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The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | Nikola Jokic 11/12

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.

With so many injuries popping up throughout the day in the NBA, Adam Strangis has all the NBA injury report news in one place, tracking all of the breaking news on who is and who is out for starting lineups today in his Daily NBA Injury Report.

The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Strategy


Dejounte Murray ($9,400 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) is having an excellent season for the Spurs and his salary has not increased quite as much as some of the other top-tier guard options. Murray has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute this season and leads San Antonio in usage rate and assist rate. He also has the highest rebounding rate on the team amongst non-centers and has averaged 2.9 steals per 100 possessions. The downside for Murray is the matchup as the Mavericks rank 23rd in pace this season and they are in the middle of the pack in defensive rating.

Zach LaVine ($8,000 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel) remains affordable and there is extra production to go around tonight with Nikola Vucevic sidelined. For the season, LaVine leads Chicago with a 29.7% usage rate, and he has averaged 1.17 DraftKings points per minute. LaVine has only played 32 minutes without Vucevic on the floor this season, so there is not have much in the way of previous data, but it would make sense for some of Vucevic’s 20.6% usage to go to LaVine.

LaVine is standing out in the Awesemo Boom/Bust Tool, and Alex Hunter thinks LaVine could be one of the top plays on the slate, which he wrote about in his NBA DFS Boom/Bust Picks article today.

D’Angelo Russell ($7,200 DraftKings/$7,100 FanDuel) has played more minutes since returning from his injury than he was before he got hurt. In the two games since returning, Russell has played 35.8 and 34.1 minutes in regulation. Overall this season, he has only averaged 30.3 minutes per game. It makes sense to buy into Russell’s increased playing time since the Timberwolves should get him more minutes. His salary still reflects his 30 minute per game average, so there is plenty of upside here. Russell has averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute so far this season with a 27.8% usage rate and 28.5% assist rate.

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Dennis Schroder ($6,200 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) produced a mediocre game against Toronto on Wednesday, but he started and played 34.1 minutes. In three starts without Jaylen Brown this season, Schroder has averaged 35.4 minutes per game and 0.88 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.9% usage rate and 22.7% assist rate.

Ricky Rubio ($5,700 DraftKings/$5,900 FanDuel), somewhat surprisingly, came off the bench last game even with Collin Sexton sidelined. Assuming he comes off the bench again tonight, his playing time is a bit less secure than it would be if he started. Still, he is likely to be in the closing lineup and he has averaged 27.9 minutes per game this season. He is in the midst of a very productive fantasy season as well, averaging 1.13 DraftKings points per minute with a 24.7% usage rate and 36.5% assist rate. His assist rate leads the team, and his usage rate is the highest outside of Sexton.

Cade Cunningham ($5,600 DraftKings/$5,700 FanDuel) is slowly getting more expensive, but there is still plenty of upside to be had. Cunningham has struggled with fouls in a couple of his recent games, which may lead people to the conclusion that he is unlikely to play more than 30 minutes. He played 31.8 minutes three games ago, however. Two games ago, he played 30.3 minutes and lost about four minutes to foul trouble and last game he played 30.5 minutes despite losing about four to six minutes. If he can avoid fouls tonight against Cleveland, there is a good chance that he plays the most minutes of his young career. He has produced 0.89 DraftKings points per minute this season despite an awful 39.4% true shooting rate that has nowhere to go but up. He leads Detroit with a 30.3% usage rate and has also contributed a 10.4% rebounding rate and 17.5% assist rate.

Patrick Beverley ($4,200 DraftKings/$4,800 FanDuel) has started alongside Russell since Russell’s return from injury. Beverley has played about 29 and 35 minutes in regulation in those games. Beverley has produced 0.93 DraftKings points per minute in 209 total minutes this season and 0.93 DraftKings points per minute in 79 minutes alongside Russell this season. He also has a favorable matchup against a turnover-prone point guard in Russell Westbrook that offers upside from defensive stats.

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Jayson Tatum ($10,100 DraftKings/$9,600 FanDuel) benefits from Jaylen Brown’s absence. He has averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.1% usage rate in 204 minutes without Brown on the floor this season compared to 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with a 28.5% usage rate in 204 minutes alongside Brown. Tatum is likely to play 36-plus minutes tonight assuming the game against Milwaukee is competitive.

Anthony Edwards ($8,100 DraftKings/$8,100 FanDuel) set a career high in scoring against Golden State on Wednesday and now he faces a Lakers team that leads the NBA in pace. Edwards has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute with a 31% usage rate and 37.2 minutes per game in the eight games that he has played alongside Russell this season.

Evan Mobley ($7,100 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) only played 25.5 minutes against Washington on Wednesday as he dealt with first half foul trouble and Cleveland did not make up the minutes in the second half. He leads the Cavs with 33.6 minutes per game this season and frequently plays 36-plus minutes in competitive games. He has averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute with a 20.1% usage rate this season. His usage rate increases to 23.2% without Lauri Markkanen or Kevin Love on the floor.

