four games. He started slow after coming over from the Wizards but has scored at least 14 points with 21 DKFP in four straight, averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 37.5 DKFP in those four contests. Booker’s return does limit his usage a bit, but Oubre had 29.75 DKFP against the Pacers in just 24 minutes. The Suns need playmakers so badly that Oubre should stay involved enough to be a solid play as Phoenix heads to Toronto. He also has a good shot at garbage time production if the game gets out of hand.

Other Options — Malik Beasley ($4,900), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,700)

Small Forward


Ben Simmons, PHI at IND, $9,200 — Simmons has posted at least a double-double with at least 10 boards in four straight contests and at least eight assists in each of those games as well. He has more than 55 DKFP in each of his past three games, although they did come against the Hawks, Knicks and Timberwolves. He’ll face a tougher defense tonight as the Sixers visit the Pacers but still brings an elite ceiling for an affordable salary. He has had more than 39 DKFP in each of the two games against the Pacers and brings relatively low risk since he comes in with such great form and produces in so many categories.


Norman Powell, TOR vs. PHO, $3,900 — Powell could be set up for a big workload if Kawhi Leonard ($9,600) sits out the second game of Toronto’s back-to-back. He hasn’t played on back-to-back nights all season, and the Suns would seem to be a matchup the rest of the Raptors should be able to handle without him. OG Anunoby (personal) could be unavailable after being away from the team Wednesday. If both are out, Powell should get plenty of run. He already has been stepping up a big with nine points and at least 15 DKFP in three straight games. He is averaging 19.7 DKFP over his past eight games after producing 18.25 DKFP in Boston on Wednesday, and he should be able to bring great bargain returns if he’s set up for around 30 minutes with Leonard and Anunoby out.

Other Options — Bogdan Bogdanovic ($5,500), Chandler Hutchison ($3,700)

Power Forward


Pascal Siakam, TOR vs. PHO, $7,000 — Siakam also would get a usage bump if Kawhi sits out and makes for a high-ceiling boom-or-bust play against the Suns. Siakam struggled to just 22.5 DKFP against the Celtics but showed how good he can be with 59.75 DKFP in his previous contest against the Wizards. In that double-overtime game Sunday, he had 24 points, 19 boards, three steals, two blocks and two assists in 44 minutes before fouling out. He has more than 40 DKFP in four of his past nine contests and has a good chance of hitting that number if he gets an expanded role against Phoenix. Other Options — Paul George ($9,800), Serge Ibaka ($6,500)


Jerami Grant, OKC vs. LAL, $5,500 — With Nerlens Noel still in the concussion protocol, Grant has gotten some extra work over the past few games and turned in great numbers. He had 25 points, 12 rebounds and 48 DKFP last Thursday against the Spurs, posted a solid 26.5 DKFP in the rematch Saturday, and then went off for 21 points and 37.25 DKFP against the Hawks on Tuesday. He has been shooting the ball extremely well and continuing to chip in his typical defense and hustle stats.

Other Options — Marvin Bagley III ($5,200), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($3,500)



Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. CHI, $10,600 — Jokic fell just an assist shy of a triple-double earlier this season against the Bulls and put up 60.5 DKFP in 33 minutes in Chicago. He appears to be set up for a monster game against Chicago in the rematch since he is typically better at home, where he averages 51.9 DKFP compared to 43.8 DKFP on the road. He struggled with early foul trouble and only played a disappointing 23 minutes with 32.5 DKFP against the Warriors in a non-competitive game. He had at least 55 DKFP in three of four contests prior to that, though, and should be in a great spot to bounce back and bash the Bulls. Other Options — Joel Embiid ($10,100), Willie Cauley-Stein ($6,500)


Harry Giles, SAC at CHA, $3,900 — Giles has shown some nice promise in the new year climbing into a larger role in the Kings’ big-man rotation. He has averaged 17.1 minutes a game in his eight contests in 2019 with 6.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 19.3 DKFP per game. He is trending the right direction and gets a good matchup as the Kings head on the road to face the Hornets. Giles is still less reliable than the Suns’ Richaun Holmes ($4,200), who has been a value stalwart all season, but he offers very nice upside if you have to spend under $4K in the middle.

Other Options — Richaun Holmes ($4,200), Tyson Chandler ($3,500)

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.