This is our primary in-depth NBA DFS article, and it will be free this season. The goal of this article isn’t just to give you a few plays to plug into your lineup, but to dig a little bit deeper into why projections may (or may not) like certain players. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll have a better feel for the slate as a whole. Combining the context from this article with the raw data that is available in our Boom/Bust tool, Projections and Ownership Projections should allow you to build strong lineups and make optimal NBA DFS picks for any type of contest on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Be sure to get the most out of our free content and catch the NBA Strategy Show every day to help build your DraftKings and FanDuel lineups. Here’s Wednesday’s Strategy Show with Loughy and Josh Engleman.
I plan to update this article with notes at the top until about 5 p.m. EST each day. After that, be sure to check out the Deeper Dive show with Loughy and I from 5 to 6 every weekday and Live Before Lock in the hour leading up until lock each day on the Awesemo YouTube channel.
If you have any questions after reading the article, always feel free to DM me in Slack.
Note: This article takes a very long time to write, especially on slates with a lot of games. In order to get information out earlier in the day, I will post the first few games and then update with the remaining games as I write them on bigger slates. Be sure to check back for updates throughout the afternoon.
NBA DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | Feb. 17
New York Knicks
Mitchell Robinson remains out. The Knicks’ rotation is fully intact otherwise, which takes value away from most of their players — especially in a game with the lowest total on the slate.
Nerlens Noel has played about 32 and 27 minutes in his two starts in place of Robinson. He lost about 7 minutes due to foul trouble in his most recent game, however, so I expect 30-plus minutes from him again tonight as long as he avoids foul trouble. He has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute in 265 minutes alongside Julius Randle this season and projects as a viable point-per-dollar value — though the opportunity cost at center is enormous on tonight’s 10-game slate. He is a little bit more expensive on FanDuel than DraftKings, but he has power forward eligibility which will make him a little bit easier to fit into lineups.
Randle has been the one player on the Knicks who hasn’t been negatively affected by their rotation returning to full strength (minus Robinson). Randle has averaged about 5 minutes more per game over the last month than the next closest Knicks’ player and he has continued to average about 1.25 DraftKings points per minute. Still, he is expensive and there are a lot of options in better spots on tonight’s slate so he only looks like a secondary tournament option.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Julius Randle ($9,500)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Julius Randle ($9,000), Nerlens Noel ($5,300)
Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Karim Mane are out. Evan Fournier, James Ennis and Al-Farouq Aminu are questionable. The good news is this is the first game of the night so it will make life a little bit easier than it was when the Magic were on the west coast and we had to spend all night sitting at the computer waiting to find out who was available. The bad news is that, right now, I still have no idea how to analyze this team.
The one constant here is Nikola Vucevic. He has been outstanding this season and he has averaged 35.2 minutes per game over the last month. Vucevic has averaged 1.46 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.3 percent usage rate without Gordon on the floor this season. Without either of Gordon or Fournier, he has averaged 1.47 DraftKings points per minute with a 32.6 percent usage rate. His salary has finally increased so he isn’t the clear top play on the slate like he was for most of last week, but he is still a strong option given his per-minute production and average playing time.
Michael Carter-Williams played 29.7 minutes against the Suns on Sunday and he should be in line for big minutes again tonight, especially if Fournier and Ennis remain out. Carter-Williams was out for about a month and a half, so it’s good to see him back to 30 minutes and I expect his playing time to increase further if the Magic remain short-handed. He has averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute overall since last season. In 207 minutes without any of Anthony, Fultz, Fournier or D.J. Augustin, he has averaged 1.02 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.6 percent usage rate and 30.5 percent assist rate. The Magic staggered his minutes with Vucevic last game as well, which makes him more valuable. He projects as a good value option if Fournier and Ennis are in and an even better option if they are out.
Terrence Ross would see increased playing time if Fournier and Ennis are out again after playing 36 minutes on Sunday. The extra minutes makes Ross more valuable, but his salary has also increased and his matchup against the Knicks is terrible as they are one of the most efficient defenses in the league and they play at the slowest pace. Ross is a scoring dependent player, so I’m not overly confident in him tonight regardless of who is active.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Vucevic ($10,100), Michael Carter-Williams ($4,900)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Vucevic ($9,700), Michael Carter-Williams ($4,400)
Update: Tony Snell is available to play. This doesn’t mean much for DFS.
