Daily Fantasy

NBA DraftKings & FanDuel DFS Primer: Jan. 2

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

The Nuggets face the Timberwolves at 8 p.m. ET on League Pass Monday night.

How crazy is it that we’re in 2023? That doesn’t even sound like a real year, but here we are! We have a fun slate to kick off the new year, with numerous close games on the docket. We have 11 games in total, seven of which have spreads of four points or fewer. That’s rare to see in today’s NBA, and it should make for a magnificent Monday card!

Injury Report

  • Anthony Davis (foot) OUT
  • Stephen Curry (shoulder) OUT
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) OUT
  • Darius Garland (thumb) Doubtful
  • Brandon Ingram (toe) OUT
  • Jamal Murray (knee) Questionable
  • Kelly Oubre (hand) OUT
  • Fred VanVleet (back) Questionable
  • Andrew Wiggins (adductor) Questionable
  • Devin Vassell (knee) Questionable
  • Jusuf Nurkic (illness) Questionable
  • Clint Capela (calf) OUT
  • Evan Mobley (ankle) Questionable
  • Alperen Sengun (illness) Questionable
  • Killian Hayes (suspension) OUT

Core Plays

Luka Doncic (PG – DAL): $12,400 DraftKings, $12,400 FanDuel
It’s wild that Doncic wasn’t the MVP favorite this time last week because he’s been the most dominant player this season. His league-leading 38% usage rate is a significant reason for his success, leading all players with 64 DraftKings points per game. His most recent form is even more ridiculous, scoring at least 81 DraftKings points in four of his last five games. One of those came against the Rockets, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing point guards.

Damian Lillard (PG – POR): $9,800 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel
Lillard is doing everything for this Portland offense, and he will only get better from here on out. The All-Star is averaging over 46 DK points per game this season, scoring at least 30 fantasy points in all but one game this year. We believe 50 DK points is his floor in this matchup, with Detroit ranked 29th in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. In their last two matchups, Lillard is averaging 54 fantasy points per game.

LeBron James (SF/PF – LAL): $10,300 DraftKings, $10,800 FanDuel
Lebron is flirting with 40, but he’s playing like he has for 20 years. The superstar has scored at least 45 DK points in 14 of his last 15 games, averaging nearly 60 DK points per game since Anthony Davis went down. It’s easy to understand why, with LeBron doing everything in Davis’s absence. That makes him tough to avoid against Charlotte, who sit 24th in defensive efficiency and 28th in points allowed.

Cash Game Considerations

Nikola Jokic (C – DEN): $11,700 DraftKings, $11,600 FanDuel
The Joker is the two-time reigning Kia MVP, establishing himself as one of the best cash game players in fantasy. The big man has scored at least 51 DraftKings points in 18 of his last 19 games, generating a 61-point average in that span. That’s the stud we’ve seen for three years now, with Jokic scoring at least 81 fantasy points in four of his last 10 games. Facing the Timberwolves is tremendous, too, with Minnesota sitting 22nd in points allowed.

Kevin Durant (PF – BKN): $10,400 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel
This guy has been a monster this season. Durant has scored at least 33 fantasy points in every game this year, scoring 41 or more DK points in all but four outings. He’s doing that with elite efficiency ratings, and he should excel against the Spurs. San Antonio ranks dead last in both points allowed and defensive efficiency.

Jordan Poole (PG/SG – GSW): $8,200 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel
It’s been fun watching Poole take over this offense without Stephen Curry. That’s skyrocketed Poole’s role, seeing a massive boost in minutes, shot attempts, and usage. That’s allowed him to score at least 28 DraftKings points in 16 of his 18 starts this year, posting a 37-point average across 33 minutes a night. He seems to be getting better the more he plays in this expanded role, and we’re not worried about him facing a 19th-ranked Atlanta defense.

GPP Targets

Nic Claxton (C – BKN): $6,300 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel
Claxton is developing into one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. The big man has scored at least 32 DraftKings points in 10 of his last 16 games, totaling a 36-point average in that span. That’s really all you can hope for from a player in this price range, and we love his extended minutes the more this coaching staff realizes he’s one of the best players on this roster. One of those ceiling games should be simple to reach facing the worst defense in the league.

John Collins (PF/C – ATL): $5,800 DraftKings, $6,100 FanDuel
Collins let us down in his most recent outing, but foul trouble will get every player at some point. The versatile forward had at least 34 DK points in each of his previous three games before then, seeing his minutes restriction lifted last weekend. That’s excellent news since Clint Capela is sidelined, forcing Collins to play some extra center minutes in his absence. Golden State is a great matchup, too, ranked 26th in points allowed.

Jaylen Nowell (SG – MIN): $4,200 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel
I really like Nowell as a player, and I can’t wait to see him get a more prominent role. In any case, he’s the sixth man in Minnesota, and he’s been outstanding in that role. Over his last 18 games, Nowell is averaging 23 DK points per game across 24 minutes a night. That might not sound like much, but it’s a stellar total from such an affordable player. It directly correlates with an injury to Karl-Anthony Towns, and Nowell should continue to provide a playmaking role with KAT out of the lineup. Not to mention, Denver surrenders the second-most fantasy points to opposing guards.

Value Plays

Jaden Ivey (PG/SG – DET): $5,500 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel
Ivey’s been starting at point guard for Detroit recently, stepping up with Killian Hayes suspended. That expanded role makes Ivey a bit too cheap, averaging 29 DK points per game across his previous seven outings before a rare dud on Saturday. Getting 30 fantasy points is incredible from a $6K player, and this kid is just scratching the surface of what he could become with Cade Cunningham out as well.

Thomas Bryant (PF/C – LAL): $5,900 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel
It’s strange that Bryant didn’t see a price increase after his masterpiece over the weekend. The big man dropped 47 DK points across 34 minutes, starting at center in the absence of Davis. He’s also got at least 33 fantasy points in five of his last nine games in total and should play 30-35 minutes a night as long as Anthony Davis remains out. The matchup is the best part of this, though, with Charlotte surrendering the most fantasy points to opposing centers this season.

Onyeka Okongwu (C – ATL): $5,600 DraftKings, $6,500 FanDuel
Okongwu has been inconsistent at times throughout his career, but it’s tough for Atlanta to take him off the floor with Capela out. That’s allowed him to play at least 37 minutes in three of his last five games, averaging 36 fantasy points per game in that span. That’s brilliant from a $6K player, and we love that he’s played 80 combined minutes over the last two games. We’ve already talked about this struggling Golden State defense, and they’ve faced difficulties against centers throughout their small-ball era.

Advantageous Pricing

  • Jaylen Nowell (SG – MIN): $4,200 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel
  • Jarrett Allen (C – CLE): $6,600 DraftKings, $7,700 FanDuel
  • Caris LeVert (SG/SF – CLE): $4,800 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel
  • Scottie Barnes (SF/PF – TOR): $6,900 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel
  • Myles Turner (C – IND): $6,400 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel
  • Gary Trent (SG – TOR): $5,300 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel
  • Jakob Poeltl (C – SAS): $5,800 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel
  • Saddiq Bey (SG/SF – DET): $4,300 DraftKings, $5,800 FanDuel
  • Jalen Johnson (SF – ATL): $3,500 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel
  • Tyler Herro (PG/SG – ATL): $9,100 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel


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