NBA DFS Picks Breakdown (Friday, Dec. 16): Hawks Providing Value vs. Hornets

Friday features a 10-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


LaMelo Ball is officially back, baby. The dynamic young point guard has played in just four games this season, but he made a triumphant return to the lineup in the Hornets’ last contest. He racked up 23 points and 11 assists across 34.1 minutes, resulting in 44.25 DraftKings points. The playing time was particularly encouraging since it appears that Ball is not on a hard minute limit despite missing a full month with an ankle injury.

Ball is currently projected for a similar workload in our NBA Models, and he can clearly pay off his current price tag with that many minutes. He’s averaged 1.17 DraftKings points per minute in his limited action this season, and he draws an elite matchup vs. the Hawks. The Hornets’ implied team total of 121.25 ranks second on the slate, and Ball’s 10 Pro Trends are tied for the most at the position on DraftKings.


Donte DiVincenzo has provided phenomenal value for the Warriors recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +6.36 over his past 10 games. His salary has increased pretty drastically over that time frame, but so has his role in the offense. He’s coming off 37.8 minutes in his last contest, and with Steph Curry now sidelined, DiVincenzo should be locked into a significant chunk of minutes. He’s projected for just under 34 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s increased his production to 0.99 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.

Fast Break

Trae Young is another elite option to consider at the position. The Hawks’ implied team total checks in just slightly behind the Hornets, and Young is going to have to do some heavy lifting given their current injury situation. Dejounte Murray, John Collinsand Clint Capela are all out of the lineup, and Young has seen a +7.9% usage bump with all three players off the floor.

Nuggets head coach Mike Malone recently told reporters he was going to give Bones Hyland more playing time, and so far, he’s been a man of his word. Bones has averaged 26.2 minutes over his past four contests, and he’s posted a positive FanDuel Plus/Minus in each. Hyland has averaged 1.1 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can rack up fantasy points quickly.

NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks


Jordan Poole was rewarded with a big contract extension during the offseason, and it’s time for him to go earn his money. Poole is basically a luxury item for the Warriors when they are at full strength, but they are far from full strength currently. Curry and Andrew Wiggins are both sidelined with injuries, and Poole is going to be asked to pick up the slack. He’s seen a team-high +7.1% usage bump with Curry and Wiggins off the floor, resulting in an average of 1.06 FanDuel points per minute.

Poole has been priced up across the industry, but he remains relatively affordable at $7,700 on FanDuel. His price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%, which is tied for the top mark at the position.


Bogdan Bogdanovic is a bit more expensive than the typical “value” option, but he still stands out as one of the best values ​​at the position. Most of the top options in this game between the Hornets and Hawks are going to have appeal, but Bogdanovic has also played extremely well recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games, and he’s gone off for 42.5 DraftKings points or more in two of them. He’s increased his production to 1.01 DraftKings points per minute with Murray, Collins, and Capela off the floor, giving him a solid floor and ceiling at his current salary.

Fast Break

The game between the Pistons and Kings stands out as another elite DFS target. The total sits at 237.5 points, while the Kings are 5.5-point favorites. Kevin Huerter is currently questionable, and both Terence Davis and Malik Monk would have an appeal if Huerter is ruled out. Davis started in place of Huerter on Wednesday and racked up 28.25 DraftKings points in 24.8 minutes. Monk finished with 34.25 DraftKings points in 32.6 minutes, and both players averaged at least 1.12 DraftKings points per minute for the year.

Zach LaVine is down to $7,300 on FanDuel, even though he posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.96 over his past 10 games. LaVine has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.15 with a comparable salary as a member of the Bulls, so this is a nice time to buy low on him (per the Trends tool).

NBA DFS Small Forward Picks


LeBron James is coming off 63.25 DraftKings points in his last contest, and he continues to get the job done in his 20th professional season. He’s averaged 1.41 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which is the top mark among Friday’s small forwards on DraftKings.

LeBron’s price tag has also dipped to just $9,800, which feels like an excellent value. It results in a Bargain Rating of 92%, and James is projected for more fantasy points than Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant in our NBA Models. Both players are at least $1,100 more expensive than LeBron, so he’s the clear top choice if paying up at the position.


