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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 8

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

NBA: Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everybody! For Friday night, we get a full ten-game NBA slate 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

Giannis Antetokounmpo, F/C, Milwaukee Bucks

NBA Snake Rank: 2

I know that Antetokounmpo let us down on Wednesday (41 DKFP vs. the Pistons), but he is still easily my top choice of tonight’s top-five ranked players. He comes with the least concerns of the group, in a home matchup vs. the Jazz. This Utah defense has slipped to 18th in defensive efficiency and Antetokounmpo thrived against them last season, producing 71.9 DKFP per game in a pair of meetings. Plus, even though there are no fans in attendance right now, it’s worth mentioning that Antetokounmpo has scored 4.4 more DKFP per game on his home court the past two years.

The reigning two-time MVP had supplied over 60 DKFP in three straight heading into Wednesday’s blowout win vs. Detroit, and if the Jazz can keep this game within reach, Antetokounmpo should get back on track in this high scoring tilt. Via DraftKings Sportsbook, the Bucks are currently six point favorites over the Jazz in this 231.5 point O/U game total.

Jayson Tatum, F/C, Boston Celtics

NBA Snake Rank: 12

Tonight, Tatum is in a dream matchup vs. the Wizards. Not only are they terrible defensively, ranking 28th in efficiency, but Washington is the 2nd fastest team in the league this season. Tatum has been on fire as of late, scoring 52.9 DKFP per game over his last three and the Celtics may be shorthanded tonight. They have a crowded injury report for Friday night with Jeff Teague (ankle), Tristan Thompson (health protocols), Grant Williams (health protocols), Robert Williams (health protocols) and Carsen Edwards (health protocols) all listed as questionable.

It seems very likely that a few of these key players will be out, resulting in a boost to Tatum’s already strong rates (30.4% usage rate). Nevertheless, the 22-year-old star should light up this weak Wizards defense on Friday night and is an excellent early round target in your snake drafts.

Early Round Player to Avoid

Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns

NBA Snake Rank: 20

Booker is one of the better shooting guards in the NBA, but his numbers have significantly dropped with Chris Paul in Phoenix. With the veteran running the offense, Booker is averaging a modest 34 DKFP per game, which is a notable decrease from the 40.3 DKFP per game he contributed in 2019-20. His usage rate has been nearly identical, but Booker is only posting a 20.7% assist percentage right now, compared to the 28.9% he handled last season.

The 24-year-old’s diminished role as a playmaker has clearly affected his fantasy stock, and even though he is in a great spot tonight against the Pistons (29th in defensive efficiency), Booker shouldn’t be considered at his current draft ranking.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball Classic lineups here: NBA $600K Shootaround [$150K to 1st]

Late Round Fliers

Jarrett Allen, F/C, Brooklyn Nets

NBA Snake Rank: 40

Allen has leapfrogged DeAndre Jordan on the Nets’ depth chart, starting at center over the veteran the last two games. In his first attempt with the starting five, Allen erupted for 54.5 DKFP across 32 minutes in a tough matchup against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz. His next matchup didn’t get any easier, facing Joel Embiid and the Sixers on Thursday, but Allen didn’t disappoint, tallying a 15-point and 11-rebound double-double in 28 minutes of work (35.25 DKFP).

Brooklyn won both of these games and Allen should start again on Friday when the Nets visit the Grizzlies. This defense has surrendered the 7th most DKFP to opposing centers this season and it’s hard to imagine Allen not succeeding again. In the past 20 contests the 22-year-old has logged 25 minutes or more, he is producing 35.7 DKFP per game.

Elfrid Payton, G, New York Knicks

NBA Snake Rank: 49

The Knicks have now won three in a row and in their win over the Jazz on Wednesday, Head Coach Tom Thibodeau used an extremely tight rotation of only eight players. Payton saw his playing time reach a new season-high of 42 minutes and he scored 38 DKFP with the colossal role. Most notably, New York was without Alec Burks (ankle) on Wednesday and the combo-guard will also sit out Friday’s game vs. the Thunder.

While it’s hard to project Payton and the rest of the Knicks’ starters for over 40 minutes again, the point guard should receive a minimum of 35 minutes with Burks sidelined. He is scoring an effective 0.9 DKFP per minute this year and the Thunder have been very susceptible to point guards, allowing the 3rd most DKFP per game to the position. Payton should fill up the stat sheet in this plus matchup and is a name that could get slept on in snake drafts on Friday.

Terrence Ross, G, Orlando Magic

NBA Snake Rank: 59

After such an excellent start to his season, Orlando point guard Markelle Fultz has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. In addition to losing their starting point guard, the Magic will be without Michael Carter-Williams (foot) and Evan Fournier (questionable, back) could miss his fourth straight game. Even if he is able to suit up, Ross is already gaining plenty of extra opportunities with Fultz and Carter-Williams injured.

The 28-year-old is off to an exceptional start this season (29.5 DKFP per game) and in all the time Ross has played without Carter-Williams and Fultz in 2020-21, he has generated 1.31 DKFP per minute behind a team-high 30% usage rate. The Magic will be in Houston tonight, competing in a large total of 227 points on DraftKings Sportsbook, and Ross has 40 DKFP upside in this current situation.

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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.