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NBA DFS Picks and Fantasy Basketball Building Blocks for Today, Friday | 4/15/22

Eric MacPherson



The best NBA DFS picks today for Yahoo, DraftKings & FanDuel daily fantasy basketball cash game lineups | Luka Doncic NBA Tonight 5/20/22

Friday, April 15, brings the final phase of the Play-In Tournament with the first of two games 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 | Friday, April 15

Yahoo Play of the Day — Trae Young: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 49.68 | DraftKings: 53.77
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 57.2% | FanDuel 63.7% | DraftKings 55.0%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $46 | FanDuel $10,500 | DraftKings $9,700

In the 132-103 drubbing of Charlotte in the first play-in game, Trae Young and the Hawks so thoroughly took care of business that the starters hardly needed to see the court in the final frame, as evidenced by Young’s brief 2:36 appearance. Atlanta is favored by a bucket heading into tonight’s game in Cleveland and John Collins is once again unavailable, which means Young should once again carry the offense for Atlanta. Now that Paul George is in the health and safety protocol, Young projects as the player most likely to surpass 50 fantasy points, and his median projection is nearly 15% higher than every other player in the pool tonight.

In the final 15 regular season games that Young played without Collins, he averaged 35.5 minutes and 20.1 field goal attempts with an impressive 48.5% conversion rate. This resulted in 30.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 10.8 assist and one steal. Throughout this timeframe, the 23-year-old two-time All-Star averaged an outstanding 1.4 fantasy points per minute.

Brandon Ingram: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 34.79 | DraftKings: 35.87
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 44.4% | FanDuel 47.1% | DraftKings 42.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $32 | FanDuel $8,200 | DraftKings $7,800

The line in this game swung immediately towards New Orleans by nearly 5 points when George was placed in the health and safety protocol. Now that the Clippers premier player is out, the shooting guard position is very thin on Yahoo. Brandon Ingram, Caris LeVert and Norman Powell are the three standout options who remain at this position, which is also going to artificially increase the popularity for each. Ingram has the clearest path to 40-plus fantasy points, while LeVert will need to get there on the strength of playing nearly every minute of this game. Powell is unlikely to reach this plateau, though he should see enough minutes and opportunities that 30 fantasy points is well within his likely range of outcomes. There are several standout options at point guard that push this trio lower on the overall combined position list. On sites where this group has shooting guard eligibility, it would be foolish to use any other options to fill out that roster slot.

Jonas Valanciunas: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.72 | DraftKings: 42.8
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 49.6% | FanDuel 33.5% | DraftKings 41.7%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $28 | FanDuel $8,500 | DraftKings $8,000

On Wednesday, Jonas Valanciunas reminded the DFS world that he can rack up the fantasy production when given a healthy minutes load. In 36 minutes against San Antonio, he tallied 22 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. Tonight, with the postseason riding on the outcome of this tilt, he should be on the court for at least 35 minutes. The double-double is a near lock, and there is a 10-12% chance that Valanciunas leads all players in fantasy points.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New Orleans Pelicans

While it is unfortunate that the Clippers will be without their best player tonight, there is a long sample size indicating how head coach Tyronn Lue will be distributing minutes. Reggie Jackson is going to be wildly popular tonight, as he is unlikely to leave the action for more than three or four minutes as long as he stays out of foul trouble. Marcus Morris Sr. and Norman Powell will get the first crack at filling the offensive void left by George. While Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein both disappointed their fantasy supporters against Minnesota, they have a chance at redemption tonight, as one will need to be on the floor every minute that Valanciunas is playing. Finally, Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington will absorb the remainder of the minutes. While one of them is likely to have a solid fantasy game, all three are well down the list of offensive options and will need to get lucky with their shots as well as with the hustle and helper stats. Covington and Batum are the better defenders, but Mann has the superior all-around offensive game.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks for the Friday, April 15 Fantasy Basketball Slate

Losing a key offensive option in George tonight is going to create some heavy leverage opportunities with popularity being forced on a smaller top-tier group as well as the Clippers being the best source of value options. Everyone is using the same player pool tonight, and it is important to remember that fortune favors the bold in tournaments.

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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