Daily Fantasy

NBA DraftKings & FanDuel DFS Primer: Jan. 12

FantasyPros considers the best player values for DraftKings and FanDuel NBA DFS.

Robert Williams III is a player to watch as the Celtics host the Nets on Thursday.

This has been a fun week of basketball. We knew that would be the case when we saw the stupendous scheduling at the beginning of the week, and it’s turning out to be one of my best weeks of the year. The number of injuries has been frustrating from a fan perspective, but it does open up a ton of doors when talking about DFS. With that in mind, let’s kick things off.

Injury Report

  • Aleksej Pokusevski (foot) OUT
  • Khris Middleton (knee) OUT
  • Bam Adebayo (hand) Questionable
  • Tyler Herro (Achilles) OUT
  • Kyle Lowry (knee) OUT
  • Kevin Durant (knee) OUT
  • Marcus Smart (knee) Questionable
  • Robert Williams (knee) Questionable
  • Al Horford (B2B) Questionable
  • Gordon Hayward (hamstring) OUT
  • Kelly Oubre Jr.(hand) OUT
  • Anthony Davis (foot) OUT
  • LeBron James (20 years) Questionable
  • Austin Reaves (hamstring) OUT
  • Lonnie Walker (knee) OUT
  • Dorian Finney-Smith (adductor) OUT
  • Jarrett Allen (illness) Questionable
  • Russell Westbrook (pinky) Questionable

Core Plays

Joel Embiid (PF/C – PHI): $11,000 DraftKings, $11,500 FanDuel
Embiid has scored at least 53 DK points in 18 of his last 21 games, generating a 62-point average in that span. That’s bad news for Oklahoma City, who rank 24th in points allowed while surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points in the NBA. Blowout potential might scare you, but Embiid had 56 DK points across 24 minutes in Philly’s most recent outing.

Kyrie Irving (PG – BKN): $8,800 DraftKings, $9,300 FanDuel
With Kevin Durant off the floor this year, Irving has a 36% usage rate while averaging 1.4 DK points per minute. Those are some of the best rates you’ll see, and it looks even better since Kyrie is averaging 44 fantasy points per game across his last 16 outings. He’s also strived against Boston over the last three years, averaging 50 DK points per game in their last five meetings.

Pascal Siakam (PF/C – TOR): $10,300 DraftKings, $9,600 FanDuel
This is the best possible matchup in fantasy right now. The Hornets are allowing historic numbers to opposing centers this season, surrendering the most fantasy points in the NBA. That’s scary against a breakout player like Siakam, who is averaging over 47 fantasy points per game this season. He’s stuffing the stat sheet better than he ever has in his career, and it’s clear he’s the go-to guy in Toronto now.

Cash Game Considerations

Luka Doncic (PG – DAL): $12,800 DraftKings, $12,200 FanDuel
Doncic is averaging 64 DraftKings points per game, which makes him a worthy play at any salary, especially since he has at least 45 fantasy points in all but two games this year. He’s also amid the best stretch of that sensational season, averaging 73 DK points per game across his last seven outings. He should also excel against this 27th-ranked Lakers defense, scoring at least 60 fantasy points in each of their last three matchups.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF – MIL): $11,800 DraftKings, $11,400 FanDuel
Antetokounmpo is one of the best cash game players on every slate. “The Greek Freak” has scored at least 40 DraftKings points in all but one game this year. That’s why he’s averaging nearly 60 fantasy points per game, scoring at least 72 DK points in four of his last six games. The boost in production correlates with Khris Middleton‘s injury, and he should continue to run this offense. Facing Miami can be worrisome, but Giannis dropped 63 fantasy points in their most recent matchup.

Evan Mobley (PF/C – CLE): $6,400 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel
It looks like Allen might sit here after departing Tuesday’s loss against Utah. If that’s the case, this defensive stud should be in line for 40 minutes and all of the rebounding duties. That’s huge with the way Mobley has been producing, averaging 35 DraftKings points per game across his last 29 outings. Getting to face Portland is phenomenal, too, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing big men this year.

GPP Targets

Fred VanVleet (PG/SG – TOR): $8,200 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel
It’s been strange watching VanVleet struggle at times this year, but this is an excellent spot for him to succeed. His recent resurgence is his biggest asset, averaging 46 DK points per game across his last four fixtures. One of those gems came against this Charlotte defense, which sits 28th in points allowed and 23rd in defensive efficiency.

Max Strus (SG/SF – MIA): $5,300 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel
This Miami roster has been bombarded by injuries this week. They played without Kyle LowryTyler HerroBam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson on Tuesday, forcing Strus into a monster role. The sharpshooter took 19 shots across 42 minutes in that win, finishing with 22 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. If this guy is going to play 40 minutes and take 20 shots, he needs to be $2,000 more on each site.

Robert Williams III (PF/C – BOS): $4,700 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
Williams III has been the ideal GPP option ever since he was drafted. The big man has been one of the best per-minute producers we’ve ever seen, averaging 24 DK points across 20 minutes a night this year. That’s great news since Williams got his first start on Monday, seeing a season-high in minutes in two straight games. All he needs is 25 minutes to be an elite play in this price range, posting a 35-point average across 29 minutes in his three meetings with the Nets last year. Williams was also rested on Wednesday night, and there’s a chance Al Horford will be rested here in this B2B.

Value Plays

OG Anunoby (SG/SF – TOR): $6,600 DraftKings, $6,900 FanDuel
Anunoby has scored at least 31 DraftKings points in seven straight games and is one of the league leaders in playing time. He’s one of the safest bets to play 40 minutes, and that sort of workload is impossible to overlook from such an affordable player. Facing the third-worst defense in the NBA is ideal, with OG scoring at least 30 DK points in eight consecutive meetings with the Hornets.

Thomas Bryant (C – LAL): $6,900 DraftKings, $7,100 FanDuel
Bryant has always had the talent to be a stud, and it’s been entertaining watching him take over in the absence of Anthony Davis. That’s allowed him to average 33 DraftKings points per game across 29 minutes a night over his last 14 outings. That’s all you can hope for from a player in this price range, and we’re not worried about him facing this Dallas frontcourt.

Derrick White (PG/SG – BOS): $4,900 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
White has been inserted into the starting lineup for the Celtics, averaging 28 DK points per game across his last nine outings. That’s the stud we saw in San Antonio, and we believe that will be his floor if Marcus Smart misses another game. White has scored at least 37 DK points in three of the games Smart has missed this year and shouldn’t have any issues against a Brooklyn team that’s missing one of their best defenders.

Advantageous Pricing

  • Robert Williams (PF/C – BOS): $4,700 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
  • Luguentz Dort (SG/SF – OKC): $4,800 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel
  • Nic Claxton (C – BKN): $6,000 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
  • Ben Simmons (PG/SF – BKN): $5,400 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel
  • Gary Trent Jr. (SG/SF – TOR): $6,200 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel
  • Brook Lopez (C – CHI): $5,600 DraftKings, $6,700 FanDuel
  • Jusuf Nurkic (C – POR): $6,800 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel


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