Monday, Dec. 27, kicks off the week with a seven-game main slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with tipoff times staggered throughout the night. 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, Monday, Dec. 27
Yahoo Play of the Day — Brandon Ingram: New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 50.37 | DraftKings: 54.58
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 41.4% | FanDuel 38.3% | DraftKings 35.0%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $50 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $11,200
Tonight and going forward, with the Omicron variant wreaking havoc across the globe, gamers will have to look at NBA DFS through a different lens and set expectations appropriately. The Association has set up additional rules to allow more flexibility with teams signing players to 10-day contracts in order to limit games being rescheduled for later in the season.
These wild variables and increased uncertainties will create extra randomness as well as risks and ultimately reward for those who best understand how to navigate the chaos. Tonight is pretty straightforward at the top end, but there are loads of decision points that will need to be made to find differentiation, leverage and synergy.
James Harden is by far the best option in the player pool in a matchup with a Clippers squad that is not only without Kawhi Leonard, but now Paul George is out for the next month or two with an elbow injury. Reggie Jackson and Isaiah Hartenstein are out as well. Brooklyn is missing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, Cam Thomas, David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe.
Anything less than 50 Yahoo points from Harden should be considered a failure tonight, and he should be in at least half of rosters to stay above the field. Patty Mills is a fine option, as he should see close to 20 field goal attempts, and Bruce Brown Jr., Nicolas Claxton and James Johnson can be sprinkled in on the main slate. They are also top options on the late slate.
Jaylen Brown: Boston Celtics at Minnesota Timberwolves
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 42.92 | DraftKings: 45.14
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 39.8% | FanDuel 40.0% | DraftKings 23.0%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $30 | FanDuel $8,000 | DraftKings $9,300
Jayson Tatum was placed on the COVID-reserve this afternoon, joining teammates Dennis Schroder, Enes Freedom, Josh Richardson, Bruno Fernando, Justin Jackson, Aaron Nesmith and recent signee C.J. Miles. Grant Williams is questionable as a close contact, and his status may not be clarified until just before tipoff. Marcus Smart is also questionable with a cut on his hand but expected to play. Al Horford will be back from the health and safety protocol after missing two weeks, so conditioning will be a variable.
Minnesota is without Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Naz Reid, Taurean Prince and Josh Okogie for pandemic-related issues. Patrick Beverley should return and got in a practice session on Sunday.
Jaylen Brown will have unfettered access to opportunities tonight, and he should approach 50 Yahoo points. Horford, Smart and Payton Pritchard are also players to target from Boston. The Timberwolves may struggle to have a competent offense missing four of their top six players, though Beverley and Malik Beasley should be able to get by on volume. Nathan Knight and Jake Laymen are the only frontcourt options, so that should secure them for something approaching 30 minutes of court time, which has utility.
Brown’s NBA player props tonight are worth attacking tonight with Tatum out. His over/under for points is sitting at 27.5, with the over expected to hit 61% of the time, according to OddsShopper’s projections.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls
Atlanta is playing their fourth game in six days, and they are in danger of not having enough players available tonight with Trae Young, John Collins, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Huerter, Delon Wright, Onyeka Okongwu, Wesley Iwundu, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Lou Williams, Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper all in the health and safety protocol. Clint Capela, Cam Reddish, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Skylar Mays and Gorgui Dieng are likely to be the core players today, with Lance Stephenson, Malik Ellison and Cat Barber giving them just enough active players to avoid a cancelation.
Chicago played last night, and while they are missing Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and Derrick Jones Jr., they still have enough bodies to fill out a standard rotation. DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Coby White are the top options. Zach LaVine logged 37 minutes in his first game back from the protocol, so keep tabs on any potential minutes limitations. This game has flipped from a likely schedule loss to a winnable matchup. If the Bulls can put the Hawks away early, it would make sense for LaVine to be one of the first players back to the bench.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Damian Lillard is questionable while attending to a personal matter. If he is starting, he is a top option for Monday. If he is not available, then Anfernee Simons becomes one of the most secure value options — this is the second to last game of the night, so all the questions may not be answered until after the first games start. Jusuf Nurkic, Robert Covington, Cody Zeller, Dennis Smith Jr. and Ben McLemore are all on the COVID-reserve. C.J. McCollum is likely out through the weekend as he deals with his chest injury, so Larry Nance Jr, Norman Powell and Nassir Little should all get heavy minutes.
Kristaps Porzingis looked great on Christmas against the Jazz, and he almost led the Mavericks to an upset alongside Jalen Brunson. This is the primary duo to target from Dallas, which is still without Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber and Reggie Bullock. On the late slate, Frank Ntilikina, Sterling Brown and Dwight Powell are viable punt options. If for some reason Porzingis and/or Powell are out, recent addition Marquese Chriss would come into play on the late slate.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Monday, Dec. 27 Slate
The NBA has ramped up testing heading into game days for the holiday stretch, so there could be additional players ruled out tonight. 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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