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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for December 16

Matt LaMarca gives his top studs and value plays at each position for today’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday’s NBA slate is on the smaller size, but DraftKings is still offering up some big DFS contests. The slate features four games and gets underway at 7:00 p.m. ET. Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your lineups.

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Point Guard


Derrick Rose, New York Knicks @ Houston Rockets ($6,300) – Virtually every team on today’s slate is dealing with some absences, and the Knicks are no exception. They’ll be without RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Quentin Grimes, which opens up a few additional minutes for the rest of the roster. Rose should be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s averaged 1.02 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s played at least 33 minutes in each of his past three games. He should see a similar workload on Saturday, making him an excellent option in an elite matchup vs. the Rockets.


David Duke Jr., Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($4,200) – The Nets are absolutely decimated at the moment. They’ll be missing seven players due to health and safety protocols, including James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Duke moved into the starting lineup in their last game, and he put together a massive performance. He finished with 40.25 DKFP over 37.7 minutes, and he only shot 4-13 from the field. That means his performance wasn’t overly fluky. I wouldn’t expect another 40+ fantasy points on Thursday, but you don’t need nearly that much given his current price tag. He’s a steal at $4,200.

Other Options – Cameron Payne ($5,200), Killian Hayes ($3,800)

Shooting Guard


Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks ($5,600) – Shooting guard doesn’t stand out as a position to pay up for on Thursday. I’m probably not looking to go any higher than Gordon, who’s priced at just $5,600. He should continue to benefit from the absences of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., and Christian Wood is also doubtful. Gordon leads the team with a 27.6% usage rate with all three players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 0.98 DKFP per minute. He’s returned value in each of his past five games, and he’s coming off 42.75 DKFP in his last outing.

Other Options – Bradley Beal ($9,000), Alec Burks ($7,100)


Frank Jackson, Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers ($4,000) – Jackson has been playing well for the Pistons recently. He’s logged at least 30.6 minutes in two of his past three games, and he’s responded with at least 27.5 DKFP in both contests. The Pistons won’t be quite as thin in the backcourt as they were in their last game, but the team is still playing without both Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk. Jackson is someone who can help pick up the slack.

Other Options – Cameron Thomas ($4,700), Josh Christopher ($3,500)

Small Forward


Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($12,300) – There are plenty of strong value options on Thursday’s slate, so paying up for Kevin Durant feels mandatory. He’s the best player in basketball, and he’s been asked to do everything for the team without James Harden recently. Durant has logged at least 41.5 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s responded with at least 72.25 DKFP in both. There’s no reason to overthink this one.

Other Options – Kyle Kuzma ($6,100)


Kessler Edwards, Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($4,000) – Edwards is another potential source of value for the shorthanded Nets. He played 43.7 minutes in their overtime win over the Raptors on Tuesday, and he racked up 38.5 DKFP. Edwards shot the ball well in that contest – he was 7-12 from the field and 3-6 from 3-point range – but he should see another sizable workload. He’s simply too cheap at $4,000.

Other Options – Hamidou Diallo ($4,300)

Power Forward


Julius Randle, New York Knicks @ Houston Rockets ($10,000) – Randle hasn’t been the same dominant force as last season, but he’s still averaged a solid 1.21 DKFP per minute this season. He could be looking at a massive workload on Thursday. In addition to Toppin being out of the lineup, Kevin Knox has also entered the league’s health and safety protocols. Knox had played at least 20.3 minutes off the bench in each of their past two games, and some of those minutes could find their way to Randle vs. the Rockets.

Other Options – Tobias Harris ($8,700)


Daniel Theis, Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks ($3,000) – Theis earned the start at center yesterday with Wood out of the lineup, and he could draw that designation again on Thursday. He ultimately finished with just 18.4 minutes, but that was enough to rack up 15.0 DKFP. That’s nothing to write home about, but it’s not a killer at the absolute minimum. Theis makes sense if you’re looking to go full “stars and scrubs,” but he’s admittedly one of the weaker value plays on the slate.

Other Options – Blake Griffin ($5,000), Saddiq Bey ($4,900)



Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks ($5,500) – Sengun isn’t priced like a stud, but he’s capable of stud-like production on Thursday. He’s been one of the best centers in fantasy on a per-minute basis recently, averaging 1.34 DKFP per minute. His playing time is also trending in the right direction, and he’s coming off 27.6 minutes with Wood out of the lineup on Wednesday. He finished with 46.75 DKFP in that contest, so he’s one of the easiest plays on the slate.

Other Options – Joel Embiid ($11,400), Domantas Sabonis ($10,500)


Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($3,900) – Claxton is another potential value option for the Nets. He didn’t see a huge spike in playing time in their last game, but he finished with 27.75 DKFP over 26.1 minutes. Claxton has historically been the type of player who can average over a fantasy point per minute, so that kind of production isn’t fluky. He’s massively underpriced at just $3,900 on DraftKings.

Other Options – Oshae Brissett ($3,600)

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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 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.

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