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Fantasy basketball picks for Thursday, Dec. 18.

By SI Wire
December 18, 2014

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 their 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.

Wednesday's overachievers

Guard: Danny Green, Spurs, +28.9

Green continued his hot play on both sides of the ball during the Spurs' triple-overtime loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday. In 52 minutes, he poured in a season-high 25 points and added seven rebounds, five blocks, three assists and two steals en route to a 50.9-point performance. Green has been a fantasy star this season because of his ability to pile up steals and blocks. He is one of the best shot-blocking guards in the league, which makes him a good option to start in Basketball Throwdown since his projections are usually in the low-20s.

Forward: Zach Randolph, Grizzlies, +20.7

Randolph willed the Grizzlies to a road win over Green's Spurs on Wednesday. In 48 minutes, he recorded a double-double with 21 points and a season-high 21 rebounds, while adding two steals and an assist. While center Marc Gasol has gotten most of the headlines during Memphis' 21-4 start, Randolph is still an integral part of the team's offense. The 33-year-old doesn't carry as large a burden in the team's offense as in past seasons, but he is still capable of breakout games when playing extended minutes.

Center: Andre Drummond, Pistons, +33.3

Drummond seems to fill this space at least once a week and he earned the spot this time with a huge game against the Mavericks. While the Pistons dropped to 5-21 with the loss, Drummond filled the box score with 19 points, a season-high 24 rebounds, four steals, three blocks and an assist. He is probably the only long-term piece in Detroit and has rebounded nicely from a slow start to the season. During his last 13 games, he is averaging 16.0 points, 13.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.5 steals.

Today's picks

Guard: Jimmy Butler, Bulls vs. Knicks, 8:00 p.m. ET

Butler has emerged as a likely All-Star in his fourth-season with the Bulls. He is scoring a team-high and career-best 20.9 points per game, nearly eight more points than last season. While coach Tom Thibodeau is often criticized for playing his starters too many minutes, Butler averaging 39.6 minutes is a blessing from a fantasy perspective. With Knicks guard Iman Shumpert out of the lineup with a shoulder injury, New York has no one to matchup on the perimeter with Butler.

Forward: Ryan Anderson, Pelicans at Rockets, 8:30 p.m. ET

Anderson has made a successful return from a season-ending neck injury last year and has found his stroke recently. He has been on fire during his last three games, averaging 24.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Anderson made eight three-pointers last week against the Cavaliers and six more on Tuesday against the Jazz. With the Rockets coming off an overtime win in Denver, Anderson and the Pelicans should be able to take advantage of some tired legs.

Center: Dwight Howard, Rockets vs. Pelicans, 8:30 p.m. ET

While fatigue could be an issue on the second half of a back-to-back, Howard is the pick because of limited options at center. Since returning from a knee injury, he has averaged 25.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in a pair of wins. Teammate James Harden has emerged as an MVP candidate, but Howard is just as important to the Rockets' championship hopes.

- Paul Palladino

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