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The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel | Friday, 4/30

Adam Scherer

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NBA DraftKings Lineup PIcks Top 5 DFS rankings from Josh Engleman's ConTENders with Russell Westbrook

With eight games on the slate for Friday, April 30, there is a ton of value options and studs available for NBA DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel. Off the top, with injuries to stars, guys like Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are looking like high-ceiling stars, while value plays up and down the salary spectrum could make or break tournaments tonight.


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I plan to update this article with notes at the top until about 5 p.m. EST each day. After that, be sure to check out the Deeper Dive show with Loughy and me from 5 to 6 every weekday and Live Before Lock in the hour leading up until lock each day on the Awesemo YouTube channel.

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NBA DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | April 30

Point Guard

Russell Westbrook ($11,000 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) is a borderline cheat code at this point. The sites won’t create a new salary tier for him and he is clearly underpriced in his current range — especially on DraftKings where his turnovers aren’t as costly and his triple-doubles are rewarded. Westbrook has at least 60 DraftKings points in seven of his last 10 games and he has posted eight triple-doubles over that stretch. He has produced 1.63 DraftKings points per minute in 21 games alongside Bradley Beal since the All-Star break and he is second in the NBA over the last month with 37.9 minutes per game. He is also third in the NBA with 13.5 rebounds per game and leads the NBA with 12.7 assists per game over the last month.

Kyrie Irving ($9,400 DraftKings/$9,800 FanDuel) is expected to return to the Nets’ lineup tonight against the Blazers, while Kevin Durant will join James Harden on the sidelines. Irving has produced 1.50 DraftKings points per minute with a 32.4 percent usage rate, 9.6 percent rebounding rate and 44.9 percent assist rate while averaging 35.8 minutes per game in five games without Durant, Harden or Caris LeVert this season. In 523 total minutes without that trio on the floor, Irving has averaged 1.52 DraftKings points per minute this season.

Jrue Holiday ($7,800 DraftKings/$7,300 FanDuel) will presumably be playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight after Giannis left last night’s game in the first minute and never returned. Holiday has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.9 percent usage rate and 31.8 percent assist rate in seven games alongside Khris Middleton without Antetokounmpo this season compared to 1.10 DraftKings points per minute with a 21.1 percent usage rate and 24.2 percent assist rate when both players are active.

Dennis Schroder ($7,200 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) probably won’t get quite as much attention as the other point guards mentioned, but he has a fantastic matchup against the Kings and has been producing at a high level since LeBron Jamesinjury. Schroder has averaged 1.09 DraftKings points per minute and 33.6 minute per game in 21 total games played without James this season. In four games with Anthony Davis active and James inactive, Schroder has produced 1.06 DraftKings points per minute in 36.9 minutes per game.

Note: LeBron James is a game-time decision despite being listed on the injury report as “out.” If James plays, my interest in Schroder decreases although he will still be viable since James would most likely be limited.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday

Shooting Guard

Devin Booker ($7,900 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) has been difficult to prioritize for most of this season as the Suns have been relatively healthy and fantasy sites have priced him appropriately. The Suns are relatively healthy again tonight but Booker’s price tag has decreased a bit. He has a very difficult matchup against the Utah Jazz, who have been the most efficient defense in the league over the last month, but Booker enters the game with a 32.8 percent usage rate in 57 games played with Chris Paul active this season. There aren’t many options in this price range that offer the same usage as Booker, giving him a high ceiling despite the matchup.

Tyrese Haliburton ($7,400 DraftKings/$6,900 FanDuel) has a difficult matchup tonight against the Lakers. He should see extended playing time once again, however, as long as the game is competitive. Haliburton has averaged 32.7 minutes per game in four starts without De’Aaron Fox this season. In those starts, he has produced 1.07 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.8 percent usage rate and 38.2 percent assist rate. His usage may fall a bit tonight as Marvin Bagley is likely to replace some of Maurice Harklessminutes, but Haliburton should still be a primary piece of Sacramento’s offense.

Jordan Clarkson ($7,300 DraftKings/$6,300 FanDuel) will once again be playing without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley tonight as the Jazz take on the Suns. Tonight’s matchup is more difficult than Clarkson’s last game against the Kings, but there is also a much better chance that this is a competitive game. Clarkson came off the bench against Sacramento but he played about 32 first half minutes. Clarkson should play about 32 minutes in a competitive game. Clarkson has produced 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with a 29 percent usage rate and 19 percent assist rate in 327 minutes without Conley or Mitchell on the floor this season.

Dillon Brooks ($5,400 DraftKings/$5,400 FanDuel) and De’Anthony Melton ($3,900 DraftKings/$4,300 FanDuel) could see increased playing time tonight with Grayson Allen doubtful. My expectation is that Desmond Bane will start in Allen’s place, but there could also be more minutes available for Brooks and/or Melton. Even if Brooks only plays his normal 30 minutes and Melton plays about 22, they have the potential to pay off their relatively inexpensive price tags in a favorable matchup against Orlando.

