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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Thursday, January 13 | Today, 1/13/22

Eric MacPherson



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Thursday, Jan. 13, has a frenetic five-game main slate beginning at 7:30 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, Jan. 13

Yahoo Play of the Day — Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 51.94 | DraftKings: 53.71
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 22.6% | FanDuel 19.1% | DraftKings 19.1%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,300 | DraftKings $12,300

This game should be an intriguing one to watch as these teams are evenly matched with Milwaukee being only favored by a bucket at home. Jrue Holiday remains out for the Bucks, though Grayson Allen is slated to return from the health and safety protocol. Draymond Green is out for the Warriors, and Klay Thompson is on a minutes limit, but the stars should be showing out tonight.

Giannis Antetokounmpo gets the nod as the top option tonight given there are several centers in play and Giannis having power forward eligibility on most sites. Since the beginning of last season when playing alongside Holiday, Antetokounmpo averages 1.56 fantasy points per minute and a 24.2 assist rate. These rates jump to 1.73 fantasy points and a 35.8 assist rate when Holiday is off the court, and with what should be a spirited game on tap, Giannis could flirt with 70 fantasy points tonight.

According to Awesemo’s expert NBA projections, Giannis is in line to score 25.3 points tonight against the Warriors. However, the books are offering his NBA player prop for points at over/under 30.5. Taking the under here seems like the way to play it, especially when the OddsShopper expected win rate is 73%.

Jusuf Nurkic: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 42.36 | DraftKings: 43.41
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 33.4% | FanDuel 34.3% | DraftKings 34.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $32 | FanDuel $7,500 | DraftKings $7,600

Portland is running very shorthanded with Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell, Anfernee Simons, Larry Nance Jr. and Cody Zeller all out. Basically that is five of its top seven players, which is creating a major void that needs to be filled from both a minutes and fantasy production standpoint. Jusuf Nurkic is coming at a discount against his former team when compared to reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, who essentially made Nurkic expendable. Denver is a double-digit favorite in this game, and while it is running thin, it is hard to envision Jokic seeing extended minutes in the final frame if this game is in hand. Taking the savings with Nurkic makes a lot of sense, as their production is not that far off from a points-per-dollar standpoint if factoring in the high likelihood of Jokic seeing a couple fewer minutes than normal with the potential blowout. Jokic is still in play, and he could easily rattle off a triple-double in under 30 minutes tonight, but his lofty salary accounts for a full workload. Conversely, 30 minutes of Nurkic could easily yield a similar 40- to 45-fantasy-point output for a 30-40% salary cap savings.

Dennis Smith Jr., Nassir Little, Ben McLemore and Robert Covington should all see heavy minutes tonight for Portland. Aaron Gordon is coming off a 40-fantasy-point game for Denver, and if Will Barton remains out with his toe injury, Gordon is a player to target. Monte Morris and Facundo Campazzo see a boost if Barton is out, but they also could see extra minutes in mop-up duty, which gives them two different paths to achieve upside tonight.

Ja Morant: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.1 | DraftKings: 44.71
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 20% | FanDuel 21.8% | DraftKings 21.8%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $40 | FanDuel $9,700 | DraftKings $9,200

With gamers focusing on the shorthanded Nets and Trail Blazers tonight while building around studs such as Antetokounmpo, Harden, Jokic and Curry, Ja Morant could be somewhat underrepresented in tournaments. He has a phenomenal matchup against the defensively challenged Timberwolves, and he has taken a leap to be in consideration with the other elite point guards in the league. Anything less than 40 fantasy points tonight will be a failure, and there is a very real chance that Morant will log his fifth 50-fantasy-point performance in his last eight games tonight.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

This is a back-to-back for Brooklyn, which crushed the Bulls last night in Chicago 138-112. Tonight the Nets are back home and facing a struggling Thunder squad that has lost eight of their last 10 games. Tonight Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Patty Mills, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Claxton, Joe Harris and Patty Mills are all out. That should result in some big minutes for James Harden, who played a reasonable 33 last night but also got the night off on Monday when the Nets were in Portland. Day’Ron Sharpe, Cameron Thomas, Kessler Edwards, James Johnson, David Duke Jr. and DeAndre’ Bembry are the intriguing options depending on the preferred DFS site, positional needs and budget constraints. It is hard to know what will happen with Blake Griffin on the back-to-back, and even Paul Millsap could be dusted off, though he has not seen the court in over two weeks.

Oklahoma City went from double digits down to 5.5-point underdogs. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should have a field day against the Nets, and Josh Giddey, Luguentz Dort and Darious Bazley should also be given strong consideration. The rest of the Thunder can be sprinkled in for tournament differentiation, though unless more players are ruled out for Oklahoma City, they are not particularly enticing on the full slate.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Thursday, Jan. 13 Slate

Tonight there are games tipping off in five different time slots, which could lead to a fair amount of post-lock news. 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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