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DFS NBA Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Thursday 12/30
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Tonight's slate is a bit of a mess with injuries, covid-related question marks, and players returning to lineups where teammates' prices have been inflated. The Nets will get Durant back after a three-game covid absence which puts us in a spot where we will have to choose between him and Harden and for me, that is a fairly easy one. With conditioning seeming to play a role in players returning, I will be riding with Harden who has been on another level scoring 75+ DK points in back-to-back games without Durant and has averaged 56.6 DK points per game over his last 10(seven games with Durant). The price is also actually a bit lower than before Durant had gone the C-19 list so fire up the beard in all formats.
Like almost every team, the Wizards were hit with covid and that includes their best player in Bradley Beal who is once again questionable to return. If he is out once again, fire up Spencer Dinwiddie who has been very good in his absence seeing a 4% increase in usage and all the minutes he can handle. He has dropped 17 or more points in each of the last three with no Beal while averaging right around 45 fantasy points per game. He now gets a short-handed Cavs team in what is expected to be the closest game on the slate. Stay tuned for starting lineups later in the day but it appears Dinwiddie will be a great PTS/$ play in all formats.
**Update** Dinwiddie is out
The Nuggets have been short-handed at guard all season(Murray/Porter) and go into tonight with Monte Morris questionable after missing Tuesday with a knee injury. This brings us to Will Barton who has not only seen a boost in usage lately but better yet, has a price trending down as he has not been sub $6K on DraftKings since late October/early November. He comes into this one having averaged over 28 fantasy points per game in his last 10 games and that includes two games where his minutes were buzzed. The matchup is a tough one as the Warriors are the top defensive team in the league but we have a small slate and a buy-low price on Barton. I will have exposure in all formats.
**Update - GS/DEN postponed
Gary Harris FD - $5500 DK - $5100
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 23.33 DK - 25.61
The theme of this article is quickly becoming injuries and covid once again and the Magic are no exception as they are depleted at the guard position with Suggs and Anthony out and Ross questionable. This has provided Gary Harris with a sizeable increase in usage(19% with Suggs/Anthony off) with him putting up double-digit shot attempts in five of his last six games while averaging over 25 fantasy points per game over his last 10. This isn't a great matchup and could turn into a blowout but Harris should still get a full run of minutes getting him to his floor leaving room for upside should the Magic give the Bucks a run for their money.
Andrew Wiggins FD - $6000 DK - $6900
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 29.04 DK - 31.53
Wiggins returned from the Covid list on Tuesday and even in a low-scoring game(89-86), was very productive with 21 points and eight rebounds for nearly 40 fantasy points. Despite playing on a team with Steph Curry, the usage has not been all that bad as he has put up double-digit shots in seven of nine games in December including 20 in each of the last two games. The price is rising but the position is a mess so I will lock in the 5x in the mid-tier and move on, at least this early in the day.
**Update - GS/DEN postponed
Franz Wagner FD - $7100 DK - $7000
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 30.12 DK - 31.98
If you told me earlier in the season Franz Wagner would be in the $7K range I would have told you we are in an alternate reality but nonetheless, here we are. The price is a product of the Magic being very short-handed due to covid and injuries and this being a four-game slate but he has also been productive averaging 34 fantasy points over his last 10 which is a nice floor even at these inflated prices. He also showed us the upside potential in his last game against a tough Bucks defense dropping 56 DK points. He is going to be tough to play in cash games considering the blowout risk here but if you think the Magic hang around, he should easily hit and exceed value.
Tobias Harris FD - $7400 DK - $8800
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 35.9 DK - 38.89
After a slow start to the month, Harris is trending up and coming off a monster game Tuesday where he tallied his first triple-double(19-12-10) of the season. Over the last four games, he is averaging 20.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and just over 42 fantasy points per game. That is good news for the 76ers who now face a Nets team who have battled all kinds of adversity themselves but still sit atop the East and rank 5th in defensive efficiency. On a larger slate, I probably wouldn't be as high on Harris but considering the price and productivity which are trending in opposite directions, and the smaller slate, I am on board in all formats.
Kyle Kuzma FD - $6000 DK - $6800
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 32.77 DK - 35.91
Daniel Gafford FD - $5200 DK - $5000
Opponent - CLE
Proj Pts FD - 32.31 DK - 32.54
I will lump the two Washington big men together as both make nice PTS/$ plays on this smaller slate. Let's start with Gafford who is the only healthy center outside of Isaiah Todd and is coming off a terrific game against the Heat where he tallied his fifth double-double of the season playing a season-high 36 minutes. He should get that run again tonight which would be a terrific buy-low considering the slow-moving price.
Kuzma has seen a nice boost in usage with Beal out of the lineup(46 shots last three games) and despite shooting just 41%, has put up 33 or more DK points and 31 or more FD points in all three. This definitely a situation we will have to monitor closer to lock as Beal coming back would drop Kuzma from my player pool. Stay tuned.