NBA daily fantasy picks: Five players who could help your lineup for Dec. 30

Wednesday December 30th, 2015

Wednesday presents a confounding slate for daily fantasy owners. There are 10 games on the schedule, yet just two players with five-figure price tags. Jimmy Butler and C.J. McCollum are the highest-priced shooting guards at $8,200, while Kawhi Leonard and his $8,800 asking price lead the way at small forward. At power forward, Blake Griffin is out because of a partially torn quad, and Draymond Green (ankle) is a game-time decision, potentially making Pau Gasol the biggest name at the position. This could very well be the least star-driven 10-game night of the season.

All prices are courtesy of FanDuel and based on a $60,000 budget.

PG: Isaiah Thomas ($8,100) vs. LAL: Strong point guards going up against the Lakers are as bankable as they come in daily fantasy, and Thomas certainly fits that bill. In his last five games, he’s averaging 18.6 points, eight assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals. The Lakers, meanwhile, have surrendered the most fantasy points per game to the position. Don’t overthink this one. Get Thomas in your lineups.

SG: Will Barton ($6,800) @ POR: In Tuesday’s column, we said Barton was an auto-play so long as he cost less than $7,000. He then went out and put up 29 points and seven rebounds en route to a 39.9-fantasy-point night. So, yeah, Barton is still an auto-play in Portland on Tuesday. His price tag will need to climb to $7,500 before I have to think twice about clicking the add button next to his name.

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SF: Otto Porter ($5,900) @ TOR: Porter has played two games since missing about a week with a thigh injury. He came off the bench and played 19 in the first one, but returned to his typical role on Monday. In that game, a loss to the Clippers, Porter scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds in 33 minutes. You can safely assume that third-year player’s breakout campaign is back on track.

PF: Taj Gibson ($4,800) vs. IND: Gibson is going to be an attractive fantasy player so long as Joakim Noah’s shoulder injury keeps him on the shelf. In four games without Noah, Gibson has averages of 34.5 minutes, 11.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Indiana is 18th in fantasy points allowed per game to power forwards, where first means a team has allowed the fewest points. In other words, it’s essentially a neutral matchup, and one in which Gibson should be able to easily turn a profit at his $4,800 price.

C: Nikola Vucevic ($8,200) vs. BKN: There may be no hotter player in the league than Vucevic. In his last six games, he’s averaging 23.7 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists, translating to 42.4 fantasy points per game. He draws a Brooklyn team on Wednesday that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to centers. DeMarcus Cousins is also a great play on Wednesday, especially given his matchup with Philadelphia, but Vucevic offers $1,600 in savings off the Sacramento center. That pushes him over the top in my estimation.

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