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Thursday Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 12/30/21

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Awesemo's free NBA fantasy projections for DraftKings & FanDuel lineups today with expert Boom/Bust DFS optimizer picks tonight 12/30/21

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. 30

Denzel Valentine, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers

Things are getting bleak for the Cavaliers. Ricky Rubio suffered a season-ending injury in their last contest, and Collin Sexton is already out for the season. Darius Garland is currently in health and safety protocols, so the team is running out of point guards.

With that in mind, they are going to have to explore some untraditional options. Valentine could be one of them. He has displayed the ability to distribute the ball throughout his career, so he can fill in as an emergency option. Valentine has averaged 0.72 DraftKings points per minute this season, but he has increased that mark to 0.83 with Rubio, Sexton, and Garland off the court.

Valentine has already played a significant role for the Cavs recently, logging at least 23.9 minutes in three straight games, so it will be interesting to see how many minutes he is projected for on Wednesday. Regardless, he should own a solid value score at just $3,300 on DraftKings.

Franz Wagner, SF/PF, Orlando Magic

It feels a bit like point chasing to go back to Wagner on Thursday’s slate. He is coming off arguably the best game of his young career in his last outing, finishing with a career-best 38 points. He also racked up seven rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block, bringing his fantasy total to 56.25 DraftKings points for the evening.

While he probably will not score that much on Thursday, he still seems like a strong play. For starters, his price has actually decreased following his last outing. He owns a salary of just $7,000 on DraftKings, so he does not necessarily need to score 50 points to return value.

Additionally, the Magic remain absolutely decimated. They are going to be without Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Chuma Okeke, and a host of others, so Wagner is one of their only remaining players who can put the ball in the hoop.

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Wagner will likely command increased ownership following his big performance, so make sure to utilize the Boom/Bust Probability tool. If his projected ownership is far greater than his optimal lineup rate, he would be worth some fade consideration. Otherwise, he seems like a strong option.


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Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets

Jokic is coming off a rare subpar game in his last outing. He finished with “only” 59.5 DraftKings points, which was not enough to pay off his gargantuan price tag.

That is caused his price to dip to $11,900 for Thursday’s rematch for the Warriors. That is still an enormous salary, but it is quite reasonable for Jokic. Prior to his last outing, Jokic had scored at least 61.5 DraftKings points in eight of his previous ten games. He should lead the slate in raw points projection by a sizable margin.

Jokic has also been doing some serious work on the glass recently, which his rebounding prop interesting against the Warriors. Jokic has grabbed at least 18 boards in three straight games, and the Warriors will be without Draymond Green once again. Green is one of their better rebounders, so Jokic could have another big performance on the glass. Be sure to see how Jokic grades out in the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day.


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