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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 21

Stan Son breaks down Thursday’s DraftKings NBA Snake contest, which locks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The NBA season is in full swing, and DraftKings has released a new fantasy format for the current season. Snake Draft contests are now available for the NBA, including for Thursday’s NBA slate.

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 everyone 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

Giannis Antetokounmpo, F/C, Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Snake Rank: 1st

DraftKings Sportsbook has the Bucks favored by one point with the O/U at 228.5, the highest on the slate. Giannis has played over 35 minutes in a game four times this season. That only occurred 10 times all of last season. If this game stays close, Giannis should feast, as he’s averaging 1.62 DKFP per minute.

Now, the Lakers are a tough matchup, being that they are first in defensive efficiency. They were third in defensive efficiency last season yet Giannis still went for 32 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and one steal in one game, and 34 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block in the other.

On the season, Giannis has gone under 40 DKFP in two games but those were both 40-point blowouts. In the other 11 games, he’s gone over 60 DKFP five times.

LeBron James, F/C, Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Snake Rank: 4th

If this game is competitive, then LeBron is going to be a big reason why. He’s garnering a usage rate of 31.6% on the season. Now, the Lakers do have more weapons and the minutes played are down from past seasons, but keep in mind that the Lakers have been involved in at least six blowouts this season.

He can still score, pass, and get rebounds. On the season, LeBron is averaging 1.44 DKFP per minute and 43.14 DKFP per game. He’s coming off a season-low 33.25 DKFP against the Warriors but I expect him to bounce back in a big way. Prior to that game, he had gone for at least 45 DKFP in 11 straight games, with five games over 50 and one 60-burger.

Julius Randle, F/C, New York Knicks
NBA Snake Rank: 5th

Randle has been a revelation this season, as he’s doubled his assists per game from 3.1 last year to 6.1 this season. Tom Thibodeau has catered the offense to him, but more importantly, he’s playing him a career-high 37 minutes per game. His prior high was 32.5 minutes.

This has translated to 1.25 DKFP per minute and 43.46 DKFP per game. Over the last nine games, Randle has scored at least 40 DKFP in eight of those games, with one 24.75 performance and two over 50 DKFP.

He now gets a pace up spot against the Warriors, who play at the third-fastest pace. The O/U is the lowest on the slate at 214.5 because the Knicks are dead-last in offensive pace.

As for the individual matchup, Draymond Green is an excellent defender and negates scoring, but the Warriors are boosting fantasy points per minute by 5.62% to opposing power forwards.


Early Round Players to Avoid

Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
NBA Snake Rank: 2nd

I’m shivering and shaking just writing this because Curry can get spicy hot on any night against any opponent. He has 68 and 75.75 DKFP performances on his ledger already this season.

It’s a huge pace down spot for Curry, as the Knicks are dead-last in pace. In addition, they negate fantasy points per minute to points guards by 3.71% below league average. For three-pointers? A 20.73% decrease below league average. Tom Thibodeau is a defensive coach so I’m assuming that he will try and get the ball out of Curry’s hands and make the supporting cast beat him.

If he doesn’t, then I have my prayer all lined up: “Father, forgive me for I have sinned.”

RJ Barrett, F/C, New York Knicks
NBA Snake Rank: 11th

Barrett is on a nice little streak here. He’s gone for 31.25, 33, 41.75, and 42.5 DKFP and converted 47%, 45%, 58%, and 46% of his field-goal attempts. Woo hoo! The prior four games before that, though, he shot 27%, 30%, 33%, and 28% from the field and scored below 30 DKFP in three of those games.

The environment is a good one because the Warriors play at a fast pace but the matchup with Kelly Oubre is less than ideal. The Warriors are negating fantasy points per minute to opposing small forwards by 7.64% below league average, sixth-best in the league.


Later Round Fliers

It should be noted that these players are ranked below the threshold of players that would be drafted. This section simply tries to exploit players who are in favorable matchups and are down the rank list.

Immanuel Quickley, G, New York Knicks
NBA Snake Rank: 38th

The minutes have been all over the map (15, 21, 28, and 22 over the past four games), so it’s tough to play Quickley with any amount of confidence. With that said, he’s freaking good. Quickley has scored in double-figures in four straight and garnered a usage rate over 30% in each game. He’s averaging 1.02 DKFP per minute.

Joe Ingles, F/C, Utah Jazz
NBA Snake Rank: 36th

Ingles recently missed four of five games due to an Achilles injury but returned on Tuesday and performed well. In 18 minutes, he contributed 15 points, three rebounds, two assists, and one block, good for 26.25 DKFP. On the season, he’s averaging 25.2 minutes per game and 0.8 DKFP per minute.

James Wiseman, F/C, Golden State Warriors
NBA Snake Rank: 34th

Wiseman is coming off a 33.5 DKFP game in which he scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out four assists in 25 minutes. Wiseman has scored at least 30 DKFP in a game four times this season. He hasn’t played over 28 minutes in any contest, though, and contributed fewer than 20 DKFP in six games. He’s young and inconsistent so the ups and downs are par for the course.

The Knicks do suppress fantasy points per minute to opposing centers by 4.48% below league average, but zooming in a little closer, most of that is due to limiting assists. When it comes to two-point and three-point scoring, the bump is 4.46% and 15.62%, respectively.

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


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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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