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January 20 NBA DFS: Buck Love
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Welcome to January 20 NBA DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Basketball Premium podcast for January 20 NBA DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!


January 20 Position Timestamps

01:55 Point Guard 
09:16 Shooting Guard
15:10 Small Forward
20:58 Power Forward
28:26 Center

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  • In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right-hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
  • In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.

January 20 NBA DFS Cliff Notes

Front of B2B: None

Back of B2B: Toronto Raptors (3rd in 4), Miami Heat (5th in 7), Memphis Grizzlies (3rd in 4), Utah Jazz (3rd in 4)

Point Guard

Chris Paul (HOU) and Stephen Curry (GS) top our main slate PG projections as they square off against one another. Both are solid defenders, but the pace and environment provide healthy ceilings here. Currently this game has a gaudy 234 game total with just a 4-point spread. While Harden will see his minutes limit upped to 30, which dents into Paul’s per minute production, Paul will still be leaned on heavily for a thin Houston team that is without the suspended Gerald Green and Trevor Ariza.

Both Paul (better price than Curry on DK) and Curry (better price than Paul on FD) are secondary options on this slate. Both are better suited on the looser pricing FD, where there aren’t a ton of studs to spend up for on the main slate.

On both sites, the best PG play on the slate is Eric Bledsoe (MIL). While Philadelphia’s defense has been stellar lately (second in defensive efficiency against PGs the last 10 games), Bledsoe is flat out underpriced for the situation he finds himself in – no Antetokounmpo nor Brogdon. We’re anticipating a 31.5 usage rate and 25 assist rate, which would be big rises over his respective seasonal rates of 27.8 and 21.7.

On FD where two SG options are required, one route is to pair Bledsoe with Paul or Curry. Another route is to pair him with another mid-tier option. At a higher price point, Goran Dragic (MIA) remains stable with Tyler Johnson out again, although the minutes have been tamer than we had hoped the past two games. A cheaper option is Ricky Rubio (UTA) who has seen his minutes a bit higher the last 5 games or so and is very affordable on FD. Rodney Hood is questionable on the second night of a b2b, and his absence would only stabilize/improve Rubio’s projection.

On DK it’s quite honestly possible to play just one PG (Bledsoe) in main lineups. The position is priced efficiently on DK. There are almost no cap relief options available to us here, which brings into play subpar negative values like Rubio, TJ McConnell (PHI) (minutes should be there, but per minute production is questionable), JJ Barea (DAL) (expected to return from injury; per minute production should be there but minutes are questionable). At slightly higher prices, CJ McCollum (POR) and Jeff Teague (MIN) are on the table and at least possess high ceilings. If multi entering, you likely want to cast a wide net here and not get too attached to any single option.

In tournaments, it’s easier to pivot off the likely chalk in Bledsoe on DK than it is on FD. On DK, options like Kyle Lowry (TOR), Jrue Holiday (NO), and Ben Simmons (PHI) don’t lag too far behind in terms of projected value in the $7-8k range.

Shooting Guard

With his minutes limit increased to 30, James Harden (HOU) narrowly tops the rest of the SG options on the slate. For the most part, however, he’s still too expensive to be considered. If you think he could exceed that minutes limit, the price tag is pretty low on DK but not at a point where you’d want heavy exposure.

The next in line targets deserve your attention on both sites: Tyreke Evans (NO) and Khris Middleton (MIL). Evans faces a New Orleans team that ranks 24th in defensive efficiency against guards.

Meanwhile, Middleton gets the same rate boost benefit as Bledsoe with Giannis and Brogdon out. Like with Bledsoe, it’s a tough matchup, but as long as this game stays close (there’s some systemic risk that things fall apart and it’s a blowout), the volume should trump the efficiency. Middleton has the better price tag on both sites.

The looser overall pricing on FD, where two SGs are required, make Middleton and Evans combinations appealing.

The main alternative to a Middleton/Evans pairing on FD is to save some money and pair a below average cost option with Middleton. The two that stick out most are Andrew Wiggins (MIN) and Nicolas Batum (CHA). There’s nothing special about either play. Both are simply near the bottom of their price tags in an environment that should keep volume at regular levels.

