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NBA DraftKings & FanDuel DFS Primer: Sunday (12/18)

by Evan Ritter | @Ev_Ritt3 | Featured Writer
Dec 18, 2022

Man, Saturday was a fantastic day for sports fans. First, the association treated us to some free basketball in the Mavericks Vs. Cavaliers game. Then, the Pelicans and Suns went at it for the third time this month, with Devin Booker going bananas for 58 points and becoming the youngest player to record back-to-back 50-point games. What a rivalry that’s becoming!

The NFL’s triple header didn’t disappoint one bit, either. The Vikings mounted the largest comeback in NFL history while the Bills and Dolphins battled in the snow down to the final seconds. It was such a great day; let’s hope Sunday can be just as electric!

Now, let’s dive into this five-game slate.

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Schedule & Odds

  • BKN (-7) @ DET (+7) O/U: 230.5
  • GS (+5.5) @ TOR (-5.5) O/U: 227.5
  • CHI (-1) @ MIN (+1) O/U: 229.5
  • CHA (+8.5) @ DEN (-8.5) O/U: 237.5
  • WAS (+4.5) @ LAL (-4.5) O/U: 228.5

Check out our consensus game odds as well as the odds from each sportsbook at BettingPros >>

Injury Report

Core Plays

Nikola Jokic (C – DEN): $12,000 DraftKings, $12,200 FanDuel

I said this last week, and I’ll repeat it. The Joker will be a top candidate to anchor lineups anytime he’s playing. While he got off to a slower start than most of us may have expected, he’s been on an absolute tear of late. Over the last four games, Jokic has averaged 33 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists. Those numbers have led to an average of 70.2 DKFPs and 68.2 FDFPs. The two-time MVP now draws a fantastic matchup to keep his hot streak alive. The Hornets are bottom eight in the league in terms of points in the paint allowed while also giving up the third most rebounds at 46.1. His price tag is steep, but I’ll gladly pay up for the best fantasy player on the planet in a favorable matchup.

Kyrie Irving (PG – BKN): $8,600 DraftKings,$8,700 FanDuel

The Pistons struggle mightily against point guards, as their bottom five OPRK suggest. With a seven-point spread, there is the potential for some blowout risk, but I’m minimally concerned with that happening. The Pistons are feisty, and even if this is a lopsided affair, Kyrie is likely a big reason for it. The point guard only has one game with less than 40 fantasy points over the last seven games. Nevertheless, Kyrie projects to have a big night, and I’ll certainly have my fair share of exposure.

Cash Game Considerations

LeBron James (SF/PF – LAL): $10,000 DraftKings, $11,000 FanDuel

I love the discount we’re getting on King James over at DraftKings. The future Hall Of Famer will be a popular option tonight for cash games, and rightfully so. Anthony Davis (foot) exited Friday’s game early and has already been ruled out for tonight’s matchup against the Wizards. That opens things up for LeBron to carry most of the load offensively. LBJ’s usage rate bumps up to 33.7% with Davis off the court, which is over a three-point increase. The Lakers are 4.5-point favorites tonight, and if they cover that number, they’ll need a solid outing from Bron.

LaMelo Ball (PG – CHA): $8,500 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel

After being sidelined with an ankle injury, LaMelo wasted no time getting it going. He’s looked excellent in his return to the court, dropping 20-plus points with a total of 14 assists through two games back. Denver is awful at defending point guards allowing 27 points and 9.3 assists per game against the position. Melo also doesn’t have a minute restriction, so he should play his regular rotation. The third-year point guard should give you a solid floor for cash games tonight at a respectable price point, but the matchup is so good I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the overall leading fantasy scorers on the night.

GPP Targets

Pascal Siakam (PF/C – TOR): $10,200 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel

Siakam has burnt me a couple of times this week, but I’m not shying away because I know the numbers he can put up with his all-around skillset. Before these few down games, he had been on fire. So, fantasy managers who game-log watch will likely look elsewhere for production. However, I’m not particularly eager to get caught up in recency bias, but I do want to look for opportunities, whether when I’m placing a wager or in DFS. Siakam is in an excellent spot to get back to form tonight against a short-handed Warriors team that struggles against power forwards. He’s one of my favorite plays on this short slate, and I’m optimistic I’ll be coming in way over the field.

Zach LaVine (SG/SF – CHI): $7,000 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel

LaVine has been off his game lately, scoring less than 30 fantasy points in three of his last four games. However, the talent and opportunity are certainly there tonight. So while I’m going to limit my exposure, I will take some shots on LaVine being able to right the ship in this game. The Timberwolves love to get out and run. They play at the third fastest pace in the NBA, which means there will be extra possessions and hopefully some open looks from three in transition for LaVine to get his shot going. Minnesota is a middle-of-the-pack defense but carries an OPRK of 29th against shooting guards. They may be without their best defensive player and rim protector, Rudy Gobert, who is questionable heading into Sunday with an ankle injury. LaVine projects to have a low roster percentage in a good matchup, making him well worth a look in large-field tournaments.

Value Plays

Russell Westbrook (PG – LAL): $7,200 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel

Westbrook is appropriately priced on FanDuel, in my opinion. However, there’s still a good bit of value left in his salary on DraftKings. With Anthony Davis (foot) out of the lineup tonight, Westbrook will be tasked with carrying an even larger workload on both ends of the court. The point guard has played tremendously well of late, scoring fifty or more DraftKings points in three of his last four games to go along with three triple-doubles. He’s also locking in on defense, tallying eight steals and four blocks. I love Westbrook in all contests tonight at this price point on DraftKings.

Jordan Goodwin (PG/SG – WAS): $5,400 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel

With Bradley Beal (hamstring) sidelined, Goodwin has gotten some additional run. He’s taken full advantage of the extra minutes and has played well. Over the last five games, he’s averaging 32.5 DraftKings points and 34.1 FanDuel points. He scored double-digit points in four of those five games while dropping 21 rebounds, 25 assists, and an impressive 16 steals. With his ability to get it done on both ends of the court, Goodwin can easily return five times or more return on investment. At first look, he’s one of my favorite salary relief e targets.

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I hope you enjoyed today’s primer. Please continue to tune in to FantasyPros for all your sports-related content and give me a follow on Twitter @ev_ritt3. All the support is greatly appreciated. Happy holidays and good luck tonight!

DFS, DraftKings, FanDuel, Featured, NBA