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The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups Today | Paul George 11/16

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


Stephen Curry ($10,900 DraftKings/$10,800 FanDuel) leads this slate with 1.51 DraftKings points per minute this season. He is likely to play about 36 minutes assuming tonight’s game against the Nets is competitive. Curry has a 31.5% usage rate and 30.5% assist rate so far this season. The pay up options on this slate all have a similar range of outcomes, but the fact that Curry is slightly more expensive than the rest means that he could have the lowest ownership which would make him more appealing in tournaments.

While it is no surprise that Curry is a one of the optimal picks on virtually every slate, EMac has Curry highlighted as his top overall play in his NBA DFS Building Blocks article for tonight’s three-game slate.

James Harden ($10,600 DraftKings/$10,200 FanDuel) has struggled by his standards this season, but he has still averaged 1.34 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.9% usage rate and 41.4% assist rate. He is likely to play about 36 minutes tonight against Golden State. The Warriors have been the most efficient defense in the league so far, but they have also played at the fifth fastest pace so the lack of efficiency is less of a concern since Harden will get extra possessions.

Donovan Mitchell ($8,600 DraftKings/$8,800 FanDuel) continues not to get the respect that he deserves for his DFS performance so far this season. Mitchell has averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.3% usage rate and 27.5% assist rate in the 10 games that he has played alongside Mike Conley this season. The only knock on Mitchell is that he has only averaged 32.8 minutes per game in those games, but he is still likely to play 34 or 35 minutes if tonight’s game is competitive.

Derrick White ($5,400 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) has struggled this season as Dejounte Murray has dominated most stats for San Antonio and Keldon Johnson has taken on a higher usage rate as well. White’s salary is falling as a result, however, and he has reached a rosterable price point. White has averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute in 30.8 minutes per game this season. The Clippers have been the second-best defense behind Golden State this season, but they also are sixth in pace.

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Patty Mills ($3,800 DraftKings/$4,000 FanDuel) started the second half in place of Joe Harris last game. He proceeded to play about 17 minutes in the half and would have played even more had the game been competitive until the end. Mills may not play 34 to 36 minutes tonight, though it is possible, but he projects as a strong value even if he only gets about 30 minutes. Mills has averaged 0.74 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 0.70 DraftKings points per minute alongside Harden. In 130 minutes alongside both of Harden and Kevin Durant, however, Mills has only averaged 0.49 DraftKings points per minute, so it is likely that a large rate of his increased minutes are relatively unproductive.


Kevin Durant ($10,300 DraftKings/$10,600 FanDuel) is less expensive than Harden on DraftKings, which is strange because they play similar minutes and Durant has been the better fantasy producer with 1.41 DraftKings points per minute this season. He is slightly more expensive on FanDuel. As mentioned before, ownership will play an important role in my decisions among the top-end players tonight, but all things equal, Durant looks like a great option on DraftKings in particular.

Durant is one of the best pay-up options tonight, which our NBA DFS lineup optimizer is verifying. Check out the DraftKings NBA cheat sheet and FanDuel NBA cheat sheet to see more of our free daily fantasy basketball picks.

Paul George ($10,200 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) is my favorite top tier option tonight if ownership is similar across the group. He is slightly less expensive than Curry, Harden and Durant and he has produced as many fantasy points per minute as any of them except for Curry. George has averaged 1.40 DraftKings points per minute with a 33.5% usage rate, 12.2% rebounding rate and 25.5% assist rate so far this season. He will face a San Antonio team that is seventh in pace and 13th in defensive rating this season.

Tobias Harris ($8,500 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel) has a tough matchup against Utah, but he also has a very high ceiling with Joel Embiid sidelined. It is also worth noting that most defenses on this slate are very good, so the matchup with Utah is slightly less important. Harris has averaged 1.24 DraftKings points per minute with a 29.2% usage rate, 11.8% rebounding rate and 21.2% assist rate without Embiid on the floor since the start of last season. Without Embiid or Ben Simmons, he has averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.4% usage rate, 12.5% rebounding rate and 25% usage rate. Harris has only played 71 minutes alongside Andre Drummond this season, but he has produced 1.22 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.1% usage rate, 8.1% rebounding rate and 29.7% assist rate over that sample.

