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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Thursday, December 9 | Today, 12/9/21

Eric MacPherson

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The best NBA DFS optimizer picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups | Nikola Jokic tonight 1/16/22

Thursday, Dec. 9, has a three-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, Thursday, Dec. 9

Yahoo Play of the Day — LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.5 | DraftKings: 45.1
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 27% | FanDuel 27.1% | DraftKings 23.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $43 | FanDuel $10,400 | DraftKings $10,100

If the season were to end today, the Lakers would be a half game above the four-team play-in scrum. Yes, only one-third of the season has transpired, but the point is that Los Angeles needs to start banking some wins for the next time that LeBron James or Anthony Davis misses time. Even without Ja Morant, the Grizzlies are only 3-point home underdogs. They actually had won five straight without him, including a league-record margin of victory in a 152-79 game against Oklahoma City. Last night they lost to the visiting Mavericks, who roared through the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run followed up by an 8-0 run.

Both James (abdominal) and Davis (thumb) are on the injury report, though they are expected to play. Either is a fine starting point tonight, and while James comes with the discount, Davis arguably has the higher game-to-game upside.

Awesemo NBA experts Greg Ehrenberg and Adam Scherer have a full video breaking down the NBA DFS Injury Report Today, including news updates and things to watch for the Memphis Grizzlies, Hassan Whiteside and more.

Rudy Gobert: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.23 | DraftKings: 40.18
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 25.2% | FanDuel 13.8% | DraftKings 21.8%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $36 | FanDuel $8,900 | DraftKings $8,400

This will be the third game in four nights for the 76ers, who won a pair of games against the Hornets in Charlotte. Last night Joel Embiid played 33 minutes, and on Monday he logged 41 minutes in an overtime affair. That plus a 30% discount gives Rudy Gobert the edge on Yahoo tonight. This duo has had some big games against each other, including an overtime battle in their last three matchups. In these games Rudy Gobert is averaging a solid 1.24 Yahoo points per minute, while Embiid checks in with 1.58. The $13 savings between Embiid and Gobert can go a long way in upgrading two other positions. Similar to the James and Davis decision, there is a cascading effect on roster construction tonight, with just half a dozen teams in the player pool.

Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 51.88 | DraftKings: 54.67
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 30.0% | FanDuel 29.9% | DraftKings 26.2%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $54 | FanDuel $11,100 | DraftKings $11,800

Tonight it looks like some of the best options are at the center position, and fortunately on Yahoo and DraftKings two can be on one roster. Since the beginning of last year, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has averaged 1.60 Yahoo points per minute. When he plays without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. that number jumps to 1.73. Last night Jokic played 37 minutes, and on Monday he played 36 minutes. The lofty salary and heavy minutes have him a little behind Embiid and Gobert, but he should have his way with the Spurs frontcourt.

Yahoo Discount Dandies

San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets

Keldon Johnson (ankle) is out, and Devin Vassell (quad) is doubtful, which means increased minutes for some of the San Antonio rotational players. Both Doug McDermott and Lonnie Walker IV are at the Yahoo minimum salary of $10. McDermott is the preferred option, and he has a chance to be in the 28- to 30-minute range, and more importantly he should see a handful of additional field goal attempts. Walker has more mercurial minutes, though he will be seeing time at both guard positions, and coach Gregg Popovic could lean on some three-guard rotations to put pressure on the Nuggets. Bryn Forbes is at the minimum as well, but his minutes are the least secure of this trio.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Thursday, Dec. 9 Slate

Tonight there are not that many moving parts, though news can break at any moment, so do not get too distracted by Thursday Night Football. 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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