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Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for January 5

Julian Edlow gives his top lineup advice at each position for Tuesday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings at each position for Tuesday’s 5-game NBA slate, along with some strategy unique to this slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $700K Shootaround [$150K to 1st]

Point Guard

Worth Paying Up For: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets vs. Utah Jazz ($9,300)

The Nets have suddenly lost four of five games, and with Spencer Dinwiddie (ACL) already down for the season, Kevin Durant (contact tracing) will have to enter a seven-day quarantine. This is going to be Kyrie’s team to step up and lead for the next week. Irving’s price is up a bit following 59.25 DKFP against the Wizards, but he’s still not priced for the role he’ll have to take on without KD.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Tyus Jones, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($5,700)

There are some value plays to consider at PG, but all of them are pretty average. If you do pay down, Jones has been a pretty safe option since Ja Morant (ankle) went down. Jones has scored 25-plus DKFP in three of the four games since Morant’s injury, with the only dud coming in a blowout that he only played 23 minutes in.

Shooting Guard

Worth Paying Up For: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz at Brooklyn Nets ($7,400)

Guard is pretty loaded with targets and remains thin on value. I think playing Kyrie with a couple mid-priced plays will wind up the way to go. Mitchell fits this mold, down $1,000 from his highest salary this season, and he works in a game stack with Kyrie. Mitchell should be able to get what he wants against the shorthanded Nets, and the Jazz are actually road favorites in this one on DraftKings Sportsbook. D-Mitch is coming off 41 DKFP in just 29 minutes against the Spurs, so he’s well rested and in a groove.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets vs. Utah Jazz ($6,600)

The salaries haven’t adjusted to a massive piece like KD being out, which means we’ll have a good amount of exposure to the Nets on this slate. LeVert is Brooklyn’s second-best player for the next week, and should see a huge spike in usage whether he starts or not. His minutes should scatter with Kyrie so that he’s the primary ball handler when Irving is off the floor. It’s a bit deceptive, but LeVert did score 60.5 DKFP the last time KD sat out, but it also came in an overtime game with Irving ruled out as well.

Small Forward

Worth Paying Up For: DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers ($7,900)

DDR is probably the only forward I’d consider paying up for on the entire slate. LaMarcus Aldridge (knee) has been out, and could miss this game, while Derrick White (toe) returned, and now is out again. Plenty of usage for DeRozan if the Spurs can avoid a blowout, as was the case on Sunday. DDR has exceeded 40 DKFP three times in his last five games, and generally enjoys playing back home in Los Angeles.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Brooklyn Nets vs. Utah Jazz ($3,700)

It’s obvious, but we need to mention one cheap Brooklyn value. TLC had a big game with the Nets at full strength against Washington, scoring 22.5 DKFP in 24 minutes. However, with KD out, he’ll be thrust into a larger role, which is tough to pass up at his salary. The game KD and Kyrie missed, TLC finished with 37 DKFP in 40 minutes.

Power Forward

Worth Paying Up For: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies ($9,500)

Unless something big changes on this slate, DeRozan is the most I’d spend at forward, and then there’s a pretty big drop off. However, if LeBron James (ankle) does take the night off, then we could consider rostering AD in a much larger role. His price is friendly, and the matchup is soft, so this really just comes down to ‘Bron playing or not.

Best Bang For Your Buck: JaMychal Green, Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($3,800)

Green was eased into the rotation when he made his debut with the Nuggets on New Year’s Day, but Denver quickly expanded his role. Green played 27 minutes in this exact matchup on Sunday, and was involved heavily on both ends of the floor. He finished with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals, shooting 5-of-10 from the field, including three triples. He’s underpriced for as long as Michael Porter Jr. (health protocols) remains out.


Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($10,800)

Joker is an early MVP candidate, averaging over 60 DKFP and a triple-double through six games. He’s had a triple-double in all but two games this season, finishing one rebound shy in both games that he missed it. This is the safest play on the board, facing a weak Minnesota defense that’s still without Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist). Joker finished with 19-12-12 (53 DKFP) in 32 minutes in this matchup on Sunday.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Ed Davis, Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets ($3,400)

The Wolves made a change in their starting five against Denver on Sunday, going with Davis to matchup with Jokic. After previously topping out at 16 minutes, Davis played 24 minutes and scored a season-high 20.5 DKFP. Without too much value under $4,000 outside of some Nets, this should be a spot you can go to save and get 5-7X value.

Overall Lineup Strategy

Unless we get some major news, this is one of the worst forward slates I can remember. DeRozan is the only spot to pay up, and I may even stay away from that. Jokic should be an extremely popular play, but one you might not want to fade on a short slate. Center also thins out quickly behind him.

That means we’ll be paying for guards on this slate. Kyrie is probably the next safest play on the slate next to Jokic, and LeVert is a tough fade as well. Loading up on three or more PGs makes sense to me. If you need value cheaper than Jones, I’d probably look to the Spurs. That backcourt was priced for White to be back, but opens up with him back out. I don’t think it’s out of the question to play four PGs with Jokic, and spend less than $4,000 on all three forwards.

Injury Report


Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist)
Kevin Durant (protocols)
Ja Morant (ankle)
Michael Porter Jr. (protocols)
Lauri Markkanen (protocols)
Derrick White (toe)
Tomas Satoransky (COVID)


LeBron James (ankle)
LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle)
Derrick Favors (knee)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle)
Josh Okogie (hamstring)





Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $700K Shootaround [$150K to 1st]

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