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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Monday, January 3 | Today, 1/3/22

Eric MacPherson



The best NBA DFS optimizer picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups | LeBron James tonight 1/17/22

Monday, Jan. 3, kicks off a new week with a 10-game main slate tipping off at 7:00 p.m. ET. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Do not forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content.

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Monday, Jan. 3

Yahoo Play of the Day — Bradley Beal: Washington Wizards vs. Charlotte Hornets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 47.96 | DraftKings: 50.44
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 42.0% | FanDuel 37.1% | DraftKings 16.8%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $39 | FanDuel $9100 | DraftKings $10400

It seems that the Yahoo salary algorithm did not realize that the Wizards are still missing several players due to COVID. Davis Bertans is likely to rejoin the rotation tonight, but Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, Raul Neto, Aaron Holiday, Anthony Gill, Brad Wanamaker and Rui Hachimura are all unavailable.

In four of his last five games, Bradley Beal has seen 34% or higher usage, which is similar to where he was last year when he nearly led the league in scoring. In these games he is averaging 36 minutes and 21.8 field goal attempts. This has resulted in 29.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.6 combined blocks and steals. Beal did miss three games in the middle of this stretch while in the health and safety protocol, but he has played 33.7 minutes and then 42.6 minutes in an overtime game since returning, so that should not be any concern. This is a back-to-back for Charlotte, which is playing at the fastest pace in the league over its last seven games and allowing a putrid 112.8 points per 100 possessions.

Beal is exploding in the Awesemo projections, coming in with a 30.1-point projection. Beal’s NBA player props tonight have him sitting at an over/under of 27.5 points against the Hornets, which makes the OVER a one of the best betting picks on the board.

Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 54.57 | DraftKings: 58.0
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 10.2% | FanDuel 14.3% | DraftKings 11.2%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,500 | DraftKings $12,400

This is an apex salary for Nikola Jokic, though he also carries the highest median fantasy projection of anyone in the player pool. With 20 teams in action, there is an abundance of value options, so gamers can be picky with luxury plays. Jokic has had to carry his squad with Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray out due to injuries. Denver should be getting Austin Rivers, Vlatko Cancar and Austin Rivers back tonight, though it is still without Monte Morris, Jeff Green and Zeke Nnaji, and Bones Hyland is questionable.

On Saturday Denver easily topped Houston 124-111, and it led by 25 points at the end of the third quarter. This meant Jokic only logged 25 minutes, though he still dropped 40 fantasy points. In the last three games where he played at least 30 minutes, he is averaging 25.7 points, 20.7 rebounds, six assists and 3.7 combined blocks and steals. Dallas is on a back-to-back and is dealing with several players who are just returning from the health and safety protocol and are clearly not at full capacity. This should be another big fantasy opportunity for Jokic.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Atlanta Hawks

C.J. McCollum is still a couple weeks away from returning, and Damian Lillard is out with his abdominal/core injury. Jusuf Nurkic is unlikely to play, as he needs to regain conditioning after his bout with COVID. This means Anfernee Simons should be in line for a big workload, and though he was on the COVID reserve, he only missed one game since he had negative tests. Robert Covington is also coming back, though he has been out for almost two weeks, so conditioning could be an issue. Keep an eye on the starting lineup, but gamers can look to Larry Nance Jr., Norman Powell, Nassir Little and even Dennis Smith Jr. as core value options.

Atlanta is getting several players back, though conditioning will be a question mark for several. Trae Young has played 40 minutes or more in two of his three games since returning from the health and safety protocol, and he is a top option in all formats. Jon Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gorgui Dieng and Jalen Johnson are all out, though Danilo Gallinari, Delon Wright, Kevin Huerter, Onyeka Okongwu and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot are slated to be available. Keep an eye out for news regarding any minute limits for these players. Otherwise they are safe to avoid aside from Clint Capela and Cam Reddish, who have remained healthy.

Awesemo’s expert projections have a Nassir Little player prop that is expected to win at a 71% rate. In the Awesemo projections, Little is coming in around 12.9 points, while his NBA player prop line sits at over/under 10.5. This seems like a solid opportunity with Portland being shorthanded tonight. Daniel Theis, Josh Christopher, Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate are the most interesting options. This is not an easy matchup against Philadelphia, so there is no need to force more than one or two Houston options into a lineup.

Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers

On Saturday Kevin Porter Jr. left the bench midway through the game after getting into an argument with the coaching staff. This has led to him being suspended tonight, as is Christian Wood, who was benched during the first quarter for missing a COVID testing session. Wood was also petulant and sullen, only playing eight minutes in the game. Alperen Sengun and Armoni Brooks are out with COVID, so there will be plenty of value options from the Rockets.

Tread lightly with the 76ers, who are favored by 14 points. It would not be a surprise to see coach Doc Rivers give Joel Embiid or Tobias Harris the night off, and if they do play, it is hard to envision them getting full minutes. Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry are the only recommended options, barring a shakeup to the starting lineup.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Monday, Jan. 3 Slate

Tonight is a split slate, with six of the 10 games tipping off in the first hour and then three at 10 p.m. ET or later, which could lead to post-lock news. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel

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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