While it doesn’t mesh great with roster construction (because of the lack of studs needed to fill out cap, there are a couple of cheaper SG options on FD that actually project as better per dollar plays than Wiggins or Batum: Wayne Ellington (MIA) and Tony Snell (MIL). Neither are strong per minute performers, but both are in situations that will leave them with hefty minutes at low tags. Ellington has averaged 33 minutes a game this month with Waiters out for the season and Tyler Johnson missing time. We’re projecting Snell for 34 minutes (averaging 28.9 on the season) with Milwaukee thin today.

On DK, the G flex spot is a minor disaster. Both at PG and SG, the best G values outside of Milwaukee are expensive options like Paul and Evans. Like at PG, that leaves us with less than desirable “cheap” options that are just good enough to make roster construction fits, guys like E’Twuan Moore (NO) or the aforementioned Ellington/Snell who are worse values in a vacuum on DK than they are on FD.

Again, if multi entering here, you probably want to cast a wide net with your secondary G values. If single entering, it might make sense to focus on ceiling or purely punting since you’re going to accept a less than desirable play anyways. Ceiling options that fit that bill but cost you a bit more are Teague and McCollum (mentioned at PG). Punt options include the MIL guys, with Snell and possibly Matthew Dellavedova (MIL) (so cheap and possibly plays more if things go South quickly).

If Rodney Hood is out, Alec Burks (UTA) would emerge as a potential punt. He’d still have a pretty modest value projection, but his cap relief at this position would be welcome nonetheless (DK specific).

Small Forward

Kevin Durant (GS) is the clear top raw projected SF option on the slate. Our projection is on the conservative side given the elite game environment. While he doesn’t mesh well with cash game roster construction on either site, the looser overall pricing on FD combined with a lack of studs to pay up for make Durant an appealing tournament target.

Our eyes on both sites are drawn to a discounted Robert Covington (PHI). Covington has played poorly recently. More specifically, he has shot poorly. Covington has a .570 TS% this season (career mark of .548). That number is just .495 over his last six games and .410 over his last three games. The poor shooting combined with lower than usual defensive statistics have overshadowed that Covington has played 30, 35, and 40 minutes his last three games. We’re projecting him for 35 tonight, which keeps him well underpriced, especially if you account for an expected defensive drop off for Milwaukee without Giannis, which we’re doing so on the basis of their high 110 team total via our EA column on the projections display.

If you want to stick in the mid-tier, Harrison Barnes (DAL) is an okay option. He doesn’t have practically any competition at a price point that fits certain builds. At his current price points, Barnes has hit 4x/5x 80%/44% of the time on DK and 78%/33% on FD, showing him as a more stable asset at a scarce position.

A cheap SF option that’s usable on both sites (on DK he also can be thrown into the cheap G flex conversation) is Wesley Johnson (LAC). He’s averaged 28 minutes a game this year with DeAndre Jordan (we’re projecting 30) with increases in usage and rebounding rate.

In tournaments, cheapos like Joe Johnson (UTA) and PJ Tucker (HOU) are viable on FD where we only have one positive value at the position. Tucker is a very low usage player, but we’re projecting 32 minutes with Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green sidelined once again. Tucker is also very cheap on DK ($3,700) and viable as a source of salary relief in all formats.

If you wanted to go with expensive routes in tournaments that carry more significant upside than the punts, DeMar DeRozan (TOR) and Ben Simmons (PHI) are close to breakeven values on DK where MPE makes them available at SF.

Power Forward

Anthony Davis (NO) represents the top projected scorer at the power forward position. Davis’ price tag is all the way up to $11,500 on FD given his absurd performances over the last week or so. We prefer him in tournaments tonight.

Blake Griffin (LAC) is the best point per dollar target at the position in this slate. The price tag is down ahead of a slow paced matchup, but Utah is a neutral matchup for PFs (ranked 17th in defensive efficiency vs. PFs) and Blake’s rebounding rate (16.5% over L5, +3.9) is on the rise with DeAndre Jordan sidelined. Griffin has entered into most of our optimals on both sites with his mid $8k price tags.

