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NBA DFS Building Blocks for DraftKings & FanDuel | 1/15

Eric MacPherson

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NBA DFS action on Friday, Jan. 15, locks at 7:30 p.m. EST with an intriguing 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 Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderGiannis Antetokounmpo and more.

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NBA DFS Picks: Key Building Blocks | Jan. 15

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls

DraftKings $7,700, FanDuel $8,200, Yahoo $32
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 29.5%, FanDuel 20.2% Yahoo 32.4%

There will be growing pains this season for Shai Gilgeous-Alexanderbut the third-year guard is going to get every opportunity to find success as the Thunder begin their rebuild in earnest. These uneven performances will influence his price point as well as his popularity. The key for us will be to find the advantageous matchups where we have a higher chance of striking pay dirt.

Chicago has been hampered by injuries and a COVID-19 breakout. They will still be somewhat shorthanded this evening even with the likely return of Otto Porter, Lauri Markkanen and Ryan ArcidiaconoCoach Billy Donovan is in his first year with Chicago after overseeing Oklahoma City for five seasons. His style is a far cry from the last few Bulls coaches in that he is not particularly concerned with defense and has the team playing fast. The Bulls have the second-worst defensive efficiency, allowing 114.3 points per 100 possessions. They are third in pace with 106.7 possessions per 48 minutes. This should be a spirited and freewheeling affair that we can also target as a mini-game stack. Look to add in Zach LaVine, Coby White and Hamidou Diallo, creating an intriguing and under-the-radar quartet.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks

DraftKings $10,800, FanDuel $11,300, Yahoo $51
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 10.8%, FanDuel 14.1% Yahoo 13.6%

Even though Dallas is going to be shorthanded again tonight with Jalen Brunson, Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber in the health and safety protocol, the Bucks are still just 6.5-point favorites. Kristaps Porzingis was effective in 21 minutes while making his season debut, and he should get 20-25 minutes tonight. Of course, Luka Doncic can singlehandedly carry his squad, so no worries there.

Why am I breaking down the Mavericks in a Giannis Antetokounmpo recommendation? Well, I want to point out that it is my belief that coach Rick Carlisle should be able to keep his team in the fight for most of the game. In the six games where Antetokounmpo played more than 30 minutes this season, he is averaging 34.7 minutes with 57.3 FanDuel and 60.2 DraftKings points. In the five games where he played fewer than 30 minutes, he is averaging 26.9 minutes with 42.2 FanDuel and 43.0 DraftKings points.

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Tonight we can get the two-time reigning NBA MVP as a contrarian option, with him projecting to be on less than a fifth of rosters. Now is the time to jump in and take a chance that we get an eye-popping performance.


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NBA DFS Picks: Good Value

Mike Conley: Utah Jazz vs. Atlanta Hawks

DraftKings $6,900, FanDuel $6,900, Yahoo $24
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 10.0%, FanDuel 10.7% Yahoo 19.4%

Last year, while dealing with a myriad of injuries, Mike Conley managed just 0.9 fantasy points per game. This season he is fully healthy and has bounced back with nearly 1.1 fantasy points per minute. The 33-year-old veteran is nicely priced across the board, and gamers do not seem to trust him just yet. There will be lots of value options, with which we can construct stars-and-scrubs lineups. Do not lose sight of mid-tier plays like Conley when the late-breaking-news circus begins.

NBA DFS Picks: Risky Value and Strategy

Cedi Osman: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks

DraftKings $6,200, FanDuel $5,100, Yahoo $20
Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 41.5%, FanDuel 46.7% Yahoo 36.4%

The appeal on FanDuel makes sense as we can fill on of the pesky small forward slots with a steady player at a bargain price. However, on DraftKings, and to a lesser extent Yahoo, we are likely forgoing upside for a meh player. Darius Garland and Collin Sexton are both out once again, which means that Cedi Osman and Damyean Dotson will be the main facilitators. Osman has been right around his season average of 0.85 fantasy points per minute when the SexLand backcourt is on the sideline.

Through a dozen games this season, Osman has topped 32 fantasy points only once. Last year he did it seven times in 65 games, though only one time did he reach 40 fantasy points. Keep in mind that Tom Thibodeau is now coaching the Knicks, and they are playing at the second-slowest pace in the league and have improved their defensive efficiency to the middle of the pack. If Osman continues to be one of the most popular plays tonight, I plan on coming in well under the field and letting other gamers assume the risk of yet another mediocre fantasy performance.

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 Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. James Johnson: DAL at MIL – $11
  2. Austin Rivers: NYK at CLE – $10
  3. Damyean Dotson: CLE vs. NYK – $14

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: OKC vs. CHI – 1.50x multiplier
  2. Julius Randle: NYK at CLE – 1.30x multiplier
  3. Brandon Ingram: NOP at LAL – 1.40x 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 5:30 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 [email protected].

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