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The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | Luka Doncic 10/28

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.

The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Strategy


Luka Doncic ($11,000 DraftKings/$10,700 FanDuel) is one of the top plays at any position tonight. He has averaged 1.46 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and 1.55 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season. His effective field goal percentage this season is about 10 points lower than last season, so his per-minute production should increase going forward. Kristaps Porzingis is questionable for tonight’s game. Since the start of last season, Doncic has averaged 1.61 DraftKings points per minute in games with Porzingis active and 1.51 DraftKings points per minute in games without Porzingis. His usage rate increases from 35.4% with Porzingis to 37.3% without him so the case could be made that he has a higher ceiling, but there has been a slight decrease in assist rate and efficiency that leads to his average fantasy production not increasing. Doncic is a top option with or without Porzingis, but pay attention to his ownership because there is typically a large jump in ownership when Porzingis sits even though his stats do not warrant the increase.

Stephen Curry ($10,900 DraftKings/$10,400 FanDuel) has produced 1.51 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and 1.57 DraftKings points per minute in 677 minutes alongside Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green without Kelly Oubre or James Wiseman since the start of last season. As it currently stands, Doncic is better than Curry by a slight margin. They have a similar range of outcomes, however, so Curry will look better if a gap in ownership projection between the two occurs throughout the day.

Derrick White ($6,300 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) is available at an affordable price tag while his backcourt mate, Dejounte Murray, has become considerably more expensive. So far this season, White’s salary relative to Murray’s has made it difficult to roster him. That is no longer the case and White stands out as a strong mid-range option. He has produced 1.02 DraftKings points per minute in 32.4 minutes per game so far this season.

Mike Conley ($5,900 DraftKings/$6,300 FanDuel) is not the most exciting option, but he is inexpensive in an excellent matchup against the Houston Rockets. Conley has averaged 29 minutes per game through his first three games this season and he is likely to play 29 or 30 minutes again tonight. He has averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and 1.11 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season. It is worth noting that his usage rate is about two points lower than last season and his assist rate is about 10 points lower. He has averaged about 4.3 fewer potential assists per 36 minutes this season, so there is some reason to believe that his decrease in production continues as the sample grows.

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De’Anthony Melton ($5,100 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) had a disappointing game last night but he remains inexpensive for tonight’s matchup against the Warriors. Melton has produced 0.94 DraftKings points per minute in 29.2 minutes per game so far this season. While a player’s performance in one game should be apply to future games, there was a discouraging takeaway from last night’s game for Melton. Previously, he was playing with the second unit for most of the minutes that Ja Morant was not on the floor. That was important because Melton has averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute without Morant on the floor since the beginning of last season compared to 0.91 DraftKings points per minute alongside Morant. He did not get those minutes last night as he shared the floor with Morant for most of his minutes. If that rotation continues going forward, expect Melton’s per-minute production to decrease. That said, his salary on a relatively short slate alleviates most of those concerns for now.


Keldon Johnson ($5,400 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) had a poor performance in his last game as he shot just 2-10 from the field. He leads the Spurs in usage rate so far this season at 26.5% and he has averaged 29.5 minutes per game. His rebounding rate is down a couple of points from last season as Jakob Poeltl is dominating the rebound chances this season, but the 7-point increase in usage rate has more than offset the decrease in rebounding. Johnson projects as one of the better values tonight.

Desmond Bane ($4,900 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) left last night’s game early after catching an elbow to the face from Larry Nance Jr. He returned to the bench with about five minutes left in the game, but it was a blowout so there was no need for him to return. He has taken on a much bigger role offensively this season with a 24.8% usage rate and 11.9% assist rate compared to a 16.3% usage rate and 10.7% assist rate last season. Bane is likely to play about 30 minutes as long as he is healthy for tonight’s game and he offers plenty of upside at his price point, especially on DraftKings where he is $900 less expensive.

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Jae’Sean Tate ($4,800 DraftKings/$6,200 FanDuel) is a difficult player to roster tonight on FanDuel, but he offers some value on DraftKings. Tate is not a great per-minute fantasy producer, and he has a difficult matchup against the Jazz, but he is likely to play 32-34 minutes if tonight’s game is competitive and he can avoid foul trouble. He has only averaged 27.9 minutes per game through his first four games of the season, but he played 35.3 minutes in the only game that was competitive and where he was not in foul trouble. Tate has averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute so far this season.

