This is our primary in-depth NBA DFS article, and it will be free this season. The goal of this article isn’t 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’ll have a better feel for the slate as a whole. 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 any type of contest on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Be sure to catch the Awesemo NBA Daily Fantasy Strategy Show every morning on our Awesemo YouTube Channel to find the best NBA DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel!
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.
As always, if you have any questions after reading the article, feel free to DM me in Slack.
NBA DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | April 27
Luka Doncic ($10,900 DraftKings/$11,300 FanDuel) struggled in a great matchup against the Kings last night but he gets another pace-up spot tonight against the Warriors. Golden State is fifth in pace over the last month, though they have also allowed the eighth-fewest points per 100 possessions. Kristaps Porzingis is doubtful tonight. Doncic has averaged 1.47 DraftKings points per minute in 18 games without Porzingis compared to 1.61 DraftKings points per minute. His usage rate increases from 35.6 percent with Porzingis to 36.8 percent without him, however, so Doncic still has a massive ceiling even though his average production has actually decreased. He’s currently sitting at the No. 1 spot in raw points for tonight, according to the Awesemo NBA DFS projections. Doncic is questionable tonight, so be sure to keep an eye on his injury status leading up to lock.
Stephen Curry ($10,300 DraftKings/$9,700 FanDuel) faces a slow-paced Dallas team that is 27th in pace over the last month. Curry has been playing extremely well, however, and offers plenty of upside despite the pace-down spot. Curry has played a total of 15 games without James Wiseman and with Kelly Oubre active this season and he has averaged 1.51 DraftKings points per minute with a 34.1 percent usage rate.
Kyrie Irving ($9,500 DraftKings/$10,200 FanDuel) will play another game without James Harden and alongside Kevin Durant as he takes on the Toronto Raptors tonight. Irving has played six games without Harden or Caris LeVert with Durant active this season. In those games, he has averaged 1.24 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.4 percent usage rate and 29.9 percent assist rate. He doesn’t project quite as well as some of the other top-tier guard options but, if that keeps his ownership down (he’s currently at almost 18% in the Awesemo NBA DFS ownership projections), it will make him an interesting option in tournaments since he is still one of the most talented players on the slate.
Damian Lillard ($9,100 DraftKings/$8,300 FanDuel) is at one of the cheapest price points that we have seen all season. He has a favorable matchup against the Indiana Pacers who are first in pace and 16th in defensive rating over the last month. Lillard has averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute and 35.5 minutes per game with a 30.1 percent usage rate and 30 percent assist rate in 22 games played alongside C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic this season.
Malcolm Brogdon ($8,800 DraftKings/8,500) will take on Lillard and the Blazers tonight with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner still sidelined. Brogdon’s salary has increased, but his production without Sabonis and Turner increases as well. He has averaged 1.43 DraftKings points per minute with a 29.4 percent usage rate and 29.1 percent assist rate in four games without either player this season. In a total of 177 minutes without Sabonis or Turner on the floor this season, Brogdon has produced 1.35 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.2 percent usage rate, 12.3 percent rebounding rate and 27.4 percent assist rate.
Terry Rozier ($7,700 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) and the Hornets get a pace-up spot against the Bucks. Charlotte is 28th in pace over the last month while Milwaukee ranks fourth. Rozier has averaged 35.9 minutes per game in nine games played alongside Devonte’ Graham without Gordon Hayward or LaMelo Ball active. In those games, Rozier has averaged 1.09 DraftKings points per minute with a 25.9 percent usage rate and 28.4 percent assist rate.
Payton Pritchard ($3,700 DraftKings/$4,300 FanDuel) will most likely see increased playing time tonight with Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum sidelined. Pritchard played 24 minutes off the bench on April 23rd with Walker sidelined and he played 31.4 minutes as a starter without Walker or Marcus Smart on April 19th against the Bulls. It remains to be seen whether Pritchard will crack the starting lineup tonight, but I expect that we get at least 24 to 26 minutes tonight even if he comes off the bench. Pritchard has produced 0.76 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Malcolm Brogdon
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Stephen Curry, Malcolm Brogdon, Damian Lillard
Latest NBA DFS Content
- The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel | Sunday, 5/16
- 📽️ NBA DFS Picks: Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock for DraftKings and FanDuel at 11 a.m. ET | 5/16/21
- NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Sunday, May 16th | Damian Lillard
- Yahoo Cheat Sheet: NBA Main Slate Picks for Daily Fantasy Basketball Lineups with Anthony Davis | 5/16/21
- FanDuel Cheat Sheet: NBA Main Slate Picks for Daily Fantasy Basketball Lineups with Giannis Antetokounmpo | 5/16/21
- Awesemo DFS on Youtube
Marcus Smart ($6,600 DraftKings/$6,600 FanDuel) is likely to play 34 to 36 minutes against the Thunder tonight. Oklahoma City has been the least efficient defense in the league while playing at the third-fastest pace over the last month. Lu Dort is expected to play tonight which should help their defense somewhat, but it is still an enticing matchup for the Celtics. Smart has produced 0.91 DraftKings points per minute in 293 minutes without Walker or Tatum on the floor this season. While his average production without them on the floor is about the same as his season average, his usage rate climbs from 18.5 to 23.4 percent so it is likely that Smart has a higher ceiling than normal at the very least – and he’s a top-10 value play in the NBA DFS projections.
