NBA DFS action on Tuesday, Feb. 23, locks at 7:00 p.m. EST with a nifty nine-game main slate on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. SuperDraft is locking at 7:30 p.m. EST with seven games. Before you lock in your lineups on Yahoo, DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball picks, rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some daily fantasy basketball picks, including Nikola Jokic, De’Aaron Fox, Darius Garland and more.
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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Tuesday, February 23rd
Yahoo Play of the Day – Darius Garland: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 31.21 | DraftKings: 33.09
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 26.2% | FanDuel 17.1% | DraftKings 17.7%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $21 | FanDuel $5,900 | DraftKings $6,100
My sincere condolences to Cavaliers fans, as the team has now lost 14 of their last 16 games. They have decided to shelve Andre Drummond until finding a potential trade partner. Kevin Love has yet to take the court and is perpetually a couple games away from returning to action. Finally, Taurean Prince (ankle) is likely out tonight, though he may be back for tomorrow’s matchup against Houston.
Over their last 10 games, the Hawks rank in the top third of the league with regards to pace, and they are allowing 120.1 points per 100 possessions. With John Collins and Clint Capela down low, I suspect this will be a tougher matchup for Jarrett Allen. That in turn leads me towards the Cleveland backcourt and wings.
Collin Sexton is arguably the Cavs’ best player. However, from a fantasy perspective, Darius Garland is not too far behind. The easy deciding factor for me on Yahoo is the 25% discount provided by Garland’s salary. Both players should see heavy minutes tonight, though the $6 salary cap savings can be put to good use on other top-shelf options. Some gamers are going to take the plunge further down the salary list with Cedi Osman at $16, but I would prefer to leave his volatility and risk of a poor performance to be assumed by others.
Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trailblazers
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 56.44 | DraftKings: 59.95
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 13.6% | FanDuel 34.8% | DraftKings 23.0%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $55 | FanDuel $10,500 | DraftKings $10,800
Denver will be without Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and P.J. Dozier tonight. That means we will once again see Nikola Jokic shouldering the load. Over the last month, Jokic has averaged 1.5 fantasy points per minute, which is elite. He leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and field-goal percentage. Only Will Barton surpasses Jokic’s 40.4% success rate from beyond the arc among Nuggets attempting at least as many as Jokic’s 3.8 long distance shots per game.
Looking to the rest of the league for comparators, we see that Jokic ranks 10th with 26.6 points, 11th with 11.1 rebounds and fifth with 8.5 assists per game. Additionally, his 56.4% field-goal percentage is tops among any player taking at least 17.0 shots per game. Jokic is also second in the league with seven triple-doubles, and he is tops with 27 double-doubles in his 30 games. Finally, for the cherry on top, Enes Kanter, Carmelo Anthony and Robert Covington will be the opposing players tasked with slowing him down tonight.
James Harden: Brooklyn Nets vs. Sacramento Kings
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 57.65 | DraftKings: 61.84
Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 20.8% | FanDuel 20.4% | DraftKings 19.3%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $52 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $10,700
There are quite a few top-shelf center options today, so if you prefer to allocate salary cap for someone other than Jokic, may I present James Harden as a luxurious alternative. Since making his Brooklyn debut on Jan. 16, Harden is averaging 1.4 Yahoo fantasy points per minute. He has a 42.2% assist rate and has become a nightly triple-double threat with his increased rebounds.
In his 18 games with the Nets, he is averaging 38.4 minutes, 24.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 11.4 assists and 2.0 combined blocks/steals. Kevin Durant is still out, and that provides a strong path for Harden to approach 20 field-goal attempts. In this same matchup a week ago, Harden notched his fourth triple-double with the Nets.