It’s difficult to find options that stand out as top plays on the entire slate from the Hawks, but there is no lack of upside here assuming that we can roster them at relatively low ownership in tournaments. Trae Young has averaged 36.4 minutes per game over the last month after starting off the season playing a few less minutes than we wanted. He has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute this season with a 32.2 percent usage rate and 41.9 percent assist rate. The Celtics will be without Marcus Smart which could make life a little bit easier for Young.
Clint Capela played 36.1 minutes against the Knicks on Monday, which came out of nowhere. We saw a stretch earlier this season where Capela was regularly playing 34-plus minutes, but he had since returned to 28 to 30 minutes per game. While I don’t expect another 36 minutes tonight, it is at least nice to know that it is still in the range of outcomes. Capela has been an excellent fantasy producer this season and the Celtics are missing Daniel Theis so it will be the same frontcourt that Nikola Jokic abused yesterday. Capela is obviously a completely different player than Jokic, but Theis’ absence makes the frontcourt somewhat weaker regardless. Capela has averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute this season. His only issue has been playing time, but he is priced to play about 30 minutes so there is plenty of upside if he happens to get more run again tonight.
The good news for John Collins last game was that he continued to get most of the back-up center minutes as Onyeka Okongwu only played 3.3 minutes and Bruno Fernando didn’t leave the bench. The bad news is that, since Capela played 26 minutes, Collins only played 30.5 minutes, and most of those were alongside Capela. If Capela plays fewer minutes tonight, it should benefit Collins since it would most likely mean more minutes for Collins and more minutes at center. Collins has averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute alongside Capela this season compared to 1.17 DraftKings points per minute without him on the floor.
Danilo Gallinari, Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter all continue to have big roles for Atlanta, but it’s difficult to prioritize any of them. Gallinari typically finds a way to play about 26 minutes — sometimes at the expense of Capela and sometimes at the expense of Collins. His salary is slowly increasing, however. Reddish played 35.7 minutes on Monday but has only averaged 28.1 minutes per game in eight starts without Hunter. He has averaged 0.61 DraftKings points per minute in those starts, so we certainly can’t count on him as a consistent source of fantasy production. Huerter has averaged 35.4 minutes per game and 0.86 DraftKings points per minute in nine starts without Hunter, but he is also the most expensive option of the group.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Trae Young ($9,600), Clint Capela ($7,500), John Collins ($6,900)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Trae Young ($9,500), John Collins ($7,100), Kevin Huerter ($5,300)
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Boston will be without Smart and Theis again tonight. Kemba Walker will be joining them on the sidelines in the second half of a back-to-back. Payton Pritchard started and played 28.7 minutes on Friday with Walker sidelined, though he barely scored more fantasy points than I did.
Tristan Thompson started and played 28 minutes without Theis last night while Robert Williams played 20 minutes off the bench. Williams had the better game as he picked up 5 steals, but it was interesting to see Brad Stevens give the duo 48 minutes. The Celtics have enough wings that there is always a risk they go small and use Semi Ojeleye or Jayson Tatum at center, but based on last night it seems like we can treat it as a two-center rotation. If that is the case, each of Thompson and Williams project as strong values. Thompson has averaged 0.86 DraftKings points per minute this season while Williams has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute and is near the minimum salary.
Tatum and Jaylen Brown should each benefit from Walker’s absence. While Walker hasn’t been very good this season, he still has a 28.2 percent usage rate and 23.9 percent assist rate and his replacement isn’t going to have nearly as big a role in the offense. Tatum has averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.7 percent usage rate and 22.4 percent assist rate in 13 games alongside Brown without Walker while Brown has averaged 1.24 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.0 percent usage rate and 15.9 percent assist rate in those games.
Pritchard can’t be ignored even though he was downright awful against the Pistons. Pritchard is still inexpensive and closed that game despite playing poorly. Overall this season, he has averaged 0.76 DraftKings points per minute. He played most of his minutes alongside Brown in that start and he has averaged 0.65 DraftKings points per minute in 203 minutes alongside Brown without Walker on the floor this season.
