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NBA DFS Picks: FREE 1/1 Cash Building Blocks: Hassan Whiteside, Value Plays and MORE

Eric MacPherson



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Wednesday, Jan. 1 (1/1) brings a four-game main slate for all the big daily fantasy sites. Before you lock in your NBA DFS lineups and NBA DFS picks on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo and FantasyDraft, make sure to check out check out Awesemo’s NBA DFS rankings and projections. Let’s dig into some NBA DFS Picks, including Hassan Whiteside, and more.

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Check out Chris Spags’ Switch and Hedge for more NBA DFS picks and analysis HERE.

Don’t forget to check out the NBA Strategy Show featuring Josh Engleman and Sal Vetri as they break down the NBA DFS slate. They focus on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal, the Timberwolves understudies, plus other injury news and analysis.

NBA DFS Picks: Prime Time Players

Hassan Whiteside: Portland Trailblazers at New York Knicks

DraftKings $8,300, FanDuel $9,100, Yahoo $39 Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 22.2%, FanDuel 21.2% Yahoo Fantasy 19.0%

This Sunday will be a fun one when we get Hassan Whiteside making his Portland debut in Miami. In the mean time he gets a nice matchup in New York and then a phenomenal one on Friday in Washington. Over the last month, the Knicks have the third worst DEF EFF allowing 113.1 points per 100 possessions. They are in the middle-of-the pack with 100.3 possessions per game.

Moving away from coach Erik Spolstra has worked out well for Whiteside from a fantasy perspective. He is averaging 29.5 minutes per game for Portland as opposed to his 23.3 and 25.3 the last two seasons with the Heat.

While his per 36 numbers for rebounds and scoring are down, his assist and block rate have both improved by about 0.75 each. Putting all of this together he is putting up similar fantasy numbers with 40.8 in 29.5 minutes per game. This is in line with his best Miami season when he tallied 41.4 and 32.6 in 2016-17.

NBA DFS Picks: Good Value

Anfernee Simons: Portland Trailblazers at New York Knicks

DraftKings $3,400, FanDuel $3,500, Yahoo $10 Ownership Rating (preliminary run): DraftKings 17.3%, FanDuel 18.3% Yahoo Fantasy 11.0%

Full disclosure, this is a personal preference play. We have a lot of moving parts with the status of Bradley Beal, Aaron Gordon and a host of Timberwolves. In fact there are so many moving parts in Minnesota, they get their own section.

Back to Anfernee Simons, the second year man has seen some excellent improvement over his rookie campaign and he has recently been in some closing lineups for the Trailblazers. This is the first game of five on an East Coast swing and Portland is playing eight of their next ten on the road. Though coach Terry Stots loves to ride his core players, I would think there could be some mop-up duty available tonight for Simons. Plus if this is a close game, there is a good chance he is among those closing things down the stretch.

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Anything above 23-24 minutes is going to be gravy and we could see 25-28 in this matchup.

NBA DFS Picks: Minnesota Value

Tonight the Timberwolves get their own section. We already know that Karl Anthony Towns (knee) and Andrew Wiggins (illness) are out. Jeff Teague is dealing with a knee bruise and currently listed as doubtful. In what I believe is the biggest spread of the season, the Bucks are 18.0 point home favorites.

Over their last 15 games, Milwaukee has the best DEF EFF in the league. My biggest fear is that so many key pillars are out for Minnesota, those remaining players are going to be incredibly inefficient. Well, at least until they get to take on the Bucks understudies. Because we have only eight teams in action with only six on FanDuel and Yahoo, let’s look at each of the notable Twolves.

Reasonable options

Gorgui Dieng: probably my favorite, but also the most expensive. If Noah Vonleh is out, it would not be a surprise for Dieng to approach 30 minutes. The versatile big man contributes across the board averaging 2.8 steals and 1.0 blocks in his last five games with eight three pointers. In this stretch he has had highs of 21 points and 20 rebounds. Do not let his increased price tag scare you away.

Robert Covington: in the absence of other NBA caliber players, Covington has averaged nearly 37.0 minutes per game over his last three appearances. That should continue again tonight and we at least know that he can sink some threes and provide some hustle stats. In this stretch he corralled 22 rebounds with 10 combined blocks and steals.

