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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA Snake DFS Strategy for January 15

Alex Hunter breaks down Friday’s DraftKings NBA Snake contest, which locks at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Happy Friday, everyone! Tonight, barring any postponements, we should see eight action-packed NBA games, and if you haven’t by now, you need to check out DraftKings’ new Snake Draft format!

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

Visit the DraftKings NBA lobby to view all the available NBA Snake contests!

Favorable Early Round Targets

Luka Doncic, G, Dallas Mavericks

NBA Snake Rank: 1

After an ugly start to his 2020-21 season, Doncic is back to playing at an elite level and is the current favorite to win the MVP (+400 on DraftKings Sportsbook). Even with Kristaps Porzingis back in the lineup Wednesday night, the 21-year-old went off for 77.75 DKFP in the 104-93 win over the Hornets and he has now topped 70 DKFP in three of his last four starts. The Mavs have been decimated due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols and all of Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson and Dwight Powell are expected to remain out Friday when the Mavs visit the Bucks.

As usual, Doncic’s usage should be at a ridiculous level in this clash of MVP candidates that carries a high O/U game total of 227 points on DraftKings Sportsbook. Milwaukee ranks as one of the top defenses in the NBA (6th in efficiency), but in his last matchup with Antetokounmpo, which came this past summer inside the NBA bubble, Doncic exploded for 89 DKFP. If you get lucky enough to get the first pick in your snake draft on Friday, don’t think twice and start your lineup with Doncic.

Nikola Vucevic, F/C, Orlando Magic

NBA Snake Rank: 12

Since Markelle Fultz (out, knee) went down, Vucevic has been a fantasy monster. In these past three without his point guard and Evan Fournier (back), the center has led the Magic with 52.7 DKFP per game and a 33.9% usage rate. Fultz is done for the season and Fournier will remain sidelined for Friday’s matchup with the shorthanded Celtics.

Boston’s crowded injury report lists Jayson Tatum (health protocols), Kemba Walker (knee), Robert and Williams (health protocols) as out, and Jaylen Brown (health protocols), Daniel Theis (health protocols), Javonte Green (health protocols) and Semi Ojeleye (health protocols) all as questionable. They already rank in the bottom-ten in defensive efficiency this season and should be even worse on Friday with many key players missing. Vucevic should be abuse them in the paint for over 50 DKFP and getting the stud center at his #12 draft ranking would be a steal.

Early Round Player to Avoid:

Zion Williamson, F/C, New Orleans Pelicans

NBA Snake Rank: 21

Williamson is in the midst of a disappointing sophomore season and this matchup vs. the Lakers is as bad as it gets. Nine starts into the year, the former first overall pick is only scoring 36.9 DKFP per game. With new Head Coach Stan Van Gundy at the helm, the Pelicans have really slowed down collectively, ranking 25th in pace this season, after being the second fastest club in basketball under Alvin Gentry a year ago. Playing at a slower pace hurts Williamson’s value and this Lakers defense he is going against Friday night ranks 1st in efficiency.

Furthermore, as a power forward, Williamson will see plenty of Anthony Davis, who not only is an elite defender, but guarding the superstar always brings serious foul risk. While his name may stand out in this range of drafts, I recommend letting someone else take a gamble on Williamson.

Late Round Fliers:

Jonas Valanciunas, F/C, Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Snake Rank: 29

Tonight, the Grizzlies and Wolves will go head-to-head for the second straight contest. In game one, Valanciunas couldn’t be stopped, supplying a season-best 50.5 DKFP in 30 minutes. For the season, the big man is contributing 35.1 DKFP per game and this Minnesota defense has been absolutely dreadful, especially in the paint.

They currently rank third to last in defensive efficiency, are allowing the 6th most rebounds per game and the most points in the paint per game. This matchup is simply perfect for Valanciunas and I love taking my chances on him finding his ceiling again.

Jordan Clarkson, G, Utah Jazz

NBA Snake Rank: 54

With Joe Ingles (Achilles) out tonight, Clarkson should thrive as the Jazz’s primary sixth man. With the small forward missing Tuesday, Clarkson tallied a season-high 41.5 DKFP across 28 minutes against the Cavs. He and Ingles work together as a dual threat off the bench for the Utah, and when one of them is absent, the other handles a larger offensive role as the leader of the second unit.

When Ingles has been off the court this year, Clarkson has produced 1.3 DKFP per minute, which is a notable 0.2 increase from his average for the season. This matchup vs. the Hawks is slated for a healthy O/U game total of 223.5 points on DraftKings Sportsbook, and the last time Utah found themselves in a total above 220 points was exactly a week ago, when Clarkson went for 40.5 DKFP vs. the Bucks. The extra opportunities the pure scorer should see sans Ingles is something many DFS players may overlook tonight, and I suspect we can get Clarkson much later than his pre-draft ranking.

Damyean Dotson, G, Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA Snake Rank: 82

Dotson will get another start at point guard tonight with Collin Sexton (ankle), Darius Garland (shoulder) and Kevin Porter Jr. (personal) all out for the Cavs. This will be Dotson’s fifth straight start and he is amassing 28.8 DKFP and 35.9 minutes per game with the starting unit.

Over 30 minutes of action is a near guarantee for Dotson and he should be pumped up to face his former team, the New York Knicks. After a hot start, this Knicks club ranks as the third worst defense in terms of efficiency over their last three games. Expect a minimum of 25 DKFP from Dotson tonight and the guard should be available in the later rounds of deep drafts.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) 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.