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The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | Deandre Ayton 12/2

Adam Scherer



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.

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The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Strategy


Dejounte Murray ($9,800 DraftKings/$9,800 FanDuel) has been excellent all season long. He has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute this season while leading the Spurs in usage percentage (25.9) and assist percentage (33.1). His 12.6 percent rebounding percentage is also excellent for a guard and is the highest on the team outside of the centers. While Murray is expensive, there aren’t many players priced around him on tonight’s slate. This should make it relatively easy to get him into lineups.

Awesemo NBA expert Eric MacPherson also loves Murray in this spot tonight, and has him listed as the play of the day in his NBA DFS Building Blocks article today.

Chris Paul ($8,600 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel) played 39.4 minutes against Golden State on Tuesday and he is likely to play a lot of minutes again tonight as long as the Detroit Pistons can keep the game close. Devin Booker is out for the Suns, which makes it likely that Paul plays a little bit more than normal. We also can expect Paul’s production to increase with Booker sidelined. He has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute with a 21.9 percent usage percentage and 50.4 percent assist percentage in 195 minutes without Booker on the floor this season compared to 1.17 DraftKings points per minute with an 18.7 percent usage percentage and 38.7 percent assist percentage in 481 minutes alongside Booker. Paul has played four games without Booker since the start of last season, averaging 1.36 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.2 percent usage percentage and 47.5 percent assist percentage in 34.7 minutes per game.

C.J. McCollum ($8,500 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) is also in a position to benefit from the absence of his backcourt mate. Damian Lillard is out again tonight, so McCollum will be running the offense for the Blazers. He has averaged 1.12 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.4 percent usage percentage and 21.6 percent assist percentage in 261 minutes without Lillard on the floor this season. In six starts without Lillard since the beginning of last season, McCollum has produced 1.17 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.5 percent usage percentage and 27 percent assist percentage in 36.1 minutes per game.

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With Lillard out, McCollum will be popular on DraftKings and FanDuel. Game theory for DFS might have you steering away from McCollum tonight, but if you’re looking to get action down on him, check out his NBA player prop bets. For some of the best player props bets on McCollum tonight, check out Henry John’s Best NBA Player Prop Bets article.

Anfernee Simons ($4,900 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) started in place of Lillard and played 35.6 minutes against the Pistons on Tuesday. He also lost about three minutes to garbage time and dealt with some first quarter foul trouble, or he would have played even more. If Norman Powell returns tonight, Simons is less likely to approach 40 minutes, but he would still be likely to play in the low to mid thirties. He has averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute in 263 minutes without Lillard on the floor this season.

Derrick Rose ($4,800 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) played 34.7 minutes against the Nets on Tuesday with Kemba Walker out of the rotation. While RJ Barrett left the game early with an injury, it is still likely that we were going to get a lot of minutes for Rose. When Walker was in the rotation, it limited Rose’s playing time because they would never play next to each other. Walker has been replaced by Alec Burks, who is essentially going to play two positions for the Knicks. This tightens the rotation and makes it likely that Rose will continue to see increased playing time going forward. He has averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute this season and projects as a strong value again tonight.

Tre Mann ($3,600 DraftKings/$4,600 FanDuel) was disappointing in his start last night, but he did play about 32 minutes. Mann has produced 0.76 DraftKings points per minute overall this season, though he has averaged just 0.54 DraftKings points per minute in 90 minutes alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Assuming Mann remains in the starting lineup with Josh Giddey sidelined, he will once again project as a strong value just based on his playing time- especially on DraftKings where he is near minimum salary.

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Landry Shamet ($3,100 DraftKings/$3,800 FanDuel) is likely to play an increased role for the Suns with Booker sidelined. Shamet played 23.8 minutes against Golden State on Tuesday, including about 13 minutes with Booker out in the second half. He is near minimum salary across the industry, so he projects as a strong point-per-dollar value if he plays around 26 minutes tonight. He isn’t the most exciting DFS option, but he has produced a respectable 0.76 DraftKings points per minute this season. The biggest risk to Shamet’s playing time is that Cameron Payne only played about seven minutes in the second half. Phoenix could certainly elect to give Payne more minutes alongside Paul, which would potentially cut into Shamet’s playing time. That possibility also makes Payne an interesting option in tournaments since he has averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute this season.


Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) is the highest projected player on tonight’s slate as he takes on the Toronto Raptors. Antetokounmpo has averaged 1.85 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.1 percent usage percentage, 19.7 percent rebounding percentage and 35 percent assist percentage in 31.9 minutes per game in the 10 games that he has played alongside Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday this season. Tonight’s game only has a four point spread, so it is likely that Antetokounmpo plays several minutes more than his average.

