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 ($10,700 DraftKings/$10,200 FanDuel) has gotten off to a relatively slow start this season with 1.37 DraftKings points per minute. The opportunities have still been there, however, as he has a 35.1% usage rate, 12.7% rebounding rate and 40.5% assist rate so far this season. He has a favorable matchup against the Pelicans as well, as New Orleans is 14th in pace and 28th in defensive rating so far this season.
Russell Westbrook ($10,400 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) has had a couple of ugly performances in his last two games without LeBron James, but he will have a chance to redeem himself tonight in an excellent matchup against the Hornets. Westbrook has averaged 1.4 DraftKings points per minute in 196 minutes without James on the floor so far this season.
Ja Morant ($9,100 DraftKings/$9,100 FanDuel) was disappointing in his last game against the Wizards, but he is off to an excellent start overall this season. Morant has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.3% usage rate and 36% assist rate this season. He should 35 or 36 minutes in a favorable matchup against Minnesota as long as the game is competitive.
Tyrese Maxey ($5,900 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel), Shake Milton ($5,200 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel), Seth Curry ($5,800 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) and Furkan Korkmaz ($4,900 DraftKings/$4,700 FanDuel) are all likely to receive extra opportunities tonight with Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid sidelined. Matisse Thybulle is also out, which opens up additional minutes as well. Danny Green is questionable, but he went through shootaround, so assume will play. Without Harris or Embiid on the floor this season, Maxey has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute in 88 minutes, Milton has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute in 77 minutes, Korkmaz has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute in 125 minutes and Curry has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute in 48 minutes.
P.J. Dozier ($3,300 DraftKings/$3,600 FanDuel) started the second half in place of Michael Porter, Jr. on Saturday, and he could start again tonight with Porter sidelined. Keep expectations for Dozier in check since he is facing a very good Miami team in a game that is likely to be played at a slow pace. He also is likely to lose production playing with the starting unit as he has produced just 0.72 DraftKings points per minute alongside Nikola Jokic since the start of last season. Still, he projects as a strong point-per-dollar value if he gets the start.
Anthony Davis ($10,200 DraftKings/$10,600 FanDuel) is questionable for tonight’s game. He was questionable for his last game but was able to play, before leaving early with an illness. For now, assume he will be good to go tonight. He has averaged 1.47 DraftKings points per minute without LeBron James on the floor this season and he is likely to play about 36 minutes against the Hornets as long as the game is competitive, and he does not get sick. Davis is a strong play regardless of site, but he looks better on DraftKings where he is less expensive than Westbrook.
Kevin Durant ($9,900 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel) is another player who looks better on DraftKings than FanDuel- though he has plenty of upside on FanDuel as well. His salary has fallen nearly $1,000 on DraftKings even though he has produced at a high level this season. Durant enters the game with a team-leading 31.6% usage rate, and he has averaged 1.42 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Miles Bridges ($7,700 DraftKings/$8,300 FanDuel) is off to a fantastic start this season and he has been able to maintain most of his production even with the return of Terry Rozier and increased playing time for LaMelo Ball. Bridges has averaged 1.17 DraftKings points per minute in 36.1 minutes per game in the six games that he has played alongside Rozier. He has a 23.6% usage rate, 9.7% rebounding rate and 18.6% assist rate in those games. The Lakers lead the league in pace, while the Hornets are third, so there should be plenty of possessions in this game.
John Collins ($7,000 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) looks like an extremely high-upside mid-range option tonight against the Warriors. While Golden State has been the most efficient defense in the league, they have also played at a top five pace. Collins’ playing time has been trending in the right direction, with 31, 31, 37, 30 and 35 minutes over his last five games. It is likely that Collins closes at center tonight against a small Golden State frontcourt, and he has gotten more center minutes lately as he has mostly replaced Gorgui Dieng as the backup center. Collins has produced 1.23 DraftKings points per minute in 851 minutes at center since the start of last season and it is likely that he plays center for about half of his minutes tonight.
Jaren Jackson, Jr. ($5,800 DraftKings/$6,300 FanDuel) is a volatile player, but he is priced to his floor on DraftKings at $5,800. Jackson has produced 1.06 DraftKings points per minute in 26.3 minutes per game this season. He is likely to play about 30 minutes if he is able to avoid foul trouble against the Timberwolves tonight.
Frank Kaminsky ($4,300 DraftKings/$4,300 FanDuel) has played 28 and 29 minutes in the two games that Deandre Ayton has missed this season. While it is not a guarantee that Kaminsky plays that many minutes tonight, as he benefited from foul trouble and a brief injury to JaVale McGee in Phoenix’s last game, he is likely to play at least 24 minutes and there is certainly a path for more. Kaminsky has averaged 1.03 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season and his power forward eligibility makes him valuable as well.
Paul Reed ($3,300 DraftKings/$4,100 FanDuel) started and played 21.6 minutes in the Sixers’ most recent game. He could start again tonight, but it is likely that he will be replaced in the starting lineup by Danny Green if Green is able to play. With Embiid sidelined, however, there is still a path to meaningful minutes for Reed. Andre Drummond will replace Embiid in the starting lineup, which means that Reed would likely replace Drummond as the backup center. He only played about 10 minutes in the last game that Embiid missed, but the Sixers are much more shorthanded tonight than they were for that game. Reed should play 18 to 20 minutes tonight even if he comes off the bench.
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Nikola Jokic ($11,000 DraftKings/$11,100 FanDuel) has a brutal matchup tonight in terms of pace and efficiency. The Heat are fourth in defensive rating and 28th in pace so far this season. Still, Jokic is one of the best per-minute fantasy producers in the league and he is about as close to matchup proof as it gets. He leads Denver with a 31.2% usage rate, 28.3% assist rate and 22% rebounding rate this season and he has averaged 1.71 DraftKings points per minute. Even assuming that he produces at a below average rate against Miami, he offers a massive ceiling.
Andre Drummond ($5,700 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) is the easiest play on the slate with Embiid sidelined. Drummond played 33.6 minutes in his previous start in place of Embiid, he should get 30-plus minutes again tonight barring foul trouble or injury. Drummond is an excellent fantasy producer with 1.34 DraftKings points per minute so far this season. Do not overthink this one.
Terry McBride also loves Andre Drummond for tonight’s NBA DFS slate and wrote at length about that in today’s Optimal Lineup Picks & Leverage Leaders article, where Drummond was popping as one of the best plays, according to our lineup optimizer.
Steven Adams ($4,500 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) has produced 1.01 DraftKings points per minute this season and he could see a couple extra minutes tonight against Karl-Anthony Towns. It is nearly impossible to roster Adams on FanDuel since he is $100 more expensive than Drummond and there is only one center spot. On DraftKings, however, he is a strong source of value alongside Drummond.
JaVale McGee ($4,000 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) has played 19 and 18 minutes in his two starts this season. While McGee may not play much more than that, there is a path to more minutes as he dealt with foul trouble and a locker room trip in his last game. McGee has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute this season and has slate-breaking upside if he happens to play a few more minutes. As is the case with Adams, McGee is a much better option on DraftKings since he can be paired with Drummond.
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