Kristaps Porzingis ($6,600 DraftKings/$7,100 FanDuel) played about 32 minutes in his last game, so assume he will play 30-plus minutes tonight as long as the game is close. He has averaged 1.13 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.3% usage rate so far this season. There are plenty of pivots to use in GPPs if his ownership projection remains high, but he projects as a strong mid-range value.

Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,200 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) managed to avoid foul trouble in his last game and he played 30.1 minutes. He played about 12 minutes without Steven Adams on the floor, which is great for his fantasy production. He has averaged 1.07 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 1.25 DraftKings points per minute when Adams is on the bench. Jackson closed at center against the Hornets and there is a good chance that he gets plenty of minutes at center tonight with Frank Kaminsky serving as the Suns’ back-up center and frequently playing more minutes than their starter, JaVale McGee.

Bobby Portis ($6,000 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) let down a large portion of the field on Wednesday as he only played 24.1 minutes against the Knicks. He missed out on his final rotation as the Bucks went on a run and Pat Connaughton was playing extremely well so he stayed in the game. Typically Portis plays about 30 minutes, with the potential for more if he plays particularly well. He has averaged 1.10 DraftKings points per minute so far this season.

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Nikola Jokic ($11,700 DraftKings/$11,400 FanDuel) returns from his one game suspension to face the Atlanta Hawks tonight. Jokic is one of the best DFS producers in the league, averaging 1.74 DraftKings points per minute this season. He has played 98 minutes without Michael Porter Jr. on the floor this season and he has produced 2.20 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.9% suage rate, 28.3% rebounding rate and 34% assist rate. He has played 499 minutes without Porter or Jamal Murray since the start of last season and has averaged 1.81 DraftKings points per minute. He is the preferred pay-up option if fitting a top-tier player into a lineup tonight.

Jonas Valanciunas ($9,300 DraftKings/$8,600 FanDuel) is getting expensive, and interest level is, to some extent, contingent on the status of Brandon Ingram. Valanciunas has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.3% usage rate, 21.2% rebounding rate and 11.8% assist rate in six games with Ingram active this season. In the six games without Ingram, he has averaged 1.36 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.5% usage rate, 21.8% rebounding rate and 16.8% assist rate. Valanciunas is a high-upside option either way, but his ceiling and median projection are higher if Ingram, who practiced yesterday, misses another game.

Adam Strangis also loves Valanciunas today, and he explains why he is showing up as a great play in his Daily Fantasy Basketball Big Board article today.

Jarrett Allen ($7,800 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel) has averaged 37.1 minutes per game in five games without Kevin Love this season. He has also averaged 1.29 DraftKings points per minute in those games. In addition to Love being out and Allen’s playing time being more secure as a result, Markkanen is also out so there are more stats available for Allen. He has averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute with an 18% usage rate and 13.2% rebounding rate in 149 minutes alongside Markkanen without Love this season. In 168 minutes without Markkanen or Love on the floor, Allen has averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute with a 21.1% usage rate and 23.7% rebounding rate.

Isaiah Stewart ($4,300 DraftKings/$4,800 FanDuel) has been a volatile fantasy option this season because he frequently is in foul trouble, and he also has to contend with Kelly Olynyk closing over him if Olynyk is playing well. Olynyk is out for the foreseeable future, so the only thing that is likely to keep Stewart from playing a full allotment of minutes tonight is foul trouble. Stewart has averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season and is likely to play 28 to 30 minutes tonight.

JaVale McGee ($4,100 DraftKings/$4,400 FanDuel) has started four games in place of Deandre Ayton and he is likely to make a fifth start tonight against Memphis. McGee has only averaged 19.9 minutes per game in those starts, but he has also dealt with foul trouble. In the one game where he avoided foul trouble, he played about 26 minutes. He has averaged 1.13 DraftKings points per minute in those starts. He is a risky option tonight given his tendency to foul and the fact that Frank Kaminsky has played well off the bench behind him, but there is plenty of upside at this price.

LaMarcus Aldridge ($4,100 DraftKings/$5,300 FanDuel) is unlikely to play more than 22 to 24 minutes, which keeps him from being a priority on DraftKings despite the cheap price tag. Still, he offers value here as he has produced at a high level off the Nets’ bench this season. Aldridge has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.1% usage rate and 13.9% rebounding rate.

Tony Bradley ($3,000 DraftKings/$4,400 FanDuel) is likely to start in place of Vucevic tonight. Bradley is a strong fantasy producer, averaging 0.94 DraftKings points per minute this season and 1.02 DraftKings points per minute in 11 starts for various teams over the last three seasons. The issue with Bradley is that he is unlikely to need to play a lot of minutes tonight against a small Golden State frontcourt. It is likely that he starts, but that he loses minutes to players like Derrick Jones Jr. and Alize Johnson. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that the Bulls use a lineup with Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Javonte Green on the floor together. Bradley is a strong point-per-dollar option, but keep expectations for his playing time in check.

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

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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