Kevin Porter Jr. ($6,500 DraftKings/$5,600 SF FanDuel) will be playing without John Wall for the rest of the season which should increase his production. Porter has averaged 1.17 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.4 percent usage rate and 39.5 percent assist rate in seven games without Wall or Victor Oladipo and with Christian Wood active this season. By comparison, Porter has a 21.7 percent usage rate and 22 percent assist rate and has averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute in six games alongside Wall and Wood. Porter is likely to produce at an above-average rate tonight in a favorable matchup against the Timberwolves as well.
D’Angelo Russell ($6,300 DraftKings/$6,400 FanDuel) had a big game last night against Utah and now he gets a great matchup against the Rockets. Russell played 31 minutes last night, giving him 29, 31 and 31 minutes in his last three games. His salary hasn’t increased along with his playing time, which makes him stand out as a strong option tonight, but he will be popular (NBA DFS ownership projections have him as the third-highest owned player tonight). He has averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute with a 29.9 percent usage rate and 36.2 percent assist rate in 10 games without Malik Beasley and with Karl-Anthony Towns this season.
Evan Fournier ($5,000 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) only played about 22 and 20 minutes in his first two games back from injury. Hopefully, we will get an announcement this afternoon about his limits for tonight’s game. There are plenty of minutes available tonight with Walker and Tatum out and Fournier is likely to see increased production without them on the floor. Overall this season, he has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute. His playing time tonight is a question mark, but there is upside at his price tag if Brad Stevens increases Fournier’s minutes limit.
Edmond Sumner ($4,000 DraftKings/$5,500 PG FanDuel) doesn’t look like a very good option on FanDuel, but he offers value on DraftKings. Sumner played 36.5 minutes in his last game and he played about 34 minutes in the game before that. Indiana will be short-handed again tonight, but we need to pay attention to the statuses of Jeremy Lamb and Goga Bitadze. If both players are out, we are probably looking at another 34 to 36 minutes from Sumner.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Marcus Smart, Kevin Porter Jr., D’Angelo Russell
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Marcus Smart, D’Angelo Russell, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Jaylen Brown ($8,400 DraftKings/$8,100 FanDuel) is likely to be one of the highest-owned players (NBA DFS ownership projections have him at nearly 35%) on tonight’s slate — and for good reason. Brown has a 29.6 percent usage rate and has averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute overall this season. Those numbers alone would make him a strong option tonight at a weak small forward position. Without Tatum or Walker on the floor, however, Brown has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute with a 37.3 percent usage rate and 26.9 percent assist rate over 392 minutes played.
Anthony Edwards ($7,500 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) is still playing huge minutes for the Timberwolves despite the increased playing time for D’Angelo Russell. Edwards has a 25.2 percent usage rate and has produced 1.05 DraftKings points per minute in 10 games without Beasley and with Russell and Towns active this season. Edwards is likely to produce at an above-average rate tonight against Houston and we will probably see 34 to 36 minutes from Edwards.
Jae’Sean Tate ($6,100 DraftKings/$6,100 PF FanDuel) will need to take on a bigger role with Wall sidelined for the rest of the season. In 653 minutes without Wall, Oladipo or Harden on the floor this season, Tate has averaged 0.89 DraftKings points per minute. He has a favorable matchup tonight against Minnesota and I expect 30 to 32 minutes from Tate with the upside for more if he is playing well.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,300 DraftKings/$3,900 SG FanDuel) has started the last two games in place of Josh Richardson and Richardson is doubtful to play again tonight. Hardaway played about 30 minutes in the first start and about 29 minutes last night. We can expect about 30 minutes again tonight, but there is also the potential for more minutes as he didn’t close the first game and he didn’t play at all in the second quarter last night. Hardaway has averaged 0.89 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.2 percent usage rate in 678 minutes alongside Doncic without Porzingis on the floor this season. If Doncic sits, Hardaway would look even better as he has a 27.3 percent usage rate and has produced 0.97 DraftKings points per minute in 336 minutes without Doncic or Porzingis on the floor.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Jaylen Brown, Anthony Edwards, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Kevin Durant, Jaylen Brown, Anthony Edwards, Kevin Porter Jr.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,700 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) is always one of the top-projected players on a slate and that is especially true tonight with only six games. His Awesemo NBA DFS projection has him slated for around 52 fantasy points tonight. Antetokounmpo won’t have to compete with players like Nikola Jokic or Russell Westbrook for roster spots, so it should be easier to get Antetokounmpo into lineups. Charlotte is 14th in defensive rating over the last month and they are 28th in pace over that time so it doesn’t set up as a particularly appealing matchup. Still, Antetokounmpo has averaged 1.69 DraftKings points per minute this season with a 32.5 percent usage rate, 17.8 percent rebounding rate and 29 percent assist rate in 33.6 minutes per game.
