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Fantasy Basketball Picks Today: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for December 28

Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Thursday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings.

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

On Thursday night, the NBA brings us a great eight-game slate. The Pistons’ plummet continues coming into their matchup in Boston, which gets the action underway at 7:30 p.m. ET. There are two trios of games tipping off at 8:00 and three more starting at 10:00 p.m. ET or later. In the middle of those two waves, the 9:00 p.m. ET showdown features the Grizzlies and the Nuggets. With some players uncertain as usual, be sure to keep track of all the important updates and their fantasy impact at DK Live.

As far as back-to-backs, only the Mavericks are finishing a back-to-back, and the Celtics, Hornets, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers and Spurs are scheduled to run it back on Friday to finish their back-to-back sets.

DraftKings Sportsbook gives the highest point total on the slate to the Pacers-Bulls (240.5) matchup. The Celtics (-16.5) are the heaviest favorites on the board while the game with the smallest spread is the Pacers (-1.5) visiting Chicago. The Bulls are the only home dogs on the slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]


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Guard

Stud

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs ($8,200) – There’s an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt on this slate, but most of the options will take a big chunk of your salary cap. Simons is a cheaper play that still brings elite upside and is in a great matchup against the Spurs. No team in the NBA has allowed more DKFP per game to opposing point guards than the Spurs, and the Trail Blazers have looked like a much better team over the last 10 games since Simons returned from an extended absence due to a thumb injury suffered on Opening Night. Since he returned, Simons has led the team with 31.3% usage in 34.8 minutes per game while producing 1.22 DKFP per minute. Without Shaedon Sharpe (adductor) and Deandre Ayton (knee), Simons will likely have to hoist a heavy workload in what should be a smash spot vs. the Spurs.

Other Options - Luka Doncic ($11,800), Tyrese Haliburton ($10,300), Tyler Herro ($8,400) if Jimmy Butler is out, Terry Rozier ($8,300), Anfernee Simons ($7,500), Coby White ($8,100), Jamal Murray ($7,700), Derrick White ($7,100)

Value

Cody Martin, Charlotte Hornets at Los Angeles Lakers ($3,800) – The Hornets take on the Lakers but will be extremely short-handed. Not only is LaMelo Ball (ankle) still out and Brandon Miller ($5,700, ankle) questionable, but Gordon Hayward (calf) is also going to miss this contest. One player who the Hornets just got back who remains extremely cheap is Martin, who has a high ceiling for a player under $4,000. Martin made his season debut Saturday after recovering from a knee injury. He played 17 minutes and had 6.6 DKFP, but he was much better on Tuesday against the Clippers when he produced 23 DKFP in 25 minutes. In that game, he had four steals, a block, two assists and two rebounds to go with his seven points. Even if he doesn’t score a ton of points, Martin’s non-scoring production should be enough to make him an elite value on this slate, especially if he gets more work with Hayward sidelined.

Other Options - Brandin Podziemski ($5,700), Andrew Nembhard ($5,500), Scoot Henderson ($5,000), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,600), Nick Smith Jr. ($4,100)


Forward

Stud

DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers ($8,300) – The Bulls are also in a great matchup since the Pacers rank first in the NBA in pace and third-worst in defensive rating. DeRozan has had to carry the load for the Bulls with Zach LaVine (foot) out, and now he’ll have even more work available with Nikola Vucevic (groin) sidelined. On the year, he has a 26.1% usage rate and has produced 1.06 DraftKings points per minute, but without LaVine and Vucevic on the floor, his usage jumps to 30.2% and he has averaged 1.17 DKFP per minute. In an up-tempo contest with plenty of points needed to keep up with Indiana, look for DeRozan and Coby White ($8,100) to pick up plenty of work and produce strong numbers.

Other Options - Anthony Davis ($10,000), LeBron James ($9,800), Kristaps Porzingis ($7,800), Zion Williamson ($7,700)

Value

Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies ($6,100) – The Nuggets will be without Aaron Gordon (face/hand) indefinitely while he recovers from a dog-bite incident. In his absence, MPJ should be a great value at just over $6,000. Porter has averaged 1.13 DKFP per minute with Gordon off the floor this season and produced 41.4 DKFP in the four games that Gordon missed earlier this season. Porter is also coming off a huge game on Christmas when he had 19 points, 10 boards and 44 DKFP in 40 minutes. While Gordon is out, he should be ready to step up into a bigger role for the defending champs.

Other Options - Jaime Jaquez Jr. ($6,300), Sam Hauser ($5,000), Jabari Walker ($4,200), Peyton Watson ($3,800)


Center

Studs

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Memphis Grizzlies ($11,300) – The player that actually sees the biggest bump in usage and production with Gordon off the floor this season is Jokic as if he needed the help. Jokic is an absolute fantasy beast in any situation with a usage rate of 30.9% and an average of 1.81 DKFP per minute, but with Gordon off the floor, those numbers balloon to 37.6% usage and an average of 1.93 DKFP per minute. The sample size isn’t huge, but it is significant (251 minutes). Especially against a Grizzlies team that is without its big defensive stopper in Steven Adams (knee), Jokic should be a mismatch that the Nuggets lean on Thursday night.

Other Options - Bam Adebayo ($8,800), Victor Wembanyana ($8,700), Andre Drummond ($7,500)

Values

Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics ($6,200) – The Pistons have dropped an abysmal 27 straight games, setting the NBA single-season record for most losses in a row. While they’re incredibly bad, that doesn’t mean there isn’t fantasy value to consider. Duren missed 19 straight games in the middle of that streak, but when he has been available he has produced very good numbers this year. He returned on Tuesday with 41.75 DKFP in 33 minutes on 12 points, 15 rebounds and four assists. On the year, he has produced 34.1 DKFP per game with 11 double-doubles. Getting him at just over $6,000 is a great deal, especially with Isaiah Stewart (toe) ruled out and plenty of minutes probably coming his way.

Other Options - Nick Richards ($5,900), Jalen Smith ($4,900), Duop Reath ($3,800)

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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.