De’Aaron Fox: Sacramento Kings at Brooklyn Nets
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 45.07 | DraftKings: 44.43
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 18.6% | FanDuel 28.1% | DraftKings 22.5%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $36 | FanDuel $7,900 | DraftKings $8,000
This was a tough one for me, as I am waffling between recommending De’Aaron Fox and Kyrie Irving, who are squaring off tonight. Ultimately I decided to roll with Fox, who sees a bit of a discount to Irving across the board. Fox has been performing well over the last month, averaging right around 1.2 fantasy points per minute. This game projects for 242.0 total points, which should be no surprise. Both of these teams play abysmal defense and tend to play at an up-tempo pace. We saw these two squads square off a week ago in Sacramento in a game with 261 combined points in regulation. We are going to want to have at least one player on our rosters representing this tilt, and it looks like Fox and Harden are the two best options.
Kemba Walker: Boston Celtics at Dallas Mavericks
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 33.15 | DraftKings: 33.93
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 7.2% | FanDuel 9.6% | DraftKings 16.4%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $26 | FanDuel $6,600 | DraftKings $6,400
Kemba Walker is one of the mid-tier options that is going to be squeezed out of the stars-and-scrubs roster construction that will be employed by most gamers tonight. With 18 teams in action, we should have plenty of news to keep player pools constantly shifting until lock. That is when solid plays like Walker get lost in the shuffle. This is the first night of a back-to-back. The Celtics are heading to Atlanta for a game against the Hawks tomorrow. We know that Boston has their eye on the playoffs, and they have not been playing Walker on consecutive nights. As long as he draws the start tonight, he should be in line for 30 to 33 minutes against one of the worst defenses in the league. If he does not play tonight, then this same analysis will hold true for tomorrow.
Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic
With nine games, we should not be forcing in any players that make us feel uncomfortable. Among the more volatile players who are garnering interest tonight, you have already seen my analysis for Michael Porter Jr. and Cedi Osman multiple times this month, so there is no need to belabor that point. Instead let’s look at a situation that may help us out over the upcoming week.
On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, Detroit will be tipping off at 8:00 p.m. EST. That means they are going to be smack dab in the middle of three consecutive express slates. There is still an edge to be had against the masses in these sub-slates because there tends to be a lot less content geared specifically towards this format. Most gamers just carry over the analysis they have heard for the main slate and are often missing out on opportunities deeper in the player pool.
One such opportunity we have is to figure out what the Pistons will be doing with their point guard situation. Derrick Rose is now with the Knicks, Delon Wright (groin) is out for a couple of weeks, and non-traditional facilitator Blake Griffin is sidelined until a suitable trade partner is found or buyout opportunity negotiated.
New starting point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is on his third team in four seasons. Even on bad teams where he was receiving ample minutes in lost seasons, he has been incredibly inconsistent with his performance. This is likely his last chance for NBA relevance and the early returns have not been good.
While Smith will likely continue to start for the next few games, we want to keep our eye on Saben Lee. After one game with Smith as the starter, Lee seems to be his direct backup, though it should be noted that Lee saw 32.5 minutes against Orlando, while Smith received only 15.5 as the starter. This will be an uncertain situation for sure, one we do not need to visit tonight. However, do keep an eye on the results as this is a potential role-shifting scenario we can capitalize on for the sub-slates coming up later this week.
Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies
- Jalen Brunson: DAL vs. BOS – $12
- Monte Morris: DEN vs. POR – $11
- Immanuel Quickley: NYK vs. GSW – $10
SuperDraft Daily Fantasy Basketball Picks
- Nikola Jokic: DEN vs. POR – 1.20x multiplier
- James Harden: BKN vs. SAC – 1.10x multiplier
- Kemba Walker: BOS at. DAL – 1.65x multiplier
Final Thoughts on the Tuesday, Feb. 23 NBA DFS Slate
Tonight seven of our nine games are tipping off within one hour of lock. Then we have a two-hour gap until our twin late-night hammers. We may not have all of the news from Washington with regards to Russell Westbrook, who played 44 minutes last night in the overtime victory against the Lakers. If you are rolling with him, be sure to have a backup plan that allows you to get to Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard. 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.
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