Kevin Durant ($8,300 DraftKings/$9,700 SF FanDuel) played 28.2 minutes against Phoenix on Sunday. He didn’t start the game, but he did start the second half. He played about 21 of his 28 minutes in that half. My assumption is that he will rejoin the starting lineup tonight and that we can get about 30 minutes from Durant. He has produced 1.70 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.5 percent usage rate, 12.3 percent rebounding rate and 36.1 percent assist rate in six games without Harden or LeVert and alongside Irving this season.
P.J. Washington ($6,800 DraftKings/$7,200 FanDuel) doesn’t have the most appealing matchup against the Bucks, but he started at center and played about 38 minutes in the Hornets’ most recent game. Of Washington’s 38 minutes, about 26 came at center where he has been the most productive this season. Washington has averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute without Cody Zeller or Bismack Biyombo on the floor.
Kenyon Martin Jr. ($4,100 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) played 41.9 minutes against the Nuggets on Saturday when the Rockets only had eight players active. They aren’t expected to be quite as short-handed tonight, but we could still see Martin play minutes into the mid-20s. He has averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute this season and should benefit from his matchup with Minnesota.
Jaden McDaniels ($3,600 DraftKings/$4,100 FanDuel) has only averaged 0.67 DraftKings points per minute in 21 starts this season. He has averaged 30.8 minutes per game, however, and he remains close to minimum salary thanks to his relatively low per-minute production. Tonight’s matchup against the Rockets is likely to afford the Timberwolves extra possessions and fantasy opportunities, making McDaniels a viable value option.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Jaden McDaniels
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Christian Wood, Jaden McDaniels
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000 DraftKings/$9,700 FanDuel) has been difficult to roster recently because he has had tough matchups and been on slates with Jokic and Joel Embiid. Neither situation is the case tonight, as he is the most expensive center in a great matchup against the Rockets. Towns has produced 1.44 DraftKings points per minute in 10 games alongside Russell without Beasley and 1.45 DraftKings points per minute in 45 total games.
Christian Wood ($8,000 DraftKings/$7,700 PF FanDuel) stands out as a top power forward option on FanDuel, but he is a strong center (or power forward) option on DraftKings as well. Wood has averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.4 percent usage rate and 33 minutes per game in his seven games alongside Porter without Wall or Oladipo this season. He will have his hands full on the defensive end with Towns, but he is likely to have plenty of success on the offensive end.
Jusuf Nurkic ($6,800 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) has now played about 29 minutes in three straight games for the Blazers. I expect that we see him approach 30 minutes again tonight, and he is still relatively inexpensive on DraftKings. Nurkic has averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute with Lillard and McCollum active this season and 1.29 DraftKings points per minute in 30 games with the backcourt duo active going back to last season. He should benefit from his matchup against a banged up Indiana frontcourt as well.
Kelly Olynyk ($6,600 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) has been an excellent source of fantasy production since joining the Rockets. In 16 games, Olynyk has averaged 1.16 DraftKings points per minute and 30.9 minutes per game. He has contributed across the board with 17.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game with Houston. He is likely to see increased scoring and assist opportunities with Wall sidelined going forward, but that comes with increased ownership – NBA DFS ownership projections have him just a tick under 20% tonight.
DeAndre Jordan ($4,300 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) is a risky option but he offers upside on DraftKings in particular. Even if he starts, Jordan’s playing time is volatile as he could play anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. Jordan has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute in nine games without Harden and with Durant and Irving this season. The matchup against the Raptors’ smaller frontcourt makes me think that Blake Griffin closes the game over Jordan, but that is far from certain so the volatility offers upside at a cheap price point.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns, Christian Wood, Jusuf Nurkic, Kelly Olynyk
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns, Jusuf Nurkic, Kelly Olynyk
NBA DFS picks content? We have loads of daily fantasy basketball articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Awesemo NBA DFS home page.
NBA Betting: NBA Player Props Tool
NBA DFS Projections for DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo and No House Advantage Daily Fantasy
NBA DFS Boom/Bust Probability
NBA DFS Projections for No House Advantage | FREE
Awesemo’s NBA DFS Rankings
NBA DFS Ownership Projections: Night Slate
The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel | Sunday, 5/16
📽️ NBA DFS Picks: Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock for DraftKings and FanDuel at 11 a.m. ET | 5/16/21