Jaren Jackson, Jr. ($7,100 DraftKings/$6,900 FanDuel) is a volatile option because of his propensity for fouling, but he offers an enormous ceiling tonight with Ja Morant sidelined. Jackson played about 34 minutes on Tuesday, and it is likely that he plays similar minutes tonight as long as he can avoid foul trouble. Jackson played most of his minutes alongside Dillon Brooks in their last game. He has played a total of 115 minutes alongside Brooks without Morant on the floor since the start of last season. In those minutes, he has a 26.4 percent usage percentage and has averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute. If we don’t account for Brooks and just look at the entire sample of Jackson’s minutes without Morant over that time, he has produced 1.28 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.5 percent usage percentage in 304 minutes.

Jackson Jr. was one of the names popping up all over our NBA DFS lineup optimizer today. For all of our free NBA DFS picks tonight, check out the DraftKings NBA cheat sheet and FanDuel NBA cheat sheet.

Dillon Brooks ($7,000 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) is extremely inexpensive on FanDuel, but he offers plenty of upside on DraftKings as well. Brooks’ playing time had been somewhat restricted since he returned from injury, but he played a season-high 33.4 minutes on Tuesday so I expect him to get similar run tonight. He has averaged 1.23 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.9 percent usage percentage in 115 minutes alongside Jackson without Morant since last season and 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.8 percent usage percentage in 384 total minutes without Morant or Jonas Valanciunas on the floor.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl ($4,400 DraftKings/$4,700 FanDuel) played 33.9 minutes against the Rockets last night and has now averaged 27.2 minutes per game and 0.78 DraftKings points per minute in five starts with Derrick Favors sidelined. Favors is out again tonight, though Mike Muscala isn’t on the injury report. The biggest threat to Robinson-Earl’s playing time would be that Oklahoma City elects to use a three-center rotation with Robinson-Earl, Muscala and Isaiah Roby. It is likely, however, that one of Muscala or Roby doesn’t play at all which would allow us to expect around 30 minutes from Robinson-Earl.

Cameron Johnson ($4,200 DraftKings/$3,900 FanDuel) started the second half in place of Booker on Tuesday and played a total of 29.4 minutes. He played about 14 minutes in the second half. Shamet closed over him but, in some circumstances, we could see Johnson in the closing lineup which would allow him to play even more minutes. He has averaged 0.76 DraftKings points per minute this season and is a strong point-per-dollar value tonight.

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Deandre Ayton ($7,600 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) has averaged 1.16 DraftKings points per minute and 30.4 minutes per game in his 15 games this season. He should be able to have plenty of success against the Pistons’ frontcourt and stands out as one of the top mid-range center options tonight.

Jusuf Nurkic ($7,000 DraftKings/$6,700 FanDuel) was relatively disappointing in 27 minutes of action against the Pistons on Tuesday, particularly for me who would have made $100,000 with one more rebound or point, but the playing time and opportunity for success should be there again tonight with the Blazers short-handed. Lillard and Nassir Little remain out, while Norman Powell is questionable. While none of those players play the same position as Nurkic, their absences (or potential absence) thin out the Blazers’ rotation and make it more difficult for them to close with a small lineup. This makes it more likely that Nurkic approaches 30 minutes tonight against San Antonio. In 210 minutes alongside McCollum and without Lillard since the start of last season, Nurkic has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute.

Precious Achiuwa ($4,600 DraftKings/$4,600 FanDuel) was wildly disappointing as one of the most popular plays on Tuesday night. He projects as a strong value again tonight, however, and we may get him at lower ownership since he was so bad against Memphis. Achiuwa has averaged 31.3 minutes per game in five starts without Khem Birch this season and 0.84 DraftKings points per minute in 15 total starts. The biggest issue for Achiuwa is that he has only averaged 0.61 DraftKings points per minute in his four starts alongside Pascal Siakam. While it is reasonable to expect his per-minute production to decrease alongside Siakam, he is likely to produce at a higher rate than 0.61 points per minute as the sample grows. Achiuwa has averaged 0.78 DraftKings points per minute in 137 total minutes played alongside Siakam this season, which is a more reasonable expectation of his production going forward.

Fellow Awesemo NBA writer Terry McBride has a full breakdown of the best Raptors players who are showing up in the lineup optimizer today. Check out his NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Plays tonight.

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View our Yahoo! NBA ownership, our DraftKings ownership and our FanDuel NBA ownership. Looking for more free NBA DFS tools and the best free NBA DFS tools? Check out our NBA DraftKings rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own basketball DFS projections. Our NBA DraftKings projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have Yahoo! NBA rankings, DraftKings NBA rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate.

Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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