Donte DiVincenzo ($4,800 DraftKings/$5,300 FanDuel) has seen a bump in his production in games without Antetokounmpo as well. DiVincenzo has averaged 1.07 DraftKings points per minute in the seven games that he has played without Antetokounmpo and with Holiday and Middleton available this season. Overall, he has produced 0.98 DraftKings points per minute in 426 minutes without Giannis on the floor compared to 0.87 DraftKings points per minute alongside him. In addition to a usage bump without Antetokounmpo on the floor, DiVincenzo also sees a bump in rebound rate.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Devin Booker, Dillon Brooks, Donte DiVincenzo

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Devin Booker, Jordan Clarkson, Donte DiVincenzo


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Small Forward

Jaylen Brown ($8,800 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) is relatively expensive but he will be playing another game without Kemba Walker. In 20 games without Walker and with Jayson Tatum active this season, Brown has averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.8 percent usage rate. He faces the Spurs tonight, who are 21st in defensive rating and 21st in pace over the last month.

Khris Middleton ($7,900 DraftKings/$7,200 FanDuel) stands out as the top small forward option even though he has been disappointing in similar spots this season. Middleton has played a total of 717 minutes without Giannis on the floor this season. In those minutes, Middleton has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.4 percent usage rate and 26.6 percent assist rate. In the seven full games that Middleton has played with Holiday active and Antetokounmpo inactive, he has produced 1.26 DraftKings points per minute with a 29.3 percent usage rate and 25 percent assist rate.

Joe Ingles ($7,000 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) is especially inexpensive on FanDuel, though he offers upside on DraftKings as well. Ingles has produced at a similar rate to Clarkson without Conley or Mitchell on the floor this season, posting 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with a 20.7 percent usage rate and 30.4 percent assist rate.

Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,300 DraftKings/$5,300 FanDuel) is another Utah option that is appropriately priced on DraftKings but underpriced on FanDuel. Bogdanovic has a 25.6 percent usage rate in 194 minutes without Conley or Mitchell on the floor this season and he has averaged 0.95 DraftKings points per minute over that time.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Khris Middleton

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Khris Middleton, Joe Ingles

Power Forward

Jayson Tatum ($9,800 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) is similar to Brown in that he is likely to benefit from Walker’s absence but he is also expensive. Tatum has averaged 1.30 DraftKings points per minute in 35.9 minutes per game with a 31.6 percent usage rate in 20 games alongside Brown without Walker this season.

Anthony Davis ($9,100 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) produced a mediocre game against the Wizards his last time out, but he played 31.1 minutes. Davis should play another 31 or 32 minutes tonight in an excellent matchup against the Kings (as long as the Kings can keep the game close). James is a game-time decision, but I assume that he will be limited if he does return. Davis has averaged 1.29 DraftKings points per minute overall this season and 1.23 DraftKings points per minute without James on the floor. He has only played 345 minutes without James this season, however, and looking back to the start of last season, he averages 1.48 DraftKings points per minute over the larger 1,219 minute sample size. Davis is currently sitting at less than 5% in the Awesemo NBA DFS ownership projections on DraftKings, which makes him a very appealing target.

Tobias Harris ($7,100 DraftKings/$6,900 FanDuel) typically isn’t a very strong option when the 76ers are fully healthy, but he is at a cheaper price point than normal for tonight’s matchup against the Hawks. Harris has averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute and 33.8 minutes per game in 30 games played alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons this season, which puts his NBA DFS projection in line with similarly priced players at other positions like Clarkson and Ingles (on DraftKings).

Bobby Portis ($5,500 DraftKings/$4,800 FanDuel) will be one of the bigger question marks on this slate if Antetokounmpo is unable to play. In seven games alongside Middleton and Holiday without Giannis this season, Portis has averaged 27.2 minutes per game and 1.33 DraftKings points per minute. I Portis gets the minutes, he is always a strong fantasy option since he produces at a high rate. The potential issue tonight is the Bucks’ addition of P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline. Tucker was Giannis’s immediate replacement when he suffered the injury last night and Tucker also started the second half in his place. Portis still saw increased playing time last night as he played about 24 minutes, but he is a riskier option if he comes off the bench than if he starts. On the other hand, his NBA DFS ownership will most likely be lower if he comes off the bench as well.

Thaddeus Young ($5,100 DraftKings/$5,300 FanDuel) has quietly had a very productive fantasy season with 1.19 DraftKings points per minute. His playing time has been the biggest issue as he has only averaged 24.1 minutes per game. Young’s playing time had dropped off even more in recent games before he played 26 minutes two games ago and 29 minutes last game. There is risk in rostering Young since his playing time has been volatile and was trending in the wrong direction prior to his last couple of games, but he has a high ceiling for his salary and gets a pace-up spot against the Bucks.

