Thursday, Jan. 6, has a mega 11-main slate tipping off at 7:30 p.m. ET. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Do not forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content.
NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Thursday, Jan. 6
Yahoo Play of the Day — Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.32 | DraftKings: 42.34
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 43.0% | FanDuel 35.3% | DraftKings 32.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $34 | FanDuel $8,800 | DraftKings $8,700
In a unique twist, tonight Jayson Tatum ($46) carries the highest salary in the player pool. Stephen Curry ($42) is the only other player above $40, and he is questionable with a quadriceps issue. This means by default there will be no stars-and-scrubs lineups. Among the four games on the slate, two have home teams favored by at least a dozen points, including the Suns.
Both Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee have cleared the health and safety protocol, though they will not be playing tonight as they work on their conditioning before the Suns host the Heat on Saturday. That means that Devin Booker and Chris Paul will once again be carrying the offense. Phoenix has given Booker a few more minutes over Paul when securing the recent blowout victories, which gives him a reasonable chance for 32 to 35 minutes tonight at a very appealing Yahoo salary.
Over the last five games, which include three victories by 13 or more points, Booker is averaging 34.3 minutes and 22.6 field goal attempts. This has resulted in 29.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, four assists and 1.6 combined blocks and steals. Paul is still in play with the shallow player pool, as are Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne. Jalen Smith has done an admirable job filling at center, though he did get hit in the head during the last game, and between that and four fouls, he played just 16 minutes. That opened the door for recent signee Bismack Biyombo to play 29 minutes. This duo is each likely to get 20 minutes, and since Smith is capable of also playing power forward, there is a chance both will play in the 22- to 27-minute range, which makes them reasonable tournament options. Keep in mind that they have yet to share the court in the two games Biyombo has been with the team.
Julius Randle: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.36 | DraftKings: 43.37
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 35.4% | FanDuel 31.8% | DraftKings 14.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $36 | FanDuel $9,000 | DraftKings $10,000
In his first game back from the health and safety protocol, Julius Randle rolled up 39 minutes courtesy of his crazy coach, Tom Thibodeau. Boston should have most of its players back from the COVID reserve, though that is making most of the Celtics neutral options. Randle should at least see 35 minutes, and there is upside for a few more readily attainable. That, combined with his favorable salary, has him standing out as one of tonight’s best point-per-dollar options on Yahoo.
Randle’s play-making ability is why he is beloved in the DFS streets, but his NBA player prop tonight for assists is currently sitting at over/under 4.5. According to Awesemo’s projections, Randle is in line for almost 5.5 assists tonight, which makes the OVER a good bet tonight — with a 63% expected win rate.
Ja Morant: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Detroit Pistons
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.63 | DraftKings: 44.95
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 40% | FanDuel 28.6% | DraftKings 34.7%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $40 | FanDuel $10,200 | DraftKings $9,200
This is a back-to-back for Detroit, and winning is far from a priority for them this season. Memphis, however, has rattled off six straight victories and is looking like it is a contender in the Western Conference, on par with the Utah Jazz. Ja Morant has made great strides in his third season, averaging 33.8 minutes and an amazing 54.5% success rate on 22 field goal attempts over his last four games. This has culminated in 33 points, 6.8 rebounds, six assists and two combined blocks and steals. The Grizzlies are still shorthanded, so Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr. are both excellent options when looking to fill out frontcourt positions if the rotation remains sparse.
Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans
Currently the Warriors are favored by only 2 points heading into New Orleans to take on the Pelicans. The line indicates that, while Stephen Curry is a game-time decision, he is unlikely to play. That means heavy minutes for Gary Payton II and Jordan Poole, with extra usage for Andrew Wiggins given the scoring void to fill.
New Orleans is only missing Tomas Satoransky and Kira Lewis Jr., which means most of their players are now carrying appropriate salaries. Jonas Valanciunas is going to be a mismatch for the Warriors frontcourt, and there is some upside with Josh Hart and Devonte’ Graham if their shots are falling. Brandon Ingram is the wild card; he has been working his way back from an Achilles issue that sidelined him for just over a week. Though he has averaged 32 minutes in a pair of outings since returning, he looks tentative, and the injury has impacted his scoring — he is only 8-for-36 (22.2%) in this timeframe.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Thursday, Jan. 6 Slate
Tonight is a frontloaded slate again with three games tipping off in the 30 minutes and then a two-hour break until the nightcap at 10 p.m. ET. This could potentially lead to some post-lock news, with the Clippers and Suns each having a couple questionable players and ever-evolving starting lineups. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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