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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Thursday, December 30 | Today, 12/30/21

Eric MacPherson



The best NBA DFS picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball cash game lineups | Jayson Tatum NBA Tonight 6/2/22

Thursday, Dec. 30, brings a frontloaded four-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, Thursday, Dec. 30

Yahoo Play of the Day — Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 54.76 | DraftKings: 57.53
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 30.2% | FanDuel 26.1% | DraftKings 35.8%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,700 | DraftKings $11,900

Tonight there are three top-end options, and each is squaring off against the same opponent as they did in their last game. This studs would be Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry — who are playing each other in Denver after having last squared off in San Francisco — and Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing a second straight game in Orlando.

There are a lot of center options tonight despite only eight teams in the player pool, which should keep the popularity in check somewhat for Jokic. Though he will likely be on at least a third of all lineups, that is completely reasonable on a four-game slate. The Nuggets actually bested the Warriors 89-86 on Tuesday, though they are 4-point underdogs tonight at home. Denver will be without Jeff Green, Bones Hyland and Zeke Nnaji, who are in the health and safety protocol. Monte Morris, Aaron Gordon, Austin Rivers and Vlatko Cancar are all questionable with various injuries. Plus, Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray are also out with injuries.

Will Barton has been seeing a fair amount of production, as he is the last competent teammate standing to help Jokic. In his last three games Jokic has put up some gaudy numbers, averaging 36 minutes and 25.7 field goal attempts. This has resulted in 25.7 points, 20.7 rebounds, six assists and 3.7 combined blocks and steals for 62.1 Yahoo points.

Antetokounmpo has played two games since returning from his bout with COVID, and he has averaged just under 30 minutes in these appearances. In these games Giannis is averaging just over 1.7 Yahoo points per minute, which is right in line with his production over the last few seasons. Orlando is incredibly shorthanded, and Milwaukee is working in most of their players who were in the health and safety protocol. The Bucks are 14-point favorites in Orlando, so the risk here is that they could put the Magic away in the first half. If Antetokounmpo gets close to 30 minutes, he should still approach 50 fantasy points, though his floor is not as safe and his ceiling not as high as Jokic and Curry.

Curry is going to be carrying the Warriors offense with Draymond Green and Damion Lee on the shelf. The risk with Curry is that he does not produce ancillary statistics at the same rate as Jokic and Antetokounmpo, which can leave him falling short of 40 fantasy points if his shot is not falling. This has played out over the last nine games, as he has surpassed 42 fantasy points only twice.

By the logic above, it would seem that Jokic is the preferred option as the luxury play on Thursday. The one variable to mitigate is that he is also playing in the only game of our four that does not tipoff at 7:00 p.m. ET. The savvy move would be to make sure to use him in the utility slot, so in the event something unexpected has him scratched after the slate starts but before his game, an easy pivot to Curry will be available. If Jokic is going to be in the center slot, then also having a non-Curry guard from the final game will allow a 2v2 swap. Otherwise, in an extreme outcome several thousand dollars of salary cap may go wasted. This set of circumstances is a longshot, but in a pandemic-exacerbated environment extremes are happening every day.

The Nikola Jokic NBA player props also look like a great place to attack tonight. His over/under for points is currently at 28.5. Awesemo’s projections have him scoring about 25 points tonight, making the under a solid bet tonight with a 68% win percentage.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards

Unfortunately, Rick Rubio suffered a torn ACL in his last game, and he is lost for the season. They are also without Darius Garland, Cedi Osman and Ed Davis, who are on the COVID reserve, plus Collin Sexton is out for the foreseeable future. That means they will be limping along with a limited backcourt of Isaac Okoro, Kevin Pangos and potentially Dylan Windler if he clears the health and safety protocol. Stay away from this backcourt, but Evan Mobley, Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen are all viable options, as they should see plenty of run and ample scoring and rebounding opportunities.

Washington will be without Montrezl Harrell, Davis Bertans, Aaron Holiday and Rui Hachimura. There is a chance that Bradley Beal and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will meet the COVID testing requirements and are available. Regardless, Spencer Dinwiddie, Daniel Gafford, Deni Avdija and Kyle Kuzma should all be considered core options against the depleted Cavaliers. Their priority shifts based on salary constraints and positional needs, though collectively they are fine in all formats.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Thursday, Dec. 30 Slate

Be wary of any late-breaking news after lock, as the pivots with only one remaining game could be limited without proper contingencies in place. 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

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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