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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 1

Alex Hunter breaks down Friday’s DraftKings NBA Snake contest, which locks at 7:00 p.m. ET.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Year everyone! For the first NBA slate of 2021, we get an action packed 10 games on Friday, and if you haven’t by now, you need to check out DraftKings’ new Snake Draft format! Snake Drafts are now available in the DraftKings lobby for both NBA and NFL.

If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy before – either for NBA or any other sport – you’re likely familiar with how a Snake Draft works. In short, for these contests, once the allotted number of entries are filled in a contest, the draft will begin one minute later. The entrants are assigned a random draft order and will commence in that order. The player with the first pick gets dibs on anyone while the player with the last pick will get a double pick, as it’ll end the first round and thus begin the second.

Roster requirements for lineups: G – 2, F/C – 2, Util – 2

Visit the DraftKings NBA lobby to view all the available NBA Snake contests!


Favorable Early Round Targets

Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
NBA Snake Rank: 11

Beal has been excellent this season, scoring 48.2 DKFP per game. Tonight, he should take on a larger workload with Russell Westbrook expected to be rested on the second night of this back-to-back set. In the only other contest Westbrook missed this season, Beal recorded 47.25 DKFP against the Magic. Overall, when the point guard has been off the floor this year, Beal has led Washington with a large 36.4% usage rate.

In addition to the extra opportunities he should see, the 27-year-old is in a plus matchup, going against the Wolves who rank 20th in defensive efficiency this season. They will be without center Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) and with the star out Tuesday, this Minnesota defense allowed the Clippers to put up 124 points. Beal has a ceiling north of 50 DKFP in this spot and is very undervalued at his current snake draft ranking.


Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball Classic lineups here: NBA $750K Shootaround [$200K to 1st]


Kevin Durant, F/C, Brooklyn Nets
NBA Snake Rank: 14

On Wednesday night, the Nets beat the Hawks 145-141 in an epic shootout. These two clubs will face off again tonight and we should absolutely see another high-scoring affair. Via DraftKings Sportsbook, this tilt possesses an O/U game total of 244.5 points. In Wednesday’s win against this Atlanta team, Durant erupted for a team-high 63.25 DFKP in 35 minutes of work.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP is scoring an elite 1.4 DKFP per minute this season and he has seen a strong 30.3% usage rate as a Net. This clash of two of the best offenses in basketball (both rank inside top three in points per game) is the top game of the slate to target and Durant has similar upside to what we saw from him on Wednesday night.


Early Round Player to Avoid

Kawhi Leonard, F/C, Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Snake Rank: 13

In my opinion, Leonard is ranked too high at the 13 spot. He is averaging 45.2 DKFP per game this season, but he is facing the Jazz, who are a top-ten defense this season so far in efficiency. Furthermore, both the Clippers and Jazz rank in the bottom ten in pace this season and the total of this contest is coming in at modest 221 points via DraftKings Sportsbook.

In his last five meetings with the Jazz, Leonard is averaging 38 DKFP per game. Don’t get me wrong, the two-time NBA champion is one of the top players in the league, but when it comes to fantasy basketball, there are many more options I prefer in this range of snake drafts on Friday.


Late Round Fliers

DeMar DeRozan, F/C, San Antonio Spurs
NBA Snake Ranking: 29

On Wednesday night, DeRozan tallied 41.75 DKFP against the Lakers, and this is the same team he matches up with on Friday night. Outside of one bad outing vs. the Pelicans, the forward is generating 49.25 DKFP per game in 2020-21. The primary reason for his success has been his work as the main playmaker for the Spurs.

Four games into this season, DeRozan is averaging a team-high 33.3% assist rate, which is a sizable increase from the 26.1% assist percentage he garnered last season. All in all, DeRozan is a pretty safe bet for over 40 DKFP tonight and the 31-year-old’s snake draft ranking of 29th is simply too low for the consistent player.

Coby White, G, Chicago Bulls
NBA Snake Ranking: 51

Last night, White notched a 40 DKFP double-double vs. the Wizards and after struggling in the season opener vs. the Pacers, the Bulls’ guard has supplied 36.7 DKFP per game. He logged a team-high 40 minutes on Thursday and tonight, he is in a strong game setting against the Bucks. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, this matchup presents an O/U game total of 232 points.

In the last five contests White has played in that have carried an O/U game total of 230 points or more, he is averaging 34.6 DKFP per game. His upside isn’t reflected in his draft ranking and White needs to be on your radar for snake drafts on New Year’s Day.

Raul Neto, G, Washington Wizards
NBA Snake Ranking: 172

With Westbrook absent this past Sunday, Neto got the start point guard for the Wizards and went off for a career-high 40.5 DKFP against the Magic. He logged 32 minutes as a starter and should see over 30 minutes again tonight with Westbrook receiving the night off. Including his results from the preseason, Neto is producing 0.9 DKFP per minute this season with the Wizards, which is a notable upgrade from the 0.75 DKFP per minute he averaged last season with the Sixers.

The Wolves have surrendered the 5th most DKFP per game to opposing point guards in 2020-21 and Neto is an awesome late round target for snake drafts on Friday.

Visit the DraftKings NBA lobby to view all the available NBA Snake contests!


Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball Classic lineups here: NBA $750K Shootaround [$200K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.