Daily Fantasy Basketball 2015: DraftKings NBA Optimal Lineup for November 16

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistNovember 16, 2015

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany celebrates a basket against the Toronto Raptors in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Let's try something different and assemble a DraftKings NBA lineup without Russell Westbrook.

With Kevin Durant sidelined, per ESPN.com's Royce Young, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard again rules the fantasy kingdom. He'll keep flirting with triple-doubles on a nightly basis, but he'll also play his third game in four nights on Monday. There's certainly no shame in spending $12,200 on the stud, but there's more than one way to assemble a winning lineup.

Monday's six-game slate offers plenty of fantasy intrigue to formulate a roster not relying on a massive Westbrook outing.  

DraftKings Lineup for Monday, November 16
PGIsaiah Thomas, BOS@ HOU$7,100
SGJames Harden, HOUvs. BOS$10,300
SFJae Crowder, BOS@ HOU$5,500
PFDirk Nowitzki, DAL@ PHI$6,500
CIan Mahinmi, IND@ CHI$3,900
GBrandon Knight, PHOvs. LAL$7,000
FTerrence Jones, HOUvs. BOS$6,000
UTILCourtney Lee, MEMvs. OKC$3,600
$100 left in budget

Brandon Knight, PG, Phoenix Suns ($7,000)

PORTLAND, OR - OCTOBER 31: Brandon Knight #3 of the Phoenix Suns is seen during a game Portland Trail Blazers on October 31, 2015 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or usin
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

A battle of unassuming Western Conference clubs sticks out as a great fantasy matchup. As of Sunday night, the Phoenix Suns run the NBA's second-fastest pace behind the Washington Wizards, and the Los Angeles Lakers rank No. 8. 

Add in the Lakers' ninth-worst defensive rating, and the Suns should shine bright on Monday evening. Rather than target Eric Bledsoe against Kobe Bryant, let's highlight Brandon Knight against D'Angelo Russell, who holds a 109.1 defensive rating.

For a $7,000 player, Knight carries an alarmingly low floor. The 23-year-old guard has ducked below 20 DraftKings points twice in Phoenix's last three games, but he has still registered 32.8 fantasy points per game this season.

The other of those three showdowns? He dropped 37 points on 22 field-goal attempts against the Los Angeles Clippers. On the right night against a cushy opponent, he can inflict considerable damage.

He's not cowering under Bledsoe's shadow, notching a 25.2 usage percentage through nine games. Look for Knight to rack up the points in an uptempo affair against a shaky Lakers defense.

Honorable Mentions: Deron Williams, Dallas Mavericks ($5,600); Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics ($4,500); Mario Chalmers, Memphis Grizzlies ($3,200)

James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets ($10,300)

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Westbrook's former teammate, James Harden, is a less-respected fantasy phenom maintaining exquisite numbers during the Houston Rockets' underwhelming start. Recovering from a shaky opening, the star shooting guard has deposited a 32.9-point average over his last seven games, recording 54.4 DraftKings points a tilt.

He has maintained a sky-high 34.0 usage percentage and 9.6 three-point attempts per game this season, second to Stephen Curry. Houston's 108.3 points allowed per contest won't deter fantasy contestants. If anything, they ensure a high-scoring showdown with the Boston Celtics.

Both teams operate at a top-10 pace, and Harden has logged 39.4 minutes per game this season. Turnovers could cause problems; he has already coughed up 49 giveaways through 10 games, and Boston has forced more takeaways than anyone in the Association. Yet he'll fill the box score up enough to amend his mistakes.

The Celtics might have scared some players off by stymieing the Thunder to 85 points on Sunday, but bank on the high-ceiling, high-floor stud to prove a worthwhile plan B to Westbrook.

Honorable Mentions: Monta Ellis, Indiana Pacers ($5,800); Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City Thunder ($4,600); Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs ($4,200)

Jae Crowder, SF, Boston Celtics ($5,500)

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

On the other side, Houston holds the NBA's second-worst defensive rating while allowing the most DraftKings points to small forwards. With options limited beyond Paul George and an injured Kawhi Leonard, give Jae Crowder a look even after a slow Sunday.

The master pick-pocketer had snatched at least two steals per game before leaving Oklahoma City empty-handed. A severely limited scorer, he needs those swipes to deliver as a mid-level choice. Houston has permitted 16.1 turnovers per contest, and the 25-year-old can also exploit its 47.8 rebounding percentage.

A poor shooter tasked with handling the dirty work, Crowder won't single-handedly win any contests. The strong matchup, however, is enough for the league's steals leader to reach value while loading up on more heavily utilized guards.

Honorable Mentions: Paul George, Indiana Pacers ($9,200); Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets ($5,500); Mirza Teletovic, Phoenix Suns ($3,300)


Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks ($6,500)

LM Otero/Associated Press

Dirk Nowitzki looks far from done. As the Dallas Mavericks continue to monitor his workload, the 37-year-old forward is producing an efficient 17.8 points and 7.2 rebounds through 27.8 minutes per game, making half (17-of-34) of his three-pointers while shooting 52.6 percent from the floor.

After sitting out Saturday's victory over Houston, a well-rested Nowitzki faces the Philadelphia 76ers, who have yielded 105.7 points per 100 possessions during another tumultuous campaign. Their 46.7 rebound percentage also ranks near the bottom, preserving their status as mouth-watering prey.

Barring a blowout, the weekend break enables Dallas to give the ageless wonder a longer leash than usual. Efficiency doesn't always translate into DFS dominance, but Nowitzki should enjoy the best of both worlds against the beleaguered 76ers.

Honorable Mentions: Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers ($6,800); Amir Johnson, Boston Celtics ($4,300); David West, San Antonio Spurs ($3,100)


Ian Mahinmi, C, Indiana Pacers ($3,900)

The Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers game is typically a traditional, smash-mouth matchup DFS gamers want to avoid. Let's make one exception, however, by utilizing Ian Mahinmi as a bargain center for $3,900.

No longer Tom Thibodeau's defensive stalwart, Chicago has yielded an NBA-high 50 rebounds per game, causing it to surrender the most DraftKings points to opposing centers as of Sunday night. Indiana's 6'11" big man has yet to secure double-digit boards in a single contest this season, but he's averaging 5.6 through 23.7 minutes.

Exciting? Not really. But he has mounted 20 or more DraftKings points in each of his last three bouts, making him a discount at his current going rate. On Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, he set season highs in minutes (31), shot attempts (11) and points (12).

No star center stands out, so cut costs with Mahinmi and spend elsewhere.

Honorable Mentions: Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers ($7,100); Mason Plumlee, Portland Trail Blazers ($5,500); Tyson Chandler, Phoenix Suns ($5,300)

All advanced stats courtesy of NBA.com unless otherwise noted.

Enter the DraftKings NBA Sharpshooter contest today. Use Promo Code BLEACHER REPORT when you sign up.


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