Saturday, Dec. 18, has a six-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, Saturday, Dec. 18
Yahoo Play of the Day — LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 37.31 | DraftKings: 38.51
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 13.8% | FanDuel 15.3% | DraftKings 11.3%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $33 | FanDuel $8,700 | DraftKings $9,000
Fred VanVleet is at a very favorable salary on Yahoo and facing a shorthanded Warriors squad. Jordan Poole is in the health and safety protocol. This is a back-to-back for Golden State who won last night in Boston and suddenly have “several” injured players. Otto Porter (foot), Andrew Wiggins (knee), Draymond Green (hip) and Andre Iguodala (knee) are all out and Stephen Curry is getting a rest day.
Even if OG Anunoby (hip) and Khem Birch (knee) return, they have missed 14 and 10 games respectively. Precious Achiuwa (health and safety protocol) is questionable, but he has missed the last four games. No matter how things shake out, VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes are all excellent options tonight against the depths of the ‘Dubs roster.
Jrue Holiday: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 38.17 | DraftKings: 39.03
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 30.2% | FanDuel 28.3% | DraftKings 31.3%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $34 | FanDuel $9,300 | DraftKings $8,200
This is a back-to-back for the Bucks who lost an overtime game in New Orleans last night 116-112. Tonight they are back home taking on a frisky Cleveland squad who can overtake Milwaukee for the second best record in the East tonight. Giannis Antetokounmpo has missed the last two games with COVID and while this is a three games in four nights situation with Jrue Holiday also logging 44 minutes on Friday, he is an outstanding option today. Khris Middleton (knee) is out for the third straight game which leaves the team very thin as Bobby Portis, Wesley Matthews and Donte DiVincenzo are in the health and safety protocol and it is unlikely that Rodney Hood plays on the back-to-back. When Antetokounmpo is out, Holiday has averaged nearly 1.3 Yahoo Fantasy points per minute since the beginning of last season. The Cavaliers will be without rookie Evan Mobley which is a hit to their defense.
Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets
Literally all of the regular rotation members are out for both teams between the health and safety protocol along with a rash of injuries. Brooklyn looks like they have eight healthy players and they will be relying heavily on Patty Mills, Cameron Thomas, Kessler Edwards and David Duke Jr. who is a game time decision with a hip injury. They also have Blake Griffin, who should see 28-32 minutes and then it is newcomers Day’Ron Sharpe and Langston Galloway. James Ennis, Wenyen Gabriel and Shaq Harrison are all in the process of signing 10-day contracts, though it remains to be seen if they will be cleared to play tonight.
If possible, Orlando is even more shorthanded and they are going to have to scramble to get eight players dressed from the sounds of things or one or two of their “lesser” injured players will be dressed and active, though anchored to the bench. This is a back-to-back for the Magic and they lost Wendell Carter Jr. last night with a leg injury and Cole Anthony is out tonight with an ankle issue. Rookie Franz Wagner is the “best” remaining player and he will be joined by Chuma Okeke, Robin Lopez, Gary Harris, Mychal Mulder and two players yet to be identified.
Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
Paul George is out again with his elbow injury and Marcus Morris and Serge Ibaka are both in the health and safety protocol. Nicolas Batum is slated to return, though he has played only once in the last month. Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Ivica Zubac, Isaiah Hartenstein, Luke Kennard and Eric Bledsoe are all in the mix as discount dandies depending on your positional need or salary cap constraints.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey are core options in all formats and on all DFS sites. If Luguentz Dort returns from his ankle injury, he is worth a dart throw in tournaments. Darius Bazley and Kenrich Williams are really only worthwhile on the later slates with the plethora of value options already available.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Saturday, Dec. 18 Slate
Watch out for news coming out of Orlando and Brooklyn as these two teams are dangerously close to not having enough available players. 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
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