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 Wednesday’s nine-game slate.
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. 29
Hamidou Diallo, SG/SF, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons’ COVID situation is dire at the moment. Some of those players may be cleared before Wednesday’s matchup against the Knicks, but they currently have eight players listed as out on the injury report due to health and safety protocols. That does not even include guys like Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk, who are both sidelined with injuries.
With that in mind, it is not surprising that Diallo has had to take on a massive role for the Pistons recently. He is coming off 39.4 minutes in their last game, and he responded with 39.75 DraftKings points. Diallo has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he is the type of player capable of averaging more than a fantasy point per minute.
As long as the Pistons are still shorthanded, Diallo should be looking at another sizable workload on Wednesday. Expect him to grade out well in our NBA Projections if that is the case.
Payton Pritchard, PG, Boston Celtics
Pritchard has been priced up recently, but he still stands out as too cheap Wednesday against the Clippers. The absence of Dennis Schroder has forced the team to play Pritchard more, and he has taken full advantage. He racked up 35.75 DraftKings points over 30.5 minutes against the Bucks on Christmas, and he finished with 46.5 DraftKings points over 44.5 minutes in the following contest. Overall, Pritchard has averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
The Celtics’ injury report currently has Schroder and Jayson Tatum both listed as out, while Marcus Smart is questionable. Even if Smart can return, that should still leave plenty of minutes and shot attempts for Pritchard off the bench.
Pritchard’s projected ownership will be interesting on Wednesday’s slate. He will likely see an uptick following two straight big games, but the return of Smart and the increased price tag could decrease it slightly. He should own solid marks in the Boom/Bust Probability tool if he is overlooked.
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Ja Morant, PG, Memphis Grizzlies
Morant has played in the past four games for the Grizzlies, and they have slowly started to ramp up his workload. He logged 33.7 minutes in his last game, and he responded with 48.5 DraftKings points.
Morant also posted a usage rate of 36.1% in that contest, which was his highest mark since returning to the lineup. Part of that stems from the team’s current absences. Dillon Brooks and De’Anthony Melton are in health and safety protocols, and Morant has increased his usage rate by +2.4% with both players off the court. He has averaged 1.30 DraftKings points per minute in that situation.
Morant has also seen a slight price decrease recently. His salary got as high as $10,200 earlier this season, but he is down to just $8,800 on Wednesday. That makes him an appealing target against the Lakers, who have played at one of the fastest paces this season.
Morant is also worth exploring in the player prop market. He has increased scoring upside with Brooks out of the lineup, so he could be undervalued in that area. Make sure to take advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable player prop bets each day.
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Looking for more DFS NBA and the top NBA DFS picks for today? Check out our DFS basketball rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA projections DFS. View our FanDuel NBA ownership, our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership projections. Our best DFS NBA projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have DraftKings NBA rankings, Yahoo! rankings and FanDuel NBA rankings for today's slate.
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