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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Friday, December 17 | Today, 12/17/21

Eric MacPherson

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The best NBA DFS optimizer picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups | Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight 1/14/22

Friday, Dec. 17, has a nine-game main slate beginning 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, Friday, Dec. 17

Yahoo Play of the Day — LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 51.5 | DraftKings: 53.37
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 33.0% | FanDuel 23.6% | DraftKings 26.2%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $47 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $10,400

There are several teams dealing with COVID outbreaks, including the Lakers. Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley and Talen Horton-Tucker are all in the health and safety protocol. Los Angeles is so thin they are signing Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract. LeBron James will be carrying a heavy load as the primary facilitator, and assuming Anthony Davis does not find a reason to sit out, he is an excellent option as well. Rajon Rondo is the only other facilitator on the roster, though in a pinch Malik Monk can also serve in that role. Undrafted rookie Austin Reaves is likely to see big minutes in the backcourt, and Carmelo Anthony will in the frontcourt as one of the few remaining scorers.

Using LeBron in DFS and fantasy is a sure-fire lock tonight, but what about his NBA player props? Awesemo’s projections have him for 7.4 rebounds tonight, while his over/under is set at 8.5. According to our expert projections, betting the under on this NBA player prop should win 69% of the time.

Jrue Holiday: Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.32 | DraftKings: 41.41
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 21.0% | FanDuel 27.4% | DraftKings 25.1%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $34 | FanDuel $8,200 | DraftKings $7,900

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, Wesley Matthews and Donte DiVincenzo are all in the health and safety protocol, while Thanasis Antetokounmpo is doubtful with a calf injury. That means Jrue Holiday will once again be doing the heavy lifting for the Bucks. On Wednesday he dropped 52.8 Yahoo points on Indiana, and that ceiling is within reach again tonight against the Pelicans. New Orleans has the third worst defensive efficiency in the league this season allowing 110.6 points per 100 possessions. Since the beginning of last season, Holiday has gone from 0.98 Yahoo points per minute alongside Giannis to 1.30 without him on the court. Khris Middleton is expected to return from his knee injury, and he too sees a similar boost to his per-minute fantasy production.

Sacramento Kings vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Terence Davis and Marvin Bagley are out with COVID, and De’Aaron Fox and Alex Len are unlikely to play as well. Richaun Holmes has missed the last four games with an eye issue, and he is doubtful tonight. Tyrese Haliburton and Chimezie Metu are both questionable with back and knee soreness, respectively. Davion Mitchell is a strong value play, followed by Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes. If Haliburton and/or Metu are starting they are excellent options as well. Memphis is still running short-handed without Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke and Ziaire Williams. Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones are all viable options on both the main and especially on the late slates.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince have entered the health and safety protocol. It remains to be seen if any other Timberwolves will follow suit, though whoever is available is going to be a viable option on Friday. Karl-Anthony Towns has tallied 50 or more fantasy points in three of his last six games, though the center position is loaded tonight. D’Angelo Russell has played 35 and 33 minutes since missing just over a week with an ankle injury, and he is an outstanding point-per-dollar option across the DFS sites. Depending on positional need, Jarred Vanderbilt, Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley all warrant consideration.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Friday, Dec. 17 Slate

Buckle up for a wild one tonight. Fortunately, there is a three-game nightcap, so there will be plenty of pivot options if any late-breaking news occurs after lock. 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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