With all of the injuries impacting the rotations for New Orleans, Charlotte, Dallas, Cleveland, Sacramento and Oklahoma City there will be a ton of value options tonight. Let’s look at the six-game slate and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups.
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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Sunday, May 9th
Yahoo Play of the Day — Anthony Davis: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.52 | DraftKings: 43.1
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 42.8% | FanDuel 26.4% | DraftKings 13.4%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $38 | FanDuel $10,100 | DraftKings $10,300
While this is a tough matchup against the Suns, the Lakers may be relegated to the play-in tournament unless they can make up a 1.5-game deficit on the Trail Blazers who occupy the last unsecured playoff berth in the Western Conference. Phoenix comes in as a 7.5-point road favorite, as Los Angeles is going to be without LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma is doubtful with a lower back issue. With just five games remaining on their schedule and four for Portland, the Lakers are going to need to win out. They have to take at least one of tonight’s matchup or on Tuesday against the Knicks or just accept their fate in the playoff tournament. The $38 salary for Anthony Davis coming at a 20 to 25% discount, even considering this difficult matchup.
Nikola Vucevic: Chicago Bulls at Detroit Pistons
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 46.6 | DraftKings: 47.69
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 30.2% | FanDuel 18.2% | DraftKings 11.2%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $39 | FanDuel $9,700 | DraftKings $10,600
Detroit is mailing things in and Chicago still has a slim chance of making it into the play-in tournament. Nikola Vucevic only played 32 and 31 minutes in the Bulls last two games, as they won handily. He was the main driving force, posting at least 54 Yahoo fantasy points in both outings. In the four prior games he was playing in the 35- to 39-minute range. Even with a conservative median projection of 33 minutes tonight, the Awesemo projections still have Vucevic with the third-highest fantasy point projection on the slate. While he is a little spendy on DraftKings, Vucevic is a steal of a deal on Yahoo. While Chicago is favored by 9 points in Detroit, the Pistons have kept games close into the fourth quarter before ultimately folding, which bodes well for Vucevic’s outlook tonight.
Chris Paul: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 35.2 | DraftKings: 35.87
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 14.0% | FanDuel 15.6% | DraftKings 20.2%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $33 | FanDuel $8,400 | DraftKings $7,800
This is a fair salary for Chris Paul even with a matchup against the Lakers defense. This is definitely a winnable game for the Suns, who are favored by 7.5 points. Phoenix is just 1.5 games behind Utah for the best record in the Western Conference, which comes with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Suns’ next game is Tuesday in Golden State, and then they host Portland on Thursday before wrapping up the season with a pair of weekend games in San Antonio. They can run the table and catch the Jazz, all while having opportunities for in-game rest down the stretch for Paul. As long as the Lakers keep this close tonight, Paul should see 32 to 34 minutes, which would allow him to easily pay off his salary.
New Orleans Pelicans at Charlotte Hornets
Tonight the Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram is doubtful with an ankle injury. Steven Adams is dealing with turf toe and has missed four of the last five games. With New Orleans all but eliminated from the playoffs it is hard to see either of these guys playing tonight. That said, they are only 3.5-point underdogs heading into Charlotte, which seems a little light. Naji Marshall, James Johnson and Jaxson Hayes will see the biggest boost with all of the frontcourt injuries.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is on track to play tonight after missing five weeks with a sprained ankle. Saving the best for last, Lonzo Ball will be squaring off against his brother for just the second time this season. Not that he needs the motivation, but with all of the injuries, he will have the ball in his hands a lot tonight and will need to help fill the scoring void left by Williamson and Ingram.
The Hornets are looking a little thin with Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and Cody Martin all on the shelf. Devonte’ Graham has missed four of the last five games with knee soreness and is questionable tonight. That means heavy minutes are in order for Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball. P.J. Washington should continue to see 33 to 35 minutes, and he makes for a solid play. If you do not have the salary to get up to Washington, then Jalen McDaniels is a fine consolation prize.
Luka Doncic: Dallas Mavericks at Cleveland Cavaliers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 50.05 | DraftKings: 53.61
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 23.4% | FanDuel 41.6% | DraftKings 36.0%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $53 | FanDuel $10,600 | DraftKings $11,000
This is an interesting twist listing Luka Doncic here since he has the highest fantasy projection of the slate. Dallas is locked into the fifth seed, and the worst they could do is fall to sixth if Portland is able to make up a half-game deficit. The Mavericks are double-digit favorites, and Cleveland will be without Darius Garland tonight. There is no motivation for the Cavaliers to do anything more than roll over in this game, as they have lost 12 of their last 13 games and are looking for better lottery odds. On Friday, the Mavericks cruised to a 20-point victory in Dallas over the Cavs and Doncic played just 23 minutes.
Currently the Awesemo Boom/Bust tool has Doncic with a 35.6% probability of being in the DraftKings optimal lineup. That is right in line with his projected 36.0% popularity. However, as the most expensive option on the slate, there is only a 15.3% chance that he exceeds his boom score of 5x salary + 10 or 65 DraftKings points. Conversely, there is a 54.9% likelihood that he fails to reach his bust threshold of 5x salary or 55 DraftKings points. Doncic has topped 50+ fantasy points only twice in his last eight games, and that was with Kristaps Porzingis missing the majority.
Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies
- Jarred Vanderbilt: MIN at ORL – $13
- Jalen McDaniels: CHA vs. NOP – $14
- Alex Caruso: LAL vs. PHX – $10
Final Thoughts on the Sunday, May 9th NBA DFS Slate
Tonight there is a twin late-night hammer games tipping off two hours later than the first four games. There are a lot of questionable players for the Kings, Thunder and Lakers, which could lead to late breaking news. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.
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