Alize Johnson ($3,000 DraftKings/$3,500 FanDuel) is probably the biggest wildcard on the slate. He hasn’t consistently been in the Nets’ rotation, but he has produced at a high level when he has gotten minutes. He has averaged 1.34 DraftKings points per minute in 13 games played this season, so he obviously doesn’t need a ton of minutes to pay off his minimum salary. The problem is that there is no guarantee in any given game that he even steps on the floor. In five games without Durant or Harden and with Irving this season, Johnson has played 4, 1, 12, 7 and 5 minutes. The reason that I am mentioning him, however, is that he played 32.1 minutes against the Pacers last night and posted a monster game with 20 points and 21 rebounds. The Nets should have the same players available tonight as last night, with the exception of Irving being in and Durant being out. One possible difference is that the Blazers’ frontcourt is much bigger than the Pacers’ so DeAndre Jordan should replace Durant in the starting lineup and play minutes at center. This would add another body to the rotation that wasn’t there yesterday. Still, Johnson clearly has an extremely high ceiling for a minimum salary option. It is just important to understand that the range of outcomes on his minutes literally stretches from 0 to 30. My best guess is that Johnson plays minutes in the teens, which would still make him a reasonable value.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Jayson Tatum, Tobias Harris, Bobby Portis (if Giannis is out)

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Center

Joel Embiid ($10,200 DraftKings/$10,200 FanDuel) doesn’t have to compete with Nikola Jokic or Karl-Anthony Towns to be the top center option on tonight’s slate. He stands out as the clear top-projected option against the Hawks and he will look even better if Clint Capela is unable to play for Atlanta. Embiid has averaged 1.57 DraftKings points per minute and 31.8 minutes per game in 30 games alongside Simmons and Harris this season. It will be difficult to prioritize Embiid over Westbrook at the top of the pricing spectrum giving the likely disparity in minutes, but Embiid is still capable of being the highest scorer on the slate.

Jonas Valanciunas ($7,700 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) has a favorable matchup against the Orlando Magic tonight. Orlando has played 18 games since trading Nikola Vucevic. Over that time, they have allowed the second most total rebounds per game, the most defensive rebounds per game and the seventh most offensive rebounds per game. Valanciunas has averaged the fifth most total rebounds per game over the last month despite averaging only 29.1 minutes per game (which is more than two minutes less than any player ahead of him). For the season, Valanciunas has averaged 1.36 DraftKings points per minute and there is a good chance that he produces at an even higher rate tonight against Orlando.

Jarrett Allen ($7,400 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) will once again be leading a short-handed Cleveland frontcourt that is without Isaiah Hartenstein, Taurean Prince and Larry Nance Jr.. Allen scored a career-high 27 points against the Wizards five days ago, and while he will not likely set another career-high, I expect another strong performance tonight. The Wizards have actually done a decent job at preventing rebounds over the last month, especially given their fast pace, but Allen is likely to play 34-plus minutes tonight if the game is close and has a good chance at another double-double.

Jusuf Nurkic ($7,100 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel) has suffered from a couple of blowouts as he only played 20 minutes two games ago and 21 minutes last game. Nurkic should play 28 to 30 minutes tonight as long as the game with Brooklyn is competitive. The Nets are short-handed and Nurkic should be able to take advantage of their frontcourt. Nurkic has averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute in 24 games alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum this season.

Brook Lopez ($4,500 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) has averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute in 546 minutes without Giannis on the floor this season compared to 0.86 DraftKings points per minute alongside Antetokounmpo. While the difference in average production isn’t much, it is worth noting that Lopez’s usage rate increases from 16.4 to 18.1 percent so he likely has a higher ceiling without Antetokounmpo. In the seven games that he has played alongside Holiday and Middleton without Antetokounmpo this season, Lopez has averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute.

DeAndre Jordan ($4,000 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) has not stepped on the floor in either of Brooklyn’s last two games, but I expect him to start tonight in place of Durant. The Blazers have a bigger frontcourt with Nurkic and Enes Kanter than Brooklyn’s last couple of opponents and there are obviously frontcourt minutes available with Durant sidelined. Jordan started and played 24.5 minutes against the Celtics in the last game that Durant missed. I think there is a good chance that Jordan will play 24 to 26 minutes tonight and he has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute this season. If Jordan doesn’t start for the Nets, get him out of your lineups.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Joel Embiid, Jonas Valanciunas, Jusuf Nurkic

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Joel Embiid, Jonas Valanciunas, Jarrett Allen


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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 support@awesemo.com.

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