One player that may go overlooked but offers upside in tournaments is Aaron Nesmith. The 14th overall pick in the most recent draft, Nesmith has barely been able to crack the rotation this season. In his last two games, however, Nesmith has played 28.6 minutes against Washington (with about 5 minutes in garbage time) and 24.2 minutes against Denver (with about 1 minute in garbage time). This is the first game that Walker will miss since Nesmith joined the rotation, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get 24 to 26 minutes since he can play multiple positions. He has offered very little DFS production this season with only 0.54 DraftKings points per minute in 169 minutes played, so don’t get too excited, but it is definitely a rotation note worth knowing.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Jayson Tatum ($8,700), Jaylen Brown ($7,900), Tristan Thompson ($4,100), Robert Williams ($3,100)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Jayson Tatum ($9,400), Jaylen Brown ($8,400), Payton Pritchard ($3,900), Tristan Thompson ($4,500), Robert Williams ($3,600)
Victor Oladipo and Eric Gordon are doubtful. Ray Spalding has been waived after suffering an injury last game. Kevin Porter Jr., Kenyon Martin, Christian Wood and Dante Exum remain out. P.J. Tucker is questionable.
John Wall is still relatively inexpensive and will still be playing without Oladipo and Wood. Wall has averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute with a 36 percent usage rate and 41.5 percent assist rate in six games without Oladipo or James Harden this season. While the matchup against the 76ers is a difficult one and there is a good chance that the Sixers win this game easily, we just aren’t going to find the rates that Wall posts elsewhere at his price range too often. The matchup increases risk, but the ceiling is still enormous.
The rest of the team depends partly on the status of Tucker. Tucker doesn’t change much when he is on the floor, but if he is available he will most likely play 30 to 32 minutes and that could take minutes away from players like David Nwaba, Sterling Brown and/or Jae’Sean Tate. Nwaba played 41 minutes against the Wizards on Monday and Tate played 39.8 minutes, so they both offer some value if Tucker is out. They are also both more expensive, however, so they’re only secondary options.
DeMarcus Cousins only played about 20 minutes against the Wizards as Tate got a lot of center minutes. Cousins has averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute so he always offers tournament upside, but it’s difficult to trust his playing time at this point. The matchup with Embiid would typically be one that makes us think the biggest center on the roster gets more minutes, but Cousins is so slow that Embiid is going to score 50 points if the game plan is for Cousins to defend him. I’m not sure any of the alternatives are much better, however. Long story short, I think there are more than enough centers on this slate that I don’t need to roster Cousins and pray that he plays 28 minutes.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: John Wall ($7,500)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: John Wall ($8,500)
If you read the paragraph about DeMarcus Cousins, you can probably guess that I love Embiid tonight. Cousins is borderline painful to watch defensively as he is just too slow to play against anyone with any sort of athleticism. The Rockets pretty clearly went out of their way to keep Cousins off the floor against Moritz Wagner last game. Wagner is obviously not quite as talented offensively as Embiid. The only saving grace for Cousins is that he has been a decent post-up defender this season and the Sixers don’t run a ton of pick-and-roll. Still, it’s very difficult to envision him slowing down Embiid here since he has such a versatile offensive game. Houston’s options behind Cousins are Tucker and Jae’Sean Tate. Tucker is questionable, however, so it may just be Tate. If you’re wondering, Embiid is 7-foot and weighs about 280 pounds. Tucker is listed at 6-foot-5 and weighs 245 pounds. Tate is listed at 6-foot-4 and weighs 230 pounds. The Rockets have no answer right now for an athletic center who is also big and that is obviously the case with Embiid.
The rest of the 76ers are less appealing than Embiid, but they also aren’t centers so that increases their value somewhat. Ben Simmons is coming off a monster game against Utah without Embiid, but he has averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute in games with Embiid this season compared to 1.43 DraftKings points per minute in games without Embiid. Similarly, Tobias Harris has averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute in games without Embiid but only 1.06 DraftKings points per minute in games that Embiid has been active.
Seth Curry has averaged 35.4 minutes per game in three games without Milton this season compared to 27.5 minutes per game with Milton active. He has averaged 0.75 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and would be a nice pivot away from someone like Payton Pritchard if Pritchard is a popular value option.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Joel Embiid ($10,800), Tobias Harris ($7,600), Seth Curry ($4,600)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Joel Embiid ($10,700), Seth Curry ($4,000), Danny Green ($3,500)
Mason Plumlee has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute and 35.3 minutes per game in four games without either of Griffin or Okafor this season. While Griffin wasn’t a high-usage player for Detroit, he was one of their leaders in assist rate. Plumlee has a 16.6 percent rebounding rate and 14.9 percent assist rate alongside Griffin this season compared to a 20.6 percent rebounding rate and 24.5 percent assist rate without Griffin on the floor. He is priced up for Griffin’s absence, but he still looks like a strong option tonight against Chicago.
