Thursday, Jan. 20, has a three-game main slate tipping off 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. 20
Yahoo Play of the Day — Julius Randle: New York Knicks vs. New Orleans Pelicans
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.44 | DraftKings: 43.42
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 45.0% | FanDuel 57.2% | DraftKings 35.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $37 | FanDuel $8,700 | DraftKings $9,100
There were some wild scores last night with 26 teams in action, which makes tonight’s slate seem miniscule by comparison. The unbalanced schedule continues through the weekend with 11 games on Friday, three on Saturday and then at least six on Sunday or potentially nine depending on how the sites handle the three games tipping off at 6 p.m. ET.
Two of the games tonight tip off at the same time, with a 2 1/2-hour wait until the nightcap featuring Indiana at Golden State. The Pacers are on a back-to-back, and while they are without Myles Turner (foot), Domantas Sabonis sprained his ankle late in the game and there is a chance he will be out tonight. If there is no word on his status at lock, it makes sense to look to Julius Randle to take the bird-in-hand approach.
Randle continues to be a solid source of fantasy production, and he is at an enticing $37 salary on Yahoo. This season he has tallied a double-double in nearly half of his game, and on Tuesday he just missed out on a triple-double with 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. While one should not count on that many assists regularly, it is nice to know that Randle has the ability to post solid peripheral statistics, which provide a solid floor when his shot is not falling. The Pelicans are mediocre on defense, and with just three games on the slate, gamers cannot be too picky.
Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.0 | DraftKings: 42.11
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 33.6% | FanDuel 33.7% | DraftKings 39.5%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $36 | FanDuel $9,000 | DraftKings $8,300
On Tuesday Devin Booker had himself a game in San Antonio with 48 points on 18-for-33 from the field, which led to a sublime 70-fantasy-point performance. Tonight he gets at matchup with the Mavericks, who are on a back-to-back. It sounds like Kristaps Porzingis will be playing, which should help keep this game close and in turn should secure minutes for Booker and Chris Paul. Deandre Ayton (ankle) is out again, which means additional usage for Booker, who will be shouldering the offensive load tonight. Though he will be popular and is projected to be on just over one-third of all rosters, there are other ways to differentiate lineups from the masses.
Golden State Warriors vs. Indiana Pacers
Though Stephen Curry has reached 40 fantasy points only three times in his last nine games, he is still in the mix tonight. At $39 on Yahoo, he is at his lowest salary of the season. DraftKings and FanDuel are making this a nice decision point, as both have Curry at a five-figure tag. Over their last seven games Indiana has the fifth-worst defensive efficiency, which bodes well for Curry and company.
While Klay Thompson is unlikely to surpass 25 minutes in a game this month, he has averaged 13.8 field goal attempts in his five games since missing over two years with a pair of injuries. On the short slate he warrants consideration since he could flirt with 30 to 35 fantasy points if he is dialed in from downtown.
Otto Porter Jr. (rest) is out, as is Draymond Green, but Andre Iguodala will be back after serving a one-game suspension. Jonathan Kuminga should stay in the starting lineup, and he notched his first career double-double in the last game. Though he is a foul magnet, raw talent alone gives him a 20-fantasy-point floor. The Warriors are favored by double digits, and if Sabonis is out, they could give their understudies extra run with Jordan Poole running the show and Kevon Looney, Nemanja Bjelica, Gary Payton II and Damion Lee seeing the first crack at bonus minutes. Coach Steve Kerr is not afraid to go well into the bench, though the aforementioned players should see 25 minutes tonight.
Even without Green the last seven games, Golden State still has the second-best defensive efficiency in the league. Gamers will be flocking to Caris LeVert, but just know that he is likely to be the focal point of the Warriors defense, and he is going to have to get it done on volume if he is the lone regular getting big minutes. Last night Malcolm Brogdon played for just the second time in the last 30 days, and he may not play on this back-to-back. Chris Duarte, Justin Holiday, Torrey Craig, Jeremy Lamb and Oshae Brissett are neutral options and best left as last players in.
The NBA player props market for LeVert tonight is also one to exploit. In the Awesemo projections he is currently carrying a 17.1-point projection, while his points scored prop is over/under 21.5. This might be a bet worth making since it has an expected win rate of 75% on OddsShopper.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Thursday, Jan. 20 Slate
Other than monitoring the Pacers’ starting lineup, this looks like a straightforward night. 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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