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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks (1/22/21): NBA DFS Lineups

What would have been a massive 13-game slate Friday has been dialed back to a more manageable 11-game pocket following two postponements as the league continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Those new rules about post-game handshakes and hugs being banned? Someone may want to either enforce the new rules or decide to get national TV cameras away from the camaraderie that commences after the buzzer hits zeroes.

For those players that have been given the green light to take the floor, Friday presents a slate with an intriguingly defensive tilt. All three West Coast games are facing a total at 220 or below, while four of the league’s top six teams when it comes to the fewest PPG allowed are in action. 

This article will provide you with my daily fantasy basketball lineup picks for DraftKings on 1/22/21. You can also check out today's FanDuel lineup picks. With COVID-19 a significant factor globally, remember to monitor injury news as the slate can completely change before line-up lock.

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DraftKings DFS Guards

Trae Young - PG, ATL @ MIN ($9,600)

Just two days removed from posting a 131 oRTG during a 38-point, 10-assist double-double versus Detroit, Young draws an equally appealing matchup with Minnesota on Friday. During his 44 minutes on the floor against the Pistons, Young took 26 shots and 19 free throws, production that many figured would skyrocket his price tag; alas, he remains well within range to complement an additional star in some lineups.

With the Hawks having been short De'Andre Hunter (knee), Cam Reddish (knee), Danilo Gallinari (ankle), and Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) in their most recent contest, continued absences from any of the four could allow Young to continue reprising his extravagant usage. The T-Wolves’ defensive efficiency (110) is the sixth-lowest mark in the league, and will be without their anchor, Karl-Anthony Towns, freeing up driving lanes for Young and Co.

Collin Sexton - PG/SG, CLE vs. BKN ($7,300)

Sexton’s was the first name jotted down for this space in the wake of his 42-point eruption during Wednesday’s double overtime victory, which included a stretch where he dropped 20 straight points for the Cavs. That level of production was likely what many fantasy managers had in mind when Sexton appeared to have unabated access to backcourt production without Darius Garland (shoulder) available.

Even with Garland potentially back Friday, Brooklyn is going to need to find a way to slow Sexton, who has proven that his scoring appeal is no flash in the pan. Entering Friday, Sexton’s 27 PPG average would rank him seventh in the league had he met the requisite minutes mark to qualify for the scoring crown. His price tag is now at the highest that it’s been all year, but still seems drastically below where it could wind up assuming that his scoring role continues to grow.

RJ Barrett - SG/SF, NY @ SAC ($6,800)

It was just 24 hours ago that Barrett went for a career-high 28 points against the Warriors, but he was in consideration even before tip-off. Garnering a massive minutes allotment under head coach Tom Thibodeau this season, Barrett’s production has benefited from the added floor that comes with being on the court for such a long stretch. Field-goal percentages aside, Barrett has remained a focal point of the Knicks’ offense, which will work in his favor when facing Sacramento.

No team in the league has yielded more overall DK points to the opposition this year than the Kings. Additionally, their 118.3 defensive efficiency rating is staggeringly high, nearly six points higher than the team in second place. Most Knicks will gain an added advantage from this, but on the second leg of a back-to-back, Barrett is the lone member of the rotation who shouldn’t see his role change an iota.


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DraftKings DFS Forwards

P.J. Washington - PF/C, CHA vs. CHI ($6,800)

Sticking with the hot hand, Washington has reeled off three consecutive double-doubles -- his first three of the season -- that have resulted in him accumulating between 40.5-41.8 DK points. Even with Cody Zeller (hand) expected back in the mix, Washington’s role has increased exponentially to the point that any defensive concerns aside, he has become a multi-faceted focal point of the offense.

Tim Hardaway Jr. - SG/SF, DAL @ SA ($5,500)

With Dallas getting Kristaps Porzingis and other key contributors back in the mix, Hardaway’s price tag has steadily slid correspondingly. But aside from a rare scoreless showing Monday, it’s difficult to justify his fantasy price tag becoming this immensely flexible considering his offensive upside.

Stagnation in non-scoring categories has often been justification for not utilizing Hardaway in DFS. But he has averaged 4.4 rebounds and two assists over his last seven games, shooting 46.8 percent from behind the arc in that span, averaging 4.1 makes from deep. Add in that he’s facing a Spurs defense that is allowing their opponents to shoot 38.8 percent from long range (tied for the fourth-worst mark in the league), and Hardaway will have some sizable GPP upside Friday.


DraftKings DFS Centers

Joel Embiid - C, PHI vs. BOS ($10,100)

For all of Celtics head coach Brad Stevens’ proclamations that his team would have to find new ways to defend Joel Embiid, 48 hours doesn’t seem like an adequate amount of time for such a discovery. 

In 12 games versus the Celtics in his career, the MVP candidate has averaged 24.8 points and 12.6 boards per contest. On Wednesday, Embiid obliterated the Boston interior to the tune of 42 points, reaching the free-throw line for 21 attempts. Daniel Theis may have delivered an impressive double-double in his own right, but Stevens may be forced to get creative to try and stem Embiid’s offensive onslaught.

DeMarcus Cousins - C, HOU @ DET ($4,400)

No Christian Wood (ankle) means that Cousins will step into the starting five for the second time this season Friday. While he may not deviate drastically from the 14.2 minutes that he has averaged through his first 10 games, the absence of Wood should funnel at least a handful of additional minutes and shot attempts toward Cousins.

Also working in his favor are the early-season struggles that Detroit has had in slowing down opposing big men. Mason Plumlee has delivered a -5.4 +/- and 109 dRTG this year, while the Pistons have yielded the third-most DK points on a nightly basis (58.2) to opposing centers. 

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