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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Friday, January 7 | Today, 1/7/22

Eric MacPherson



The best NBA DFS optimizer picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups | Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight 1/14/22

Friday, Jan. 7, has a nifty nine 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. 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, Friday, Jan. 7

Yahoo Play of the Day — Jalen Brunson: Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 44.91 | DraftKings: 47.32
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 57.2% | FanDuel 82.9% | DraftKings 39.9%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $23 | FanDuel $5,300 | DraftKings $7,000

Tonight Jalen Brunson is a gimme facing the invisible defense of the Houston Rockets. Dallas is without Kristaps Porzingis, Isaiah Thomas and Boban Marjanovic, who are all on the COVID-reserve. Luka Doncic is doubtful with an ankle injury, which means Brunson will be both the primary facilitator and one of the top scoring options for the Mavericks tonight. There are going to be plenty of other options to use as differentiation, so embrace this popular play tonight. Maxi Kleber, Tim Hardaway Jr, Dorian Finney-Smith and Dwight Powell are also in play.

Brunson should see a significant increase in his opportunities for scoring and assists, but his NBA player props tonight have not been adjusted high enough by the sportsbooks. The scoring prop sitting at an over/under of 20.5 is too good to pass up. According to Awesemo’s projections, Brunson is in line for almost 26.4 points tonight, which makes the OVER a good bet tonight — with an 80% expected win rate.

Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Sacramento Kings

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 59.34 | DraftKings: 62.82
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 25.8% | FanDuel 23.0% | DraftKings 26.5%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,400 | DraftKings $12,000

Thursday did not have many superstars on the slate, but that clearly is not the case for Friday. LeBron James ($56) has been stellar without Anthony Davis, and he gets a nice home matchup against a shorthanded Atlanta team tonight. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($56) is expected to return from a one game absence with a non-COVID related illness, and it should be a spirited battle tonight against James Harden ($51) and Kevin Durant ($52). However, the apple of gamers’ eyes should be Nikola Jokic.

Jokic has taken his game to a new level, as he continues to keep the Nuggets in the playoff picture without Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Over his last six games he has averaged 34.2 minutes and 20.7 field goal attempts. That has resulted in 25.7 points, 18.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.7 combined blocks and steals. Sacramento simply does not have an answer for him in the paint, and he could have a 20/20/10 triple-double tonight with a little luck. Will Barton is also in play as the lone wingman for Jokic who can consistently get 30 fantasy points.

Utah Jazz at Toronto Raptors

It seems like the Jazz are going to just take a loss tonight and regroup for their game Saturday against the Pacers in Indiana. Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic are both in the health and safety protocol. Donovan Mitchell (back) and Michael Conley (rest) are also confirmed out. Rudy Gay did not attend shootaround, and he is dealing with a sore heel. Jordan Clarkson (back), Royce O’Neale (knee) and Hassan Whiteside (concussion) are also questionable. Whoever takes the court tonight for Utah is going to be an excellent source of value. Ideally the four questionable players will be in the starting lineup, which will provide a hint as to their effectiveness, though this may not be known prior to the initial contest lock tonight.

Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet should have a field day, and they are core options in all formats. O.G. Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. enter the fray for the mid-evening slate as terrific choices. Scottie Barnes has been dealing with a sore thumb, and he is an unnecessary risk with 18 teams in the player pool.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Portland Trail Blazers

Darius Garland played 35.5 minutes on Tuesday after missing four games in the health and safety protocol. Tonight he should have a similar baseline with another three days to regain his conditioning without playing a game. Keep in mind that Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton are both out for the season with knee injuries, and Rajon Rondo has yet to play for the team while dealing with COVID. Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love are solid options who roll into core plays for the two-game late-slate.

Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Cody Zeller are all out. Jusuf Nurkic may be suspended for his kerfuffle with Tyler Herro on Wednesday, though that news should come out later this afternoon. If he is available, he is an excellent option, along with Anfernee Simons, who has seen his salary continue to rise with his recent increased responsibilities. Nassir Little, Norman Powell and Robert Covington are neutral plays on the full slate and solid options on the late slate.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Friday, Jan. 7 Slate

Tonight has staggered start times throughout the evening, culminating with a twin-bill West Coast nightcap at 10 p.m. ET. This will likely lead to some 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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