Friday, April 22, has an intriguing three-game main slate tipping off at 7 p.m. ET on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks today for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. As always, you can head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS & Fantasy Basketball home page for all the fantasy basketball content you need for any given slate.
NBA DFS Picks: Fantasy Basketball Building Blocks Today | Friday, April 22
Yahoo Play of the Day — Chris Paul: Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 42.85 | DraftKings: 43.86
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 27.6% | FanDuel 18.3% | DraftKings 21.3%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $38 | FanDuel $10,200 | DraftKings $8,900
Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton are going to have to carry the Suns into the second round now that Devin Booker (hamstring) is out for the remainder of this series. It is unlikely we see the soon-to-be 37-year-old playing more than 36 to 38 minutes, but that is a near lock, and he will also need to look for his own offense far more frequently than when Booker is alongside him. When Booker was off the court this season, Paul saw a 10% increase in his fantasy points to 1.32 per minute. The veteran of 17 NBA campaigns is all but assured of a double-double, and 50 fantasy points is well within the reasonable range of expectations for this matchup.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 63.69 | DraftKings: 65.94
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 39% | FanDuel 49.4% | DraftKings 42.5%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $57 | FanDuel $12,000 | DraftKings $11,200
Tonight Giannis Antetokounmpo checks in with the highest salary in the player pool, though he also outpaces every other option by at least 17 fantasy points based on median projections. There are eight players who exceed a 40-fantasy-point projection based on the Awesemo calculations. However, Khris Middleton (knee) is out for at least the next 10 days, which means Giannis will be shouldering even more of the offensive responsibilities for Milwaukee. There is enough uncertainty with Miami listing several players as questionable, along with some Suns options, that makes rostering Antetokounmpo and two other top plays a breeze. Just be sure to differentiate at a couple other roster spots, otherwise there is likely to be significant overlap between lineups anchored by the two-time NBA MVP.
Centers of Attention
Nikola Vucevic has been stellar statistically in two games against Milwaukee. In this series he is averaging 37.6 minutes, 22.5 field goal attempts — including nine from beyond the arc — 24 points, 15 rebounds, 2.5 assists along with one block and one steal. Pencil him in for at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and move on.
Deandre Ayton racks up the rebounds and does a great job with blocks, but it is his hesitancy to look for his own shot that curbs his fantasy upside. Tonight he is going to need to be more active in the offense in order to help compensate for the absence of Booker. In nine games without Booker this season, Ayton averaged 14 field goal attempts, which is two more than he did for the season. While this may not seem like a lot, Ayton rarely misses and in these games he also averaged 19.3 points and 36.5 fantasy points. Ayton is an intriguing pairing with Paul since he should see a few alley-oops, and that added in-game synergy is a fantasy bonus.
Jonas Valanciunas has had a wide range of outcomes for his minutes in the first two games of this series. Essentially, he and Ayton play the same minutes; however, in Game 2, Valanciunas lost out to Larry Nance Jr., dropping to 26 minutes after playing 30.5 in the opener. It is hard to argue with the results, as the Pelicans did steal the game after Booker went down with his injury, but it is a bit of a concern to see Nance with continued success now that he is healthy.
Brook Lopez is just above the discount dandies, but he is a stellar point-per-dollar option. In the first two games of this series he is averaging a hefty 34.5 minutes at nearly a fantasy point per minute. He should see additional field goal attempts as the Bucks look to replace Middleton, and with so many options at this position, it is looking like two-center builds will be preferred for most formats. Bobby Portis will also see a boost in opportunities, though Lopez is still the preference on Yahoo, where Portis is only eligible as a center. On FanDuel and DraftKings, Portis also has power forward eligibility, which provides added flexibility.
Yahoo Discount Dandies
Cameron Payne – Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans ($10): Now that Booker is on the shelf, Cameron Payne will be one of the Phoenix players tasked with filling the void left behind by the leading scorer. Payne will still be the backup point guard and on the court whenever Paul gets a break, though he should also see around a dozen minutes filling in for Booker. Cameron Johnson, Landry Shamet and even Torrey Craig will all likely take a turn stepping into extra minutes, depending on how coach Monty Williams decides to match wits with Willie Green on the Pelicans side.
Pat Connaughton and Grayson Allen – Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls ($10): During the regular season it was Grayson Allen that worked his way into the starting lineup and was a more consistent fantasy option than Pat Connaughton. Down the stretch and into the postseason, it looks like Connaughton has become the trusted option and the better fantasy selection. Both are at the Yahoo minimum salary, and considering that Connaughton has caught the eye of the field, making the pivot to Allen will provide tournament differentiation.
Trey Murphy III – New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns ($10): Tonight rookie Trey Murphy will likely see 22 to 24 minutes, and at the Yahoo minimum salary, he is a viable alternative to his Milwaukee counterparts. Murphy is very scoring dependent, though he can contribute a few rebounds here and there. This is a tournament recommendation only.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks for the Friday, April 22 Fantasy Basketball Slate
Friday brings us a trio of Game 3’s with two of the three series tied up at one game apiece. Miami is the wild card with Bam Adebayo, P.J. Tucker, Caleb Martin and Markieff Morris all listed as questionable with various maladies. Fortunately, this is the first game of the night, so everything should be sorted out by lock time.
📽️ The NBA DFS Strategy Show | Monday 5/23/22
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