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NBA DFS Picks & Lineup Optimizer Building Blocks Today | Sunday, March 20

Eric MacPherson



The best NBA DFS picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball cash game lineups | Marcus Smart NBA Tonight 5/15/22

Sunday, March 20, brings an early seven-game main slate starting at 6 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 | Sunday, March 20

Yahoo Play of the Day — Donovan Mitchell: Utah Jazz at New York Knicks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 42.97 | DraftKings: 45.33
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 29.8% | FanDuel 26.7% | DraftKings 20.6%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $36 | FanDuel $8,500 | DraftKings $8,800

Tonight the Jazz will be running shorthanded, as they have already ruled out Mike Conley (rest), Danuel House (knee), Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) and Udoka Azubuike (ankle). Trent Forrest (wrist) and Hassan Whiteside (non-COVID related illness) are both questionable, with the former having missed the last four games and the latter missing Friday’s tilt. Utah does play again on Monday in Brooklyn against the Nets, so it would not be a surprise to see a few of the sidelined players returning then.

This means we should see a big role for Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging a healthy 1.41 Yahoo fantasy points per minute when both Conley and Bogdanovic are off the court. The Knicks have started to turn things around with a 5-2 record in their last seven games, though they are still 8-19 in their last 21 appearances. The New York defense has clamped down over their last seven games, allowing just 102.6 points per 100 possessions; however, on the season they are still in the middle of the pack with a 112 defensive efficiency. Rudy Gobert is also an interesting option tonight with a $33 salary on Yahoo.

Wendell Carter Jr.: Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 39.03 | DraftKings: 40.53
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 40.2% | FanDuel 39.1% | DraftKings 21.6%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $28 | FanDuel $6,900 | DraftKings $7,800

Orlando fell to Detroit 134-120 on St. Patrick’s Day as the lone NBA game on the schedule. There was fantasy goodness all around, but Wendell Carter Jr. missed out on the fun with an ankle injury. Tonight he is slated to be back in the starting lineup and should be poised to take advantage of a tremendous matchup against Oklahoma City. Carter is posting career highs across the board in points, rebounds and assists. In his last seven games he has been particularly effective with 31.6 minutes, 15.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks. This has resulted in a strong 37.7 fantasy points, and anything less than 40 fantasy points tonight will be considered a disappointment.

Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 53.8 | DraftKings: 56.68
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 7.6% | FanDuel 15.3% | DraftKings 8.1%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,300 | DraftKings $12,000

Sunday’s projection models are not overly fond of Nikola Jokic against one of the toughest defenses in the league. This season Boston has the best defensive efficiency in the league, allowing just 105.4 points per 100 possessions, and over their last 10 games they are in the top five. Jokic, of course, is the reigning NBA MVP and continues to play at an elite level as he carries the Nuggets towards the playoffs. Currently Denver is only half a game above the play-in tournament, which is something they are trying to avoid as they wait for Jamal Murry and Michael Porter Jr. to return to action next month. Jokic leads the league in triple-doubles with 18, double-doubles with 58, and he is behind only Gobert in rebounds per game with 13.7. This is about as matchup-proof of a player that is currently in the Association.

Look to Will Barton in this matchup against the Celtics in the NBA player prop market. Currently he has a 2.5 over/under on his assist prop, and the Awesemo NBA player projections have him for 3.4, which gives him a 65% probability of surpassing the over. In each of his last 10 games, Barton has had at least two assists and he has recorded three or more seven times.

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers

Fred VanVleet has been ruled out tonight with a sore knee, while O.G. Anunoby (finger) and Malachi Flynn (hamstring) will be out for at least the next week. The last time VanVleet was out, Armoni Brooks got the spot start, which was fruitful enough to earn him a second 10-day contract. There is no guarantee that Brooks will start, but he should at least get 20 to 22 minutes in the rotation. Pascal Siakam sees an increase in his assist rate with VanVleet on the sideline, though his 1.14 fantasy points per minute stays the same. Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. should also see increased opportunities with VanVleet on the sideline.

Joel Embiid (knee) is listed as questionable, but the 76ers play again tomorrow, so he could get the night off. If he plays, he will be competing with his fellow Cameroonian in Siakam, and both have topped 50 fantasy points two of the last three times they went head-to-head. If Embiid is out, then James Harden, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey would become core options. The only tricky part is this is one of the later games tonight and coach Doc Rivers is rarely forthcoming about the status of his questionable players. To his credit, Embiid has miss just one game in his last 40 opportunities.

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors

This is an island game for the Spurs, who last played on Friday and their next game is not until Wednesday. Dejounte Murray continues to produce, with 53 or more fantasy points in eight of his last 10 games. The Golden State defense has faltered, and they have merely been league average over their last dozen games while dealing with a myriad of injuries. Murray will once again be the featured player on offense, particularly with Lonnie Walker (back) out. Jakob Poeltl will be battling a combination of Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, which is nothing that he can’t handle. Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson round out the key fantasy options, and if Josh Richardson (calf) is starting, he is a nice value play on the late slate.

Just as Green returns, now Stephen Curry is out. Golden State still has the third-best record in the Western Conference and a three-game cushion over Utah, who is the next closest team. Green is likely to play between 20 and 24 minutes after his long injury layoff, so there is no need to consider him for fantasy purposes. Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II and James Wiseman all remain out as well. Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Looney are the preferred fantasy plays on the main slate. For the evening games, we can mix in Otto Porter Jr. and Jonathan Kuminga for differentiation in tournaments.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Sunday, March 20 Fantasy Basketball Slate

Sunday NBA is always coming up with unexpected news out of the blue, particularly as the season is winding down and most teams have around a dozen games remaining on the schedule. Fortunately, we have a larger than normal player pool and should have plenty of viable pivot options in the event the unforeseen becomes a reality.

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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