Sunday, Jan. 2, opens the new year with a six-game main slate beginning at 6:00 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: New Year’s Day Building Blocks, Sunday, Jan. 2
Yahoo Play of the Day — LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 53.21 | DraftKings: 55.66
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 28.2% | FanDuel 25.4% | DraftKings 27.3%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $54 | FanDuel $11,400 | DraftKings $12,000
Lather, rinse and repeat. LeBron James continues to be the targeted option and he has rewarded his supporters handsomely. In his last seven games he has surpassed 61 Yahoo Fantasy points six times. Yes, he just turned 37-years old and to celebrate he dropped 43 points with 14 rebounds in just 29 minutes against Portland becoming the only other player besides Michael Jordan to reach those milestones in the same game at his age. Looking at NBA WOWY we can see that in 360 minutes this season alongside Russell Westbrook and without Anthony Davis, James is averaging 1.56 fantasy points per minute. Minnesota is shorthanded tonight without Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell who are in the health and safety protocol and half a dozen of their regulars have been back for only one game and conditioning could keep Anthony Edwards out tonight. The Timberwolves are horrible on defense when they are at full-strength which makes this yet another excellent spot to ride with King James in the Sunday nightcap.
Jimmy Butler: Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 46.29 | DraftKings: 45.34
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 19.8% | FanDuel 33.7% | DraftKings 15.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $46 | FanDuel $9,200 | DraftKings $10,000
After missing three weeks with various ailments, Jimmy Butler has played at least 34 minutes in each of his last three games averaging 52.8 Yahoo Fantasy points. Miami is once again without Duncan Robinson, Dewayne Dedmon, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Udonis Haslem, and of course Bam Adebayo are likely out for three more weeks after thumb surgery. That means Butler, Tyler Herro ($26), Kyle Lowry ($30), Omer Yurtseven ($20) and Caleb Martin ($13) will be the core rotation for the Heat. All of them are fine selections in all formats in this matchup against Sacramento who has allowed opponents to score 114.0 points per 100 possessions over their last seven games.
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder
Luka Doncic is slated to return after missing ten games over the last three plus weeks with an ankle injury and then landing on the COVID-reserve. This does not bode well for his fantasy prospects tonight since conditioning was an issue prior to his injury. Kristaps Porzingis is also expected to get the night off as the Dallas reserves should be able to handle an shorthanded Oklahoma City team that does not prioritize winning games. Jalen Brunson is the player we will want to target the most and he is a borderline core play. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith are also on the short list as they should see an uptick in their opportunities if Porzingis is indeed out.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley, Tre Man and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl are all on the COVID-reserve. Josh Giddey had one of the most unique stat lines in his last game going 0 for 8 from the field but dishing out 10 assists and corralling 10 rebounds. Tonight he should be inline for 15 or more field goal attempts and likely to flirt with 40 fantasy points with all of the usage sitting on the sideline. Aaron Wiggins is a punt option if he continues to start and Ty Jerome will likely be the secondary facilitator which secures him 25-30 minutes as well.
Awesemo’s expert projections have a Josh Giddey player prop tonight that is expected to win at a 67% rate. In the Awesemo projections, Giddey is coming in around 7.8 rebounds, while his NBA player prop line sits at over/under 6.5 — consider this a gift from Awesemo to you.
Phoenix Suns at Charlotte Hornets
Phoenix is running thin in their frontcourt with Deandre Ayton, JaVale McGee and Jae Crowder all in the health and safety protocol. They have turned to Jalen Smith who has been racking up the fantasy goodness over the last two games as well as recently signing Bismack Biyombo who will get a chance to face his former team. Charlotte plays at one of the fastest paces in the league with one of the worst defenses which bodes well for the Suns. Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson are all in play to varying degrees depending on your positional need and salary constraints.
Miles Bridges and PJ Washington are questionable, though likely to clear the COVID protocol. Conditioning will be a question for both and they are risky options. LaMelo Ball played 34 minutes in his last game and looks good to go and Terry Rozier has been on a heater scoring 62 points combined in his last two games. Phoenix plays fast, though they do have one of the better defenses – however, those numbers include Ayton and McGee. Kelly Oubre Jr. is a wild card, though he loses a lot of his appeal if both Bridges and Washington return tonight.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Sunday, Jan. 2 Slate
Tonight is a compressed slate with all of the five of the six games tipping off in the first hour. 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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