NBA Daily Fantasy Picks Today: Joel Embiid or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? (January 2)

We have six games tonight, and there aren’t many stars in action. There are only two players above $10,000 on DraftKings or $11,000 on FanDuel. As a result, I will look a little further down the pricing spectrum for tonight’s top pay-up NBA daily fantasy picks.

NBA Daily Fantasy Picks Today: Joel Embiid or Shai Gilgeous Alexander?

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NBA DFS Stud No. 1 – Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers vs Chicago Bulls

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $11,000/ FanDuel: $12,500
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 62.03/ FanDuel: 61.4
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 21.8%/ FanDuel: 13.0%

Embiid makes his return to the Sixers lineup tonight, and he is available at his cheapest DraftKings salary since November 8. We don’t have a lot of good value on this slate, but it is still relatively easy to fit Embiid into our lineups. He has a mediocre matchup against the Bulls, who have played at the league’s slowest pace this season, but he still projects as the highest scorer on the slate by a wide margin. He has been the best fantasy producer in the NBA this season, producing 1.90 DraftKings points per minute in 34.2 minutes per game.

NBA DFS Stud No. 2 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Boston Celtics

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $10,300/ FanDuel: 11,300
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 55.3/ FanDuel: 56.4
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 12.8%/ FanDuel: 14.3%

Gilgeous-Alexander has a difficult matchup against the Celtics, but he projects as the second-highest scorer on the slate and there is a relatively large gap between him and third place (and between him and first place). In 26 games played alongside Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams this season, Gilgeous-Alexander has produced 1.56 DraftKings points per minute in 34.9 minutes per game. The Celtics have played at a bottom-10 pace this season while ranking third in adjusted defensive rating. While the matchup is difficult, it is also possible that Gilgeous-Alexander plays a couple of minutes more than usual in a game between two of the NBA’s best teams.

NBA DFS Stud No. 3 – Domantas Sabonis: Sacramento Kings vs Charlotte Hornets

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $9,700/ FanDuel: $10,000
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 53.5/ FanDuel: 50.8
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 19.7%/ FanDuel: 36.4%

Sabonis is a strong play on DraftKings and an exceptional play on FanDuel, where he is only $300 more expensive than DraftKings and has power forward eligibility. Sabonis will be facing the Hornets, who have only played at an average pace this season but have also been the second least efficient defense in the league. He has produced 1.45 DraftKings points per minute in 34.6 minutes per game in the 25 games that he has played alongside De’Aaron Fox this season.

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NBA DFS Stud No. 4 – Ja Morant: Memphis Grizzlies vs San Antonio Spurs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings: $9,700/ FanDuel: $9,900
  • Stokastic’s Point Projections: DraftKings: 47.9/ FanDuel: 47.1
  • Stokastic’s Ownership Projections: DraftKings: 3.8%/ FanDuel: 8.7%

At less than 10 percent ownership, Morant is showing up as one of my favorite contrarian plays early in the day. He has an excellent matchup against the Spurs, who rank 26th in adjusted defensive rating and third in pace this season. The Grizzlies are double-digit favorites, so there is plenty of blowout risk, but that is accounted for by the low ownership. Morant has averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute in 35.5 minutes per game in his six games since returning from suspension. He has averaged 1.44 DraftKings points per minute in 31.7 minutes per game in 36 total games played with Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. since the start of last season.

There are six games tonight and we aren’t currently waiting on much important injury news, but there is always the possibility that more injuries pop up throughout the day. Be sure to check out Stokastic’s Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock shows.

Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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