NBA DFS Picks Breakdown (Tuesday, Dec. 20): Can Nikola Jokic Keep Rolling?

Tuesday features a five-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 utilize 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

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Jordan Poole has gotten significantly more expensive of late, but he still stands out as one of the best values ​​at the position. He’s coming off 55.75 DraftKings points over 34.6 minutes in his last outing, and he posted a 40.4% usage rate. That’s probably on the high side of what you can expect on Tuesday, but Poole is going to have to continue to carry a monster workload with Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins out of the lineup. He’s seen a team-high +6.5% usage bump with both players off the floor this season, resulting in an average of 1.16 DraftKings points per minute.

Ultimately, his ceiling projection is pretty comparable to Yes Morant‘s in our NBA Models, but Poole is priced -$2,300 cheaper on DraftKings. That makes him the clear choice if paying up.


Value

Sticking with the Warriors, Ty Jerome is another potential option at point guard. The Warriors are also expected to be without Donte DiVincenzo on Tuesday, who is doubtful with an illness. That will open up a few additional minutes in the backcourt, and Jerome figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s currently projected for 26 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.09 (per the Trends tool). Jerome has averaged 0.74 DraftKings points per minute with Curry, Wiggins, and DiVincenzo off the floor, so he has a good chance to return value vs. the Knicks.


Fast Break

The Jazz have one of the best possible matchups Tuesday against the Pistons. Detroit ranks 29th in defensive efficiency this season, and the Jazz are currently implied for 116.0 points. Mike Conley leads all point guards with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.52 on FanDuel, making him a nice buy-low option at $5,500.

Immanuel Quickley is always worth some consideration in tournaments. He has the potential to go off in limited playing time, and his salary is down to $4,700 on FanDuel. That’s as cheap as he’s been since October, and he shouldn’t command much ownership on this slate.

NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks

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Devin Booker is questionable for Tuesday’s matchup vs. the Wizards after sitting out on Monday due to a groin injury. However, if he’s in the lineup, he’s in a great spot to do some damage. Washington started the year well defensively, but they have come crashing back to reality in recent weeks. They’re down to just 20th in defensive efficiency, and the Suns’ implied team total of 118.0 ranks second on the slate.

Booker also displayed his ceiling the last time he took the floor, racking up 75.0 DraftKings points vs. the Lakers. He’s one of the few studs who stands out as a better value on DraftKings, where his $9,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%.


Value

Jaden Ivey‘s minutes have taken a serious hit recently, and he’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in seven of his past eight games. However, his most recent performance was the lone exception. He racked up 27.5 DraftKings points in 27.6 minutes, and that kind of production should be sustainable for the rookie guard. He’s averaged 0.95 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s seen the largest usage bump on the team with Cade Cunningham off the floor. Ivey is another excellent option on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 94%.


Fast Break

Clay Thompson has really struggled to shoot the ball this season, but he should see an uptick in volume with the Warriors so shorthanded. He managed 34.75 DraftKings points in his last outing despite Poole erupting for 43 points, and the shot volume could be split more evenly between the two players on Tuesday. Thompson has the ability to get red-hot, giving him an excellent ceiling on nights where his shot is falling.

As usual, the Heat have a loaded injury report on Tuesday, so we’re going to have to wait and see who is in and out. Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin are both questionable, while Jimmy Butler is probable. Regardless of the team’s injury situation, Tyler Hero stands out as an excellent option on FanDuel. His $8,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%, and his Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.85 gives him one of the best individual matchups at the position.

NBA DFS Small Forward Picks

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The Heat are not typically a team you want to roster players against in DFS, but DeMar DeRozan is worth some consideration. He’s played well of late, scoring at least 44.25 DraftKings points in four of his past five games, and he’s playing all the minutes he can handle. He’s racked up at least 38.9 minutes in three of his past four outings, and DeRozan leads the position with an average of 1.20 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.


Value

Jonathan Kuminga is really tough to avoid on FanDuel. His $4,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%, and he leads all players in projected FanDuel Plus/Minus in our NBA Models.

