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DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy: Friday (1/15)

Jan 15, 2021

Welcome to the Friday edition of DraftKings DFS NBA advice. As of this writing, what was initially scheduled as a ten-game slate will be an eight-game slate thanks to COVID postponements. If you’re playing tonight, make sure to follow the news of the day closely, as we’ve seen how quickly things can change and how value can open up ahead of tipoff. Let’s dive in.

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Most Value Per Dollar 

Players expected to generate the most value relative to salary.

Point Guard

Nickeil Alexander-Walker (NO) @ LAL $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Damyean Dotson (CLE) vs. NYK $5,200 ⭐⭐⭐ LOW

  • One thing we already know is that Lonzo Ball will be absent from the Pelicans lineup again tonight. Alexander-Walker went berserk with 52.5 DK points on Wednesday when Ball and Eric Bledsoe (Q) were both absent. His price increased by $1,300, but he’s still a discount if Ball and Bledsoe sit against the Lakers tonight.
  • The Cavs are set to be short-handed in the backcourt yet again. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and Matthew Dellavedova all remain out with various injuries. Even Yogi Ferrell, who chipped in the last two games for Cleveland, has been released. Dotson is literally the only eligible guard for the Cavs on DK tonight, and he’ll get all the minutes he can handle.

Shooting Guard

JJ Redick (NOR) @ LAL $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Hamidou Diallo (OKC) vs. CHI $4,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ HIGH

  • In the point guard section, I mentioned that New Orleans is likely to be short-handed in the backcourt again tonight, but veteran JJ Redick will still be out there to hoist up threes. His price is slowly climbing, but it’s is still too low, considering that he’s averaged over 23 DK points over his last two outings.
  • Diallo has been on a bit of a cold streak lately, but a visit from the Bulls could be just what the doctor ordered. Chicago has the second-worst defensive rating in the entire NBA and also gives up the second-most DK points to shooting guards. If there’s ever a spot for Diallo to heat back up, this is it.  

Small Forward

Wes Iwundu (DAL) @ MIL $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Isaac Okoro (CLE) vs. NYK $3,900 ⭐⭐ MEDIUM

  • The small forward position gets thin fast tonight, so let’s take some deep shots, starting with Wes Iwundu. He should return to the Mavericks’ starting lineup tonight and see plenty of minutes — yet he’s almost at the minimum salary. If he can make a few shots in what should be an uptempo game with the Bucks, he’ll easily be worth the bargain price.
  • Okoro has been getting all the time on the court he can handle for the injury-riddled Cavs, and that won’t change tonight. The rookie has averaged 36 minutes/game so far this season and is coming off his best fantasy performance of the season Tuesday. He’ll look to set a new high-water mark tonight against the Knicks.

Power Forward

Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN) vs. MEM $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM
Brandon Clarke (MEM) @ MIN $6,100 ⭐⭐⭐ LOW

  • Juan Hernangomez entered Minnesota’s starting lineup six games ago and locked down the job, but he’s now in quarantine and won’t be available tonight against Memphis. Vanderbilt may not replace him in the starting lineup, but he’s definitely in store for more minutes, especially since Jake Layman also remains sidelined. Vanderbilt averaged nearly 30 DK points the last two times he saw 20-plus minutes on the court, a total that could be in the cards tonight.
  • On the other side of the court, we have Brandon Clarke, who’s averaged more than 36 DK points over his last three outings. He could end up north of that total tonight against the porous Timberwolves defense that’s tied with Chicago for the second-worst defensive rating in the league.  


Khem Birch (ORL) @ BOS $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐ HIGH
Willie Cauley-Stein (DAL) @ MIL $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐ MEDIUM

  • Center is another position where it’s challenging to find value. Let’s start by digging deep with Orlando. Mo Bamba has already been ruled out, and while he doesn’t play big minutes, his absence will be significant enough to benefit Khem Birch. Birch went for 28 DK points the last time that Bamba sat out, and that’s within reach tonight in Boston.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein has started the last four games for Dallas and has topped 30 DK points in two of them. Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber are questionable due to contact tracing, and Kristaps Porzingis is still working his way back from offseason knee surgery, so Cauley-Stein is in a good spot to perform again tonight.

Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Luka Doncic (DAL) $11,000: Doncic is the most expensive player on the slate, but he’s also averaged over 68 DK points over his last five games, including 70-plus in three of the last four. Fade him at your own risk against the high-paced Bucks.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) $9,900: In the two games since his return from his early-season wrist injury, Towns has averaged over 53 DK points. The time off didn’t hurt his conditioning, either, as he’s played at least 34 minutes in each game since coming back. Don’t let the questionable tag next to his name worry you; KAT should be good to go for a full workload Friday.
  • Anthony Davis (LAL) $9,800: Call it a hunch, call it a bounce-back opportunity, or call it a revenge game, but after a down performance in the blowout victory over the Thunder early this week, Davis is in a prime spot for a big fantasy night. 
  • Paul George (LAC) $9,400: Both George and teammate Kawhi Leonard are in great spots tonight against Sacramento, the team with the NBA’s worst defensive rating. I’ll take the $200 discount and go with George, especially considering the Kings give up the most DK points to shooting guards on average.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC) $7,700: I’m not sure if SGA has been good enough to qualify as a “stud” lately, but he should warrant that consideration tonight. The Bulls are the second-best DK matchup for shooting guards and, as mentioned earlier, rank as the second-worst defensive team in the entire NBA.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) $10,800: Giannis has been everything you’d expect from the back-to-back MVP so far this season, but you only have so much salary to go around. I’d prefer to pay up for the more probable triple-double from Doncic on tonight’s slate.
  • Kristaps Porzingis (DAL) $8,000: A few weeks from now, $8,000 may seem like a steal for Porzingis, but I’m staying away until we see Dallas play him a full allotment of minutes for a couple of games.
  • Ja Morant (MEM) $7,500: Morant may have been the most exciting player in the NBA over the first week of the season, and as excited as I am to see him return, there’s no way I’m putting him in my lineups in his first game back from the ankle injury that cost him eight games.

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Beyond our daily fantasy basketball content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Basketball Tools. From our Lineup Optimizer – which allows you to build winning DFS lineups in seconds for Cash and GPP contests – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy basketball season.

Aaron Larson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @aalarson.

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