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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for December 17

Pearce Dietrich gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Sunday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings.

Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Whether you’re chasing or just not a football fan, there is always a Sunday NBA DFS slate waiting for you. These slates are not very big, so the research process can be light. While everyone else dedicates their day to the NFL, we can get ahead by digging into the three-game evening slate that starts at 7 p.m. ET.

Delay the work week a few more hours. Get in on some NBA DFS action, and start by enjoying another colorful weekend edition of the NBA Targets.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st]

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Fred VanVleet, Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks, $8,300 — This is a solid spot for the Rockets. They might not win at Milwaukee — the Rockets are six-point dogs — but there should be plenty of DraftKings fantasy basketball points available for the Rockets. The Bucks rank third in Pace. They play below-average defense (19th in Defensive Efficiency Rating). VanVleet will play nearly 40 minutes in a great DFS environment on Sunday. The question is whether his shots will fall.


Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers, $6,000 — Draymond’s gone. Podzilla has emerged from the sea. Podziemski is no longer dirt cheap, but he is still a bargain. The Warriors are on the back-to-back, so DraftKings has not yet adjusted his salary. In Pod’s first start replacing Draymond Green, he was a let down. A 2-for-11 shooting performance led 22.25 DKFP in 35 minutes. The follow up was different. Pod scored 40.25 DKFP — his second 40-DKFP game in the last three games — against Brooklyn on Saturday.

Bilal Coulibaly, Washington Wizards at Phoenix Suns, $5,800 — This DFS pick doesn’t present extreme savings. It is extremely safe. Coulibaly has exceed 5x value in six straight games. His floor during that run — the first game on Dec. 1 — is 23.25 DKFP and his ceiling is 32.5 DKFP (Dec. 11 vs. Philadelphia). Another 25 to 30 DKFP is expected on Sunday night. Coulibaly plays 30 minutes a night with the Wizards second unit and consistently carries a 20% usage rate.



Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards, $9,600 — Blow out fears loom. It’s a three-game slate. That fear will need to be dismissed. The Suns have lost five of their last six, but they’re 12-point favorites on Sunday night. That’s with Bradley Beal ruled out. The Wizards are that bad. What’s bad for the Wiz is great for DFS. The Wizards play the worst defense and play at the second-fastest tempo in the NBA. If Durant does not rest, he will demolish the DFS NBA slate.


Grayson Allen, Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards, $5,400 — The minutes are always there. The usage rate is not. That’s not surprising. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker ($10,000) and Bradley Beal play for the Suns. They eat first. On Sunday, a Suns star is skipping a meal. Beal is out. A small usage rate bump is significant for Allen. The matchup matters, too. The Wizards have the worst defense in the NBA (118.6 Defensive Efficiency Rating).

Tari Eason, Houston Rockets at Milwaukee Bucks, $5,800 — “Eased in” Eason just can’t get the minutes. He’s healthy. Let him play. In the last eight games, Eason has logged 21 minutes or more five times. He returned 5.4x value or more in all five contests. Earlier this week, he scored 42.5 and 49.5 DKFP and never played more than 27 minutes in either contest. It will be Eason SZN when the minutes restriction — or whatever it is — is lifted. The season could begin in an up-tempo matchup with the Bucks on Sunday Dec. 17.



Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets, $11,400 — His salary might be too cheap. Antetokounmpo scored 95.5 DKFP on Wednesday night. His salary was $11,400 and he still returned 8.4x value. His numbers plummeted on Friday. They had to come down, but they definitely declined in a 32-point blowout win. Houston isn’t a great matchup. They are slow (25th in Pace) and play defense. There 104.9 Defensive Efficiency Rating is the second best in the NBA. On the other hand, the Bucks are top 5 in pace and offense. This will be interesting. Antetokounmpo is always interesting.

Jusuf Nurkic, Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards, $7,400 — Over the last 14 games, Nurkic is averaging 37.3 DKFP per game. In 29.3 MPG over this span, he’s averaging a double-double (10.7 rebounds and 14.9 points) with a 22.3% usage rate. That’s good for an average return of 5.4x value. That’s the average. The Wizards tend to bring out the above-average of their opponents.


Kevon Looney, Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers, $5,400 — We’ve seen this movie before. Draymond Green is out and Kevon Looney gets a shot. If only the shots fell. Looney is great a rebounder, but points are never guaranteed. The minutes look guaranteed. Since Green’s suspension, Looney has played 25 and 27 minutes off the bench. He scored 25.75 DKFP on Thursday Dec. 14 and 19.25 DKFP on Saturday Dec. 16.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.