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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 14

Stan Son breaks down Thursday’s DraftKings NBA Snake contest, which locks at 7:00 p.m. ET.

The NBA season is in full swing, and DraftKings has released a new fantasy format for the current season. Snake Draft contests are now available for the NBA in addition to the NFL, including for Thursday’s five-game NBA slate.

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 everyone 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

Domantas Sabonis, F/C, Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers
NBA Snake Rank: 5th

Sabonis has played 11 games so far and he’s double-doubled in all of them. He’s averaging 1.25 DKFP per minute and 44.14 DKFP per game. His lowest-scoring output was a 39.25 DKFP performance against the Knicks. He’s gone over 50 DKFP in four games, with a 61.5 DKFP explosion against the Suns. Translation: he good.

Now he gets a matchup against Robert Covington and the Trail Blazers. While Covington does a good job limiting scoring from the perimeter, he gives up size and will have difficulty checking Sabonis in the post and on the glass. On the season, the Trail Blazers are boosting the rebounding to power forwards by 15.23%.

The game environment is also a favorable one, as the Trail Blazers are favored by 3 points and the O/U is the highest on the slate at 229 points.

Late-night hammer indeed.

Nikola Jokic, F/C, Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors
NBA Snake Rank: 1st

Jokic is coming off a game against the Nets in which he scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out 11 assists, notched seven steals, drained one three-pointer, and blocked one shot. W. T. F. He literally does it all and is bored of triple-doubles so is going for quadruple-doubles now.

On the season, he’s averaging a ridiculous 1.67 DKFP per minute and 53.59 DKFP per game. While he has a low of 39.8 DKFP, he’s gone over 60 DKFP five times, with two of those over 70 DKFP.

As for the matchup, Jokic says, “matchup schmatchup.” Jokic eschews matchups as if he was flicking off a ladybug resting on his arm.

DK Sportsbook has the Nuggets favored by 5 points with a healthy O/U of 225.5 points.

Christian Wood, F/C, Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
NBA Snake Rank: 17th

No James Harden. No Eric Gordon. No John Wall. Someone has to put the ball in the bucket, right? With none of those players on the floor, Wood garners a usage rate of 34.7. The sample size is obviously small but the offense is going to run through him.

On the season, Wood is averaging 1.25 DKFP per minute and 39.15 DKFP per game. He should smash through those averages in this game

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $500K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

Early Round Players to Avoid

James Harden, G, Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
NBA Snake Rank: 2nd

I debated if I should write up Harden here or not, but he’s the second-ranked player on the board and there is only a Q tag next to him. Hey, someone may have just opened up the hatch in their doomsday cave.

Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat
NBA Snake Rank: 7th

I don’t hate Simmons. I just like the other players on the slate better. The 76ers and Heat just played two days ago and Simmons only produced five points, six rebounds, 12 assists, and two steals in 31 minutes. He did foul out so that obviously affected his line but the number I want to focus on was the 11.3 usage rate. Joel Embiid had a usage rate of 33.3 in that game and scored a whopping 82.5 DKFP.

It’s unlikely that Embiid goes ballistic like that again but the offense runs through him. On the season, Simmons is garnering a usage rate of 19.5. Due to his ability to contribute in every category, Simmons has a decent floor but the ceiling is tough to access. He’s averaging 1.16 DKFP per minute and 35.45 DKFP per game.

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.

Ben McLemore, G, Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
NBA Snake Rank: 88th

McLemore will likely get the start for this game. Last season, in 23 starts, McLemore averaged 24.2 minutes, 11 points, 8.3 field goal attempts, 2.8 three-pointers, 2.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks. That’s nothing to write home about but, in two of those games, he went for at least 40 DKFP.

In one of those games, he contributed 28 points, two rebounds, three assists, and one steal. In the other game, he scored 24 points with 13 rebounds, one assist, and one steal. In both of those games, both James Harden and Russell Westbrook played so the argument can be made that scoring may be more difficult without those two breaking down defenses and providing open looks.

For sure, so the floor is low but McLemore has shown that he can shoot and score and has navigated pick-and-roll/pop action before. That is something that could be prevalent with him and Wood tonight.

Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Miami Heat @ Philadelphia 76ers
NBA Snake Rank: 65th

The Heat have eight players out due to COVID-19 protocols. As a result, Achiuwa received his first start of the season last game and contributed 17 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and one block in 35 minutes. He should see a similar workload in this one.

DeMarcus Cousins, F/C, Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
NBA Snake Rank: 59th

Cousins probably won’t see more than 20 minutes of action, but he’s a per-minute beast when he’s on the court. On the season, he’s averaging 1.53 DKFP per minute and in his last game, he produced 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and one steal in 17 minutes.

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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 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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