The NBA Deep Dive is our most in-depth NBA DFS article, offering analysis of some of the top picks and optimal strategy for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups on the slate today. Used in conjunction with Awesemo’s NBA DFS projections, ownership projections and Boom/Bust tool, it should help you to improve the quality of your lineups. With news breaking throughout the day and the NBA injury reports being released, the best place to find all of today’s starters is our Awesemo NBA Starting Lineups page.
The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Strategy
James Harden ($10,000 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) has struggled out of the gate this season, averaging just 1.26 DraftKings points per minute. It is likely that he turns things around soon, however, as he has just a 43.9% effective field goal percentage this season compared to a 54.8% effective field goal percentage last season. He has averaged just three free throw attempts per game this season compared to 7.2 last season and that is an area where there will be a drop-off over a larger sample — though it is unlikely that he continues to only get to the line three times per game. Harden is also second to Kevin Durant with 12.3 rebound chances per game and he leads the team with 15.5 potential assists per game. There is risk in rostering Harden tonight since he has played so poorly to start the season, but it is also important not to allow his slow start to cause you to forget that he has averaged 1.51 DraftKings points per minute in 931 minutes without Kyrie Irving on the floor since the beginning of last season.
Damian Lillard ($9,400 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) is another star that has gotten off to a slow start this season. He has a 38% effective field goal percentage this season compared to 55.8% last season. His DraftKings salary has fallen a bit thanks to his poor performances, and he is a strong option with plenty of upside. On FanDuel, however, he is one of the most obvious plays on the entire slate as he is completely mispriced. Even with his horrible shooting, Lillard has averaged 0.99 FanDuel points per minute this season and he is likely to play about 38 minutes if the game is competitive. In 37 total games played alongside C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic since the start of last season, however, Lillard has produced 1.23 FanDuel points per minute.
Russell Westbrook ($9,300 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel) looks like a mediocre option if both of LeBron James and Anthony Davis play, but there is a good chance that at least one of them sits. Westbrook is likely to disappear in plenty of games this season when James and Davis are healthy, but he will maintain his role as a stat stuffing DFS cheat code when one, or both, of them are sidelined. He has produced 1.52 DraftKings points per minute in 126 games played over the last three seasons, and he should do the same against Oklahoma City as long as one of the other stars is inactive.
Chris Paul ($7,600 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) does not play as many minutes as some of the top point guard options, but he is less expensive as a result. Paul has averaged 31.1 minutes per game and 1.23 DraftKings points per minute in 69 games played alongside Devin Booker since the start of last season. As a reminder, that is the same per-minute production from Damian Lillard, though Lillard plays several more minutes and has a higher ceiling. Paul projects as a strong mid-range option tonight against Sacramento. He is more valuable on DraftKings as a result of more efficient pricing on players like Lillard and Westbrook.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,100 DraftKings/$7,100 FanDuel) always comes with blowout risk since he is on a terrible team, but he is the clear focal point of the offense and offers a high ceiling for his price tag. He has averaged 33.4 minutes per game through the first four games of the season, which is in line with his season average from last year as well. He has gotten off to a slow start from a DFS standpoint with only 1.03 DraftKings points per minute compared to 1.19 DraftKings points per minute last season, but his usage rate is about the same (28.2% this season versus 28.7% last season). He has seen a slight decrease in his assist rate from 30.3% last season to 23.2% this season and he has averaged about four fewer potential assists per game so far this season. Still, this most obvious reason for Gilgeous-Alexander’s lack of production so far this year is a 5-point drop in his effective field goal percentage. He should improve going forward and that makes him a bargain at his current salary.
De’Anthony Melton ($5,000 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) is likely to draw another start in place of Dillon Brooks tonight against Portland. Melton has produced 1.03 DraftKings points per minute through the Grizzlies’ first three games and he has averaged 30.5 minutes per game. Memphis has also been staggering his minutes so that he is on the floor for most of the time that Ja Morant is on the bench, which helps his fantasy production.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800 DraftKings/$11,200 FanDuel) stands out as the top pay-up option on the slate tonight against the Indiana Pacers. Antetokounmpo has averaged 1.73 DraftKings points per minute with a 34% usage rate, 17.9% rebounding rate and 34.2% assist rate so far this season. He should maintain this level of production for as long as Jrue Holiday is sidelined as he has averaged a nearly identical 1.72 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.6% usage rate, 18% rebounding rate and 34.9% assist rate in 1,060 minutes without Holiday on the floor since the start of last season.
