Wednesday January 21st, 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.

Tuesday's overachievers

Guard: Arron Afflalo, Nuggets, +8.8

Affalo had an efficient game in Tuesday's loss to the Spurs, finishing with 21 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists. In his return to Denver this season, Afflalo has seen his production drop significantly from the last two seasons with the Magic. After scoring 18.2 points per game last season, he is averaging 15.2 this season. With the Nuggets on the outside of the playoff race, Afflalo could be a candidate for a trade to a contender. 

Forward: Kenneth Faried, Nuggets, +18.3

Faried continued his recent stretch of strong play with 26 points and 14 rebounds against the Spurs. After a slow start to the season, he has averaged 14.2 points and 12.8 rebounds during his last 14 games. Faried has been very efficient during the stretch, taking just over 10 shots while playing less than 30 minutes per game. The 20-year-old first round pick

Center: Jusuf Nurkic, Nuggets, +2.8

Nurkic has been a surprise contributor this season for the Nuggets and had 10 points, nine rebounds and two assists against the Spurs. His per-36 minutes (15.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks) are excellent for a rookie, but Denver's depth has limited his playing time. While the trade of Timofey Mozgov to the Cavaliers opened up more minutes in the frontcourt, the Nuggets are likely to be sellers before the trade deadline, meaning a larger role for Nurkic.

Today's picks

Guard: Kobe Bryant, Lakers at Pelicans, 8:00 p.m. ET

After sitting out the last two games to rest, Bryant will return on Wednesday against the Pelicans. He has dramatically altered his game over the past month since passing Michael Jordan for No. 3 on the NBA's all-time scoring list. In his first 27 games, he averaged 24.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists while playing 35.5 minutes. In his last seven games, he has averaged 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 9.0 assists in 31.4 minutes while playing 31.4 minutes. Coming off a career-high 17-assist game, Bryant should beat his projection on Wednesday.

Forward: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks at 76ers, 7:00 p.m. ET

Because he sat out six games to rest his knee, Anthony's projection is a mere 20 points against the 76ers. In his two games back, he has averaged 24.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. Anthony is likely to be shutdown for the season sometime after the All-Star Game, but will be a good option when he is in the lineup. The only downside to picking Anthony is the chance that the Knicks don't play him in an attempt to out-tank the 76ers.

Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz at Cavaliers, 7:00 p.m. ET

Gobert has beaten his projection in nine straight games and is the clear choice for Wednesday. During the nine-game stretch, he has averaged 10.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.2 blocks while shooting 61.5 percent from the field. Despite averaging 34 Basketball Throwdown points in his last five games, Gobert is projected for just 20 points against the Cavaliers.

- Paul Palladino

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