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🏀 NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Monday, February 8th | LeBron James

Eric MacPherson



NBA DFS action on Monday, Feb. 8, locks at 7:00 p.m. EST with an exciting eight-game main slate on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. SuperDraft is going with a seven-game main slate tipping off at 8:00 p.m. Before you lock in your lineups on Yahoo, DraftKings, FanDuel, and SuperDraft, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some daily fantasy basketball picks, including LeBron James, Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins and more.

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Awesemo’s NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Yahoo Play of the Day – DeMarcus Cousins: Houston Rockets at Charlotte Hornets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 38.84 | DraftKings: 39.88
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 68.2% | FanDuel 40.5% | DraftKings 24.4%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $20 | FanDuel $6,000 | DraftKings $7,100

Christian Wood (ankle) is week-to-week, which should keep DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup and on the court for as much action as the oft-injured big man can handle. In the five games he has started this season, Cousins has averaged 29.8 minutes, with 14.6 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 3.4 combined blocks/steals. For good measure he is also making 2.4 3-pointers in these appearances. Per NBA WOWY, in 348 minutes without Wood this season, Cousins is averaging 1.33 Yahoo fantasy points per minute. In two of his five starts he has topped 50 fantasy points, showing his tremendous upside. He is a steal of an NBA DFS pick at today’s salary on Yahoo.

Bradley Beal: Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 47.34 | DraftKings: 48.86
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 6.8% | FanDuel 5.9% | DraftKings 19.7%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $47 | FanDuel $10,800 | DraftKings $9,000

This is the second leg of a back-to-back for the Wizards, who were stomped in Charlotte yesterday 119-97. Russell Westbrook was the only starter to see the court in the final frame of Sunday’s debacle. While coach Scott Brooks is being cagey and saying that Westbrook might be available tonight, I have strong doubts. The plan this season has been to not utilize Westbrook on consecutive nights. He has already lost time with various maladies, and Washington is not going anywhere if they lose him for another extended stretch.

That means Bradley Beal should be able to dominate the ball to his heart’s content in a great matchup tonight against the Bulls. Most gamers are not aware that Beal is actually leading the league with 33.2 points per game this season. That is 3.7 points per game more than his closest challenger, Kevin Durant. Beal also leads the league with a 36.9% usage rate, which jumps to 40.7% when Westbrook is off the court. If Westbrook does play, Beal is still a fine tournament option. If Westbrook sits tonight as I expect, then Beal is a core NBA DFS pick.

LeBron James: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 49.68 | DraftKings: 53.26
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 12% | FanDuel 12.8% | DraftKings 7.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $49 | FanDuel $10,800 | DraftKings $10,500

It sounds like Anthony Davis (Achilles) is going to miss tonight’s game. This is the last game of the night, though we do have some available pivot options away from LeBron James up until 9:30 p.m. EST when Milwaukee at Denver tips off. In the event Davis were to play, sticking with LeBron would not exactly be the end of the world. Keep in mind that Davis played 45 minutes, while James logged 46 in Saturday’s double-overtime victory against the Pistons.

In his 18th NBA season, James is still one of the best players in the league. His 34.2 minutes per game is the lowest mark of his career, but it is only half a minute less than what he averaged last season. This year he is averaging 25.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.5 combined blocks/steals while sinking 41.0% of his 3-point attempts. With Davis on the court, he is averaging 1.35 Yahoo fantasy points per minute with a 30.5% usage rate. Without Davis those numbers increase to 1.41 and 34.5% respectively.

Good Value

Denzel Valentine: Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 27.87 | DraftKings: 28.29
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 43.8% | FanDuel 32.5% | DraftKings 34.5%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $11 | FanDuel $4,400 | DraftKings $4,800

Wendell Carter Jr. (quad) is out for at least two more weeks, Otto Porter Jr. (back) is out again, and there is a good chance that Lauri Markkanen (shoulder) will miss a second straight game. The absence of Markkanen will likely give Denzel Valentine a second straight spot start, with Thaddeus Young continuing to come off the bench for big minutes. Valentine is a solid contributor in the rotation, and he typically averages between 0.8 and 0.85 fantasy points per minute.

Washington is playing at the fastest pace in the league, with 106.1 possessions per 48 minutes. They have the second-worst defensive efficiency rate, allowing 114.0 points per 100 possessions. This has led to a league-worst 121.1 points allowed per game, which is 3 points worse than the Nets and Kings. Rookie Patrick Williams and the aforementioned veteran Young are also solid secondary NBA DFS picks in all formats tonight.

Kelly Oubre: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 35.28 | DraftKings: 35.47
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 23.2% | FanDuel 12.3% | DraftKings 26.7%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $24 | FanDuel $6,700 | DraftKings $6,000

After being mired in a slump to start the season, Kelly Oubre is showing signs of working his way out. For his career he has a 42.8% field-goal rate, 32.4% 3-point rate and a 77.6% free throw rate. Nearly a third of the way through the season, those figures are 39.4%, 27.5% and 73.9%. On Thursday Oubre dropped a career-high 40 points in Dallas with 7 made 3-pointers. With all of the injuries besetting the Warriors, he should continue to see heavy run and in the mid-teens for field-goal attempts. The Spurs are a middle-of-the-pack team from a pace and defensive perspective, and this two-game series should provide Oubre with the path to continue escaping the fantasy doldrums.

Risky Value

DeMar DeRozan: San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 41.84 | DraftKings: 42.47
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 28% | FanDuel 20.9% | DraftKings 18.1%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $32 | FanDuel $8,100 | DraftKings $7,700

With 18 teams in action, we should not be forced into playing anyone who we do not feel comfortable with. As such, it is often times difficult to point out bad plays in DFS basketball. The main reason is this is one of the most projectable fantasy sports and everything really comes down to minutes and matchup. On the surface, both appear to be trending in DeMar DeRozan’s favor tonight. When playing alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, DeRozan averages about 1 fantasy point per minute. Without Aldridge on the court, this jumps to 1.3 fantasy points per minute.

However, while Golden state plays at the second-fastest pace in the league this season, they are in the top third with regards to defensive efficiency. Additionally, they have been above average against opposing wings, even in the absence of their best defender Klay Thompson. Looking at the Awesemo Boom/Bust tool, we can see that DeRozan will appear in the optimal lineup 17.5% of the time, which is actually a solid figure. His “boom” rating, or probability of reaching 5x his salary + 10 (48.5 DraftKings points), is 25.8%. His “bust” probability — producing less than 5x his salary (38.5 points) — is 33.4%. Again, while he is not a bad play, based on the math there are also several better plays.

 Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Denzel Valentine: CHI vs. WAS – $11
  2. Kyle Kuzma: LAL vs. SAS – $10
  3. Frank Kaminsky: PHX vs. CLE – $10

SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks

  1. Zach LaVine: CHI vs. WAS – 1.30x multiplier
  2. Kelly Oubre: GSW at SAS – 1.65x multiplier
  3. Dennis Schroder: LAL vs. SAS – 1.70x multiplier

Final Thoughts on the Monday, Feb. 8 NBA DFS Slate

Tonight only one game tips of in the 7 o’clock hour on most sites. This means that quite a bit of news will be coming out after lock. We will want to be near our computers or mobile devices in order to properly react. 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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