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
Luka Doncic ($11,100 DraftKings/$10,400 FanDuel) has a tough matchup against the Miami Heat, who led the league in defensive rating and rank 15th in pace. Doncic is always a high upside option, however, as he has averaged 1.49 DraftKings points per minute in 29 games played without Kristaps Porzingis, and 1.61 DraftKings points per minute alongside Porzingis, over the last two seasons.
Devin Booker ($8,000 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) is affordably priced as he takes on the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans have played at a middle of the pack pace to start the season, but they also rank 25th in defensive rating. Booker leads the Suns with 32.7 minutes per game and he is likely to play a few more minutes if the game is competitive. He has produced 1.17 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.6% usage rate and 29.3% assist rate so far this season. Expect the per-minute production to increase over a larger sample, as Booker has a 45.5% effective field goal percentage this season compared to 53.3% last season.
Chris Paul ($7,600 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) also projects as a strong option against his former team. Paul leads the Suns with 1.21 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and he has averaged 31 minutes per game. He has a relatively low 19.1% usage rate, but he has made up for that with a 48.6% assist rate. Even if his assist rate decreases a bit going forward, it would likely be offset by increased usage.
Kevin Porter, Jr. ($6,200 DraftKings/$5,900 FanDuel) is somewhat risky since the Rockets are 10 point underdogs tonight in Los Angeles, but Houston has given their starters a ton of minutes in competitive games this season so there is plenty of upside as well. Overall, Porter has averaged 29.7 minutes per game but that is skewed by an injury against Utah where he played just 18.6 minutes (all in the first half). Porter should play at least 31 minutes tonight, with the potential for 36 or 37 if Houston is able to keep the game close. He has averaged 0.91 DraftKings points per minute this season with a 25.1% usage rate and 29.4% assist rate.
George Hill ($3,800 DraftKings/$4,600 FanDuel) is not an exciting fantasy option, but he has averaged 28.2 minute per game and 0.75 DraftKings points per minute in five starts this season. He will start again tonight with Jrue Holiday sidelined. Khris Middleton is also out, so there could be more production available for Hill as well. In his five starts, he has a 14% usage rate, 7.3% rebounding rate and 15.3% assist rate.
Cade Cunningham ($3,600 DraftKings/$5,000 FanDuel) played 18.9 minutes in his NBA debut against the Magic on October 30th. The Pistons announced before the game that his playing time would be limited, and he should be limited again tonight. It is likely that he plays a few more minutes, however, so he still projects as a strong point-per-dollar value at his salary even though the ceiling is lowered by the likely minutes restriction. Cunningham was heavily involved in his debut as he had 10 rebound chances, seven potential assists and eight field goal attempts in his 19 minutes of action. He is a much better play on DraftKings than on FanDuel.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600 DraftKings/$11,300 FanDuel) is the clear number one option on tonight’s slate as he faces the Pistons without Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo has produced 1.70 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 1.80 DraftKings points per minute without Holiday or Middleton on the floor since the start of last season.
Kelly Olynyk ($5,700 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) is a volatile option as it is difficult to trust the minutes of almost anyone on Detroit any given night. They are a terrible team with nothing to play for and they run a deep rotation of interchangeable pieces. Olynyk has averaged 24.2 minutes per game this season. He played 27.9 minutes off the bench in a competitive game two games ago and then played 20.9 minutes in a blowout loss to the Nets in his most recent game. He has produced 1.17 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he is a strong tournament option since there is the potential for him to play several minutes more than average if tonight’s game against Milwaukee is competitive.
Mikal Bridges ($5,200 DraftKings/$5,700 FanDuel) is basically the opposite of Olynyk. He has averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute this season, but he is locked into a starting role with the Suns. Bridges is second to Booker with 31.6 minutes per game this season, and he could play a couple more minutes tonight if the game is competitive. He has a favorable matchup against the Pelicans and should fit nicely into lineups as a final piece.
Grayson Allen ($4,800 DraftKings/$4,900 FanDuel) is probable for tonight’s game and he should play a bigger role than usual with Holiday and Middleton sidelined. Allen has produced 0.84 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 1.09 DraftKings points per minute in 64 minutes without Holiday or Middleton. Do not read much into the per-minute production over that sample since he has an unsustainable 68.8% true shooting, but it is worth noting that he has a 22.4% usage rate compared to his season long usage rate of 16.9%.
Bobby Portis ($4,400 DraftKings/$4,700 FanDuel) has played 15.4 and 19.2 minutes in his first two games of the season. It is likely that he will be limited again tonight, but it is a good sign that he played four more minutes last game than in the previous game. There are plenty of frontcourt minutes available for Portis and he is still inexpensive. He has averaged 1.13 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season so he projects as a strong value tonight assuming he will play at least 18 to 20 minutes with the potential for 22 to 24 if his minutes limit is increased again.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo ($3,100 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) started and played 32.1 minutes in Milwaukee’s last game. He has now averaged 23.1 minutes per game in three starts this season, but last game was the first one where Middleton was also out. Semi Ojeleye missed the last game and is not on tonight’s injury report so he could steal a few minutes from Antetokounmpo. Portis could also steal a few minutes if his playing time increases. Still, at $3,100 on DraftKings, Antetokounmpo only needs to play 24 to 26 minutes to pay off his price tag as he has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute in his three starts this season and 0.84 DraftKings points per minute overall.
Jonas Valanciunas ($8,500 DraftKings/$8,600 FanDuel) has averaged 34.1 minutes per game this season, which had led to fantastic fantasy production. Valanciunas has always been a strong per-minute contributor but has typically been on teams that limit him to 28 to 30 minutes a night. That is no longer the case as the Pelicans have made it clear that he is going to play huge minutes on a nightly basis, at least for as long as Zion Williamson is sidelined. He is second in the NBA with 23.6 rebound chances per game and he has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.5% usage rate, 21.7% rebounding rate and 12.4% assist rate.
Rudy Gobert ($8,000 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) is off to an excellent start this season with 1.38 DraftKings points per minute in 31 minutes per game. He leads the NBA with 25.2 rebound chances per game and he has played three less minutes per game than second place Valanciunas. He also has a 20.1% usage rate this season, compared to 17.7% last season.
Bam Adebayo ($7,500 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) is listed as questionable for tonight’s game, but he was a full participant in practice yesterday. Assuming Adebayo can play, he looks like a top center option- especially on DraftKings. Adebayo is third with 22 rebound chances per game this season. He has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute in 31.5 minutes per game with a 27.9% usage rate, 21.7% rebounding rate and 8.9% assist rate.
Richaun Holmes ($6,300 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) has his work cut out for him tonight against Gobert and the Utah frontcourt. He is affordably priced, however, which mitigates a lot of the risk. Holmes is seventh with 19.2 rebound chances per game this season despite averaging just 27.7 minutes per game. He has averaged 1.29 DraftKings points per minute through his first 166 minutes of the season.
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