Monday, April 18, kicks off the week with the first of three Game 2’s tipping off at 7:30 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 | Monday, April 18
Yahoo Play of the Day — Fred VanVleet: Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.43 | DraftKings: 41.58
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 39.8% | FanDuel 37.6% | DraftKings 31.0%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $29 | FanDuel $7,600 | DraftKings $7,500
Tonight the Raptors will be without rookie Scottie Barnes (ankle), who is at risk of missing the remainder of this series. Gary Trent Jr. (illness) and Thaddeus Young (thumb) are both on the wrong side of doubtful. That means the offense will, once again, be funneled through Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam.
Game 1 was an anomaly for VanVleet, who fouled out for the first time in his NBA career spanning 348 regular season and 56 playoff games. Even with foul issues, VanVleet still logged a healthy 36 minutes. Tonight he will be looking for his shot, and it would not be a surprise if he has a dozen 3-point attempts. Siakam is commanding a higher salary tonight when compared to his running mate, though both should be considered core plays. Playing against his fellow Cameroonian, Joel Embiid, seems to bring out the best in Siakam, who has rolled up some impressive fantasy performances in these matchups.
Donovan Mitchell: Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 42.76 | DraftKings: 44.47
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 28.4% | FanDuel 35.9% | DraftKings 28.4%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $37 | FanDuel $8,600 | DraftKings $8,300
Luka Doncic is listed as doubtful with a calf injury sustained in the regular season finale, and he is likely to be out for at least the next five days. The faster the Jazz are able to take care of business in this series, the better the odds that they do not have to face Doncic. In Game 1, Donovan Mitchell commandeered the Utah offense with a 41.9% usage rate, including taking 29 of the 83 field goal attempts. Bojan Bogdanovic (20) and Mike Conley (12) were the only players with more than seven. Expect more of the same tonight with Mitchell having a realistic chance at 50 or more fantasy points.
Centers of Attention
On Friday Nikola Jokic and the other starters were sent to the bench en masse with 3:47 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Nuggets trailing by nearly 20 points. While that was disappointing for the supporters of Jokic, he should be ready to carry the team again tonight, and we know that his rotations are likely to have him around 38 minutes of action if the game is close. Embiid, of course, is the perfect pivot away from Jokic, though at this time the 76ers stalwart is projecting with more popularity than the reigning NBA MVP.
Siakam was already mentioned as a top play, and it looks like rolling with two-center lineups is going to be the preferred roster construction. Rudy Gobert checks in at a significant discount to Embiid and Jokic, and in Game 1 he owned the glass with 17 rebounds against Dallas. The only knock with Gobert is that he is not consistently involved in the Utah offense, getting most of his buckets off of putbacks and the occasional alley-oop.
Yahoo Discount Dandies
Precious Achiuwa – Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers ($13): There should be around 30 minutes in the thin Toronto rotation that will need to be filled by Precious Achiuwa. The only downside is that he is yet another center option in an already crowded field. Guards Malachi Flynn ($10) and Armoni Brooks ($10) will be in play as desperation punts if Trent does indeed sit out tonight. Both are incredibly risky, with Flynn being the slightly better option regardless of starting status.
Dorian Finney-Smith – Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz ($16): While he is not quite a true discount dandy, Dorian Finney-Smith will be needed for at least 40 minutes of action tonight guarding Mitchell and Mike Conley. Though he does not have much of an offensive game, he should at least score in the low double digits, and his time on the court will allow him to accrue enough other stats to be a viable mid-range fantasy option. Teammate Reggie Bullock ($14) is the offensive counterpart to DFS and a much safer play than the reserve guards of the Raptors.
Jeff Green – Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors ($10): Though he is far from exciting, veteran Jeff Green should be on the court for 24 to 28 minutes and he can do a little bit of everything. Most importantly, he is available at a position other than center or guard, which is where most of the key value options reside on Monday.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks for the Monday, April 18 Fantasy Basketball Slate
Injuries and illness are already beginning to impact the first round of the playoffs. Keep an eye on news from Toronto coach Nick Nurse about how he may be looking to cover for the absence of both Trent and Young. The same goes for Dallas coach Jason Kidd, who may shake up his rotation with Doncic out and a Round 1 victory looking like a longshot after just one tilt.
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