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 Monday’s seven-game slate.
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NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Construction | Dec. 27
LaMelo Ball, PG, Charlotte Hornets
Monday’s matchup between the Hornets and Rockets stands out as one of the best of the day from a fantasy perspective. These two teams have played very fast this season – both rank in the top three in pace – and both struggle mightily on the defensive end. The Hornets rank dead last in defensive efficiency, while the Rockets rank just 28th. Unsurprisingly, there is expected to be plenty of scoring in this matchup. The total on this game sits at 234.5 points, which is an elite mark this season.
The Hornets stand out as the better offensive squad, and they have the clear best player in Ball. He has been excellent over the past month, averaging 1.52 DraftKings points per minute, and he should benefit from the Hornets’ current absences. They will be without Miles Bridges and Cody Martin, and Ball is averaging a stout 1.53 DraftKings points per minute with both players off the court.
Monday’s slate is a bit light on star power, so expect Ball to own one of the top projections.
Delon Wright, PG, Atlanta Hawks
We can go right back to the well with the Hawks for some value. They have been playing shorthanded recently, and they have already ruled out a host of key players for Monday’s matchup against the Bulls. That includes Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, and Danilo Gallinari.
Delon Wright has carried an expanded workload in their absence, and he has gotten a bit more expensive across the industry. However, his $5,400 price tag on DraftKings is still very reasonable. He is coming off 37.5 DraftKings points in his last outing, and that does not stand out as a historical outlier. Wright has logged at least 30 minutes in 29 games since the start of last season, and he is averaging 34.79 DraftKings points in those contests.
It will be interesting to see if the field is willing to pay up for Wright at his increased salary. If his ownership projection is reasonable, he should stand out using the Boom/Bust Probability tool.
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Jake Layman, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are another team that should provide some value on Monday. They have ruled out a bunch of players for their matchup against the Celtics, and they are going to be particularly thin in the frontcourt. Karl-Anthony Towns, Naz Reid, and Jarred Vanderbilt are all among the players who will be absent for the Timberwolves on Monday.
Jake Layman is someone who should see a nice spike in playing time. He racked up 36.4 minutes in his last game, and he responded with 26.75 DraftKings points. That was with Reid logging 35.8 minutes at center, so Layman could see even more minutes against the Celtics with him now out of the lineup. Layman has not been great on a per-minute basis – he is averaging 0.64 DraftKings points per minute over the past month – but that does not really matter at his current price tag. Players priced below $4,000 who log at least 34 minutes have historically exceeded salary-based expectations by +13.52 points.
Layman racked up seven boards in that game. With Reid out of the lineup, he could be even more active on the glass. Make sure to take advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day.
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Looking for more NBA DFS tools and the best free NBA DFS tools? Check out our daily fantasy basketball rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA FanDuel projections. Our best DFS NBA projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have Yahoo! rankings, DraftKings rankings and FanDuel NBA rankings for today's slate. View our FanDuel NBA ownership projections, our DraftKings NBA ownership projections and our Yahoo! NBA ownership.
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