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Thursday Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 12/2/21

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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 Thursday’s five-game slate.

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

NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Construction | Dec. 2

Cameron Johnson, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns

The Suns were able to extend their winning streak to 17 games on Tuesday, and they tied the Warriors for the best record in the league. Unfortunately, that win came at a cost. Devin Booker suffered a hamstring injury, which is expected to sideline him for a few games.

That is going to create some fantasy value for the time being. Johnson started the second half in place of Booker, so he is the leading candidate to draw the start on Thursday. Johnson took full advantage of his additional playing time, finishing with 27.0 DraftKings points over 29.4 minutes. Overall, Johnson has averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute with Booker off the court, so he would be an excellent value if he starts vs. the Pistons. Expect him to grade out nicely in our NBA Projections.

Dillon Brooks, SG/SF, Memphis Grizzlies

Brooks was a bit of a disappointment in the Grizzlies’ last game, finishing with just 31.5 DraftKings points. That said, that game can actually be viewed as a positive for Brooks’ fantasy stock. He played 33.4 minutes, which was easily his largest workload of the year. He had only cracked 26.6 minutes in one previous contest before Tuesday, so that represented a significant increase.

The real reason for Brooks’ struggles in his last game is simple: He did not make any shots. He posted a usage rate of 31.1%, but he was just 5-18 from the field and 1-5 from 3-point range. Brooks should continue to command a monster usage rate for as long as Ja Morant is sidelined. He leads the team with a 34.7% usage rate in that situation, resulting in an average of 1.19 DraftKings points per minute. If he continues to play 33+ minutes, he has excellent upside at his current salary. Brooks is worth playing if he is positively leveraged in the Boom/Bust Probability Tool.

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Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers have shut down Damian Lillard for at least the next ten days, which is probably a good thing for all involved. Lillard has not looked like the same player this season, so some time to rest and recuperate will hopefully allow him to return to his usual self.

In the interim, Simons is someone who should be asked to pick up the slack. He started for the second time this season in the Blazers’ last game, and he finished with 29.0 DraftKings points. He scored 30.25 in his first start of the year, so Simons is clearly capable of taking advantage of some extra playing time.

Simons could also provide some value in the player prop market. He has pulled down at least five boards in both of his starts.


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