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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 22

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

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everybody. Tonight, barring any postponements, we should see 11 NBA games, and if you haven’t by now, you need to check out DraftKings’ new Snake Draft format!

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

Joel Embiid, F/C, Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Snake Rank: 6

For the second straight game, the Sixers will be facing the Celtics on Friday. In the first matchup of this mini-series between the East rivals, Embiid exposed Boston for 65 DKFP across 33 minutes. This was the 5th time that the center has met the Celtics since the NBA restart this past summer, and he is now generating 55.25 DKFP against them over this time.

Additionally, the Sixers have notoriously been a much better team at home during the Embiid era, and the former Kansas Jayhawk is producing 11.7 more DKFP per game in Philly this season, compared to when he is on the road. This tilt should be competitive from start to finish and Embiid is a very safe investment that should provide over 50 DKFP.

Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks

NBA Snake Rank: 9

Young was unstoppable Wednesday night, recording a season-best 66 DKFP in the overtime win against the Pistons. His usage was at 33.8% in this victory and the number should remain elite Friday night vs. the Wolves. Atlanta will continue to be without Danilo Gallinari (doubtful, ankle) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (out, knee), and Deandre Hunter (questionable, knee) and Cam Reddish (questionable, knee) could miss their second straight contest.

Even if the latter two suit up, the opportunity is immense for Young with Minnesota allowing the 4th most DKFP per game to opposing points guards in 2020-21. Furthermore, they rank 26th in defensive efficiency and 7th in pace. This is a perfect situation for Young to remain hot and I will be aggressively attacking him in the early rounds of snake drafts on Friday.

Early Round Player to Avoid:

Andre Drummond, F/C, Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Snake Rank: 11

In his Cavs’ debut, Jarrett Allen appeared to already be the top center in Cleveland. Drummond got the start, but he only saw 26 minutes of work in the overtime loss, while Allen received 31. The extended run for the former Net wasn’t a product of foul trouble for Drummond either, with the center only recording a pair of fouls in the defeat.

Allen simply outplayed the 27-year-old and while it’s no guarantee, I think we see him outpace Drummond on a regular basis going forward. Nonetheless, Allen’s presence puts a cap on Drummond’s pure upside, but his current draft ranking suggests otherwise.

Late Round Fliers:

Victor Oladipo, G, Houston Rockets

NBA Snake Rank: 27

Oladipo has been excellent so far in a Rockets’ uniform, scoring 49.5 DKFP per game across his first two with the club. With John Wall (knee) injured in both of these contests, Oladipo has started at point guard and led the Houston offense with a 39.4% usage rate and a 38.5% assist percentage. When we do the math, this is an elite 1.57 DKFP per minute for the former Pacer and not only has Wall already been ruled out Friday’s matchup vs. the Pacers, but emerging Rocket center Christian Wood (out, ankle) will be joining him on the sidelines.

The 25-year-old is having a career year and with his 28.7% usage rate now out of the picture, Oladipo’s role should reach new heights in this plus spot. The Pistons currently rank 25th in defensive efficiency and are giving up the 5th most DKFP per game to opposing point guards. His ceiling is well above 50 DKFP tonight and Oladipo’s pre-draft ranking is egregious for his upside.

Richaun Holmes, F/C, Sacramento Kings

NBA Snake Rank: 63

The Kings are fully committed to Holmes right now. In their last five, the center has handled 35.5 minutes per game, bringing him to a 33.8 DKFP average for this stretch. The increased workload should sustain tonight and Holmes finds himself in a great spot against the Knicks.

As a whole, New York has been a stout defensive group (6th in efficiency), but they are still susceptible to opposing centers, surrendering the 8th most DKFP per game to the position. A double-double is certainly achievable for Holmes here and the never popular name should be available later than his pre-draft ranking.

Tim Hardaway Jr., F/C, Dallas Mavericks

NBA Snake Rank: 84

Hardaway Jr. has been a very steady fantasy player with the Mavs dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic first hand. Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smth and Dwight Powell all haven’t played in weeks because of the NBA’s health policies and they will be out again on Friday. With this group missing, Hardaway Jr. has topped 30 DKFP in three of his past four, and this matchup vs. the Spurs is excellent for the wing.

This season, they are giving up the 2nd most DKFP per game to SFs and they are letting their opponents knock down three pointers at the 5th highest clip. Hardaway Jr. is attempting 8.5 shots from beyond the arc this year, the 10th highest average in the league, and the gunner could catch fire in this spot.

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 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.