Tuesday, Jan. 11, brings a six-game main-slate beginning at 7 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, Tuesday, Jan. 11
Yahoo Play of the Day — Karl-Anthony Towns: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.31 | DraftKings: 45.27
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 13.8% | FanDuel 7.7% | DraftKings 6.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $41 | FanDuel $9,700 | DraftKings $10,000
Today there are several excellent center options, and this looks like a day where there are multiple centers that could come close to reaching Nikola Jokic’s median projection with good games of their own at a significant salary savings. Karl-Anthony Towns is only $41 in a fantasy-friendly matchup against New Orleans. This game has a 227.5-point implied total, which is currently the highest of the three games projected to score over 220 points.
In his last six regular-season meetings against Jonas Valanciunas, Towns is averaging a healthy 1.5 Yahoo points per minute. These matchups have all occurred in the last calendar year, with three this season against New Orleans and three last seasons while Valanciunas was with Memphis. If Towns sees his typical minutes in the 33 to 35 range, he will have a strong chance at reaching the 50-fantasy-point plateau.
Awesemo’s OddsShopper betting tool has Towns’ NBA player prop for rebounds tonight showing over/under 8.5. According to the Awesemo expert projections, Towns is projecting for 9.1 boards, which makes the OVER a solid bet tonight.
Jonas Valanciunas: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 39.02 | DraftKings: 40.88
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 33.2% | FanDuel 18.3% | DraftKings 15.3%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $30 | FanDuel $7,900 | DraftKings $8,500
In turn, Jonas Valanciunas is squaring off against Towns, and he, too, has found success against his counterpart. In three games this year, Valanciunas has a pair of 50-fantasy-point games and then one with just 22.7. The underlying risk for Valanciunas is that he has five fouls in four of the last five games against Towns and fouled out in the other. From a per-minute perspective, Valanciunas has been stellar at 1.46 fantasy points. However, in these matchups he also has 6.72 fouls per 36 minutes. This is a textbook instance of a boom/bust situation.
Ja Morant: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.05 | DraftKings: 41.54
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 9.4% | FanDuel 5.6% | DraftKings 13.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $40 | FanDuel $9,900 | DraftKings $8,900
This is an intriguing matchup for Ja Morant with tonight’s variables. Dillon Brooks is going to be out for the next month with an ankle injury, and Steven Adams is a game-time decision coming back from the health and safety protocol. This season while playing alongside Brooks, Morant is averaging 1.18 fantasy points per minute and 1.40 without him on the court. The biggest increase is in his usage rate, which goes from 26.8% to 35%, indicating that he is getting more field goal attempts. Draymond Green is out, and Otto Porter and Gary Payton II are both questionable. Considering they are three of the best five defenders on the Warriors, this could be an undervalued fantasy situation for Morant.
Phoenix Suns at Toronto Raptors
While Phoenix did get Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee back, they will be without Cameron Johnson, Abdel Nader and Justin Jackson tonight, and Landry Shamet is questionable based on conditioning after being out for the last 10 days in the health and safety protocol. While Toronto has been in the middle of the pack from a defensive perspective since Christmas, it has endured some very fortunate matchups. Its six-game winning streak is impressive, but it faced Milwaukee without Giannis Antetokounmpo, San Antonio without Dejounte Murray and then beat the Utah reserves last Friday.
The Suns will be leaning heavily on Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who should find success in this matchup. Ayton’s return provides another option for defenses to worry about, and their salaries are appropriate on DraftKings and coming in at a discount on Yahoo and FanDuel. Cameron Payne should see 22 to 23 minutes with the potential for a few more depending on how limited Shamet is in his return. Mikal Bridges should also see solid minutes, and while he is more of a defensive player, this is a nice matchup for his skillset. This is the seventh game in the last 12 days for Toronto, and while their lone road game was in Milwaukee, that is a lot of minutes played in a short period of time. Their defense is likely to look suspect against an offense as efficient as Phoenix.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are neutral plays with tournament upside. However, rookie Scottie Barnes and journeyman Gary Trent Jr. are both questionable, and if one or both are out, this will provide increased opportunities for Siakam and VanVleet and bring O.G. Anunoby into the mix as well.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Tuesday, Jan. 11 Slate
Once again the slate is frontloaded in the first hour, and then there is a two-and-a-half-hour gap until the nightcap beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET. 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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