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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings + FanDuel | 1/18

Eric Lindquist

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DFS picks for NBA daily fantasy: DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups on the FREE stream w/ expert projections + picks on 12/30/21.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is undoubtedly one of the best of the NBA DFS season. With games tipping off from dusk until well past dawn, there’s plenty of profit to be had throughout the day on DraftKings and FanDuel. I’m going to focus the majority of my analysis on the four-game main slate that kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EST, but be sure to check out Awesemo’s projections for the NBA DFS picks you need for classic and showdown contests across the industry.

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NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | Jan. 18

Super Teams Can Be Super Headaches

After a stellar Saturday debut, newly acquired James Harden and completely crazy Kyrie Irving could see their first game action together Monday night against the Bucks. I’m writing this late Sunday, so should I wake up and see Irving didn’t clear protocols, Harden and Kevin Durant would obviously become easy plug-and-plays. That is not to say that either couldn’t spike an upside anyways, but the $10,000-plus price tags on both DraftKings and FanDuel are far more palatable without Irving in the lineup.

In fact, let’s just address this whole situation right from the get-go. While the basketball fan in me is over-the-moon intrigued by what we’re about to witness from the Nets, the fantasy player in me isn’t. That’s because it’s going to be extremely difficult to discern between these three stars for DFS purposes going forward. Similar to Durant’s Golden State years alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, hot-hand approaches lead to far less predictable production. Add in that each is priced as if they were the standalone option on this team, and it’s tough to imagine I’ll be overweight on any of them so long as they all play and value remains as scarce as it is now.


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That being said, I’m sure slate-altering news is on the horizon (seems to happen every day now). Should we get value from something like Kristaps Porzingis sitting out the second half of the Mavs’ back-to-back, it’s hard not to consider all three for your NBA DFS lineups from a raw-point perspective. There’s salary and positional considerations depending on the site, so it’s hard to say who I’d be prioritizing right now. But one thing I know for sure is to check Awesemo’s Boom Bust tool closer to lock in order to see who grades out with the highest leverage score. That will be my tiebreaker, and I recommend making it yours too.

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Born-Again Christian Wood

I’m not a NBA scout, nor would I ever pretend to be. But seriously, how could someone watch the skillset of Christian Wood and walk away saying anything but “wow”? From what I understand, Wood was projected to be a first-round pick coming out of UNLV before ultimately going undrafted. For a hot second in 2015, he played for the Rockets’ Summer League squad before going team-hopping in this tremendous fashion:

I’m not a NBA GM either, but there’s an awful lot of G League teams in this timeline for a 6-foot-10, capable handler of the ball who shoots at a career 54% clip. I’m also capable of knowing that what we’re seeing from Wood is worthy of exponentially more than his three-year, $41-million deal. In that respect, Rockets GM Rafael Stone deserves all the accolades in the world, and Wood needs a new agent.

Anyway, with Harden out of town, I’m ecstatic to see what the future looks like for this 25-year-old freak of nature. In 172 minutes with Harden off the floor this season, Wood averages 50.91 DraftKings points per 36 minutes. His first two outings sans Harden proved those rates accurate, going for 54.75 and 58 DraftKings points in 35 and 41 minutes, respectively. At just $8,900 over there for Monday, he’s a priority building block against the Bulls team with a slate-worst 112 points given up per 100 possessions. His price of $9,800 on FanDuel is a little more of a reach, especially with Victor Oladipo scheduled to make his debut. But it is hard to argue that Wood hasn’t been worth every bit of that price tag.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • This is your daily reminder that LeBron James is questionable for what feels like the 97th straight game. He hasn’t missed any time yet, so I assume he and Anthony Davis will be good to go for their primetime nightcap against the Warriors. That makes the Lakers pretty unappealing on this slate.
  • On FanDuel, center is a cesspool of sadness and broken dreams. With no one priced above $5,900, it’s a position that’s getting punted by default. Hence, I’m happy to play where I land because no one stands out as an exceptional play at this moment. But for whatever it’s worth, way-too-early builds have me landing on $4,400 James Wiseman a lot.
  • Play Curry.

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