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NBA DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings & FanDuel | 1/13

Eric MacPherson

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EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups including Karl-Anthony Towns Wednesday 1/13

NBA DFS action on Wednesday, Jan. 13, locks at 7:00 p.m. EST with an eight-game main slate. Before you lock in your NBA DFS picks and favorite lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo and SuperDraft, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some NBA DFS picks, including Luka Doncic, Karl-Anthony Towns, Caris LeVert and more.


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NBA DFS Picks: Key Building Blocks | Jan. 13

Karl-Anthony Towns: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies

DraftKings $9,800, FanDuel $10,500, Yahoo $48
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 1.5%, FanDuel 1.5% Yahoo <1.0%

From the sounds of it, Karl-Anthony Towns should be good to go tonight. He had missed half a dozen games with a wrist injury but played 37.0 minutes in his return, though he was held out of the next game as it was a back-to-back. Clearly the injury was not impacting his conditioning, so the longer the questionable tag is next to his name on the DFS sites, the better for us.

During his three games this season, he is averaging a 28.7% usage rate with 1.55 fantasy points per minute. The last two seasons that figure was 28.8%, and he was at a comparable 1.48 fantasy points per minute. Memphis is no longer the Grit-and-Grind crew, and they are playing at a league average pace. A lot of gamers like to see center-versus-center matchups, which is fine. We need to keep in mind that Towns averaged 7.9 3-point attempts per game last year, so he is very capable of drawing Jonas Valanciunas archetypes away from the rim. This duo has only meet three times in the last two plus seasons, and Towns has averaged 1.5 fantasy points per minute in those matchups.

The key will be how many minutes you think Towns plays tonight. Currently conventional thinking has that in the 30-minute range, though 35-36 is a very probable outcome if we receive no more information updates on his status. If you are not thrilled with Towns, then definitely look to Julius Randle, who is in the midst of a breakout campaign and is squaring off against a Brooklyn team playing the second game of a back-to-back.

Caris LeVert: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks

DraftKings $8,000, FanDuel $8,000, Yahoo $33
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings <1.0%, FanDuel <1.0% Yahoo <1.0%

Last night we saw Kevin Durant start and play 38 minutes, with Caris LeVert coming off the bench for 26 minutes. About half of LeVert’s playing time was staggered with Durant off the court. There is no Kyrie Irving or Spencer Dinwiddie, and Durant has yet to play on consecutive nights. These were the fewest minutes LeVert has played in the last four games, but they are similar to what he has seen when coming off the bench. For the record, he started the prior three coming into last night’s tilt. It is hard to believe that Durant is going to play on the back-to-back, and even if he does, something in the low-30s would be reasonable.

The starters managed to erase a 16-point deficit in the first 8 minutes of the second half, so that likely contributed to LeVert not getting in the game sooner. He played most of the final frame and was also on the floor closing things out at the end. This play is not without some risk, but we will have plentiful value once again in our pandemic environment, and me writing up Luka Doncic yet again seems like a fool’s errand since you know he is great.


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NBA DFS Picks: Good Value

Dallas Mavericks at Charlotte Hornets

Operating under the assumption that this game is a go, here is our first value stop. The Mavericks will once again be missing Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, who are all in the health-and-safety protocol. Kristaps Porzingis is slated to make his season debut after tearing his meniscus in the Orlando bubble. In the past when he has returned from injury, the Mavericks have taken it easy on him, limiting minutes and keeping him from playing on consecutive nights. Even if he plays 25 minutes, this is not going to drastically impact Doncic, who will have to carry the load for the team.

Tim Hardaway Jr., James Johnson and Trey Burke seem like the best plays. Keep in mind that Johnson could lose some frontcourt opportunities with Porzingis back, but he also can help facilitate the offense while Doncic is off the court. Willie Cauley-Stein is a solid option, but we should temper expectations on his minutes being more than the 24-26 even as a starter.

Finally, for those of you who love the risk, Boban Marjanovic may see action. Please keep in mind under similar circumstances in the last game he played only two minutes. In his seven games this season, he has played more than 7 minutes just three times.

NBA DFS Picks: Risky Value and Strategy

Immanuel Quickley: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets

DraftKings $3,100, FanDuel $3,800, Yahoo $10
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 26.2%, FanDuel 5.2% Yahoo <1.0%

Buyer beware with rookie Immanuel Quickley on DraftKings, and don’t even run the risk on FanDuel or Yahoo. Even if Reggie Bullock (hip) joins Alec Burks (ankle) on the sideline, coach Tom Thibodeau will likely just lean on veterans Elfrid Payton and Austin Rivers, and we have seen Julius Randle facilitate much of the offense as well this season.

Robert Covington: Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings

DraftKings $5,000, FanDuel $4,800, Yahoo $16
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 6.2%, FanDuel 15.7% Yahoo 9.0%

With so many injuries and of course a raging global pandemic, there has not been much bad chalk this year. I just want to point out that the Robert Covington we are seeing this year does not have the same roles and responsibilities as he did most recently with Houston and to a lesser extent Minnesota. With Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter around, he is not playing in the post and therefore not racking up the rebounds like he did in the bubble. Also, he is generally the fourth or fifth option on offense. Even though Covington is closing out games, he still is dealing with two ball-dominant guards as well as the offensive-minded Gary Trent Jr. Finally, he is also semi-redundant with Derrick Jones Jr. and Rodney Hood when Hood is healthy. Let other gamers assume the risk with Covington’s lack of any consistent fantasy upside.

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 Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Austin Rivers: NYK vs. BKN: – $10
  2. James Johnson: DAL at CHA – $10
  3. Dario Saric: PHX at ATL – $10

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Jerami Grant: DET vs. MIL – 1.70x multiplier
  2. Julius Randle: NYK vs. BKN – 1.30x multiplier
  3. Damian Lillard: POR at SAC – 1.20x multiplier

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of value options tonight, but the pricing does not align across every site. Be sure to understand your preferred site’s pricing and scoring systems.

Be sure to into the Awesemo NBA Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock show beginning at 5:00 p.m. EST for all of your up-to-date information and analysis.


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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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