The NBA season kicks off on Tuesday with a doubleheader, and DraftKings has released a new fantasy format to celebrate! Snake Drafts are now available for the NBA in addition to the NFL, starting with a two-game NBA Snake slate on Tuesday.
If you’ve ever played season-long fantasy before – either for NBA or any other sport – you’re likely familiar with how a Snake Draft works. In short, for these contests, once the allotted number of entries are filled in a contest, the draft will begin one minute later. The entrants are assigned a random draft order and will commence in that order. The player with the first pick gets dibs on anyone while the player with the last pick will get a double pick, as it’ll end the first round and thus begin the second.
Roster requirements for lineups: G – 2, F/C – 2, Util – 2
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Favorable Early Round Targets
Anthony Davis, F/C, Los Angeles Lakers
Snake Classic Rank: 1st
No surprises here. Davis is coming off the board with the first pick more often than any other players in this format given his average ADP of 1.5, and he absolutely deserves to be.
Not only is Davis one of the best fantasy assets in the league – he averaged 49.48 DKFP per game last season – but he has a chance to carry a larger share of the workload this season. LeBron James was still the alpha for the Lakers last year, but he has already said that he will place more emphasis on load management this season. That means resting on more occasions – he’s even talked about taking a month off during the season – but it could also mean fewer minutes when he’s in the lineup.
Davis is also in a solid spot vs. the Clippers. They were much weaker on the interior than on the wing last season, which makes sense considering that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are their wing defenders. They should be better in that department this season after acquiring Serge Ibaka, but Davis should still be able to have his way. He scored at least 48.25 DraftKings points in three of four matchups vs. the Clippers last season, and I think that’s a conservative estimate for him on opening night.
Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
Snake Classic Rank: 4th
After Davis, Curry is the player I want most on this slate. He’s coming off the board as just the fourth selection in drafts, and I think that’s a mistake.
Curry was limited to just five games last season, but don’t forget that this guy is one of the best players in the league. He was dominant from a fantasy perspective during his back-to-back MVP seasons, averaging 52.4 and 45.38 DraftKings points per game. Those seasons were with Klay Thompson in the lineup, and Curry will now be asked to carry an even larger burden. Their offense may suffer in terms of efficiency, but Curry’s usage rate should skyrocket.
This is also the more appealing matchup to target from a fantasy perspective. The total on the Warriors/Nets game sits at 231 on DraftKings Sportsbook, while the game between the Lakers and Clippers sits at 222.5.
Early Round Player to Avoid
Kevin Durant, F/C, Brooklyn Nets
Snake Classic Rank: 2nd
Durant is coming off the board with the second pick in most drafts, but he carries some risk vs. the Warriors. This is going to be his first full game since injuring his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals, so it would make sense for the Nets to ease him into action. Durant did play well in two preseason games, averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists over 25.6 minutes, but that doesn’t mean the Nets are going to fully unleash him on opening night. The goal is to win a championship, and the best way to do that is to ensure that Durant is on the court during the postseason.
I think 30 minutes is a reasonable estimate for Durant’s playing time in this contest. That could be enough for him to be a strong fantasy option, but he feels a bit riskier than guys like Davis and Curry. I’d feel more comfortable grabbing him with the fourth or fifth pick than taking him off the board second.
Later Round Fliers
It should be noted that these players are ranked below the threshold of players that would be drafted. This section simply tries to exploit players who are in favorable matchups and are down the rank list.
Serge Ibaka, F/C, Los Angeles Clippers
Snake Classic Rank: 19th
The Clippers are dealing with a huge injury heading into this contest. Marcus Morris (knee) has been ruled out, and he emerged as one of their most important role players after being acquired at the trade deadline last season. He averaged 28.9 minutes per game with the Clippers, so that opens up a good bit of playing time.
Ibaka is one of the players who should benefit. He’s expected to form a timeshare at center with Ivica Zubac, but Ibaka could also see some additional minutes at power forward. The Lakers typically play a big lineup with a traditional center, so the Clippers can survive with Ibaka and another big man on the court at the same time.
Ibaka also remains a productive player on a per-minute basis. He averaged 1.11 DKFP per minute last season, and he could approach 30 minutes vs. the Lakers.
Eric Paschall, F/C, Golden State Warriors
Snake Classic Rank: 40th
Paschall showed some promise as a rookie last season, averaging 14.0 points in just 27.6 minutes per game. He even made the All-Rookie First Team despite being a second-round pick.
Paschall isn’t expected to contribute as much this season, but he does have a chance to play a solid handful of minutes on opening night. Draymond Green (foot) has been ruled out vs. the Nets, which means Paschall could draw a start at the power forward position. If Paschall is on the court, don’t expect him to be too shy offensively. Curry, Andrew Wiggins, and Kelly Oubre figure to handle most of the offensive responsibilities, but Paschall is going to let it fly when he gets the chance.
Luke Kennard, F/C, Los Angeles Clippers
Snake Classic Rank: 43rd
Kennard is so off the radar that he doesn’t even have an ADP but expect him to be a heavy part of the Clippers’ rotation this season. They just agreed to a four-year, $64M extension, so they clearly have plans for him.
He has a solid offensive skill set, which is great for fantasy purposes. He’s an excellent shooter from deep – he owns a career 3-point percentage of 40.2% – and he’s also capable of operating with the ball in his hands. He averaged 15.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game last season, so he’s capable of filling up the stat sheet.
He’ll take a backseat to Leonard and George in Los Angeles, but he has the opportunity to move into the starting lineup with Morris out of the lineup. That’s a valuable asset for someone who isn’t being drafted.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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 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.
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