Shabazz Napier: another Minnesota player who has seen a rising fantasy salary with his insertion into the starting lineup. The key to unlocking his fantasy value is field goal attempts and he should see something in the mid-teens tonight.

Noah Vonleh: if he were not dealing with a bruised gluteus maximus I would have a fair amount of interest as unlike his counterparts, he can actually do things when he has the opportunity to get on the court. The sixth year veteran has a career per 36 of 10.4 points and 11.0 rebounds with 1.8 combined blocks/steals. Last season he topped 29+ fantasy points in a third of his appearances with the #LOLKnicks so I am sad that he is not at full strength for this matchup.

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Now it gets a little sketchy

Jarrett Culver: m-e-h MEH! If he crushes my hopes and dreams like he did on Monday when he dropped a forty burger, so be it. I will be VERY GENEROUS and include that game in these recent results. Over his last eleven games which included eight starts, he is averaging 20.0 minutes and 14.6 fantasy points.

Now the 0.7 fantasy points per minute are adequate for his price point. Keep in mind that he does not do much of anything consistently when on the court. In his last game he had a career high 21 points. In the other ten games of this sample size he reached double digit points once and had five or fewer points in half of those outings.

Josh Okogie: similar to Culver, he just does not do much while on the court. In his last eight games, which include five starts, he is averaging 21.3 minutes and 10.4 fantasy points for a 0.49 per minute rate. For this season and last, he is a 0.7 fantasy point per minute guy. Okogie simply cannot create his own shot. For his career he a 44.1 EFG% for his career shooting 38.4% from the field and 27.6% from beyond the arc. Okogie is dealing with a sore elbow to boot.

Treveon Graham: in his last two appearances for Minnesota, both starts, he has 64.8 minutes and 23.0 fantasy points. Over his four year career the 26-year old has played in 154 games for three organizations averaging 0.56 fantasy points per minute. Graham is also dealing with an illness right now.

Kelan Martin: the 24-year old rookie was not drafted, but he was solid starting over half his career 136 career games for Butler. He finished with a fine senior season of 21.2 points, 6.3 rebounds ad 2.0 assists while hitting 36.4% of his 7.5 three-point attempts each game. The only thing really separating him from Culver, Okogie and Graham is that he has not had as many opportunities to disappoint yet. So factoring in biases, I think I am going to give him the nod in this quartet.

FantasyCruncher Tip of the Day

Use promo code PRIMETIME to receive 50% off any one-week premium subscription (including FantasyCruncher options).

With the incredibly user-friendly FantasyCruncher, we can take our lineup construction to the next level.

Our example today will be how to utilize groups to control the number of players we allow onto our rosters. This can be done by two different methods.

First we will see how to do this by player, then by team.

Assuming all four of the Minnesota Timberwolves extreme discount dandies are playing, I do not want more than one or two per roster. If we had five or more games on this slate, I would change that to one.

Additionally, in order to give myself a little differentiation from the field, I think going with a cap of three Timberwolves may be a reasonable approach – dependent on additional news.

We can use the global rule in FantasyCruncher to help us with that requirement.

By going to the Advanced Options page, we can control minimum and maximum players allowed by teams.

Final Thoughts

Tonight is shaping up to be a disaster of epic proportions. Be sure to play within your bankroll means and keep your options open for better NBA slates beginning tomorrow. Fortunately we have Fast Eddie Fear helping guide us as the news breaks.

Tune in to the Deeper Dive/Live Before Lock shows on YouTubeTwitch and Periscope beginning at 4 p.m. EST tonight for all of the up-to-date information.

As always, you can reach out to me in Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any NBA DFS questions about DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo or FantasyDraft.

Good Luck NBA DFS Gamers! ~ EMac

If you haven’t signed up for Yahoo Fantasy DFS, click this link and use the promo code Awesemo when making your first deposit and you will be eligible for $30 of free play, which Yahoo will match through the first $30 of your deposit (this bonus will be received in Yahoo Sports Rewards Points, aka YSRP which can be used to enter any paid contest immediately).


Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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