Saddiq Bey has played excellent basketball recently. We can’t read too much into his per-minute production over his last couple of games, but he played 27.3 minutes off the bench two games ago and then 38.3 minutes against the Pelicans on Sunday. Bey has averaged 0.75 DraftKings points per minute in seven starts without Griffin this season and that makes him a reasonable value if he is going to play 35-plus minutes as the Pistons look to develop their first-round pick.
Jerami Grant has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.4 percent usage rate without Griffin on the floor this season and he has averaged 36 minutes per game over the last month. Delon Wright has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute and 34.8 minutes per game in 11 starts without Derrick Rose this season so he projects as a strong option as well.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Mason Plumlee ($7,200), Delon Wright ($6,000), Saddiq Bey ($5,500), Jerami Grant ($7,500)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Mason Plumlee ($7,300), Jerami Grant ($7,200), Delon Wright ($7,000), Saddiq Bey ($5,800)
Zach LaVine has been excellent without Markkanen this season, averaging 1.37 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.4 percent usage rate and 24.2 percent assist rate in 12 games played without him. He has averaged 36.7 minutes per game in those games and has a favorable matchup against the Pistons. The only concern for LaVine is that there are a ton of strong options to pay up for tonight.
Coby White has also benefited without Markkanen, averaging 0.99 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.2 percent usage rate and 23.9 percent assist rate in 12 games without him. White has averaged 35.3 minutes per game in those games. He is slightly more favorably priced on FanDuel than DraftKings.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Zach LaVine ($9,400)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Zach LaVine ($9,500), Coby White ($6,000)
As much as I love Joel Embiid tonight, I may like Jokic even more in this matchup against the Wizards. Washington has played at the fastest pace over the last month and they rank 21st in defensive rating. While that means they have improved defensively, it still isn’t good — especially when you average the most possessions per game. Jokic has been one of the most dominant players in the NBA this season and has averaged 1.61 DraftKings points per minute. He leads the Nuggets in usage rate, rebounding rate and assist rate and has averaged 36.5 minutes per game over the last month.
Jamal Murray sees his usage rate increase by a couple points without Will Barton on the floor and he is also likely to benefit from the matchup against the Wizards. Murray is second on the team with 34.3 minutes per game over the last month and is a high-upside tournament option assuming he is available at relatively low ownership.
Michael Porter Jr. was awful last night, but the Wizards offer a great bounce-back spot as they don’t defend well and they don’t rebound well. Porter should benefit from the fast pace and if he doesn’t have success against the Wizards then we really need to reevaluate how we view him as a player. He only played 24.1 minutes last night, but he should get more playing time if he plays well.
JaMychal Green was terrible last night, but he played 28.5 minutes in place of Millsap. He has only averaged about 0.75 DraftKings points per minute alongside Jokic this season, so the move to the starting lineup is not good for his per-minute production. It is good for his playing time, however, and he is still relatively inexpensive in a great matchup. Zeke Nnaji was equally terrible last night, but he played 26.5 minutes. If Green and Porter both play well, Nnaji should see fewer minutes tonight. If one of them plays poorly, however, we could get another 24 to 26 minutes at near minimum salary. He’s nothing more than a large field GPP dart throw due to his low floor, but there is a path to him being a good value option.
Facundo Campazzo started and played 39.5 minutes with Morris and Harris out last night. If they’re out again tonight, he is one of the top values on the entire slate again.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Jokic ($11,000), Jamal Murray ($7,100)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Jokic ($10,500), Jamal Murray ($6,500), Michael Porter Jr. ($5,500), JaMychal Green ($4,200)
Salaries have finally increased on Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal on DraftKings, though they are still relatively inexpensive on FanDuel. Westbrook has averaged 1.44 DraftKings points per minute in games with Beal this season while Beal has averaged 1.36 DraftKings points per minute in games alongside Westbrook. Both players can be expected to play 34-plus minutes as long as this game is competitive and it is likely to be a high-scoring game so either player is worthy of tournament consideration.