Paul George ($10,300 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel) is expensive so there is some sticker shock in looking at his price tag. At the same time, it is difficult to say that he does not deserve it. He has produced 1.64 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.5% usage rate and 25% assist rate so far this season. Part of his strong start has been due to a 5-point increase in effective field goal percentage compared to last season, which means that fewer shots will fall as the sample grows, but he has also averaged 1.38 DraftKings points per minute in 11 games without Leonard last season.
Scottie Barnes ($6,000 DraftKings/$5,300 FanDuel) is another player who is a good play on DraftKings but an even better option on FanDuel. Barnes has produced 0.86 DraftKings points per minute and 0.81 FanDuel points per minute so far this season while averaging 34.1 minutes per game. He is second on the Raptors with 12.8 rebound chances per game and he is also second with five potential assists per game.
Josh Giddey ($4,800 DraftKings/$5,700 FanDuel) is the rare player who is more favorably priced on DraftKings than FanDuel tonight. Giddey’s rookie season is off to a strong start from a fantasy perspective with 1.04 DraftKings points per minute in 27.3 minutes per game. He leads the team with 7.3 rebound chances per game and is second to Gilgeous-Alexander with six potential assists per game. There is room for improvement in his fantasy production as well as he has a putrid 45.8% effective field goal percentage so far.
Nicolas Batum ($3,600 DraftKings/$4,400 FanDuel) started in place of Marcus Morris in the Clippers’ last game and it is likely that he draws the start again tonight. He only played 22.2 minutes against Portland, but the Clippers won that game by 30 points and none of the starts stepped on the floor in the fourth quarter. He played about 14.5 minutes in the first half, and it is reasonable to assume that Batum will play 28 to 30 minutes tonight if the game is competitive. He has produced 0.74 DraftKings points per minute in 619 minutes alongside George without Kawhi Leonard since the beginning of last season.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,100 DraftKings/$10,900 FanDuel) has gotten off to a fantastic start this season as it appears that watching videos of gorillas killing each other has really inspired him to take his game to another level. He has produced 1.64 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.2% usage rate, 13.9% rebounding rate and 21.2% assist rate in 32.5 minutes per game so far this season. His playing time average is misleading as he fouled out of one game with about six minutes to go and he only played 29.4 minutes in a blowout win over Houston. He played 39.6 minutes in the only competitive game in which he did not foul out, and he should play at least 35 or 36 minutes in close games going forward. While his 65.9% true shooting is slightly higher than his 61.6% true shooting last year, it is also worth noting that his usage rate has increased from 29.8% to 33.2%. Towns should average between last season’s 1.44 DraftKings points per minute and this season’s 1.64 DraftKings points per minute as the sample grows larger.
Jonas Valanciunas ($8,200 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) is quickly getting more expensive, but he is getting much more playing time in New Orleans than he ever got in Toronto or Memphis. He has averaged 34.5 minutes per game through his first four games this season, including 35.9 and 39.3 minutes in the only two competitive games that the Pelicans have played. Valanciunas has averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute so far this season with a 21.3% usage rate, 21.1% rebounding rate and 12.9% assist rate. He currently leads the NBA with 25.3 rebound chances per game.
Clint Capela ($6,500 DraftKings/$7,200 FanDuel) is always difficult to trust because he typically plays 28 to 30 minutes and there is not much margin for error at a loaded center position. His current salary offers plenty of upside, however, as he is an excellent per-minute producer. Capela played 25.9 minutes against the Pistons on Monday and lost about 2.5 minutes to garbage time. He has produced 1.14 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and 1.21 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season. There are better options in cash games, but he offers 50-fantasy-point upside in tournaments at relatively low ownership.
Steven Adams ($5,300 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) offers quite a bit of value at his DraftKings price tag. He has averaged 30.7 minutes per game through the Grizzlies’ first three games and he is fourth in the NBA with 21.3 rebound chances per game. He has produced 1.23 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and is on my short list of cash options at the position.
Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media!
Check out our NBA fantasy rankings today for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own best DFS NBA projections. Our NBA FanDuel projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. View our Yahoo! ownership, our FanDuel NBA ownership and our DraftKings ownership. We also have Yahoo! NBA rankings, DraftKings NBA rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS plays and the best NBA DFS advice?
📽️ NBA Daily Fantasy Basketball Slate Starter Show: DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 11/29/21
Monday Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | 11/29/21
📽️ The Process: NBA Fantasy Basketball Lineup Building for DraftKings & FanDuel | Monday, 6:30 a.m. ET
The 2021-22 NBA DFS Strategy Guide for Daily Fantasy Sports From Alex Baker, the World’s No. 1 Player
NBA DFS Strategy: Everything You Need To Build Winning DraftKings + FanDuel Lineups
NBA DFS Ownership Projections: Showdown & Single-Game
NBA DFS Boom/Bust Probability
NBA DFS Projections for No House Advantage | FREE