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Fantasy Basketball Picks Today: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for December 29

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

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night brings a second straight eight-game slate, so grab your plate and get ready for something great! The main DraftKings contests get underway at 7:00 p.m. ET and do not include the two late games in Portland and Los Angeles. You can get a piece of those games in the late slate contests or on DraftKings Sportsbook, but it will help the main contests have less late volatility and wrap up earlier to include just the first eight games. As always, there are some great fantasy matchups to attack, but there are also still some unknowns. Be sure to keep track of all the important updates and their fantasy impact at DK Live.

As far as back-to-backs on the main slate, the Celtics, Hornets and Nuggets are all finishing their two-game sets. The Knicks, Sixers and Raptors are scheduled to turn around and play again on Saturday.

DraftKings Sportsbook gives the highest point total on the slate to SAC/ATL (252) by a wide margin. The Suns are the heaviest favorites at -15.5 while the game with the smallest spread is the Kings (-1) visiting the Hawks. Four of the games have lines within three points, so we should have some good, competitive games. The three home dogs on the slate are the Wizards, Cavs and Rockets.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $333K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

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Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks vs. Sacramento Kings ($9,900) – With a point total so much higher than the other games on the slate, this matchup is definitely one to lean into. Young is the biggest name in the matchup and has been scorching hot lately, so he’s a great place to start. Young has posted eight straight double-doubles while averaging 31.3 points and 13.3 assists in 38.5 minutes per game. He has produced 1.56 DKFP per minute and 59.8 DKFP per game during that run with a 32.8% usage rate and 51.0% assist rate. Before scoring “just” 21 points on Tuesday, he had 30+ in seven straight games along with double-digit assists in each of those contests. He has a sky-high ceiling and should thrive in this up-tempo environment at home. He’s a great cornerstone to build around on Friday’s slate.

Other Options - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,600), De’Aaron Fox ($9,400), Tyrese Maxey ($9,000), Jalen Brunson ($8,400), Jamal Murray ($7,800)


De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers at Houston Rockets ($6,100) – The 76ers will be without Joel Embiid (ankle) for a third straight game on Friday. With Embiid off the floor this season, Melton’s usage has increased by 5.5 percentage points to 23.5%, and he has produced 0.99 DKFP per minute. While Embiid has been sidelined with this injury, Melton had 15 points and 42.25 DKFP on Christmas Day in a loss to the Heat and followed that with 22 points and 35.25 DKFP in a win over the Magic. He has multi-category upside and is in a good matchup against the Rockets.

Other Options - Malik Monk ($5,700), Gary Trent Jr. ($5,200), Dennis Smith Jr. ($5,000), Immanuel Quickley ($4,900), Patrick Beverley ($3,600)



Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics ($8,900) – Barnes and the Raptors head to TD Garden to face the Celtics, who are finishing a back-to-back after barely escaping the upset-minded Pistons on Thursday. While the Celtics have multiple questions about who will play, the Raptors will continue to rely heavily on Barnes, who should be a strong option to build around as long as the game doesn’t get lopsided. Over his last nine games, Barnes averaged 24.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 7.1 assists for an impressive 1.51 DKFP per minute and 53.6 DKFP per game. Barnes had underwhelming performances in both of his earlier games against Boston this season, but this looks like a good spot for his energy to take advantage of a possibly fatigued Celtics squad to post a big game. His production across the box score gives him an extremely high ceiling and his PG/SF eligibility makes him flexible to fit with multiple roster constructions.

Other Options - Kevin Durant ($10,100), Julius Randle ($8,600), Paolo Banchero ($8,300), Mikal Bridges ($7,300), Tobias Harris ($6,800), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,600)


Peyton Watson, Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($4,500) – Watson made his first start of the season on Thursday night against the Grizzlies in place of Aaron Gordon, who is away from the team indefinitely after a dog bite incident that required 21 stitches. The second-year forward stepped up with 20 points, five rebounds and two assists for 31.25 DKFP in 23 minutes in the Nuggets’ 37-point win over the Grizz. Watson has made the most of his limited minutes, producing 0.9 DKFP per minute this month in his 20.8 minutes per game. If he continues to roll with the starting five and gets good minutes over the next few games, Watson should be able to return great value. He is still very underpriced on this slate as he takes on the team that originally drafted him at the end of the first round last year before trading him to Denver as part of the JaMychal Green trade.

Other Options - Kelly Oubre Jr. ($5,800), Cameron Johnson ($5,700), Josh Hart ($5,000), Luguentz Dort ($5,000), Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,700)



Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($11,200) – As I broke down in Thursday’s targets, Jokic gets the biggest usage boost of any Nuggets’ player with Gordon off the court. He showed that again on Thursday but only had to play 30 minutes in the lopsided win over Memphis, still totaling 26 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his 11th triple-double of the season. Jokic has produced an amazing 1.82 DKFP per minute on the season and that number jumps to 2.0 DKFP per minute with Gordon off the floor. In what should be a great matchup against the Thunder, he should be well-rested enough to carry the load and put up another monster stat line.

Other Options - Domantas Sabonis ($9,700), Alperen Sengun ($8,400), Jarrett Allen ($7,900), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,100)


Paul Reed, Philadelphia 76ers at Houston Rockets ($5,300) – Reed was in foul trouble on Christmas and only managed four points while starting in place of Embiid. He bounced back from that game with a much-improved performance on Wednesday, producing 15 points, 10 boards and 41 DKFP. He has that kind of upside if he can stay out of foul trouble in this game as well since he will likely get another start in place of Embiid. Reed is producing 1.02 DKFP per minute on the season and if he stays near that rate, he will be a strong value option if you don’t want to pay up for a star at center.

Other Options - Daniel Gafford ($6,000), Onyeka Okongwu ($5,300), Day’Ron Sharpe ($5,100), Mo Bamba ($4,200)

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $333K 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 z.thompson) 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.