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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Saturday, July 17th | Giannis Antetokounmpo

Eric MacPherson



EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo, DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball playoffs lineups, including Giannis Antetokounmpo | 7/17/21

Saturday, July 17, brings a venue change with a return to Phoenix. Milwaukee managed to hold serve at home so the series is all knotted up at two games each. Let’s look at the Bucks vs. Suns player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Do not forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content, including the FREE NBA Deep Dive — the most in-depth article in the industry.

**Be sure to check out Awesemo’s free premium content today: the NBA Showdown/Single-Game Roster Popularity Projections, which will help you when making NBA DFS picks. **

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Saturday, July 17

Yahoo Play of the Day — Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 57.61 | DraftKings: 59.95
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 85.5%| FanDuel 80.2% | DraftKings 72.3%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $57 | FanDuel $16,500 | DraftKings $12,600

In a bit of a twist, Giannis Antetokounmpo seems to have decided to take less 3-point shots. Against Miami. he was 1-for-16 (6.3%) in four games. In the seven game series against Brooklyn he was 8-for-31 (25.8%). Then against Atlanta, things dipped back to 1-for-8 (12.5%) in the four games he played. Now, through four games in the NBA Finals, he is 2-for-11 (18.1%), but more importantly, he has take more than two attempts only twice in his last eight games. In a series where every possession can be critical, this is a major boost to Milwaukee’s offense by getting more efficient looks.

Across the last three games, Antetokounmpo has tallied at least 67.6-plus Yahoo fantasy points in each of the last three games. He is averaging just over 40 minutes per game, while notching 36.3 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and 3.3 combined blocks and steals. With a projection that is on average 15 fantasy points more than Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Deandre Ayton, he is by far the best option for the highest multiplier on Yahoo.

Deandre Ayton: Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.2 | DraftKings: 40.65
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 55.5% | FanDuel 40.7% | DraftKings 58.9%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $30 | FanDuel $13,000 | DraftKings $8,000

While it can be infuriating to roster Deandre Ayton since he does not take nearly as many field-goal attempts as his backers would like, there is no arguing that his rebounding has been off the charts. The safety of being a near lock for a double-double should not be overlooked when considering his reasonable salary across the various DFS sites. The upside of course is tied to his scoring and blocks, but as long as he stays out of foul trouble, he should flirt with 40 to 45 fantasy points.

Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 43.32 | DraftKings: 46.05
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 55.5% | FanDuel 45.3% | DraftKings 51.0%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $33 | FanDuel $12,000 | DraftKings $10,200

In Game 4, Devin Booker scored a whopping 42 points, however, he tallied just 45.2 fantasy points. For the first time in six games, he failed to contribute at least seven combined rebounds and assists. He has been remarkably consistent in this stretch, topping 39-plus fantasy points in all but one game. Booker has been a handful for the Bucks this series and that should continue once more on Saturday night.

Khris Middleton: Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 40.96 | DraftKings: 43.04
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 45.5% | FanDuel 41.1% | DraftKings 44.0%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $38 | FanDuel $12,500 | DraftKings $10,400

This has been one heck of a season for Khris Middleton as he has become arguably one of the Top-20 players in the league. He can fill in the gaps wherever he is needed depending on the situation as a scorer, rebounder and secondary facilitator. Plus, he has really upped his defensive presence. While he is a little more volatile from a fantasy perspective than teammate Jrue Holiday, he does have a higher upside, and the best probability of actually outscoring Giannis. Part of this, of course, is because if the two-time MVP is having a poor game, it likely means more opportunities and or success from Middleton. The other part is that Middleton has become a phenomenally well-rounded contributor.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

Milwaukee Bucks

  1. Pat Connaughton, $11: Only three Bucks reserves saw action and Connaughton’s 31.6 minutes was a tick over the 31.4 minutes combined from Bobby Portis (20.5) and Jeff Teague (10.9). While he is not as strong offensively or as good of a rebounder when compared to Portis, even his league average defensive ability is lightyears ahead, which should keep him seeing around 30 minutes per game.
  2. Bobby Portis, $10: After being relegated to less than five minutes in Game 2, Portis has played 20.5 and 18.3 in the last two. In the first half he has been serving as the backup or Brook Lopez, though he has seen minutes in the fourth quarter each of the last two games including Game 4 where Lopez did not play in the final 12 minutes. Pivot away from the safety of Connaughton in a few lineups for the potential upside of Portis, who can rack up points and rebounds in a hurry if he gets extended playing time.
  3. P.J. Tucker, $11: While Tucker did see his minutes slip below 30 for the third time in the last eight games, he was on the court longer than any of his teammates outside of the Big Three. With the game moving back to Phoenix, it would not be a complete surprise if coach Mike Budenholzer was forced to bench Tucker in favor of more offense via Portis or Lopez.

Phoenix Suns

  1. Cameron Johnson, $10: In a bit of a surprise, Johnson actually saw fourth quarter action over Mikal Bridges, who has managed just 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks combined in the last two games. This can, of course, change on a dime as prior to that he posted a career game with 27 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. In the meantime, we can continue to put Johnson on the majority of our rosters as the best discount dandy in the player pool.
  2. Cameron Payne, $13: While Payne did get six minutes alongside Paul, including five in the final frame, he does not have much upside unless there is significant mop-up duty.
  3. Torrey Craig, $10: Craig was one of three reserves who saw action in Game 3 with the other two already being covered in this section. While he is clearly the better defender when compared with Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader, it is hard to get excited about half a fantasy point per minute and a realistic 12- to 17-minute range for playing time.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Saturday, July 17 Slate

We are guaranteed at least two more games with Milwaukee tying up the series. It will be interesting to see if coach Budenholzer tries to get Ayton into foul trouble. In Game 4, that was surprisingly not the strategy and Ayton played heavy minutes carrying only two fouls. With 72 hours between games, we likely will see both teams stick with the condensed eight-man rotations we saw in the last tilt. That means it will likely take mop-up duty in a lopsided game for players like Frank Kaminsky and Bryn Forbes to even leave the bench.

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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