Happy New Year! DraftKings is celebrating the start of 2021 with a 10-game NBA slate starting at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays, strategies, and injuries to monitor heading into lineup lock on DraftKings.
Worth Paying Up For: D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Washington Wizards ($7,500)
Russell has disappointed in his first two games without Karl-Anthony Towns, but the Timberwolves have been unable to keep those games competitive. That shouldn’t be an issue today vs. the Wizards, which makes this an excellent bounce-back spot for Russell. He averaged 1.19 DKFP per minute with Towns off the court last season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Raul Neto, Washington Wizards @ Minnesota Timberwolves ($3,400)
Neto is arguably the best pure value on the slate. He’s expected to draw the start at point guard with Russell Westbrook getting the night off for rest, and he finished with 40.5 DKFP in his first start in place of Westbrook. Overall, he’s averaged 0.99 DKFP per minute this season, so he should continue to thrive with additional playing time.
Neto is going to command massive ownership at such a minimal salary, but I don’t know how you can avoid him on tonight’s slate. Locking him into your lineups allows you to go in a bunch of different directions, but I like a balanced approach today given the options in the $6,000-$8,000 price range. Russell is one of my favorite players in that range at point guard, but Coby White ($6,400) also stands out for the shorthanded Bulls. You could also choose to pay up for Luka Doncic ($10,300), who is too cheap given the production he showed last season.
Worth Paying Up For: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($6,800)
Mitchell is in a tough spot today vs. the Clippers, but this is simply too cheap for a player of his caliber. He’s averaged at least 38.25 DKFP in each of the past two seasons, so he’s a prime candidate for positive regression moving forward.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets ($4,700)
The Hawks and Nets combined for 286 points in their first meeting this season, and the total is currently set at 245.5 for the rematch on DraftKings Sportsbook. That’s a ton of potential offensive production, and Reddish is an excellent way to get some exposure at a minimal price tag. He’s averaged 1.10 DKFP per minute this season, and he’s played at least 32 minutes in two of his past three games.
You can go in a bunch of different directions here given the multi-positional eligibility on DraftKings. Mitchell is my favorite play given his floor and ceiling at just $6,800, while Reddish is excellent on a points-per-dollar basis. Russell and Neto also have SG eligibility, and both players would obviously be fine at the position. Bradley Beal ($9,400) might be a touch expensive, but he does figure to carry a larger workload than usual with Westbrook out of the lineup.
Worth Paying Up For: DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($7,300)
Like Mitchell, DeRozan is another player who is simply too cheap given his previous production. He’s scored at least 41.75 DKFP in three of his first four games this season, yet his salary has dropped significantly after peaking at $8,000. He would also benefit if LaMarcus Aldridge is unable to suit up. He’s currently listed as questionable, and DeRozan has averaged 1.35 DKFP per minute with Aldridge off the court this season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Josh Richardson, Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat ($4,900)
The Mavericks have played in three straight blowouts, which has hampered the fantasy value for most of their players. That’s caused their salaries to drop, which is creating some value on today’s slate. Richardson in particular looks like an excellent option at just $4,900. He’s averaged 0.84 DKFP per minute this season, and he should play close to 36 minutes if today’s game vs. the Heat stays competitive.
DeRozan stands out as one of my favorite plays on the slate, and I love the idea of pairing him with Gordon Hayward ($7,100) in a balanced strategy. If you can’t afford both, Richardson is a solid alternative. Kyle Anderson ($6,000) also makes a lot of sense given the Grizzlies’ current injury situation. He’s increased his usage rate by +5.3% and his assist rate by +14.7% with Ja Morant and De’Anthony Melton off the court this season.
Worth Paying Up For: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets vs. Atlanta Hawks ($9,100)
Durant’s salary in his last game was an absolute joke. He was priced at just $8,400 and responded with 63.25 DKFP. He’s a bit more reasonably priced at $9,100, but he still stands out as a potential bargain in this matchup. The Nets’ implied team total of 125.75 points is the top mark on the slate, and Durant seems completely recovered from the injury that caused him to miss all of last season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jarrett Culver, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Washington Wizards ($4,100)
Towns is not the only injury that the Timberwolves are dealing with at the moment. Josh Okogie is also out of the lineup, which has allowed Culver to move into the starting unit. He struggled in his first start, finishing with just 16.0 DKFP, but he was a dreadful 0-10 from the field. If he can make a few shots vs. the Wizards, he has massive upside at his current salary.
Durant is simply too cheap at his current price tag, particularly in an elite matchup vs. the Hawks. He’s probably the most expensive player that I’m looking to roster in a balanced build. Culver also makes a ton of sense as a value option, as does Thaddeus Young ($3,500). This also could be the rare opportunity to target Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) at reduced ownership, which is always appealing.
Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns ($10,600)
Jokic has been an absolute fantasy monster to start the season. He’s recorded a triple-double in three of his first four games and has averaged a stout 1.77 DKFP per minute. He could also be forced into a larger scoring role than usual with Michael Porter Jr. out of the lineup.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Thomas Bryant, Washington Wizards @ Minnesota Timberwolves ($6,300)
Bryant is coming off his best game of the season yesterday. He finished with 40.75 DKFP vs. the Bulls, and he even made all three of his 3-point attempts. If he can add that to his arsenal this season, he has a chance to become one of the best big men in the league from a fantasy perspective.
Jokic is definitely appealing with Porter Jr. out of the lineup, but Bryant is the best pure value at the position. I also have no problem going back to the well with Naz Reid ($5,200) despite the fact that he busted in his last start. Jonas Valanciunas ($8,300) should also continue to carry an expanded workload for the shorthanded Grizzlies, and he’s one of the best centers in fantasy on a per-minute basis.
Javonte Green (health and safety protocols)
Blake Griffin (concussion)
Justise Winslow (hip)
De’Anthony Melton (health and safety protocols)
Rajon Rondo (knee)
Danilo Gallinari (ankle)
Ryan Arcidiacono (health and safety protocols)
Tomas Satoransky (health and safety protocols)
Chandler Hutchison (health and safety protocols)
Lauri Markkanen (health and safety protocols)
Torrey Craig (nose)
Josh Okogie (hamstring)
Abdel Hader (concussion)
Jalen Smith (ankle)
Michael Porter Jr. (health and safety protocols)
Marcus Morris (knee)
Killian Hayes (ankle)
Maxi Kleber (ankle)
LeBron James (ankle)
LaMarcus Aldridge (knee)
JaMychal Green (calf)
Gary Trent Jr. (calf)
Eric Paschall (knee)
Grayson Allen (ankle)
Russell Westbrook (rest)
Jahlil Okafor (ankle)
Kelly Olynyk (knee)
Jimmy Butler (ankle)
De’Andre Hunter (knee)
Jamal Murray (elbow)
Draymond Green (foot)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.
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