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NBA DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings & FanDuel | 1/2/21

Eric MacPherson

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NBA betting picks today for Cavaliers vs Rockets tonight with moneyline and spread as well as a game prediction

NBA DFS action on Saturday, Jan. 2 locks at 7:00 p.m. EST with a consolidated five-game main slate. Before you lock in your NBA DFS picks and favorite lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo and SuperDraft, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some NBA DFS picks, including Domantas Sabonis, Andre Drummond and more.

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NBA DFS Picks: Key Building Blocks | Jan. 2

Domantas Sabonis: Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks

DraftKings $9,400, FanDuel $9,400, Yahoo $42
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 18.1%, FanDuel 30.7% Yahoo 21.4%

Through five games, Domantas Sabonis leads the Pacers in points, rebounds, assists and minutes played. It is that final category that is somewhat concerning, as it would seem that coach Nate Bjorkgren may use the next opportunity available to give his franchise player some in-game rest. As nearly double-digit home favorites, that could be tonight. Of course, the game would need to be lopsided down the stretch and by that point Sabonis likely would have already contributed enough fantasy production that he wouldn’t ruin our nights if he only played 32-33 minutes instead of the 37 he is currently averaging. The Pacers’ next four games are all spaced out, but it is just something to think about.

Andre Drummond: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

DraftKings $9,200, FanDuel $10,000, Yahoo $46
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 22.1%, FanDuel 20.2% Yahoo 14.8%

In a rare occurrence, Andre Drummond got into foul trouble against Myles TurnerTypically, this is a matchup that Drummond dominates, and in the last eight meetings, Thursday’s was the first where he had less than 40 fantasy points and it was just the second time in this span that he had less than 55 fantasy points. There will be enough value that we can look to Drummond in a great matchup against Atlanta with tons of rebounds available. This is lining up to be an opportunity for Drummond to post his first 20/20 games of the season.

Collin Sexton: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

DraftKings $7,100, FanDuel $6,800, Yahoo $30
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 20.9%, FanDuel 30.7% Yahoo 16.8%

This is going to be a popular game to target as it boasts a 232.5 projected point total, which is 15-plus more than the other four games. Collin Sexton is currently 10th in the league averaging 25.8 points per game. The main concern with Sexton has been that he is more of a scorer than anything else. He does not take a lot of 3-point shots and has career averages of 3 assists and 3 steals per game. However, the matchup and closing out the shooting guard position make him a solid core option on Saturday, particularly on FanDuel.

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NBA DFS Picks: Good Value

Larry Nance Jr: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

DraftKings $6,900, FanDuel $6,800, Yahoo $24
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 19.2%, FanDuel 28.4% Yahoo 31.8%

Larry Nance Jr is a solid, though, not spectacular fantasy option. His performances and minutes can be maddeningly inconsistent, but he does have 50-fantasy-point upside when it all comes together. A larger portion of his fantasy production comes from the hustle/helper categories. This means he is not as scoring reliant as our other value recommendation. Only once this season has Nance attempted double-digit field-goal attempts. This should be an up-and-down game with lots of scoring, missed buckets and rebound/put-back opportunities. That is the recipe that could result in Nance flirting with the fifty fantasy point plateau.

Doug McDermott: Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks

DraftKings $4,900, FanDuel $4,000, Yahoo $10
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 1.9%, FanDuel 9.3% Yahoo 10.0%

This is not a particularly sexy recommendation, but with T.J. Warren out with a stress fracture in his foot — surprisingly not the foot that had been giving him plantar fasciitis — we can look at Dougie McBuckets along with the Holiday brothers and T.J. McConnell as discount dandies on our five game slate. Among this motley crew it is Doug McDermott who stands out the most to me.

Ideally, McDermott will continue to come off the bench where he will be the main scoring option with the second unit. Through the first four games of the season, McDermott and Warren only played 25 minutes together and McDermott would lose out on fourth-quarter minutes. The absence of Warren should move him into the closing five, which is helpful for fantasy production. Indiana is also favored by nine points, which may leave McDermott as the main offensive option in mop up duty if the game is well in hand.

NBA DFS Picks: Risky Value

Dante Exum: Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks

DraftKings $3,600, FanDuel $3,600, Yahoo $10
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 23.0%, FanDuel 14.6% Yahoo 13.6%

We know what we are getting with Dante Exum who was the fifth overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is not a good shooter with a career average of 40.7% from the field and 30.7% from behind the arc. Even though he started the last game with the Cavs losing both Isaac Okoro and Kevin Love to injury, Exum still did not play in the fourth quarter. In fact in his four games this season he has appeared in the final frame only once in which he totaled five minutes in two brief stints. As terrifying as it sounds, I would still rather go with any of the Pacers cheapies if this level of popularity holds for the journeyman guard.

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 Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Michael Carter-Williams: ORL vs. OKC – $10
  2. Josh Hart: NOR vs. TOR – $11
  3. Bismack Biyombo: CHA at PHI – $13

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: OKC at ORL – 1.45x multiplier
  2. Larry Nance Jr: CLE at ATL – 1.65x multiplier
  3. Darius Garland:CLE at ATL – 1.7x multiplier

Final Thoughts

Once again, we will have plenty of value, so we can facilitate a stars-and-scrubs build. Just keep in mind that it is not necessarily going to be the same players across all of the sites.

Be sure to into the Awesemo NBA Live Before Lock show beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST for all of your up-to-date information and analysis.


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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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