Saturday, Jan. 1, opens the new year with a five-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 on New Year’s Day. 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, Saturday, Jan. 1
Yahoo Play of the Day — Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 60.45 | DraftKings: 63.45
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 50.4% | FanDuel 37.0% | DraftKings 44.1%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,700 | DraftKings $12,600
It is not déjà vu; Nikola Jokic is just that good on a semi-thin five-game slate. In his last three games he has averaged 36 minutes and a whopping 25.7 field goal attempts per game. In this stretch he has averaged 25.7 points, 20.7 rebounds, six assists and 3.7 combined blocks and steals. Houston played last night, though they have most of their players back from the health and safety protocol. Denver is missing Monte Morris, Jeff Green, Bones Hyland and Zeke Nnaji. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are both out, and Aaron Gordon, Austin Rivers and Vlatko Cancar are banged up. This is a very winnable game for the Nuggets, so expect big minutes from Jokic to ensure that positive outcome.
Bradley Beal: Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 41.87 | DraftKings: 43.94
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 20.8% | FanDuel 27.4% | DraftKings 9.7%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $37 | FanDuel $8,700 | DraftKings $10,300
The Yahoo salary algorithm seems to not be a believer in Bradley Beal. After missing nearly two weeks in the health and safety protocol, Beal returned with a magnificent performance on Thursday, leading the shorthanded Wizards to victory against an equally thin Cavaliers squad. Washington will be without Spencer Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, Raul Neto, Aaron Holiday, Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura and the recently signed Brad Wanamaker. Tremont Waters was brought in on a 10-day contract, but make no mistake about it: Beal will be running the offense tonight. Chicago is not an easy mark, but they have been shaky on defense, allowing 114.2 points per 100 possessions over their last five games. Daniel Gafford is an intriguing option against his former squad, and Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Coby White stand out for the Bulls, who are missing Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso in the backcourt.
Detroit Pistons vs. San Antonio Spurs
Things are once again a disaster in the Motor City, with Detroit missing nearly their entire opening night roster. Jerami Grant, Frank Jackson and Kelly Olynyk are out with injuries. Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart, Killian Hayes, Cory Joseph, Saben Lee, Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles, Rodney McGruder and Devontae Cacok are all in the health and safety protocol. That leaves major opportunities and minutes available for Saddiq Bey, Hamidou Diallo, Derrick Walton Jr. and Luka Garza. On Yahoo Bey and Diallo are the only players above the minimum $10 salary.
San Antonio played last night, though none of their players logged heavy minutes. There is a chance that Dejounte Murray will be able to return from the COVID-reserve, though his conditioning will be a question mark. Derrick White had a brief injury scare Friday, but he was able to return to the game and should be good to go tonight. He leads the fantasy parade of Spurs, followed by Jakob Poeltl, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell and Lonnie Walker IV.
Though there are not a lot of standout options from this game aside from Bey, Diallo, Poeltl and White, these teams will be a solid source of roster fillers depending on positions and salary cap constraints. Each team has several options across various positions that will enable a variety of roster construction strategies to be employed tonight.
Awesemo’s expert projections have Jakob Poeltl player prop tonight that is expected to win at a 79% rate. In Awesemo projections, Poeltl is coming in around 8.5 rebounds, while his NBA player prop line sits at over/under 10.5 — a New Year’s Day gift from Awesemo to you.
Utah Jazz vs. Golden State Warriors
After dropping two games at home to the Spurs and Wizards of all teams, Utah has rolled off six straight wins, and they have won 14 of their last 16 games. Joe Ingles was out last night with a back issue, and Hassan Whiteside left the game with a potential concussion. Rudy Gobert should have his way with the Warriors frontcourt, though there is a chance that coach Steve Kerr will have his team play small in the hopes of neutralizing Gobert. That would open things up for Rudy Gay to see some small-ball action as the nominal center, which is something to file away for the late-slate contests. Donovan Mitchell has been seeing heavy volume, with over 20 field goal attempts nearly every game. The rest of the Jazz are neutral options on the main slate, but all are in play for the evening contests.
Draymond Green is out so Kevon Looney, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Otto Porter Jr. are absorbing his minutes in the frontcourt. This trio are fine differentiation options away from the more popular value plays. The same goes for Gary Payton II and Nemanja Bjelica. Stephen Curry is always at tournament option, though he will be the focus of the Jazz defense, and that could make for a tough fantasy night.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Saturday, Jan. 1 Slate
Tonight is a compressed slate with all of the games tipping off in a two-hour window. 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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