It’s hard to get too excited about playing Lamar Stevens, who has averaged just 0.64 DraftKings points per minute this season. Still, Stevens is expected to play a ton for someone who costs just $3,500. He’s projected for more than 32 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.04. The Pacers have also been a strong matchup all year, ranking second in pace and 23rd in defensive efficiency.

Fast Break

Kyle Anderson and Jaden McDaniels both remain viable with Karl-Anthony Towns out of the lineup, and the Timberwolves could be even thinner on Friday. D’Angelo Russell and Rudy Gobert are both questionable, so they could provide more value than usual.

Lou Dort has seen a reduction in price on FanDuel, with his salary dropping to $5,300 for Friday’s matchup vs. the Timberwolves. That’s a bit too cheap for him. Dort has averaged 0.84 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he routinely plays between 32 and 34 minutes. The Thunder are also implied for 118.0 points in this matchup, so they have a bit more offensive upside than usual.

NBA DFS Power Forward Picks


Power forward is a weak position at the top on DraftKings, but there are some excellent choices on FanDuel. Domantas Sabonis is one of them. His $8,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%, and he’s done some excellent work for the Kings of late. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six of his past seven games, including 56.5 FanDuel points vs. the Raptors in his last contest. Friday’s matchup vs. the Pistons is much friendlier, with Detroit ranking 29th in defensive efficiency and points in the paint allowed. It’s a potential smash spot.


De’Andre Hunter is another member of the Hawks who should benefit from their current injury situation. He’s coming off 37.8 minutes in their last game, and he responded with 38.0 DraftKings points. Hunter isn’t the best per-minute producer – he’s averaged 0.77 DraftKings points per minute this season – but that figure increases to 0.93 with Murray, Collins, and Capela off the floor.

Fast Break

Darius Bazley is another potential source of value at the position on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $3,500, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’s averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season. He hit 30.6 minutes in their last contest, and he’s currently projected for 26.3 minutes in our NBA Models. With that much playing time, he should be one of the better values ​​on the slate.

Is Julius Randle back? The Knicks big man had a rough season in 2021-22, but he’s bounced back in a big way this season. He’s been particularly good of late, posting an average Plus/Minus of +8.67 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. His price tag has come up over that stretch, but he still owns a Bargain Rating of 91% on FanDuel.

NBA DFS Center Picks


Friday’s slate has plenty of star power, but no one in basketball is playing as well as Joel Embiid at the moment. He’s been unstoppable recently, posting a positive Plus/Minus in nine of his past 11 games. The two exceptions were games where he played 30.3 and 28.5 minutes, so he has smashed every time he’s gotten his usual allotment of playing time.

Embiid should be able to do some damage if Friday’s game vs. the Warriors are competitive. They’ve played at the fastest pace in the league this season, and while they might be a bit slower without Curry, it’s still a nice pace-up spot for Philly. Embiid is currently projected for less than five percent ownership on FanDuel, so he’s a strong contrarian option for tournaments.


Onyeka Okongwu is the final stop on our tour of the Hawks. Okongwu has been a solid player when given an opportunity this season, averaging 0.97 DraftKings points per minute. With Capela sidelined, the coast is clear for Okongwu to handle the majority of the center minutes in Atlanta. He’s currently projected for 29.2 minutes in our NBA Models, and Okongwu has historically averaged 29.95 DraftKings points in five previous games with a comparable minute projection. It’s tough to pass up that kind of production at his current salary across the industry.

Fast Break

Christian Wood has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute in his first year with the Mavericks, and his price has come down to just $6,000 on DraftKings. That makes him an interesting buy-low target. He played more than 35 minutes in the Mavericks’ last contest, and he provides significant upside in a strong matchup vs. the Blazers gave his Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.88.

Nick Claxton has averaged 1.12 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +8.00 over his past 10 games. However, he’s coming off a poor showing in his last contest, which has caused his price tag to decrease to $6,300. That makes him a strong buy-low option, even in a tough matchup vs. the Raptors.

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