There isn’t much else that stands out from the Wizards. Wagner played 24 minutes last game, despite dealing with foul trouble, but it’s difficult to use a center spot on him on this slate. He is a power forward on FanDuel, but he is also more expensive than he is on DraftKings. Wagner is close to a fantasy point per minute player, but it’s tough to trust he plays more than 24 minutes tonight. Similarly, Davis Bertans is likely to play 30 minutes tonight and is relatively inexpensive, but it’s difficult to prioritize him over other value options on this slate.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Russell Westbrook ($10,000), Bradley Beal ($9,800)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Bradley Beal ($9,900), Russell Westbrook ($9,200)
Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon are the obvious starting points here in a good matchup against Minnesota. The Timberwolves have played a bit better defensively recently, ranking 14th in defensive rating over the last month, but they have also played at the fifth-fastest pace over that time. Sabonis has averaged 1.29 DraftKings points per minute and 35.4 minutes per game in 19 games played without Oladipo and with Brogdon active this season. Brogdon has averaged 1.09 DraftKings points per minute and 35 minutes per game in those games. Sabonis is finally getting the respect that he deserves at $9,700, but he still offers upside at that salary. Brogdon hasn’t been quite as productive as we hoped on a per-minute basis, but there is still value at his salary as well — particularly if you’re scared off of John Wall by his matchup.
Myles Turner could get a couple extra minutes tonight to deal with Karl-Anthony Towns. Turner played about 31 minutes in regulation against the Bulls on Monday and I expect similar playing time tonight. He has averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute and 31.8 minutes per game in 17 games alongside Brogdon and Sabonis without Oladipo.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Domantas Sabonis ($9,700), Malcolm Brogdon ($7,700), Myles Turner ($6,300)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Domantas Sabonis ($9,700), Malcolm Brogdon ($8,000), Myles Turner ($7,000)
Towns played 32.6 minutes against the Lakers last night and it seems like a safe assumption that we can expect another 32 or 33 minutes from Towns tonight, though there is a little bit of added risk since this is his first back-to-back post-COVID. Towns has averaged 1.48 DraftKings points per minute overall since last season and 1.54 DraftKings points per minute without Russell or Andrew Wiggins on the floor. He probably isn’t going to show up in “optimal” lineups since the center position is loaded and he plays fewer minutes than Jokic and produces fewer points per minute than Jokic or Embiid, but he does offer us 50-plus fantasy point upside from the center position at a lower price point.
Malik Beasley has averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.1 percent usage rate alongside Towns without Russell on the floor since last season. He is relatively expensive, but he has averaged 33.8 minutes per game without Russell this season so he is worth a look in tournaments. Similarly, Anthony Edwards is too expensive for his average production, but he does have the opportunity to outperform his salary. He has averaged 32.8 minutes per game in five starts without Russell this season and he has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.7 percent usage rate and 15.3 percent assist rate in 148 minutes alongside Towns without Russell on the floor.
Jarred Vanderbilt looks like an appealing value option that may go a little bit overlooked tonight if people aren’t paying close attention. He was re-inserted into the starting lineup two games ago. He only played 23.4 minutes in that game against Toronto, but he lost minutes to foul trouble in the first half. Last night, he played 29.2 minutes. He has averaged 1.02 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 0.82 DraftKings points per minute in 62 minutes alongside Towns.
Ricky Rubio is much more favorably priced on FanDuel than he is on DraftKings. He has averaged 0.91 DraftKings points per minute and 27 minutes per game in eight starts without Russell this season. He has played 29.7 and 29.2 minutes in his last couple of games, however, so we could see his playing time trend up a bit now that we know Russell is out long-term.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,300), Jarred Vanderbilt ($4,200)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,300), Ricky Rubio ($5,300), Jarred Vanderbilt ($4,400)
Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard gave us a big performance last night and he gets another good spot tonight against the Pelicans. The Pelicans have been the fourth-least efficient defense over the last month while playing at the 15th-fastest pace. The Pelicans have also struggled to defend pick-and-roll ball-handlers this season, allowing the fourth-most points per possession- though they also allow the fourth-fewest possessions. Lillard is routinely one of the most frequent users of the pick-and-roll in the NBA. He has averaged 1.46 DraftKings points per minute with a 34.4 percent usage rate and 39.3 percent assist rate in 13 games without McCollum and Nurkic this season.
