NBA DFS Picks Breakdown (Friday, Dec. 30): Load Up on Shorthanded Magic

Friday features a nine-game slate starting at 7 pm ET.

Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and metrics.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can use our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.

Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock. Use the PrizePicks promo code LABS to get a $100 sign-up bonus for NBA player props.

NBA DFS Point Guard Picks

Stud

Russell Westbrook may not be the same fantasy monster that he was in his prime, but he’s still been a nice source of value recently. He’s averaged a stout 1.40 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which is more than guys like James Harden, Trae Youngand Damian Lillard. Westbrook’s minutes can be volatile, but he has posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.98 over his past 10 games on DraftKings and has scored at least 53.25 DraftKings points in four of those contests.

Westbrook could be thrust into an even larger role on Friday. Anthony Davis remains out of the lineup, while LeBron James is currently questionable. Westbrook has increased his usage rate by +5.8% and his assist rate by +9.8% with both players off the floor this season, and he would likely pick up a few additional minutes as well. That would make him very appealing against a Hawks’ squad that has played at the fifth-fastest pace this season.


Value

The skirmish between the Magic and the Pistons on Wednesday is going to have massive implications on this slate. The Magic are going to be without six players due to suspension, leaving the team with just eight players vs. the Wizards. Three more players will serve a suspension next week, but the league wanted to make sure the Magic could still meet the required minimum of eight players on Friday.

Markelle Fultz will be available for Orlando, and he should take on a monster workload. He’s already been very good this season, averaging 0.99 DraftKings points per minute, and he’s projected for more than 36 minutes in our NBA Models. That makes him very tough to pass up on DraftKings, where his $6,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 90%.


Fast Break

The Pistons will be without a starting point guard Killian Hayeswhich should give Cory Joseph a nice spike in playing time. He’s projected for more than 26 minutes at a minimum salary on DraftKings, and min-priced players have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.00 with a comparable minute projection (per the Trends tool). Joseph also draws a phenomenal matchup vs. the Bulls, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.84.

There’s no shortage of value on Friday, so paying up for Lillard makes a ton of sense on FanDuel. He leads the position with 10 Pro Trends, and his $9,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.

NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks

Stud

It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Jordan Poole of late. He has taken on a monster workload, posting a usage rate of at least 40.2% in five of his past six games, but he has not been able to make any shots. As a result, he posted a negative Plus/Minus in five straight contests.

Still, all that volume is bound to lead to some better results, and Poole has displayed an outstanding ceiling when his shot is falling. He had a 43-point game in Toronto during that stretch, and he finished with 52.2 FanDuel points. Poole should continue to dominate the ball with Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins sidelined, and his $7,500 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.


Value

The Pistons have a pair of interesting shooting guard options Jaden Ivey and Alec Burks, but Burks stands out as the superior option on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,400, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 93%, and he’s been the superior fantasy producer this season. He’s averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute, and that figure increases slightly with Hayes and Cade Cunningham off the floor.

Ivey is the better choice on FanDuel, and he has more upside overall. He’s expected to play more minutes than Burks, and he’s also seen a bigger boost with Hayes and Cunningham sidelined. He’s increased his usage rate by +7.8% and his assist rate by +10.3%, both of which rank first on the team. Ivey has been really inefficient in that scenario – he owns just an effective field goal percentage of 39.9% – but he has immense upside if his shot is falling.


Fast Break

Jevon Carter should continue to start in place of Jrue Holiday, who is doubtful with an illness. He’s been effective in that role this season, increasing his usage rate by +7.0% in six games without Holiday and Chris Middleton. He’s averaged 31.79 DraftKings points in those contests, although those numbers are inflated by playing three games without Giannis Antetokounmpo as well. Still, he’s a good bet to pay off his minimum salary across the industry.

DeMar DeRozan went off against the Bucks on Wednesday, and he averaged a Plus/Minus of +11.26 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. He leads the position with 13 Pro Trends, and his $9,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 83%. The Bulls’ implied team total of 118.5 also ranks second on the slate.

NFL DFS Small Forward Picks

Stud

Paolo Banchero made an instant impact this season, but he has slowed down a bit in recent weeks. He’s posted a negative Plus/Minus on DraftKings in three straight games, including a game with just 15.75 DraftKings points vs. the Lakers.

That’s caused his salary to drop to just $7,800 on DraftKings, and he’s an elite buy-low option for the shorthanded Magic. Banchero is going to be forced into a monster workload with guys like Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony, and Mo Bamba all serving a suspension. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends, and his current price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 86%.


