The NBA season is in full swing, and DraftKings has released a new fantasy format — Snake drafts! Below, we break down some of the best targets for Thursday’s NBA Snake slate.
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Favorable Early Round Targets
James Harden, G, Brooklyn Nets
NBA Snake Rank: 2nd
The top of the board is stacked today with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic at one and three. The projections are similar for all three so it comes down to personal preference. Giannis plays a Knicks team that is 30th in pace and fourth in defensive efficiency. The last time he faced the Knicks, he went for 57.25 DKFP. Luka has gone for 57.5, 61, and 50 DKFP in the last three games. He gets a pace-up matchup against the Thunder but they are ninth in defensive efficiency. Harden’s last two games have produced 73 and 80 DKFP. He now gets a matchup with the Celtics, who are 17th in defensive efficiency and boost the fantasy points per minute to point guards by 4.91% above league average.
Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
NBA Snake Rank: 7th
The matchup with the Clippers would seem to be a difficult one for Curry, as they have Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley defending on the perimeter. Interestingly, they boost the fantasy points per minute to point guards by 10.42% above league average, good for fourth-most generous. They increase three-point production by 14.07% above league average, a Curry specialty. Now, Curry played these Clippers twice earlier in the year. In the first game, he bombed by producing 28 DKFP. Two days later, he did the bombing as he lit up the Clippers for 68 DKFP. The range is wide with this play and there is risk, but the upside is undeniable.
Zach LaVine, G, Chicago Bulls
NBA Snake Rank: 11th
The 76ers are the second-best team in terms of defensive efficiency but they will be without their top two dogs in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Not only are they forces on the offensive end but they are both defensive stalwarts. Even with them, though, the 76ers were the most generous to shooting guards as they boosted the fantasy points per minute by 15.96% above league average. LaVine is THE guy on the Bulls, as he garners a 31.1% usage rate. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Bulls favored by 3.5 points, primarily due to the Simmons and Embiid absences, but LaVine will play a huge part in making that a reality.
Jimmy Butler, F/C, Miami Heat
NBA Snake Rank: 13th
Butler has a 27.5% usage rate on the season, but over the last three games, it’s been at 30.9%, 36.5%, and 30.5%. He’s produced 51.25, 59.5, and 62 DKFP over that span. In one of those games, Bam Adebayo was out. The Heat often run the offense through the big man and he has a usage rate of 24% on the season. Bam is out for this game so Butler should once again see an elevated usage rate.
Tobias Harris, F/C, Philadelphia 76ers
NBA Snake Rank: 33rd
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are out tonight. In 152 minutes with Simmons and Embiid off the court, Harris has seen a 6.6 percentage point usage rate bump to 29.9%. He’s averaging 1.1 DKFP per minute. It gets even better for Harris as the Bulls boost the fantasy points per minute to power forwards by 8.09% above league average. Want more? The Bulls play at the sixth-fastest pace and are 17th in defensive efficiency. More? The Bulls are favored by 3.5 points on DraftKings Sportsbook, so Harris should see as much action and usage as he can handle.
Early Round Players to Avoid
Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
NBA Snake Rank: 4th
Lillard is awesome, splendiferous, amazing, yadda yadda yadda. He averages 1.39 DKFP per minute and has had a usage rate above 35% since CJ McCollum went down. With that said, the sledding will be tough tonight. Phoenix is 29th in pace and 6th in defensive efficiency. The last time these teams met, Lillard went for 32 DKFP. Granted, the Trail Blazers got smoked by 32 points so Lillard only played 29 minutes, but he shot 1-fo-7 from downtown. Any night can be Dame Time so it’s not the most comfortable fade, but traveling down the path of least resistance is usually the profitable one.
Jayson Tatum, F/C, Boston Celtics
NBA Snake Rank: 14th
I hate myself for putting Tatum here, especially since the game environment will likely be very juicy. The Nets play at the ninth-fastest pace and are 25th in defensive efficiency. DraftKings Sportsbook has this game with the second-highest O/U at 233.5. With that said, the Celtics will have their normal starting five for the first time in a long time, as Marcus Smart will return and Jaylen Brown is back. As a result, the usage rate will not be as robust for Tatum. Over the last four games, the usage rate has been 26.9%, 23.2%, 29.1%, and 22.3%. With injuries earlier in the season, that number was often in the 35% range. Can Tatum still go for 50 DKFP? Sure, as he’s performed the feat in two of the last five games, but in the other three, he went for 19.75, 28.25, and 30.75 DKFP.
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.
Shake Milton, G, Philadelphia 76ers
NBA Snake Rank: 110th
In 269 minutes with both Simmons and Embiid off the court, Milton sees the largest usage rate increase of 7.1 percentage points, to 30.9%. He averages 0.9 DKFP per minute and has a high of 51 DKFP on the season. With that said, the matchup isn’t a particularly good one as the Bulls suppress the fantasy points per minute to point guards by 18.72%, the toughest in the league. There’s a reason why this section is called later round fliers.
Norman Powell, F/C, Toronto Raptors
NBA Snake Rank: 45th
The Raptors will be without O. G. Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn, and Patrick McCaw due to health and safety protocols. In addition, Terence Davis is questionable. With those six players off the court, Powell sees a whopping 11.5% usage bump to 35.3. He’s gone for 39, 46.25, and 39.75 DKFP in his last three games.
Chris Boucher, F/C, Toronto Raptors
NBA Snake Rank: 60th
With Anunoby, Siakam, VanVleet, Flynn, McCaw, and Davis off the court, Boucher has seen a 10.7 percentage point usage rate increase to 31.5%. He’s scored 38.25 and 34.5 DKFP in the last two games. There is some risk here, though, as Nick Nurse may want stay big due to the presence of Clint Capela on the other side. With that said, these two teams met on February 6th and Boucher played 33 minutes and contributed 49 DKFP, and that was with a healthy Raptors squad.
Josh Jackson, F/C, Detroit Pistons
NBA Snake Rank: 77th
Jackson has missed the last two games due to illness but is off the injury report for this game. Jackson doesn’t start, but he’s been playing over 27 minutes off the bench and is garnering a usage rate around 28%. He’s going to huck and chuck when he’s on the court. On the season, he’s averaging 1.0 DKFP per minute and gets a nice matchup as the Hornets boost the fantasy points per minute by 12.7% above league average to shooting guards.
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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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