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Fantasy Basketball Picks Today: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for January 18

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

NBA: Houston Rockets at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There are five games on Thursday. Daniel Gafford and Desmond Bane are out. Tyrese Haliburton ($9,900) is questionable but I’m highly skeptical that he plays. Pascal Siakam will not make his Pacers debut while both Aaron Nesmith and Obi Toppin are questionable. Keep track of all the pertinent updates at DK Live.

As for back-to-backs, MIN, NYK, TOR and UTA played last night. IND is the only team that plays on Friday.

DraftKings Sportsbook has one game with a total of at least 240 - IND/SAC (248.5). There are two double-digit favorites - NYK -12 over WAS and MIN -12 over MEM. There is one game within two points - CHI -2 over TOR. There are two home dogs - TOR and UTA. Log into DK Sportsbook for the updates.

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Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards ($8,500) – Brunson missed two games due to a calf contusion but returned on Wednesday and did not miss a beat, playing 37 minutes and shooting 11-of-21 from the field for 45.25 DKFP. The Knicks are playing the second leg of a back-to-back and the official injury report for the Knicks isn’t out yet, but I’m not too concerned. That said, if there’s a hint that he sits, then pivot away and Miles McBride ($5,600) becomes very enticing. The Wizards are tied for first in pace and are 29th in defensive efficiency. They have boosted the FPPM to point guards by 16.3%, the second-most generous mark in the league.

Other Options - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,200), De’Aaron Fox ($9,100), Scottie Barnes ($8,100), Immanuel Quickley ($7,000), Jordan Clarkson ($6,800), Malik Monk ($6,400), Collin Sexton ($6,200), Buddy Hield ($6,100) if Aaron Nesmith is out


Luke Kennard, Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves ($5,300) – Gary Trent Jr. ($4,300) will likely be a popular value option because of the price and the fact that he put up 36.5 DKFP in 31 minutes on Wednesday. Trent will likely start and play 30 minutes again, but he’s on the second leg of a back-to-back. My issues with Trent are that he likely won’t shoot 10-of-13 from the field and 8-of-9 from downtown again, and if he’s not blistering hot, he contributes so little in the other categories that it’s well within the range of outcomes that he scores single-digit DKFP.

Kennard, on the other hand, is not only an excellent shooter but grabs some rebounds and dishes out some dimes to mitigate any shooting inefficiencies. Kennard has started the last five games and received 22, 23, 29, 33 and 32 minutes. He’s put up 18.75, 28.75, 29.75, 21.75 and 23.5 DKFP.

Minnesota boasts the best defense in the league and is sixth-best in both the number of treys attempted and percentage converted per game by opponents, but the playing time and well-rounded game for Kennard makes me think that he can deliver.

Other Options - TJ McConnell ($5,900) if Tyrese Haliburton is out, Andrew Nembhard ($5,800), Dennis Schroder ($5,700), Alex Caruso ($5,600), Miles McBride ($5,600) if Jalen Brunson is out, Kevin Huerter ($5,200), Keyonte George ($4,800), Ziaire Williams ($4,400), Gary Trent Jr. ($4,300)



Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($8,500) – The Jazz are blistering hot, having won six straight and nine of the last 10 games, with Markkanen being a big reason why. He’s gone for over 50 DKFP in four of the last six games. This should be a highly competitive affair, as the Jazz are favored by 3.5 points at home against a Thunder team that is one of the best in the league but also coming off two straight losses in Los Angeles. In competitive games, Markkanen has played 38 minutes in the past. In addition, the Thunder have boosted the FPPM to opposing power forwards by 6.89% recently.

Other Options - Jalen Williams ($7,200), RJ Barrett ($6,600), Keegan Murray ($6,000), OG Anunoby ($6,000)


GG Jackson, Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves ($4,000) – Due to all the injuries, Jackson has entered the rotation and played 27 and 29 minutes in the last two games. A highly touted prospect who slipped in the draft due to a myriad of reasons, Jackson has shown that he’s a professional getter of buckets, having contributed 23 and 20 points. If the projected ownership gets too high, I may look to pivot because Minnesota is the best defensive team in the league and Jackson hasn’t always been the most efficient shooter. This could be a Welcome to the NBA moment. That said, he is priced well for the expected role and upside of 41.5 DKFP that he delivered last game.

Other Options - Jaden McDaniels ($5,200), Lugentz Dort ($5,000), Josh Hart ($4,900)



Julius Randle, New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards ($8,800) – Randle has exceeded point expectations 70% of the time this season, despite not contributing much in the defensive categories. That’s because he delivers a ton of points and rebounds while chipping in dimes. He also plays a ton of minutes, often in the 38-minute range. He probably won’t reach that level tonight, as the Knicks are favored by 12 points, but the last two times he faced the Wizards, he played 38 and 35 minutes while putting up 57.75 and 46.25 DKFP in double-digit victories. The environment is just too fantasy-friendly to ignore, as the Wizards play fast and eschew defense.

Other Options - Nikola Vucevic ($7,500), Rudy Gobert ($7,400), Isaiah Hartenstein ($6,700)


Marvin Bagley III, Washington Wizards at New York Knicks ($4,000) – Bagley was the number two overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, one slot ahead of Luka Doncic. To be fair, I thought Bagley would be better than he has been. I used to see him cook older players in the Drew League before entering the NBA. That’s the Drew League, though. This is the NBA, and his limitations have been exposed. From a fantasy perspective, though, he can still score, grab rebounds and is averaging a respectable 1 DKFP per minute this season. Oftentimes, it comes down to situation and opportunity. Well, it’s all there for Bagley on a platter now, as Daniel Gafford is out so Bagley should start and play as many minutes as he can. The Wizards aren’t in win-now mode and play free and fast, which could allow... dare I say... Bagley to thrive? Ok, I’ll stop talking crazy but crazier things have happened on this spinning ball of mass that is hurtling thousands of miles around a hot, flaming ball of heat and fire.

Other Options - Jalen Smith ($5,400)

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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.