Wednesday, Dec. 29, marks the midpoint of the work week, with a nine-game main slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with tip-off times staggered throughout the night. 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, Wednesday, Dec. 29
Yahoo Play of the Day — LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 52.83 | DraftKings: 54.4
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 23% | FanDuel 17.7% | DraftKings 15.1%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $50 | FanDuel $11,200 | DraftKings $11,800
Last night the Lakers were able to end their five-game losing streak in Houston against the Rockets with a 132-123 victory. LeBron James played 39 minutes, though he is going to have to carry the team again tonight if they want to claw their way back to a .500 record. Los Angeles is without Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, though there is a chance that Wayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore may return tonight. Last night was a tight eight-man rotation, with Talen Horton-Tucker and Darren Collison seeing just 21 and 14 minutes off the bench. Tomorrow James will be celebrating his 37th birthday, and what better way to do that than with a victory in Memphis tonight?
Checking in on the LeBron James NBA player props tonight, there is an opportunity to cash in on a bet that is projected to win 61% of the time. LeBron’s over/under for rebounds is set at 8.5 tonight against the Grizzlies, while Awesemo’s projections have him capping out at eight boards — and bettors can get this bet at plus-money (+105) at the right book.
Ja Morant: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 44.79 | DraftKings: 46.18
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 15.8% | FanDuel 26.3% | DraftKings 25.5%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $39 | FanDuel $8,600 | DraftKings $8,800
This is an excellent matchup for Ja Morant. Over their last six games, the Lakers are allowing an average of 119.2 points in regulation. The Grizzlies will be without Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton, John Konchar, Ziaire Williams, Same Merrill, Jarrett Culver and Yves Pons. In his last three games since returning from a knee injury, Morant has played 32, 30 and 34 minutes, so he should be considered a full-go for his typical 34 to 37 minutes tonight in what should be a competitive game. Memphis should be riding high after knocking off the Suns in Phoenix 114-113 on Monday. Even with their lack of depth as a result of the pandemic, the Grizzlies are favored by 4.5 points tonight. Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Kyle Anderson are solid options in all formats, and Tyus Jones is a minimum-salary dart throw on Yahoo.
New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons
This will be the first back-to-back opportunity to see what coach Tom Thibodeau will do with Kemba Walker since reinserting him to the rotation. It is likely that Walker will get the night off with the Knicks still likely to drub the Pistons in Detroit. New York is missing Derrick Rose, so Immanuel Quickly and Alec Burks should see increased opportunities as the main facilitators on offense tonight. Julius Randle is always in play, and if Walker is indeed out, then Evan Fournier and R.J. Barrett move into the mix for tournaments.
Detroit is a disaster with Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart, Saben Lee, Killian Hayes, Cory Joseph, Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles and Isiah Livers all in the health and safety protocol. Jerami Grant is still at least a month away, and Kelly Olynyk may return by mid-January. Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo are the primary options to consider from the Pistons, with Frank Jackson and Cheick Diallo neutral options for tournament differentiation.
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs
Update: Spurs – Heat has been postponed.
Jimmy Butler tweaked his ankle late in the game last night, and he has been ruled out already for tonight’s matchup. Miami is also without Kyle Lowry, Dewayne Dedmon, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent and Bam Adebayo. Omer Yurtseven and Tyler Herro can be targeted across all DFS sites, and Caleb Martin is very interesting on DraftKings and somewhat interesting on Yahoo. Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent are reasonable tournament options with the shorthanded rotation. Derrick White is the main offensive option, and he has 40 or more fantasy points in two of his last three games. Jakob Poeltl is a solid play, though there are a lot of center options on Wednesday’s slate. Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell are cheapies, though there are likely to be better options as more player announcements are made after the today’s round of COVID testing is released to the media. Dejounte Murray is the only notable San Antonio player who will be out, yet the team is still only favored by 3 points at home tonight.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Wednesday, Dec. 29 Slate
The three late games have very fantasy-friendly matchups with all of the missing players. It is worth keeping a few rosters spots open in order to react to news after lock tonight if by the computer monitoring information. 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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