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 11-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. 15
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
Jokic has been one of the best fantasy producers in the league for a while now, but he has recently taken things to another level. He has increased his usage rate to 34.1% during seven December contests, and he is averaging 27.3 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 9.3 assists in those games. That has unsurprisingly resulted in some ridiculous fantasy numbers, including at least 72.75 DraftKings points in three of his past four games.
He will take the floor in an excellent spot Wednesday against the Timberwolves. They have played at the sixth-fastest pace this season, so the Nuggets have more scoring upside than usual. They are currently implied for 110.75 points, representing a sizable increase from their regular season average (105.8).
Jokic has gotten more expensive over that time frame, but he remains reasonable at $11,500 on FanDuel. In fact, that is probably too cheap given how well he’s played recently. Expect Jokic to lead all players from a raw points perspective in Awesemo’s NBA Projections, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic sidelined.
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Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, Milwaukee Bucks
Antetokounmpo is one of the most recent players to enter the league’s health and safety protocols, and his absence will open up a ton of usage for the rest of the roster. Holiday has been one of the primary beneficiaries with Antetokounmpo off the court, averaging 1.32 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season.
Additionally, Khris Middleton is also questionable with a knee injury. If he is also out of the lineup, Holiday will go from a good play to a great one. He has increased his usage rate to 33.8% with Antetokounmpo and Middleton off the court since the start of last year, resulting in an average of 1.58 DraftKings points per minute. That is an elite mark.
The only potential issue with Holiday is his ownership. He will likely become the heavy chalk if Middleton is ruled out, which could result in him being over-owned. Make sure to take advantage of the Boom/Bust Probability tool to ensure that is not the case.
Armoni Brooks, PG/SG, Houston Rockets
Brooks has gotten his chance to shine for the Rockets recently. He is coming off a poor showing in his last game, but he posted at least 29.0 FanDuel points in each of his three previous contests.
He should return to that level of production on Wednesday. Not only are Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. still out of the lineup, but Eric Gordon has also been ruled out. Christian Wood is also questionable, so the Rockets could be without most of their high-usage players. That means Brooks could step into a sizable workload.
Brooks would also be worth exploring in the player prop market. The Awesemo Player Prop tool highlights the most exploitable prop bets each day, and it would not be a surprise if Brooks grades out favorably.
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Check out our daily fantasy sports rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA projections FanDuel. View our Yahoo! ownership, our FanDuel ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership. Looking for more free NBA DFS tools and the top NBA DFS picks tonight? Our NBA DFS projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have Yahoo! rankings, DraftKings NBA ownership rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate.
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