Thursday night delivers a six-game NBA slate, and below are some of the best NBA daily fantasy picks for both FanDuel and DraftKings based on Awesemo’s grades and values.
NBA Daily Fantasy Picks: Awesemo Grades | April 22
Center: Deandre Ayton
DraftKings Grades: B, Values: B
FanDuel Grades: B, Values: C
After scoring only 24.25 DraftKings points against Joel Embiid and an elite 76ers defense on Wednesday, Ayton should bounce back tonight against the Celtics. Philadelphia has been the worst possible matchup for centers, with their defense giving up the fewest DraftKings points per game to the position this season. Boston, on the other hand, has yielded the eighth-most DraftKings points per game to opposing centers across their last 10. Back on Feb. 7, Ayton tallied a double-double worth 36.75 DraftKings points against the Celtics, and he should have another productive outing Thursday, with Vegas projecting this contest to be close from start to finish (Suns -1.5).
Ayton has topped 40 DraftKings points four of the last six times he has found himself in a spread under 5 points, and his $6,500 price tag on DraftKings is the cheapest he has been in 10 games. At this discounted salary, Ayton is grading out as the second-best DraftKings value above $6,000 for Thursday night, according to Awesemo’s NBA DFS projections.
Projected NBA DFS Ownership: DraftKings 17.2%, FanDuel 2.0%
Power Forward: Cameron Johnson
DraftKings Grades: D, Values: A
FanDuel Grades: D, Values: A
Jae Crowder sprained his ankle in last night against the 76ers, and he was unavailable for the entire second half of this win. Johnson replaced him in the first unit following half time, and finished 26 DraftKings points across 30 minutes of work. With Crowder confirmed out for tonight’s date with the Celtics, Johnson should take his place in the starting five and handle roughly 30 minutes, absolutely making him a viable punt play at sub $4,000 salaries on both sites.
Johnson has supplied 23.6 DraftKings points per game in the three Crowder has sat out this season, and he posted 26.3 DraftKings points in the Suns’ first meeting with Boston. Based on Awesemo’s NBA DFS projections, Johnson is a top-10 value for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Projected NBA DFS Ownership: DraftKings 6.0%, FanDuel 1.2%
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Power Forward: Jayson Tatum
DraftKings Grades: A, Values: C
FanDuel Grades: A, Values: B
When the Celtics host the Suns tonight, they will be without Jaylen Brown (doubtful, shoulder), Evan Fournier (out, health and safety protocols) and Robert Williams (out, knee). Jeff Teague and Daniel Theis were also traded at the deadline a few weeks ago, and whenever Tatum has been on the floor without these five players this season, he has watched his usage and assist rates increase 5.6 and 6.4 percentage points, respectively. This lifts Tatum to a superb 1.52 DraftKings points per minute for this specific situation, and this is without a doubt an easier matchup tonight with Crowder sidelined. He would have spent most of his night guarding Tatum, and regardless of position, Crowder is a top-20 defender in terms of real defensive plus/minus this season.
As the sixth seed in the East and coming off a disappointing loss to the Bulls on Monday, the Celtics would love to pick up a win tonight before going on a two-game road trip. Generating 53.4 DraftKings points per game in his past six, Tatum is in strong form right now, and taking a chance on him with an expanded role in this important game makes a ton of sense with no clear cut studs to pay up for tonight.
Projected NBA DFS Ownership: DraftKings 22.0%, FanDuel 9.4%
Center: Isaiah Stewart
DraftKings Grades: C, Values: B
FanDuel Grades: C, Values: A
Nothing is official yet, but the Pistons will likely rest a few players tonight, most notably Mason Plumlee. The team has sat him for two of their past four, and he just competed last night in Dallas. Stewart was priced up by DraftKings and FanDuel for this likely scenario, but he still is very underpriced for his upside as the Pistons’ starting center, especially in this optimal matchup against the Spurs.
In his last three starts for Plumlee, Stewart played at least 30 minutes and averaged 47.8 DraftKings points per game. This year San Antonio has surrendered the sixth-most rebounds and ninth-most points in the paint per game. As a result, they are surrendering the third-most DraftKings points per game to opposing centers, and Stewart is a lock for a double-double in this spot. Despite career-high price tags on both sites, Stewart is a building block for this six-game slate if Plumlee does in fact end up being inactive.
Projected NBA DFS Ownership: DraftKings 1.2%, FanDuel 6.6%
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