Value

Franz Wagner is another potential option for the Magic, and he’s arguably a slightly better value than Banchero. He’s -$1,600 cheaper on DraftKings and -$1,900 cheaper on FanDuel, but there hasn’t been much of a difference between the two players this season. In fact, Wagner has averaged 0.92 FanDuel points per minute this season, while Banchero has averaged just 0.90. Wagner is also projected for more minutes in our NBA Models, making the savings with Wagner very appealing. Banchero does possess a higher ceiling, but Wagner stands out as one of the better per-dollar options on the slate.


Fast Break

Is Sadiq Bey officially back? He’s scored 27.0 DraftKings points two games ago, and he followed that up with 50.0 DraftKings points in his last contest. Bey saw 35.3 minutes in that contest, and he averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance, but he’s clearly capable of paying off his $4,300 salary. His matchup vs. the Bulls is also a good one, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.48.

Bradley Beal is questionable for the Wizards, and Kyle Kuzma would continue to see a boost in value if he’s out of the lineup. He racked up 40.5 FanDuel points sans Beal on Wednesday, and he has numerous 50+ fantasy point outings on the year. He’s reasonably priced at $8,100 on FanDuel and shouldn’t carry much ownership.

NBA DFS Power Forward Picks

Stud

On slates with plenty of value, paying up for the top available players makes a ton of sense. This slate definitely qualifies, and Giannis Antetokounmpo should be at the top of your wish list. Giannis has put together another monster season, averaging 57.6 DraftKings points through his first 29 games, but his production has tapered off recently. He’s averaged 1.63 DraftKings points per minute, and while that’s still a fantastic mark, it’s not quite as dominant as in previous years.

However, the absence of Holiday and Middleton changed things. Giannis has increased his usage rate to 41.1% with both players off the floor this season, and he has increased his assist rate by +14.1%. He racked up 45 points, 22 rebounds, and seven assists with both players out of the lineup on Wednesday, resulting in a whopping 84.0 DraftKings points. Giannis played more than 42 minutes in that contest, and while that game went to overtime, he played more than 37 minutes in regulation. If Giannis is going to see that much playing time, there aren’t many players who can match his fantasy production.


Value

Bobby Portis is another strong option for the Bucks, especially at just $5,700 on FanDuel. His price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%, and Portis has averaged 1.11 FanDuel points per minute this season. His minutes have been down recently, but the matchup vs. the Timberwolves should help make up for it. They’ve played at the second-fastest pace this season, so there should be plenty of opportunities for the Bucks to rack up fantasy points.


Fast Break

Rui Hachimura erupted for 40.25 DraftKings points on Wednesday. He shot an unsustainable 11-13 from the field in that contest, but he now has at least 34.25 DraftKings points in two of his past four games. He should continue to see a few additional minutes if Beal is ruled out, making him a strong value at just $4,100 on DraftKings.

Bojan Bogdanovic is worth consideration on FanDuel, where his $6,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 89%. He also has one of the best individual matchups at the position, with his +6.04 Opponent Plus/Minus ranking second among power forwards.

NBA DFS Center Picks

Stud

Nikola Jokic is the other mega-stud to consider on this slate. Even by his lofty standards, he has turned in some ridiculous performances of late. He racked up at least 50.1 FanDuel points in 10 straight games, and he had at least 78.4 FanDuel points in four of them. Overall, he averaged 1.74 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, which is easily the top mark on the slate.

Jokic does have a subpar matchup Friday vs. the Heat, but Jokic is as matchup-proof as it gets. Most of the ownership in the stud tier will likely go to Giannis on Friday, and targeting Jokic at reduced ownership is always a good idea in tournaments.


Value

The last stop on our tour of the Magic is Bol Bol. He’s way too cheap at $4,800 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%. Bol has averaged 1.00 DraftKings points per minute this season, and the Magic are going to be extremely thin in the frontcourt on this slate. With Carter, Bamba, and Mo Wagner all out, Bol should be thrust into a sizable workload. He’s currently projected for just under 34 minutes in our NBA Models, and it’s hard to imagine him busting with that many minutes.


Fast Break

Onyeka Okongwu is another outstanding value on this slate. Clint Capela remains out of the lineup, and Okongwu has handled most of the center minutes in his absence. He’s averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s coming off 43.25 DraftKings points in his last outing. He’s underpriced across the industry, but his $5,300 salary on DraftKings is larceny.

Finally, don’t forget about Jalen Duren. He has provided tremendous fantasy value since entering the starting lineup thanks to his elite rebound numbers. He has back-to-back games with at least 36.5 DraftKings points, and you’ll gladly take that kind of production at just $5,400.

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