The Slate Starter is a daily first look at to get your daily fantasy basketball lineup-building process started before lock tonight. Each day, we will go through some of the best NBA DFS picks, top stacks and optimal lineup construction for DraftKings and FanDuel. Be sure to check Awesemo’s NBA Starting Lineups page, as it will be updated throughout the day as the NBA injury reports are released and breaking news surfaces. Some of the salaries on DraftKings are starting to get a bit out of hand for the stud players. Can you afford to pay up for one of the top players, or are you better off looking down the board? Let’s dive in.
Want to see how your lineup stacked up against yesterday’s winning NBA DFS lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo? Check out our Optimal Lineup Review, which uses FantasyCruncher Rewind to analyze all of the winning plays from the night before.
NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Construction | Nov. 19
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F/C, Milwaukee Bucks
Antetokounmpo is up to $12,300 on DraftKings, and he’s coming off 66.25 DraftKings points in his last outing. Antetokounmpo was absolutely dominant in that contest – he scored 47 points on 18-of-23 shooting – but he still didn’t provide a ton of fantasy value. His $12,500 salary meant he was implied for nearly 65 fantasy points, so he exceeded salary-based expectations by a very slim margin.
That gives Giannis very little room for error tonight. If he can nearly fail to return value while shooting 18-for-23 from the field, he’s going to need to be basically perfect to return value at $12,300.
One thing working in Giannis’ favor is that the Bucks do have an excellent matchup against the Thunder. They’ve been a strong matchup for fantasy purposes, and the Bucks figure to be sizable home favorites.
Overall, I would expect Giannis to be among the leaders in terms of raw fantasy projections, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a strong play. If he’s only projected for 55 points or so, he’s not going to be worth a $12,300 price tag.
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Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
Jokic is priced just a smidge below Antetokounmpo, but he’s been the better player so far this season. He entered Thursday’s matchup against the 76ers averaging 26.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, and he’s averaged 1.84 DraftKings points per minute. That’s the top mark on the slate by a sizable margin. Antetokounmpo has averaged 1.69 DraftKings points per minute this season, while Steph Curry is third at 1.56. He’s been forced to carry a large workload given the Nuggets’ injury situation, and so far, Jokic has been up to the task.
He faces a tough matchup Friday against the Bulls, who rank ninth in the league in defensive efficiency. They’ve also been tough on opposing centers, and the Nuggets will be on the second leg of a back-to-back.
Still, I’m more inclined to pay up for Jokic than Antetokounmpo given his recent performances. He’s scored at least 66.75 DraftKings points in three of his past four games (excluding Thursday’s contest), so he has proven the ability to consistently pay off this price tag. I’ll be interested to see his projected ownership and how he fares in the Boom/Bust Probability Tool.
As the day progresses, check out all of our NBA DFS cheat sheets for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo, as we run optimal lineups and give you a glimpse at some of the Awesemo premium data and tools for FREE.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Dallas Mavericks
Opting for a balanced lineup could be the preferred roster construction, and Porzingis stands out as underpriced at $7,800 on DraftKings. He’s scored at least 47.75 DraftKings points in each of his past three games, and he posted a season-high 33.6% usage rate in his last contest. That game came with Luka Doncic out of the lineup, and Doncic is doubtful for tonight’s contest.
Porzingis also has some room for improvement. He shot just 7-of-20 from the field and 2-for-7 from 3-point range. He looks like a smash option in DFS, and he’s worth exploring in the player prop market as well. Make sure you’re taking advantage of the Awesemo Player Prop tool, which highlights the most profitable prop bets each day.
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Check out our DFS rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA DFS projections today. Looking for more NBA DFS help and the best NBA DFS picks today? We also have Yahoo! rankings, DraftKings rankings and FanDuel rankings for today's slate. View our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections, our FanDuel ownership projections and our DraftKings ownership projections. Our NBA daily projections are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks.
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