After Griffin, the position turns to site dependent values. On DK, MPE is giving us DeMarcus Cousins (NO), Robert Covington (PHI) and Montrezl Harrell (LAC) (PF eligible on FD as well but he’s expensive there). Those three are the last positive values at the position. Cousins’ sub $11k price tag is one we’d like to attack in GPPs on that site while Covington and Harrell are ways of grabbing some salary relief regardless of where you end up playing them. Harrell will continue to get extended playing time with DeAndre Jordan out, and over the L2 games in this context, he’s played over 30 minutes (we’re projecting 28).

On FD, John Henson (MIL) is another Buck that rates well given the context. As we’ve already mentioned, there’s some risk with this team given the tough matchup against a Philadelphia squad that has clamped down defensively, but Henson is another player that benefits from Giannis and Brogdon being out. The Bucks are filled with low usage players, and players like Bledsoe and Middleton will have to do most of the heavy lifting tonight. Henson will play third fiddle to those two, but we’ve bumped his usage rate to ~18.5 over his seasonal baseline.

If you want to draw the line on Bledsoe and Middleton as your Bucks exposure, Dario Saric (PHI) is a fine alternative to Henson on FD. He’s similarly priced ($5,500) and has played 33 minutes in three straight games.

Ben Simmons (PHI) (on FD) and James Johnson (MIA) are other names that you can consider in tournaments. Simmons has certainly slowed down after his torrid start to the season, but the price tag is also down to $8,000. He’s generated 6x 35% of the time at this price level. Miami’s frontcourt is back to full health, which makes it difficult for Johnson to grab ceiling minutes on a consistent basis. It’s worth noting that he’s generated 7x 16% of the time at this price tag on FD, where defensive statistics are worth more.


DeMarcus Cousins (NO) carries the top projection at the center position. Cousins has met value 66% of the time at this sub $11k price tag on DK. Our optimals have been unwilling to go after Cousins because there are strong $7k values that it wants to build through, but he’s viable in tournaments nonetheless.

The next in line center is Joel Embiid (PHI), who’s priced efficiently for median projections around the industry. Embiid’s matchup is as good as it gets from an efficiency standpoint as Milwaukee is ranked dead last in defensive efficiency vs. Cs. We think his upside in this matchup merits tournament consideration but we’re passing in cash games.

Our optimals are gravitating towards mid-tier centers like Clint Capela (HOU) and Rudy Gobert (UTA) (on FD). We feel way more comfortable with Capela, especially from a cash game perspective. Gobert is playing in his second game in as many nights, and he played 29 minutes last night. This is Gobert’s second game in over a month. Meanwhile, Capela is in an island game facing a Golden State team that plays at a fast pace and are ranked 20th in defensive efficiency vs. Cs. That’s their worst ranking out of any position, as this is a team that’s known to deflate efficiency.

On DK, we get Dwight Howard (CHA) with a sub $8k price tag, Blake Griffin (LAC) with PF/C eligibility and John Henson (MIL) with C eligibility and a $4,600 price tag. Henson has entered most of our DK optimals given the salary relief he brings to the table.

Jonas Valanciunas (TOR) is a viable drop down from the mid-tier centers in all formats, particularly on FD. Valanciunas usually gets more run against athletic centers that play big minutes. For example, he played 30 against LaMarcus Aldridge last night and 27 against Andre Drummond in the previous game. Those are significantly higher than his seasonal average of 21.2 minutes, and when the minutes are there for JoVal, he can crush low mid-tier price tags given his strong per minute production (averaging 1.2 FPPM this season). Tonight he has a matchup against a Minnesota frontcourt that has plenty of size.

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) continues to be in consideration for tournaments. After posting 50+ Fantasy Points in each of his L2 games and playing more than 30 minutes in both performances, we’ve now raised his baseline minutes to 31 (played 33 and 32 over L2 games). It’s a backend of a b2b game for him, but if he manages to stay out of foul trouble for Dwight, 30+ will be possible once again. Some of the risk in playing time is mitigated by a price tag that’s down once again to $7,600 on DK.


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