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Thursday Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 12/16/21

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Free optimal NBA daily fantasy picks, rankings & projections for DraftKings & FanDuel lineups tonight | Awesemo's lineup optimizer 12/16/2021

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 four-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. 16

David Duke Jr., Brooklyn Nets, G/SF

The Nets were on the verge of not being able to play their last game. The only reason they had the required eight players was that Kevin Durant ultimately suited up through a questionable tag. They are expected to be equally shorthanded on Thursday, with James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Bembry, Bruce Brown, Jevon Carter, James Johnson, and Paul Millsap all sidelined due to health and safety protocols.

Duke moved into the Nets’ starting lineup in their last game, and he put together a tremendous performance. He tallied 37.6 minutes in the overtime victory, finishing with 40.25 DraftKings points. He also shot just 4-13 from the field, so it did not feel like a fluky performance.

The Nets stand out as an obvious source of value on DraftKings. Guys like Duke, Cameron Thomas, and Kessler Edwards have been priced up aggressively on FanDuel, but they all remain priced very reasonably on DraftKings. They should grade out with excellent value marks in our NBA Projections.

Derrick Rose, New York Knicks, PG/SG

The Knicks are in an elite spot Thursday vs. the Rockets. The Rockets have played at the fastest pace in the league this season, and they also rank 23rd in defensive efficiency. They are also playing on the second leg of a back-to-back and are shorthanded, so they could have tired legs vs. the Knicks.

Additionally, the Knicks are dealing with a few absences of their own. R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Quentin Grimes are all out of the lineup due to health and safety protocols, which opens up a solid handful of minutes in their rotation.

Rose has logged at least 34.3 minutes in his past two games, and he is averaging 1.02 DraftKings points per minute this season. He has played at least 30 minutes in five games this season, and he is averaging 32.05 DraftKings points in those contests.

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If people load up on a stars-and-scrubs approach with all the Nets’ value options, it could result in Rose being a bit overlooked. If that happens, Rose will stand out from a leverage perspective in the Boom/Bust Probability tool.


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Frank Jackson, Detroit Pistons, PG

The Pistons will not be quite as thin as they were in their last game, but Jerami Grant is still sidelined. Jackson has been providing excellent value for the Pistons recently, scoring at least 27.5 DraftKings points in two of his past three games. He has increased his production to 0.78 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.

His price has taken a slight increase of late, but he remains very affordable at just $4,000 on DraftKings.

He has scored at least 19 points in two of his past three games, so he could also be worth exploring in the player prop market. If his scoring prop has not adjusted to his increased role, it should grade out favorably in the Awesemo Player Prop tool.


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