Lonnie Walker ($4,700 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) is likely to get increased playing time tonight with Doug McDermott sidelined. Walker has averaged 25.5 minutes per game this season and played about 30 minutes in regulation against the Lakers on Tuesday night. McDermott left Tuesday’s game with about six minutes left in the third quarter and Walker proceeded to play about 15 of the remaining 18 minutes. The biggest threat to Walker’s playing time is the possibility that Thaddeus Young is added to the rotation, but even then, it is likely that Keita Bates-Diop would lose minutes before Walker. He has averaged 1.07 DraftKings points per minute so far this season after producing 0.75 DraftKings points per minute in 680 minutes without DeMar DeRozan on the floor last season. His true shooting percentage is about 8 points higher than last season, so it is unlikely that he maintains all of his increased production. Still, Walker is likely to get 30-plus minutes tonight at a reasonable salary.

Devin Vassell ($4,200 DraftKings/$4,800 FanDuel) also played about 30 minutes in regulation last game and he has averaged 24.9 minutes overall this season. He is a likely beneficiary from McDermott’s absence as it opens up more wing minutes. Vassell has produced 0.98 DraftKings points per minute with a 19.4% usage rate this season. It is likely that the usage decreases a bit as he plays more minutes, but Vassell should get at least 25 or 26 minutes tonight.


Joel Embiid ($9,800 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) has not delivered a slate-breaking performance yet this season, but it is likely to come sooner or later — especially at his depressed price tag. While his DFS performances have seemed relatively disappointing so far this season, he has still averaged 1.4 DraftKings points per minute. He has produced 1.61 DraftKings points per minute in 404 minutes alongside Tobias Harris without Ben Simmons since the start of last season, but his 29.1% usage rate is about nine points lower than his 38.2% usage rate over those 404 minutes and his rebounding rate has decreased from 17.8% to 13.5% as well. The decrease in rebounds is my biggest concern with Embiid at the moment as he has gone from averaging 21 rebound chances per 36 minutes last season to 15.1 rebound chances per 36 minutes this season while Harris has increased from 12.7 rebound chances per 36 minutes to 16 rebound chances per 36 minutes. Embiid’s reduced salary helps to mitigate my concerns, but it is something to pay close attention to going forward.

Nikola Vucevic ($8,600 DraftKings/$8,700 FanDuel) has the third highest usage rate on the Bulls this season at 24.2% as Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan have taken on bigger roles offensively. Still, a 24% usage rate for Vucevic is nothing to laugh at, especially because it has resulted in a very reasonable price point. Vucevic is still rebounding at a high level with a 17.6% rebounding rate, and he has a 15.4% assist rate as well. Overall, he has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute, and he is likely to get 34 or 35 minutes if the game against the Knicks is competitive.

Christian Wood ($8,400 DraftKings/$8,600 FanDuel) leads the Rockets with 34.4 minutes per game and 1.24 DraftKings points per minute this season. He has a tough matchup against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz, but players that can stretch the floor are less matchup dependent. Wood has averaged 5.5 3-point attempts per game so far this season, so he poses a difficult matchup for Utah’s frontcourt. It will be interesting to see Wood’s ownership projection compared to Vucevic’s since there is not much of a difference between the two, but ownership considerations aside, Wood looks like a strong option again tonight.

Clint Capela ($6,900 DraftKings/$6,900 FanDuel) gets to take on a depleted Washington Wizards’ frontcourt tonight. The Wizards have been without Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant all season and they will also be missing Daniel Gafford tonight. That leaves Montrezl Harrell as the only true center in Washington’s rotation and he is giving up about three inches to Capela. Capela’s playing time is not particularly appealing, but he has produced 1.10 DraftKings points per minute so far this season and 1.20 DraftKings points per minute since the start of last season. He has 20 point/20 rebound upside in this matchup.

Montrezl Harrell ($5,300 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) is the clear top value play on tonight’s slate. Harrell has averaged 29.9 minutes per game this season as Washington’s new coaching staff seems to prefer him at the end of games to Gafford. Now, he will not have to compete with Gafford for minutes at all. Harrell played about 24 of the final 27 minutes after Gafford’s injury last night. While it would obviously be ambitious to project Harrell for another 38 minutes tonight, it is certainly reasonable to expect 30 to 32 minutes with the potential for more. Harrell has produced 1.10 DraftKings points per minute this season and is priced to play 24 to 26 minutes a night. This is what good chalk looks like.

For those who are allergic to rostering popular players and insist on getting away from Harrell, the most likely path to failure for him is Washington playing more small-ball lineups than expected. This would make Kyle Kuzma and Davis Bertans look like better plays. Again, because Atlanta is going to play about 48 minutes of Capela and Gorgui Dieng adding to Harrell’s appeal, but if are looking for alternate solutions from the Wizards frontcourt, Kuzma and Bertans are potential beneficiaries.

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

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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