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NBA DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings & FanDuel | 1/7

Eric MacPherson



The NBA Slate Starter Podcast breaks down the slate for Monday, March 1 including Luka Doncic

NBA DFS action on Thursday, Jan. 7, locks at 7:30 p.m. EST with an intriguing five-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 Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert and more.

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NBA DFS Picks: Key Building Blocks | Jan. 7

Luka Doncic: Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets

DraftKings $10,500, FanDuel $11,100, Yahoo $53
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 20.9%, FanDuel 25.5% Yahoo 11.8%

In his last two outings, Luka Doncic has averaged 37.0 minutes, 23.5 field goal attempts with 30.0 points, 15.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 0.5 combined steals and blocks. While he did miss one appearance between those two tilts, he should be good to go tonight. For those wondering about his conditioning, he did have 72 hours off between those games. It has also been 72 hours since he last played, and the Mavericks do not play again until Saturday.

Not only have these games produced his two highest minute totals, he also has gone 3-for-10 from behind the arc in both games. In his first seven games this season, he was a combined 2-for-21 (9.5%), compared to his career average heading into this season of 32%. It certainly looks like he has regained his form and likely increased his conditioning over the last 10 days. Also, in his last three games in the Mile High City, he has topped 50 fantasy points twice in the thin air.

Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers

Irving: DraftKings $9,600, FanDuel $10,000, Yahoo $47
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 7.8%, FanDuel 32.0% Yahoo 18.8%

LeVert: DraftKings $6,800, FanDuel $6,500, Yahoo $26
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 10.2%, FanDuel 13.7% Yahoo 11.6%

Last night we saw what a guard-centric offense can do to the 76ers, as both Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook had outstanding games. Four of the five starters topped 36 minutes last night in Philadelphia, with Tobias Harris seeing 41, Joel Embiid logging 37 and Ben Simmons soaking up 36 minutes of court time. While they were not exactly playing energetic defense, that is still a fair amount of playing time heading into a back-to-back.

Kevin Durant is out for three more games, so that means Kyrie Irving is the first and second option on offense, with Caris LeVert filling in as needed and running the second unit. Philadelphia has the best defensive efficiency, allowing 98.0 points per 100 possessions. They are also playing at the 10th-fastest pace and just ceded 136 last night to the Wizards in regulation.

Brooklyn was working over Utah and had a 25-point lead at the end of the third quarter. Irving did not play at all in the final frame, and LeVert played just the first 4 1/2 minutes. in the first half we saw LeVert coming off the bench and getting five minutes on the floor without Irving. He should see around 20-30% of his action as the primary option when Irving is resting, and ideally he will continue to come off the bench to help with the staggered playing time. Both will be in the closing unit, so no worries about any minutes cap sans blowout.

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NBA DFS Picks: Good Value

Bruce Brown: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers

DraftKings $3,500, FanDuel $3,900, Yahoo $10
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 18.4%, FanDuel 3.9% Yahoo 3.8%

With Durant in the COVID-19 protocol and Spencer Dinwiddie out for the season with a torn ACL, Bruce Brown stepped into the starting lineup. I expect to see him there again, though it could be Joe Harris too, who came off the bench. My speculation is that Harris will continue to come off the bench with LeVert in an effort to balance out the offensive options through the first three quarters of the game with the duo likely in the closing unit.

Brown had 23 minutes through the first three quarters of the game and watched from the bench with the rest of the starters after building up an insurmountable lead against the Jazz. The wild card. of course. is how much time in the rotation we should expect to see from Brown. My thought is that if he is starting and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot continues to come off the bench, we should see something in the 26-minute range. Last year in 28.2 minutes per game with Detroit, Brown produced 0.8 fantasy points per minute. That seems like a reasonable baseline expectation for now.

NBA DFS Picks: Risky Value and Strategy

Today we have a dozen fewer teams in action than we had yesterday. This is is going to have us prospecting for more risky value towards the bottom of the barrel. Adding to the challenge is that three of our games start at 10:00 p.m. EST, which is a full two hours after the second game of the night. We will want to have our options open as we are likely to still be waiting for news on the status of LeBron James and Anthony Davis as well as LaMarcus Aldridge who was on a 25 minute restriction last night after missing the preceding three games with knee soreness. Rodney Hood is questionable for Portland which could impact Robert Covington, Gary Trent Jr. and Derrick Jones. Michael Porter Jr. is returning for Denver, but we don’t know what their starting lineup will be, and this could impact their wing rotation.

Unless something dramatic happens with unexpected news in the first two games, a lot of gamers will be rolling with 3-and-D guys as their value plays. Brown, Covington, Jones, Luwawu-Cabarrot and Danny Green all fit this mold. Brown is my favorite for his matchup and the missing of key players. I have no interest in the 33-year-old Green on a back-to-back, as he will be locking early and I lose late-swap flexibility. As for the Portland options, they are fine if Hood is out again but gain more risk if he returns to the rotation. As for Luwawu-Cabarrot, I wouldn’t want to have both him and Brown on the same lineup because I would be losing flexibility for the triumvirate of 10 p.m. EST games.

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 Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. JaVale McGee: CLE at MEM – $10
  2. Bruce Brown: BKN at PHI – $10
  3. Gorgui Dieng: MEM vs. CLE – $12

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Larry Nance Jr.: CLE at MEM – 1.65x multiplier
  2. Collin Sexton: CLE at MEM – 1.65x multiplier
  3. Michael Porter Jr.: DEN vs. DAL – 1.90x multiplier

Final Thoughts

This is a unique slate with the three games backloaded so be sure that you are going to be around your computer to make adjustments if you are playing any kind of volume tonight.

Be sure to into the Awesemo NBA DeeperDive and Live Before Lock show beginning at 5:30 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

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