Kuminga was limited to just 5.4 minutes in his last contest, but that stands out as a clear outlier. He played 28.7 minutes in the previous game, and that seems like a more accurate representation of what his role should look like sans Curry and Wiggins. Kuminga has also increased his production to 0.88 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to potentially return value.


Fast Break

Patrick Williams is another excellent value option at the position. He’s not the same caliber of per-minute producer as Kuminga, but his minutes are a lot more secure. He’s currently projected for more than 30 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.75 on FanDuel.

Mikal Bridges routinely plays huge minutes, and he’s projected for the second-most minutes among SFs on Tuesday’s DraftKings’ slate. His price tag has also come down to just $6,500 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 96%. He has plenty of buy-low appeal at that figure, especially if Booker is unable to suit up.

NBA DFS Power Forward Picks

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Julius Randle is officially back. The NBA’s Most Improved Player for 2020-21 took a massive step back last season, but he is back to putting up dominant fantasy numbers for the Knicks. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in six straight games, and he’s scored at least 48.0 DraftKings points in five of those contests. He’s increased his production to 1.33 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s playing all the minutes he can handle with Obi Toppin out of the lineup. The Warriors have been a below-average defense in terms of points in the paint, and they also play at the fastest pace in the league. That means there are plenty of reasons to believe Randle can keep the good times rolling on Tuesday.


Value

Nikola Jovic could have some appeal on this slate depending on the Heat’s injury situation. He’s currently projected for 24 minutes in our NBA Models, and that would make him a strong option at just $3,200. He’s averaged 0.81 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and his $3,200 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 77%. The Bulls are also a strong matchup, giving Jovic an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.45.


Fast Break

Draymond Green is clearly not the same player that he was in his prime, but he’s underpriced at $5,900 on DraftKings. He hasn’t played much Curry, Wiggins, and DiVincenzo sidelined this year, but he has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute in that situation. He’s projected for just under 32 minutes vs. the Knicks, so that gives him a great shot at returning value.

Lauri Markkanen continues to deliver consistent production in his first year with the Jazz. He posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven of his past eight games on FanDuel, including 36.7 FanDuel points in his last outing. However, his salary has actually decreased by -$400 for Tuesday’s matchup vs. the Pistons, even though the Pistons are a fantastic matchup. That doesn’t make much sense.

NBA DFS Center Picks

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Most of the stud options on this slate are pretty uninspiring, but Nikola Jokic is a completely different animal. There has never been anyone like him in the NBA, and I’m not sure that there ever will be in the future. He is capable of dominating in every facet of the game, and he put it all together in his last outing. He racked up a ridiculous 40 points, 27 rebounds, and 10 assists vs. the Hornets, and he even added two steals for good measure. Overall, he finished with 95.75 DraftKings points, his third performance with at least 80.5 in his past four games.

The Grizzlies do represent a much tougher matchup, but Jokic is simply too good to ignore on a slate with limited studs. His median projection is more than 12 points higher than the rest of Tuesday’s players, and he leads in ceiling projection by nearly 15 points.


Value

Jalen Duren has taken over as the Pistons’ starting center, and he has thrived in that role. He has posted outstanding numbers on the boards, posting a rebound rate of 26.4% in his past five contests. He’s pulled down double-digit boards in each of those outings, and there’s no reason to expect anything different against the Jazz. Utah has struggled mightily against opposing big men this season, so Duren is a great bet for a double-double at a minimal price tag.


Fast Break

Deandre Ayton returned to the Suns’ lineup in their last game, and he finished with 37.25 DraftKings points in 25.9 minutes. Ayton has been a monster over the past month, averaging 1.33 DraftKings points per minute, and he should see a few additional minutes if Tuesday’s game is more competitive.

It’s tough to choose between the Bulls’ studs on most slates, but Nikola Vucevic has played well recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past six games, and the Heat have surprisingly struggled against opposing centers this season. Vucevic owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.24, which is the second-best mark at the position.

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