Enes Kanter was relatively disappointing last night, but he played 32.7 minutes against Oklahoma City and he will once again be playing without his back-up. I expect another 31-plus minutes from Kanter tonight, who has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute in his 14 games played without McCollum or Nurkic this season. The matchup against Steven Adams isn’t ideal, but his salary leaves a lot of room for upside.
I absolutely hate rostering Derrick Jones but I have to at least mention him as a value option given the fact he is probably going to play 30 to 32 minutes in a game with a massive total. He has 0.67 DraftKings points per minute in his 10 games without McCollum or Nurkic, so keep your expectations in check.
Robert Covington had a good game last night thanks to 6 blocks. We can’t expect the blocks to continue, but I do expect him to play more minutes and grab more rebounds for as long as Harry Giles is sidelined. He has a 13.8 percent rebounding rate in 92 minutes played without Nurkic, Kanter or Giles and he should be on the floor for most of the minutes that Kanter isn’t. The Pelicans are also one of the friendliest matchups for 3-point shooters in terms of attempts, which sets up nicely for Covington as well.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Damian Lillard ($10,300), Enes Kanter ($7,000)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Damian Lillard ($9,500), Enes Kanter ($6,600)
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans’ rotation is at full strength, which will make them difficult to prioritize despite an excellent matchup against the Blazers.
While no one player stands out as a top option, there is still plenty of upside here in tournaments as this is likely to be an extremely high scoring game. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are both secondary forward options who should play 34-plus minutes as long as the game is competitive. Williamson has been the slightly more productive player on a per-minute basis with 1.23 DraftKings points per minute compared to 1.18 DraftKings points per minute for Ingram.
Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe and Adams are all tough to get to since they average a fantasy point per minute or less and they have all averaged less than 30 minutes per game over the last month. I think that Ball has the highest ceiling of the group as we could see him play more minutes to try and slow down Lillard, while Bledsoe’s $4,800 FanDuel price tag is the most favorable of the trio.
Don’t sleep on Josh Hart in tournaments. He is a low-usage player, but his 15 percent rebounding rate this season is the highest on the team excluding the centers. He’s averaged 27.1 minutes per game over the last month but has room for a few more minutes when he is playing well.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Zion Williamson ($8,200)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Zion Williamson ($8,300), Eric Bledsoe ($4,800)
Oklahoma City Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is available tonight. Al Horford is out. We don’t have an official injury report yet, but I‘m assuming that everyone who was available last night is available tonight with the exception of those two.
Gilgeous-Alexander hasn’t played a game since February 8th so I’m not sure whether or not he will be limited. He played 42 minutes in that game but then missed several games with a sprained knee. I would be interested in gambling on his minutes if he were less expensive since he is clearly the top option in Oklahoma City’s offense, but he’s expensive and there is no shortage of players in his price range that have massive ceilings.
Isaiah Roby started and played 27.4 minutes in the last game that he was active when Horford was out. He played 23.6 minutes off the bench last night and I assume he will replace Horford in the starting lineup. If he does, he projects as a strong value since he has averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute in 218 minutes alongside Gilgeous-Alexander without Horford on the floor this season and he is power forward eligible.
The rest of the Thunder aren’t particularly interesting since this is a massive slate and Gilgeous-Alexander’s return takes usage and assist opportunities away from players like Theo Maledon and Kenrich Williams who are priced up due to his absence.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Isaiah Roby ($4,000)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Isaiah Roby ($4,700)
Desmond Bane and De’Anthony Melton are both out tonight, so we should see a similar rotation to last night. The fact this is a back-to-back makes me slightly more concerned since Memphis doesn’t love playing their starters a lot of minutes anyway, but I still think the absences of Bane and Melton will make it a little more difficult for them to get too deep with the rotation.
Ja Morant played 30.7 minutes last night and lost at least a few minutes to garbage time. It’s now been six straight games since he played less than about 31 minutes, which is a nice sign and makes me feel better about rostering him. He has a massive ceiling thanks to a 29 percent usage rate and 38.3 percent assist rate but his salary is relatively inexpensive thanks to Memphis’s weird rotations that pull down his average minutes. He is one of the few point guards priced similarly to Wall that actually does offer similar upside and he is in a much better matchup.
