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Thursday Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 12/23/21

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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 11-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. 23

Kemba Walker, PG, New York Knicks

Walker is officially back. He was banished from the Knicks’ rotation when the team was at full strength, but they are far from full strength at the moment. R.J. Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Miles McBride, and Immanuel Quickley are all out due to health and safety protocols, while Derrick Rose is out after undergoing ankle surgery. That opens up a ton of minutes in the backcourt.

Walker has stepped into a massive role with all five players out of the lineup recently. He’s racked up at least 37.3 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s scored at least 41.0 DraftKings points in both contests. He should be looking at another monster workload on Thursday, making him underpriced across the industry. Expect him to grade out well in our NBA Projections.

Otto Porter, SF/PF, Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are another team with plenty of minutes available. Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Damion Lee are all sidelined due to health and safety protocols, while Andre Iguodala is out with a knee injury.

Porter should be able to advantage. He racked up 29.5 minutes in his last contest – his second-highest mark of the year – and he responded with 31.25 DraftKings points. Porter has averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s capable of averaging well over that mark. He’s played at least 28 minutes in seven games since the start of last season, and he’s averaged 35.36 DraftKings points in those contests. As long as he’s projected for around 28 minutes, Porter stands out as a strong value at his current price tag.

It will be interesting to see what Porter’s projected ownership looks like on this slate. If he’s overlooked, he should post an excellent leverage score using the Boom/Bust Probability tool.


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Sterling Brown, SG/SF, Dallas Mavericks

Finally, the Mavericks have also been hit hard by COVID-19 recently. They’ve ruled out six players due to health and safety protocols, and it’s possible that more could be coming. Kristaps Porzingis is also questionable after missing the past two games with a toe injury.

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As long as Brown doesn’t end up in protocols himself, he should carry much more value than usual. He played 32.8 minutes in his last game, and he racked up 32.75 DraftKings points. That’s probably on the high side of what you can expect on Thursday – Brown has averaged 0.79 DraftKings points per minute over the past month – but he still stands out as a nice value.

Brown could also be worth some consideration in the prop market. I’m not sure if he’ll have a rebounding prop listed, but he should be asked to hit the boards if Porzingis is ruled out.

As always, make sure you’re taking advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day.


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