There is a large 11-game NBA fantasy slate tonight. With that, NBA DFS injury news will be a big part of tonight’s process. Be sure to check the Awesemo NBA Starting Lineups page to see who is in, who is out and who is starting as news breaks, and look at the NBA DFS rankings and projections for both DraftKings and FanDuel lineups.
NBA Daily Fantasy Picks: Awesemo Grades | Jan. 5
*Grades are ordered DraftKings, FanDuel. Initial grade indicates a player’s strength of output, with the value grade indicating their strength as a play in relation to their salary.
C Jusuf Nurkic — Grades: A, B | Values: A, A
Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic stands out as one of the best center options on the slate tonight. On the season Nurkic is averaging a double-double on 13.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. The downside for Nurkic is always the minutes, which are a roller coaster. However, over the last six games Nurkic has played over 30 minutes in four of them. The reason his minutes are so important is Nurkic is averaging over 1.25 DraftKings points per minute for the fourth consecutive season.
Awesemo projects Nurkic to play 29.7 minutes tonight, which may be on the conservative side. The Trail Blazers will be playing without Cody Zeller and likely Larry Nance Jr., who is doubtful. If Nurkic can stay out of foul trouble, he could easily find his way into the mid-30s in minutes. The matchup against the Heat frontcourt is enticing without Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon. Nurkic has by far the highest boom percentage on FanDuel tonight at 60.1%.
PG Anfernee Simons — Grades: B, B | Values: A, A
Not only are the Trail Blazers missing frontcourt pieces, but they have very important backcourt injuries with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who are both out again tonight. Simons took advantage of the extra playing time and usage last game, as he had a career-high 43 points and made nine 3-pointers. He shot 13-for-21 from the field, 9-for-16 from downtown, and had a 30.0% usage rate.
Using Awesemo’s Boom/Bust Tool, Simons has the highest optimal lineup rate on DraftKings and is second in both value and ownership. The Heat defense takes a big hit without Adebayo and Jimmy Butler in the lineup. Their defensive rating drops substantially, but they still play at an extremely slow pace. Kyle Lowry is a phenomenal defender and will likely draw Simons most of the night, but do not be too concerned, as Simons will need to have a high usage again. Simons is great to pair with Nurkic tonight.
SG Tyler Herro — Grades: A, B | Values: A, A
Tyler Herro is popping as one of the best mid-range options on the slate. This is a great mini-stack despite the total being only 216.5 points. The Heat will be playing without Jimmy Butler, which will open the door for Herro to get more usage. In 11 games without Butler in the lineup this season, Herro has a 31.4% usage rate. He is coming off of back-to-back games with 23 field goal attempts. He is shooting only 32.6% in those two games, but the volume creates a high ceiling.
This matchup for Herro and the Heat is incredible. The Trail Blazers rank dead last in defensive rating, and they have allowed their opponents to shoot a league-high 48% from the field and 37.5% from behind the arc. The Trail Blazers have allowed the most points in the paint in their last three games with 62 per game. Herro is second behind Butler in drives per game with 10.9. He should be aggressive in this spot. This is a great opportunity to target the high-volume Herro against a very poor defense.
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PG Keifer Sykes — Grades: C, C | Values: A, A
After pouring in nearly 40 DraftKings points last night, Keifer Sykes has seen a price dip on DraftKings. Using Awesemo’s Boom/Bust tool, the price decrease on Sykes has him with the highest boom percentage on DraftKings. Not only that, but ownership projections have Sykes as the highest-owned player on both sites tonight. It is tough to get away from Sykes, who has played 35 or more minutes in his last two games, as the Pacers are still likely without Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert and Chris Duarte.
Not only is Sykes a great play, but gamers can also look to Duane Washington Jr. in the same backcourt. He has averaged 33.7 minutes per game in his last three games. The cheaper Sykes is better, but Washington will certainly be lower owned. The Pacers are 8-point home underdogs against the Nets, who have lost three straight games. Tonight will be the first look at Kyrie Irving this season. There is some blowout risk here, but the price tag on Sykes is impossible to ignore.
C Christian Wood — Grades: B, B | Values: A, A
Both Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. were suspended one game for their actions against the Nuggets. Apparently DraftKings thought this was a major issue, as both saw a major decrease in their salary. Wood is $2,600 cheaper than where he was in his last game. On DraftKings Awesemo projects Wood in the top four of boom percentage, value, ownership and optimal lineup rate. This price is simply way too cheap for Wood, who is averaging 16.8 points and a career-high 10.3 rebounds per game.
This matchup against the Wizards features the second-highest total on the slate at 230 points. The Wizards rank 23rd in defensive rating and 20th for most points allowed in the paint this season. The Rockets will be playing without backup center Alperen Sengun. In the last full game without Sengun, Wood scored 20 points and pulled down nine rebounds against the Pistons. A double-double is firmly on the table for one of the biggest pricing mishaps on DraftKings.
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We also have Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings, FanDuel NBA ownership rankings and DraftKings ownership rankings for today's slate. View our Yahoo! ownership, our DraftKings NBA ownership and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Check out our NBA daily fantasy sports rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA FanDuel projections. Our NBA projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more DFS NBA news and the best NBA DFS tools?
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