NBA DraftKings & FanDuel DFS Primer: Jan. 6

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a player to watch in DFS play tonight.

This has been one of the craziest weeks of basketball I’ve ever seen. The massive stat lines are one thing, but it feels like we have numerous buzzer-beaters every night too. I’ve never seen so much talent in the NBA, and it’s awesome that I get to write about these special players every day! We have another big Friday card here, so let’s go ahead and get into it!


Injury Report

  • Lonzo Ball (knee) OUT
  • Joel Embiid (foot) OUT
  • Brandon Ingram (toe) Questionable
  • Zion Williamson (hamstring) OUT
  • Larry Nance (neck) Questionable
  • RJ Barrett (finger) OUT
  • Gordon Hayward (hamstring) OUT
  • Kelly Oubre Jr.(hand) OUT
  • Khris Middleton (knee) OUT
  • Jrue Holiday (illness) Questionable
  • Cade Cunningham (shin) OUT
  • Devin Vassell (knee) OUT
  • Bradley Beal (hamstring) OUT
  • Darius Garland (thumb) Questionable
  • Paul George (hamstring) Questionable
  • Kawhi Leonard (B2B) Questionable
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) OUT
  • Naz Reid (back) OUT
  • Devin Booker (groin) is OUT
  • Clint Capela (calf) Questionable
  • Anthony Davis (foot) OUT
  • LeBron James (illness) Questionable
  • Donovan Mitchell (rest) OUT

Core Plays

LeBron James (SF/PF – LAL): $10,700 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel
The Lakers gave LeBron a rest day on Wednesday, and he earned it. The 38-year-old is playing some of the best basketball of his career right now, scoring at least 51 DraftKings points in nine of his last 11 games. He’s also got 68 and 76 DK points in his last two outings, taking over this offense in the absence of Anthony Davis. In his last two matchups with the Hawks, LeBron is averaging 72 DraftKings points per game!

Damian Lillard (PG – POR): $9,700 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel
Lillard has quietly been one of the most consistent players in the NBA this season, scoring at least 30 DraftKings points in all but one outing. His usage is what makes him so valuable, guaranteed for 35 minutes, 20 shots, and a 30% usage rate on a nightly basis. His biggest asset here is this incredible matchup with Indiana, with the Pacers ranked 21st in points allowed and 23rd in defensive efficiency.

CJ McCollum (PG/SG – NOP): $8,500 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel
We had McCollum here on Wednesday, and we’re going back to the well for all the same reasons. With Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram both sidelined, CJ has to do everything for this Pelicans offense. In the last seven games without those two, McCollum is averaging nearly 50 fantasy points per game! Much like Lillard, he should have some crazy usage, likely flirting with a 35-40% usage rate in this spot.


Cash Game Considerations

Nikola Jokic (C – DEN): $11,800 DraftKings, $11,300 FanDuel
Jokic has scored at least 39 DraftKings points in all but seven games since 2020. That’s three years of dominance and it’s backed by a 61-point average in that span. It doesn’t really matter who he plays either, with The Joker scoring at least 58 fantasy points in each of his last three matchups with the Cavaliers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C – MIL): $12,000 DraftKings, $12,000 FanDuel
Antetokounmpo has scored at least 72 DK points in four straight fixtures, averaging 43.3 points, 18.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in that span. He needs to do that with Jrue Holiday and Chris Middleton both nicked up, and he shouldn’t have any issues against a 27th-ranked Charlotte defense. In their last seven matchups, Giannis is averaging nearly 70 DK points per game!

Kristaps Porzingis (PF/C – WAS): $9,600 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel
Porzingis is averaging a career-best 43 DK points per game, scoring at least 35 fantasy points in 14 of his last 16 games. He’s also got a 48-point average in that span, seeing a massive boost in shot attempts and usage in the absence of Bradley Beal. Playing Oklahoma City is outstanding, too, with the Thunder ranked 25th in points allowed.


GPP Targets

Killian Hayes (PG – DET): $5,500 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
Hayes has taken over since Cade Cunningham went down, averaging 29 DK points per game across his last 26 outings. That includes a few benchings and an ejection, with Killian collecting at least 33 DK points in 13 of those. That should be easy to achieve against San Antonio, who sits last in both points allowed and defensive efficiency.

Tobias Harris (SF/PF – PHI): $4,300 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel
Harris has taken a backseat at times this season James Harden and Joel Embiid dominating the touches, but this is a great spot for him with Embiid missing this game. That means there’s about 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 20 shots left on the table, and Harris will be happy to take some of that on. We’re already talking about a guy who’s averaging 32 DK points per game in a limited role, and we truly believe that’s his floor with Embiid sitting.

Jonas Valanciunas (C – NOP): $6,500 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel
It’s been rough for Valanciunas with this deep rotation, but it’s been thinned out over the last week. Ingram, Zion, and Larry Nance Jr. are all sidelined right now, leaving Valanciunas with a monster role. He’s played at least 25 minutes in 21 games this season, averaging nearly 40 fantasy points per game. That’s why he has been an $8K player in the past, and New Orleans needs him to carry the offense with so many key players missing.


Value Plays

Jusuf Nurkic (C – POR): $6,000 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel
Nurkic played just 14 minutes in a game where he was sick earlier in the week, and it’s made his price tag way too low. The big man had at least 25 DraftKings points in 19 straight games before that, posting a 36-point average in that span. He was doing that damage in less than 30 minutes a night and should strive against the Pacers. Indiana allows the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers this season, with Jusuf totaling 37 DK points in their one matchup earlier in the year.

Tre Jones (PG/SG – SAS): $5,700 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel
Jones has taken over the starting point guard job in San Antonio and provides value every night. He’s scored at least 26 DraftKings points in 17 of his last 20 games, generating a 31-point average in that span. That’s all you can ask for from such an affordable player, and he should achieve that again against a Detroit defense that sits 29th in both points allowed and defensive efficiency.

Jalen Duren (PF/C – DET): $4,900 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
Duren looks like one of the best rookies in the NBA. Detroit has moved him into their starting lineup with Marvin Bagley going down, leading to Duren averaging 28 DK points per game since taking over as a starter. He’s doing that damage with elite rebounding, and we have to assume this 19-year-old is only scratching the surface of what he could become. The Spurs surrender the second-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards, which should make Friday night’s matchup even better for Duren.


Advantageous Pricing

  • Jalen Duren (PF/C – DET): $4,900 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
  • Jalen Smith (PF/C – IND): $3,600 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
  • Ayo Dosunmu (PG/SG – CHI): $4,200 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel
  • Nic Claxton (C – BKN): $5,900 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel
  • Ben Simmons (PG/SF – BKN): $5,600 DraftKings, $6,600 FanDuel
  • Fred VanVleet (PG – TOR): $7,400 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel
  • Gary Trent Jr. (SG/SF – TOR): $5,800 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel
  • Jalen Williams (PG/SG – OKC): $4,900 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
  • Jarrett Allen (C – CLE): $6,300 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
  • Rudy Gobert (C – MIN): $6,400 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
  • Ivica Zubac (C – LAC): $5,000 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel
  • Landry Shamet (PG/SG – PHX): $4,500 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
  • De’Andre Hunter (SF/PF – ATL): $4,900 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel

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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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