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NBA DFS Building Blocks for Tuesday, January 18 | Today, 1/18/22

Eric MacPherson



The best NBA DFS picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball cash game lineups | Luka Doncic NBA Tonight 5/24/22

Tuesday, Jan. 18, brings a tidy two-game main slate tipping off at 7:30 p.m. ET. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Do not forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content.

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Tuesday, Jan. 18

Yahoo Play of the Day — Julius Randle: New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 53.13 | DraftKings: 55.37
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 13.2% | FanDuel 22.1% | DraftKings 26.9%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $55 | FanDuel $11,200 | DraftKings $10,900

There are only four teams in the player pool and two superstars rising to the top in Stephen Curry and Karl-Anthony Towns. That duo is likely to be paired on 60-70% of all rosters, and it is pretty clear that they are also the best plays. Julius Randle is far from going overlooked, and it is quite feasible to play this trio in the same lineup without much trouble. For short slates such as this one, which also doubles as the main slate, the chalky options are going to be even more pronounced than even a three- or four-game slate. In situations like this it is often advisable to dial back the number of entries one may typically play and focus on building a couple lineups with distinct outcomes.

The easiest way to differentiate tonight is to eschew Curry. While he does project slightly higher than Towns and Randle, by no means is he a guarantee. Golden State is currently a 14.5-point home favorite against the derelict Pistons. In the last two games that Curry saw the court, he played between 28 and 29 minutes. Each of these games ended up being an early blowout, one in favor of the Warriors and one against. In both these games Curry failed to crack 30 fantasy points, and he has more than 31 fantasy points only three times in his last eight games. Of course, he could easily drop 50 fantasy points tonight in 30 minutes if he is dialed in from long range, but this could be yet another walk in the park where he does not need to exert himself. It would make sense to let other gamers take on the inherent risk of that outcome.

Randle provides a safer floor over Curry since he typically sees more minutes and his rebounding is quite valuable in giving him a strong fantasy baseline. Through 42 games, Randle has 20 double-doubles which is the ninth most in the league. Despite the presence of Towns, the Timberwolves as a mediocre rebounding team, and over their last 10 games they are playing at the fifth-fastest pace.

Pairing Randle and Towns while leaving Curry in the player pool will create a lineup baseline that is different than nearly half of the other rosters right off the bat. Plus, there will be a significant divergence from those lineups that are employing all three players because this strategy will allow roster flexibility with two or three position upgrades instead of landing on the same bargain options as those forcing in the trio at the top of the projections.

New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Kemba Walker has missed the last nine games with a knee issue, but he may return as soon as tonight. When he returns, his presence will cause a ripple effect throughout the Knicks rotation as the minutes get redistributed, particularly in the backcourt. Alex Burks and R.J. Barrett should be solid, though Evan Fournier and Immanuel Quickley are the duo most likely to feel a pinch and it is likely that Quentin Grimes will fall out of the rotation completely if Walker plays more than 24 minutes. Fortunately, this is the first game of the night, so there should be more information before the contests lock.

If skipping out on Curry, Patrick Beverley is a nice pivot option who should be able to provide two-thirds of the median fantasy production of Curry at half the salary on most DFS sites. Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell are both fine tournament options, with their boom/bust nature heavily depending on their scoring proclivity. Edwards is usually the second option on offense, so he should get his shot, and Russell contributes nicely with assists and a few rebounds. Malik Beasley is the discounted version of this duo, and while he would not get any consideration when his team is at full health, gamers have to dive deeper into the player pool when there are not many teams in action.

According to Awesemo’s expert NBA projections, Russell is in line to record 3.7 rebounds tonight against the Knicks. However, the books are offering his NBA player prop for rebounds at over/under 2.5. Taking the over here seems like the way to play it, especially when the OddsShopper expected win rate is 70%.

Golden State Warriors vs. Detroit Pistons

Draymond Green and James Wiseman remain out, and Gary Payton II is a game time decision dealing with a back issue that has kept him out of the last two games. Otto Porter Jr. has been racking up the fantasy production in the last two games after moving into the starting lineup. In just over 35 minutes of action he has tallied a tick shy of 80 fantasy points, mostly via peripheral statistics in the hustle/helper categories. That can easily vanish, but he still has a reasonable salary and a great matchup. Jonathan Kuminga has been solid over the last four games, and he should continue to see something in the 22- to 26-minute range tonight if the Warriors can keep the Pistons at bay. Andrew Wiggins is the other player to target on this short slate, with the remaining Warriors relegated to mixing and matching, barring any unforeseen news.

Hamidou Diallo and Trey Lyles should continue to remain relevant with Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk not quite ready to return. Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey are the other semi-trustworthy options, while the remaining guards and wings can be sprinkled into lineups as last players in depending on positional need and remaining salary cap space.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Tuesday, Jan. 18 Slate

There are only two games tonight, so finding some differentiation from the field will be paramount. 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.

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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