Saturday, Dec. 11, rolls out a solid six-game main slate tipping off at 7:00 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, Saturday, Dec. 11
Yahoo Play of the Day — Jaren Jackson Jr.: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 37.03 | DraftKings: 36.34
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 47.8% | FanDuel 58.1% | DraftKings 24.5%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $28 | FanDuel $6,400 | DraftKings $7,500
Even without Ja Morant (knee), Dillon Brooks (health and safety) and Brandon Clarke (knee) the Grizzlies are still 8-point favorites at home tonight against the Rockets. Houston is coming off a back-to-back and this is its third game in four nights. On Friday, its seven-game winning streak ended at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks. Jaren Jackson Jr. is well positioned for a big game tonight and it is clear that the field will be there as well. Jackson never really gets the rebounds one would expect and even his per 36 minutes rate this year is only 7.3 rebounds. The main concern with Jackson is that he has a tremendous propensity for colleting personal fouls. While that has been somewhat tempered this season with a 4.5 per 36 minute rate compared with his 5.1 career rate. With all of the injuries, Jackson is getting extra field goal opportunities, and in his last three games he is averaging 17.7 resulting in 21.7 points per appearance. UPDATE: Brooks has cleared the health and safety protocol, this does not dramatically impact Jackson. UPDATE 2: Jackson is now doubtful with knee soreness – for only one additional dollar we can pivot to Evan Mobley against Sacramento.
Jackson was popping in the Awesemo expert projections and models today, as well as the lineup optimizer. Check out all of our free NBA DFS picks today for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo in our NBA cheat sheets.
Kyle Lowry: Miami Heat vs Chicago Bulls
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 37.27 | DraftKings: 39.83
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 41.6% | FanDuel 48.8% | DraftKings 28.5%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $26 | FanDuel $6,700 | DraftKings $7,700
Tonight Kyle Lowry will be one of the most popular players on the slate. Fortunately, there will be plenty of other ways in which we can differentiate our rosters. Looking at NBA WOWY, we can see that with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo on the court, Lowry is averaging just 0.79 Yahoo Fantasy points per minute. Without this duo he sees an increase to nearly 1.0 fantasy points per minute. The main difference is that when he has to, Lowry can still look for his own shot. We have plenty of evidence over the last several seasons in Toronto that Lowry is content to set up his teammates, but when put in a shorthanded situation, the 35-year-old veteran of 16 NBA seasons is still a capable scorer. Chicago is rather thin right now as well with DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, Derrick Jones Jr. and Javonte Green all in the health and safety protocol. Alex Caruso is questionable with a hamstring injury that has already cost him two games. This bodes well for tonight’s matchup to be one without the defense that is a hallmark for each team.
Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 52.94 | DraftKings: 55.95
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 18.6% | FanDuel 22.8% | DraftKings 26.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $55 | FanDuel $11,200 | DraftKings $11,900
This is an interesting slate for Nikola Jokic, who is the only player with a median fantasy point projection over 50 fantasy points and there are only four other players who are above 40 fantasy points, with just Joel Embiid even coming within seven points. There are quite a few solid center options and from a point-per-dollar perspective, those players who project better than Jokic who also have the potential to flirt with 50 fantasy points include Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert, Jarrett Allen and Christian Wood with Embiid essentially in a tie. We are only able to roster two centers on Yahoo and DraftKings and one on FanDuel, so this is going to be a pivotal decision point tonight.
The reigning NBA MVP has been even better this season than he was last year from a fantasy perspective posting 1.68 Yahoo Fantasy points per minute compared to 1.58 last year. The rebounding has been off the charts and currently Jokic is pulling down 13.4, which is second in the league and 3.5 more than his career average. He is also sixth with 26.1 points per game and 12th with 7.2 assists. Without Jamal Murray and now Michael Porter Jr. he has had to take on more and more offensive responsibility. Currently he is fourth in the league with 17 double-0doubles and he has triple doubles in three straight games.
Yahoo Discount Dandies
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Houston Rockets
Kyle Anderson returned after missing four games with a back injury and he looked solid with 23.8 fantasy points in 15 minutes against the Lakers. Tonight he should see 20-22 minutes with upside for 26-28 depending on his health in a great matchup. John Konchar is always difficult to trust, though with the shorthanded Grizzlies needing ambulatory options, he has logged 20 or more fantasy points in five of his last eight games and is at the minimum salary. De’Anthony Melton, Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones are all carrying reasonable salaries and each has the ability to reach 30 fantasy points tonight. Steven Adams is not worth the risk of a mediocre performance with so many other good center options and with nearly a quarter of the field looking at him on Yahoo, we should definitely allow them to assume the risk of a dud. UPDATE: Brooks has cleared the health and safety protocol, while Melton may move back to the bench, this trio is still fine and we can include Brooks in this mix as well since he had a false-positive test..
Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat
Though Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball are not the traditional discount options, they are tremendous point per dollar plays against the shorthanded Heat, particularly if Alex Caruso is out again. On the Miami side, Caleb Martin now has tallied 34 or more fantasy points in two of his last three games and he even moved into the starting lineup for only the second time this season on Wednesday. While we simply cannot expect a repeat performance of his 56.3% success rate from beyond the arc over the last three games, the opportunities will be there for the taking once again tonight.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Saturday, Dec. 11 Slate
There is only one game tipping off in the first hour tonight and then the final five will fire off in a 30 minute flurry beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. 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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