This is Awesemo’s primary in-depth NBA DFS article, and it will be free this season. The goal of this article is not 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 will have a better feel for the slate. 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 the Single-Game and Showdown contests on DraftKings and FanDuel for Suns vs. Bucks Game 6.
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NBA DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | July 20
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is the highest-projected player on the slate, as usual. He has averaged 39.3 minutes per game and 1.59 DraftKings points per minute in this series. He should be the highest-owned player on the slate, though it will be somewhat difficult to build strong lineups with him in the Captain spot on DraftKings because of his expensive salary.
Devin Booker is the second-most expensive player on DraftKings, and he is projected for the sixth-most ownership. It will be difficult to roster Booker over some of the other expensive options in cash games, but he is worth a look in GPPs as long as his ownership remains relatively low. Booker does not contribute much in the way of peripherals, with only a 16.5% assist rate in this series, but he is capable of scoring enough actual points to take over a slate. He leads the Suns with a 34.6% usage rate through the first five games against Milwaukee.
Khris Middleton played 44.4 minutes in the last game and has now averaged 42.8 minutes per game in the series. He has a 26.9% usage rate in those games and has produced 1.02 DraftKings points per minute. There is also room for improvement for Middleton, as he has shot 36.6% from 3 with a 51.3% effective field-goal percentage against Phoenix, compared to 41.4% from 3 with a 54.6% effective field-goal percentage during the regular season. Middleton is a better play than Booker in cash games where they are similarly priced, but the projected gap in ownership on DraftKings makes Booker an interesting GPP pivot.
Jrue Holiday has averaged 1.07 DraftKings points per minute and 40.8 minutes per game against Phoenix. He played 42 minutes in the last game and should get similar playing time tonight as the Bucks look to close out the Suns. Holiday is less expensive than all of the previously mentioned stars, and he offers a nice combination of floor and ceiling at his price tag.
Chris Paul bounced back with a solid DFS performance in Game 5 after struggling mightily in Game 4. For the series, Paul has averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute and 36.9 minutes per game. He has a 25.6% usage rate and 37% assist rate.
Best Mid-Range Plays
Deandre Ayton has been one of the biggest breakout stars in the postseason and there is still value at his $8,200 salary on DraftKings. Ayton played 44.8 minutes in the last game after being limited to about 25 minutes because of foul trouble in his previous game. For the series, Ayton has produced 1.08 DraftKings points per minute, and he is averaging 13.2 rebounds per game in 37.8 minutes per game.
Jae Crowder is somewhat overpriced, but with this being a-one game slate, he still could find his way into some lineups as the final piece. Crowder has gotten the back-up center minutes since Dario Saric’s injury, though that could only be three or four minutes tonight if Ayton is able to avoid foul trouble. Crowder has averaged 0.8 DraftKings points per minute and 36.5 minutes per game in the series. He will need to shoot well from three and/or run into some defensive stats in order to justify his price, but he should play plenty of minutes and will have the opportunity to do so.
Brook Lopez has only averaged 24 minutes per game in the series, but he played 28.7 minutes in the last game. Jeff Teague did not play at all in the second half as the Bucks used Lopez for about 16 of a possible 24 minutes. It remains to be seen if the Bucks use a similar rotation tonight, but it is relatively likely since Lopez played well and the Bucks won the game. Lopez has produced 0.87 DraftKings points per minute against Phoenix and projects as a strong value if he sees about 28 minutes again. The risk is that he could return to playing 21 or 22 minutes, which would make it difficult for him to justify his salary.
[osBestBetsSingleGameOdds league=”nba” date=”07/01/2021″ team=”bucks”]
Best Value Plays
Cameron Johnson has been a popular value option in this series, but he has been relatively disappointing with fewer than 16 DraftKings points in three of five games. One of the games that he did well was the game that Ayton dealt with foul trouble. So far Johnson has produced 0.72 DraftKings points per minute and has averaged 23.9 minutes per game in the series. He is still a viable option, as it is difficult to find any value plays that look great, but keep expectations in check.
Cameron Payne is likely to play fewer minutes than Johnson, as he has averaged just 16.6 minutes per game in the series. He has produced at a higher rate, however, with 0.87 DraftKings points per minute. Payne has a 22% usage rate in the series, so it is not surprising that he has produced relatively well. The lack of playing time makes Payne a risky option, but he is one of the preferred options at $4,000 or less on DraftKings because of his offensive upside.
P.J. Tucker is the exact opposite of Payne, as he offers very little offensive upside but is likely to play 28 to 30 minutes and is slightly less expensive. Tucker has only averaged 0.43 DraftKings points per minute and a 6% usage rate in this series. He has averaged 30.3 minutes per game and only played about 24 minutes last game, but he was dealing with foul trouble, so he should return to close to 30 minutes tonight. There is nothing exciting about Tucker, but there is not much to like in his price range.
Torrey Craig is similar to Tucker in that he is not likely to offer many fantasy points. Craig has averaged 0.46 DraftKings points per minute and 12.6 minutes per game in the series. One reason for optimism is that Craig has averaged 0.75 DraftKings points per minute in 21 total games this postseason, so there is a chance that his production will increase. Still, Craig is essentially the last man in Phoenix’s rotation, and this is obviously a must-win game for them. He only played nine minutes last game, and there is a relatively good chance he plays fewer than his 12.6-minute average again tonight as long as the regular rotation players avoid foul trouble.
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We also have DraftKings rankings, Yahoo! rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate. View our FanDuel NBA ownership projections, our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections and our DraftKings NBA ownership projections. Our best NBA DFS projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. Looking for more NBA DFS plays tonight and the best NBA DFS picks? Check out our daily fantasy rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own most accurate NBA DFS projections.
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