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Friday Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 12/17/21




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The Slate Starter is a daily first look at to get your daily fantasy basketball lineup-building process started before lock tonight. Each day, we will go through some of the best NBA DFS picks, top stacks and optimal lineup construction for DraftKings and FanDuel. Be sure to check Awesemo’s NBA Starting Lineups page, as it will be updated throughout the day as the NBA injury reports are released and breaking news surfaces. Let’s dive into some players who stand out as key options on Friday’s eight-game slate.

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Want to see how your lineup stacked up against yesterday’s winning NBA DFS lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo? Check out Awesemo’s Optimal Lineup Review, which uses Fantasy Cruncher Rewind to analyze the winning plays from the night before.

NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Construction | Dec. 17

Jordan Nwora, SF/PF, Milwaukee Bucks

Friday features what has become the standard slate in the COVID-19 era. There are 16 teams in action, and virtually all of them will be dealing with multiple absences. That said, certain squads have been hit harder than others.

The Bucks are one of them. Not only will they be without Giannis Antetokounmpo, but they’ll also be without Bobby Portis, Brook Lopez, and likely Thanasis Antetokounmpo. That’s going to leave them extremely thin in the frontcourt. Nwora is someone who should see a few additional minutes, and he’s capable of taking advantage. He’s averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he racked up 32.0 DraftKings points over 27.1 minutes in his last outing. Nwora has played at least 25 minutes in seven career games, and he’s averaged 36.07 DraftKings points in those contests.

Expect Nwora to be one of the better value marks in our NBA Projections.

Austin Reaves, SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers

Can you trust Reaves on today’s slate? He racked up 30.75 DraftKings points in his last game, but he shot a nearly perfect 5-6 from 3-point range. That means he’s likely due for some regression on Friday, but that shouldn’t necessarily tank his value. Reaves finished with 32.2 minutes in that contest, and the Lakers are going to have to lean on him once again. They’ve already ruled out seven players for this contest, including point guard Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers also have an exploitable matchup. They’re taking on the Timberwolves, who have played at the fifth-fastest pace this season.

Reaves is someone whose projected ownership will ultimately dictate my interest. If he’s going to be a popular value option, he’ll likely grab a negative leverage score in the Boom/Bust Probability tool. Reaves has averaged just 0.67 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so he hasn’t displayed much of a ceiling before Wednesday’s eruption.

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Chuma Okeke, SF/PF, Orlando Magic

The Magic are surprisingly light on COVID-19 issues, but they could still be at less than full strength. Jalen Suggs remains out with an injury, while Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba, and Gary Harris are all questionable.

The Bamba injury is of particular importance to Okeke. He missed their last game, which allowed Okeke to move into the starting lineup. He ultimately finished with a season-high 32 minutes in that contest. Okeke only scored 19.0 DraftKings points in that game, but he’s averaged a respectable 0.75 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. That gives him upside for a better performance moving forward. Historically, Okeke has played at least 28 minutes in 15 career games, and he’s averaged just over 25 DraftKings points in those contests.

Okeke could also be an attractive target in the player prop market. I would expect his scoring prop to be minimal, so make sure to see how it grades out in the Awesemo Player Prop tool.

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Check out our NBA daily fantasy sports rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections DraftKings. Our NBA daily fantasy projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have FanDuel NBA ownership rankings, DraftKings NBA rankings and Yahoo! NBA ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS strategy and the top NBA DFS picks tonight? View our Yahoo! ownership projections, our FanDuel ownership and our DraftKings NBA ownership.
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