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Draymond Green ($6,400 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) is reasonably priced for his consistent 32 to 33 minutes and 1.07 DraftKings points per minute production. There is a possibility that he sees more playing time tonight as well since both Harden and Durant should play 36 or 37 minutes. Green enters the game with a 14.8% usage rate, 14.7% rebounding rate and 31.3% assist rate this season.

Thaddeus Young ($5,300 DraftKings/$5,900 FanDuel) is a risky option, but he also has a high ceiling for his price tag. He has averaged 24.7 minutes per game and 1.20 DraftKings points per minute in six games without Jakob Poeltl this season. His playing time fluctuates depending on the matchup, as he is likely to split 48 minutes with Drew Eubanks. It is difficult to say with much confidence how the Spurs frontcourt rotation will look tonight, so it is so difficult to predict how many minutes Ivica Zubac is going to play. There is certainly a pretty good chance that the Clippers close small, however, which would mean that Young could play 26 or 27 minutes.

Blake Griffin ($4,000 DraftKings/$3,900 FanDuel) has been a useless DFS option for most of this season, but he is inexpensive on a short slate tonight against Golden State. Griffin is likely to play about 25 minutes tonight and he has averaged 0.78 DraftKings points per minute this season.

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Andre Drummond ($8,700 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) is no longer priced in “must play” territory, but he still offers plenty of upside tonight against Utah. Drummond has averaged 33.3 minutes per game and 1.39 DraftKings points per minute in his five starts this season. He has a difficult matchup tonight against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz, but he is also likely to be lower owned than most of the other viable center options.

Rudy Gobert ($7,700 DraftKings/$8,300 FanDuel) stands out as the top center option and his ownership is expected to reflect that. Gobert has averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute in 31.2 minutes per game this season. If tonight’s game is close, it would not be surprising to see Gobert play several minutes more than his average in order to defend Drummond. If you need a high upside/low probability value option in large field tournaments, Hassan Whiteside negatively correlates with the popular Gobert so he would make for a strong leverage play.

Gobert was popping in the Awesemo tools and projections, and Alex Hunter has a full breakdown of how great Gobert looks in his NBA DFS Boom/Bust Picks article.

Ivica Zubac ($4,900 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) is difficult to trust since his playing time has been all over the place this season, but his salary is also at a point where he has a high ceiling if he plays a lot of minutes. There is no guarantee he plays a lot tonight since the Clippers could use a small closing lineup against the Spurs’ Eubanks/Young frontcourt like they did last game against the Bulls. Overall this season, Zubac has averaged 1 DraftKings point per minute and 24.1 minutes per game in 13 starts.

LaMarcus Aldridge ($4,800 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) has produced at a high level this season, though his playing time has been limited. Aldridge has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute and 20.5 minutes per game this season. He is likely to play the short end of a 48-minute split with Griffin, but he is also likely to be the more productive of the two.

Drew Eubanks ($4,400 DraftKings/$5,300 FanDuel) is similar to Young and Zubac in that he has a high ceiling for his salary, but it is also very difficult to confidently project his minutes. This is a feature, not a bug, in tournaments as long as the ownership projection is relatively low. Eubanks has averaged 1.12 DraftKings points per minute in 22.2 minutes per game in his six starts this season and there is the potential for a few more minutes if he is playing well and/or Zubac is in the Clippers’ closing lineup.

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View our FanDuel ownership, our DraftKings NBA ownership and our Yahoo! ownership projections. Our DFS basketball projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have DraftKings rankings, Yahoo! NBA rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS lineups and the best NBA DFS picks today? Check out our DFS NBA 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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