Tuesday January 13th, 2015

Ready to show your friends you know more about the NBA than they do? FanNation's Basketball Throwdown fantasy basketball game is your best option. You pick a guard, forward and center who you think will exceed their fantasy projections. The scoring system takes into account points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and turnovers. The team that surpasses its projections by the most wins, so picking a lineup of Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Joakim Noah is no sure-fire path to victory. You can also bet anywhere from $1 to $500 on each night's matchup or play for free.

I'll give you my picks each day and a recap of yesterday's top performers so you can get bragging rights over your friends.

Sign up for tonight's Basketball Throwdown here.

Monday's overachievers

Guard: Brandon Jennings, Pistons, +23.4

Jennings continued his electric play since the Pistons cut Josh Smith, carrying his team to a win against the second-place Raptors on the road. He dominated his matchup against likely All-Star Kyle Lowry and finished with 34 points, 10 assists, two rebounds and two steals while making 11 of 22 shots. The Pistons have won nine of their last 10 to pull within two games of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Forward: Jared Sullinger, Celtics, +17.5

While the Celtics have dealt their two best players in the past month, Sullinger managed to carry the team to a win over the Pelicans on Monday. He had 27 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block as the Celtics overcame a 34-point performance by Anthony Davis. With Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green playing elsewhere, Sullinger will be the team's first option for the rest of the season.

Center: Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors, +21.4

The Raptors couldn't stop the streaking Pistons, but Valanciunas took another important step in his development as a franchise center. He scored a career-high 31 points while making 14 of his 15 shots and added 12 rebounds and a blocked shot. Valanciunas' averages are only slightly better than last season, but his per-36 minutes numbers (17.6 points, 11.5 rebounds) are impressive. If the Raptors are going to challenge for Eastern Conference supremacy, Valanciunas will need to anchor them on both ends of the floor.

Today's picks

Guard: Stephen Curry, Warriors at Jazz, 9 p.m. ET

Curry has increased his assist output in the past few weeks and has beaten his projection in four of his last five games. He has averaged 21.6 points, 10.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 steals. His popularity continues to skyrocket as he is second to LeBron James in both All-Star voting and jersey sales. The Warriors cooled off a bit after their 16-game winning streak was snapped last month, but have already started a six-game streak following Christmas.

Forward: Kevin Love, Cavaliers at Suns, 9 p.m. ET

Love has made the most of his opportunity with LeBron James out of the lineup, beating his projection in five straight games. His stats look like they did when he played with the Timberwolves, as he has averaged 23.4 points, 13.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Unfortunately, just like in Minnesota, his team has been losing despite Love putting up big numbers. James could return on Tuesday as the Cavs look to end a five-game skid, but Love's increased role should be here to stay.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz vs. Warriors, 9 p.m. ET

Gobert has been one of the best defensive players in the league this season, using his 7-foot-1 frame to become a premier shot blocker. He has beaten his projection in six straight games while averaging 9.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 1.2 steals in 32.3 minutes of playing time. His projection has finally increased a bit to 20 points, but he should easily surpass that tonight if he gets enough playing time.

- Paul Palladino

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.