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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Thursday, April 22nd | Zion Williamson

Eric MacPherson

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Josh Engleman brings you The Process, his NBA fantasy basketball show with strategy on how to build DraftKings & FanDuel lineups today, 5/7.

NBA DFS action on Thursday, April 22, locks at 7 p.m. ET with a six-game main slate on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Before locking in lineups, make sure to check out Awesemo’s daily fantasy basketball picks, rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some NBA DFS picks and daily fantasy basketball, including Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, Nikola Vucevic and more.

Don’t forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS HOME PAGE for more great written daily fantasy basketball content, including the FREE Deep Dive — the most in-depth article in the industry.

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Thursday, April 22nd

Yahoo Play of the Day — Zion Williamson: New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 45.56 | DraftKings: 46.38
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 24.4% | FanDuel 29.0% | DraftKings 18.2%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $46 | FanDuel $9,800 | DraftKings $9,900

Tonight Zion Williamson and the Pelicans are rolling into Orlando as nearly double-digit favorites. New Orleans is in the midst of a four-game losing streak, and the Magic are the perfect get-right team where they can turn around their fortune. In their last 10 games, the Magic are allowing 118.7 points in regulation and have just one victory.

While Mohamed Bamba is a solid defender, there is no way he can hold back Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Steven Adams in the paint. In his last 15 games, Williamson has fallen below 40 Yahoo fantasy points twice while topping 50 six times. During this stretch he is averaging 34.3 minutes with 18.9 field-goal attempts. This has worked out to 30.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 combined blocks/steals. Speaking of steals, that is the perfect descriptor for Williamson’s $46 salary on Yahoo tonight.

Luka Doncic: Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Lakers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 50.68 | DraftKings: 53.78
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 11.4% | FanDuel 16.6% | DraftKings 22.2%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $54 | FanDuel $11,400 | DraftKings $11,000

This play hinges on the status of Kristaps Porzingis, who has played both ends of a back-to-back just once in five opportunities since the All-Star Break. If he is out, everything Dallas does will go through Luka Doncic. If he is in, then Doncic is still a decent play, but the Lakers have managed to consistently be in the top three for defensive efficiency, while both LeBron James and Anthony Davis have missed significant time. Davis will be returning tonight, and while we should not expect heavy minutes as he starts to prepare for the postseason, he certainly is not going to make the Los Angeles defense worse. In his last four games alongside Porzingis, Doncic has tallied 54.5, 60.1, 60.6 and 58.5 Yahoo fantasy points. There is already enough value plays to afford rolling three top-shelf NBA DFS picks in lineups tonight.

Nikola Vucevic: Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Hornets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 41.63 | DraftKings: 42.96
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 17.8% | FanDuel 28.2% | DraftKings 9.6%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $41 | FanDuel $8,800 | DraftKings $10,000

Last night Nikola Vucevic laid an egg, with just 16 fantasy points in 25 minutes in Cleveland. Tonight there should be no issue going right back to him. In the five games prior to yesterday, Vucevic had produced five straight 45-plus fantasy point outings while averaging 20 field-goal attempts per game. Charlotte does not have an answer for Vucevic, who will be facing a combination of Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo and P.J. Washington.

Good Value

Detroit Pistons at San Antonio Spurs

The Pistons lost by 10 in Dallas last night, and they are likely to rest six players on this back-to-back as they continue to tank for more lottery balls. Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Cory Joseph and Wayne Ellington are likely to rest, while Dennis Smith Jr. has been missing time with a sore knee. Rodney McGruder and Killian Hayes are questionable, though both will likely be out.

The hope would be that if Hayes is out, Joseph ends up playing, which would make him a viable option against the team that drafted him at the end of the first round a decade ago. Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart and Josh Jackson would be the first priorities, though some DFS sites have given them a salary increase in anticipation of Detroit’s antics. Killian Hayes is a nice option if he is in, and Frank Jackson becomes an extreme punt if Hayes is out. Hamidou Diallo is hard to trust with inconsistent minutes even when the cupboard is bare. Finally, just say no to Jahlil Okafor.

This is a back-to-back for San Antonio, who lost last night against Miami. They currently are sitting in the final play-in slot and hopefully are not resting anyone. If they do rest players, then their starters would be prime picks. If the usual crew plays, DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl should play prominent roles in the roster construction process.

Risky Value

Kemba Walker: Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 34.39 | DraftKings: 36.17
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 26.8% | FanDuel 26.8% | DraftKings 22.2%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $28 | FanDuel $6,900 | DraftKings $7,400

Today Kemba Walker is picking up traction across all the DFS sites. While he has a reasonable salary, this is a tough matchup against a surging Suns team, even at home. The Awesemo Boom/Bust tool projects Walker with an 18% chance of being in the DraftKings optimal lineup. However, his projected popularity of 22.2% gives him a -4.2 leverage score.

There is only an 11.9% chance of Walker exceeding his boom score of 47 DraftKings points. Conversely, there is a 51.9% chance of him falling below his bust threshold of 37 DraftKings points. This makes sense when considering that in his last 19 games he has topped 40 DraftKings points six times, exceeding 45 only twice. There are plenty of less-risky options available tonight.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Gary Harris and Mohamed Bamba: ORL vs. NOP – $10
  2. Jae Crowder: PHX at BOS – $11
  3. Patrick Williams and Lauri Markkanen: CHI vs. CHA – $10

Final Thoughts on the Thursday, April 22nd NBA DFS Slate

There is a split slate tonight with half of the games tipping off at 7 p.m. ET and then the second wave beginning 90 minutes later. Six teams are on the second legs of back-to-backs, so be on the watch for news updates. 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 support@awesemo.com.

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