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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 26

Matt LaMarca breaks down Tuesday’s DraftKings NBA Snake contest, which locks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA season is in full swing, and DraftKings has released a new Snake Draft fantasy 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 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

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Favorable Early Round Targets

Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
NBA Snake Rank: 3rd

This slate got thrown a massive curveball when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were both ruled out for health and safety protocols. That took arguably the top two studs off the board, which pushes everyone else up a few spots.

Beal moves from the No. 3 ranking to the top stud target on the slate. He’s commanded a monster workload for the Wizards recently. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 40.6% in three of his past four games, and he should continue to see a ton of minutes with six members of the team still in the league’s health and safety protocols.

This game between the Wizards and Rockets is also the clear top target from a fantasy perspective. Both of these teams have played at a top-seven pace this season, and the 231.0-point total on DraftKings Sportsbook is the top mark on the slate by nearly 10 points.

DeMarcus Cousins, F/C, Houston Rockets
NBA Snake Rank: 23rd

Cousins is ranked 23rd, but he is coming off the board on average around the 10th pick. That’s significantly higher than his ranking, but I still think it’s way too late.

Christian Wood is listed as doubtful, which means Cousins will likely draw another start for the Rockets. He’s absolutely crushed in that role recently, and he’s coming off 58.25 DKFP in his last game. Overall, he’s average 1.47 DKFP per minute this season, so he has monster upside whenever he sees additional playing time.

His matchup vs. the Wizards is also a good one. They’ve allowed the sixth-most points to opposing centers this season, which makes them one of the best possible matchups at the position.

Early Round Player to Avoid

Russell Westbrook, G, Washington Wizards
NBA Snake Rank: 5th

Westbrook has an ADP of 3.5, so he’s almost a first-rounder in three-team leagues. That is a mistake.

I get the appeal of Westbrook. He’s historically been one of the best producers in fantasy on a per-minute basis, and this slate is lacking for star power. That said, his production has declined a bit in his first year with the Wizards, and he will also likely be on a minute restriction vs. the Rockets. He played just 25.3 minutes in his first game back in the lineup, and he was supposed to be limited to 20 minutes. That will likely increase today, but I still wouldn’t expect him to handle his normal workload.

You’ll also have to consider how you want to approach the Hawks. Clint Capela and Trae Young are ranked sixth and seventh respectively, but both players are listed as questionable. If they end up suiting up, you’re getting them at a very nice discount considering their current ADPs (Capela’s is 11.7, Young’s is 12.6). However, if they end up sitting, you’re stuck with a zero in your lineup. There is no late-swap in the NBA Snake format, so you’re stuck with whoever you draft.

Late Round Flyers

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.

Luke Kennard, G, Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Snake Rank: 24th

Kennard is not being drafted in most three-team leagues – his ADP is 23.7 – but he has a chance to be one of the Clippers’ offensive focal points tonight. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +11.2% with Leonard, George, and Patrick Beverley off the court this season, and he ranks second on the team in usage rate and assist rate in that situation. Overall, he’s averaged 1.05 DKFP per minute with all three players off the court, which gives him a chance to be one of the best values on the slate.

Marcus Morris, F/C, Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Snake Rank: 42nd

Morris is a decent bet to lead the Clippers in usage tonight. He’s played virtually all of his minutes with the starters this season, but he has posted a usage rate of 27.8% in 13 minutes with Leonard, George, and Beverley off the court. That’s the highest mark on the team.

Morris is a role player with the Clippers, but he’s someone who has operated as a primary scoring option in the past. Before getting traded last season, he averaged 31.35 DKFP over 32.3 minutes per game in 43 contests with the Knicks. The Clippers have been a bit careful with his minutes this season, but they may have no choice but to ramp him up tonight.

Cam Reddish, G, Atlanta Hawks
NBA Snake Rank: 41

Reddish is technically lower ranked than Morris, but he’s coming off the board after him in most drafts. That said, he has the potential to carry a huge workload for the Hawks if everything breaks in his favor.

He has a questionable designation on DraftKings, but don’t let that “Q” scare you – he’s been upgraded to probable for tonight’s contest. Young, Capela, and Danilo Gallinari are all questionable, and Reddish has increased his usage rate by 7.8 percentage points with all three players off the court this season. Only John Collins (8.1) has seen a larger boost. Reddish has averaged 0.84 DKFP per minute in that situation, so he’s a great addition to your squad with one of your final selections.

Collins (8.2 ADP) and De’Andre Hunter (15.6 ADP) should also be on your radar in the earlier rounds, while Kevin Huerter (26.8 ADP) and Rajon Rondo (29.1 ADP) should garner some attention at the back end.

Ultimately, this slate comes down to how you choose to approach the Hawks. If you’re fading Young and Capela, the rest of the roster looks like great values. If you’re grabbing Young or Capela and hoping they suit up, you probably want to avoid their role players.

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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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