Jonas Valanciunas should eat against the Thunder frontcourt sans Horford. He has played at least 26 minutes in five straight games and at least 28 minutes in four of those games. I expect another 28-plus minutes tonight as long as this game is competitive and he has averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute in the 10 games that he has played alongside Morant this season. I’m not one to make bold predictions because I don’t think they actually add value, but if I had to make one, Valanciunas getting 20 boards tonight would be near the top of the list.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Ja Morant ($7,400), Jonas Valanciunas ($7,300)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Ja Morant ($7,100), Jonas Valanciunas ($7,800)
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler are strong options every time they play and tonight is no exception against the Warriors, who have played at a faster pace over the last month than every team other than the Wizards. Butler has been dominant this season with 1.37 DraftKings points per minute, a 27.1 percent usage rate and 36.2 percent assist rate in 15 games played with Adebayo active this season. His small forward eligibility makes him more valuable as well. Adebayo is more difficult to roster since he is a center on DraftKings and a power forward on FanDuel. Still, he has averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute and 33.4 minutes per game in his 15 games alongside Butler this season.
Herro played 40.7 minutes last game while Nunn only played 21.5 minutes, but I would caution against reading too much into that. Nunn was in foul trouble and Herro was the clear beneficiary. I expect around 32 minutes from Nunn tonight and about 34 minutes from Herro, who has averaged 0.85 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.2 percent usage rate and 17.2 percent assist rate in 14 games played with both of Adebayo and Butler active this season.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Jimmy Butler ($8,800), Bam Adebayo ($8,600)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Jimmy Butler ($9,400), Bam Adebayo ($9,100)
Golden State Warriors
With so many excellent matchups on the board, it’s tough to prioritize the Warriors tonight against Miami. If you want to look to the Warriors, or are playing the late slate, the usual suspects are the top options. Stephen Curry played 29.8 minutes in three quarters of a blowout win over the Cavs last game and can typically be expected to play 34 to 35 minutes in competitive games. He has averaged 1.61 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.2 percent usage rate and 29.0 percent assist rate in the eight games that he has played without Wiseman this season. The per-minute production should decrease a bit because he has shot 49.5 percent from three in those games, but I also expect his usage rate to continue to be higher than when Wiseman plays.
Draymond Green has been the other big beneficiary without Wiseman. He has moved over to center and has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute with a 12.8 percent usage rate, 12.2 percent rebounding rate and 41.5 percent assist rate in 33.6 minutes per game without Wiseman.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Stephen Curry ($10,500), Draymond Green ($6,800)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Stephen Curry ($10,000), Draymond Green ($7,600)
Mike Conley is questionable. If he plays, I don’t have much interest in anyone from Utah in the context of the entire slate because they are now priced for Conley to be out.
If Conley sits, Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson both have upside in their increased roles without Conley. Mitchell has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 34.2 percent usage rate and 32.7 percent assist rate in his five games without Conley this season compared to 1.14 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.8 percent usage rate and 22.9 percent assist rate when Conley plays. Clarkson has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute in games with Conley and 1.12 DraftKings points per minute in games without him, but his playing time has increased from 25.2 minutes per game to 29.3 minutes per game.
Rudy Gobert has averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute this season but only about 30 minutes per game. He has upside, but on a slate this packed with center options, he doesn’t stand out as a top option.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Donovan Mitchell ($8,300 if Conley is out), Jordan Clarkson ($6,500 if Conley is out)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Donovan Mitchell ($8,100 if Conley is out), Jordan Clarkson ($5,900 if Conley is out)
Los Angeles Clippers
Leonard is a strong option whenever George is out as he has averaged 1.60 DraftKings points per minute and 34.2 minutes per game in 25 games played without George since the start of last season. His salary has increased and he has a difficult matchup against Utah, however, so I don’t anticipate making it a priority to get him into lineups with the hopes that he plays. He would be a top late slate option if he is able to suit up, however.
Patrick Beverley is not on the injury report, which should move Terance Mann back to the bench. Marcus Morris played 25.8 minutes in place of Batum last game. He had a monster performance, but I’m not reading too much into it — especially in this matchup. Lou Williams is a high upside option with or without Leonard, but again, I just can’t prioritize anything against Utah when there are so many bad defensive teams playing on this slate.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Kawhi Leonard ($9,900)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Kawhi Leonard ($9,800)
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