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 get ready for the day’s slate of action 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 I from 5 to 6 every weekday and Live Before Lock in the hour leading up until lock each day on the Awesemo YouTube channel.
If you have any questions after reading the article, always feel free to DM me in Slack.
Note: This article takes a very long time to write, especially on slates with a lot of games. In order to get information out earlier in the day, I will post the first few games and then update with the remaining games as I write them on bigger slates. Be sure to check back for updates throughout the afternoon.
NBA DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | Feb. 23
Update: Wayne Ellington is also out for Detroit. Josh Jackson is the most likely candidate to start in his place and it would allow us to project Jackson’s playing time more confidently. We also could see more minutes for Svi Mykhailiuk with Ellington sidelined.
Dennis Smith Jr. started in place of Wright last game but played only 15.4 minutes. Saben Lee played 32.6 minutes off the bench. I really have no idea what to make of this. It would make sense for the Pistons to get Lee extended minutes so that they can develop him, but if that was their intention, why didn’t they just start him and keep Smith in his normal role off the bench? If Smith starts again tonight, I’m going to expect this to be more of a 50/50 split with either player having the opportunity to play more minutes if they are playing well. If Lee starts, I’m going to assume that he gets the bulk of the minutes. Both players are low-floor options who project relatively well for their salaries if you assume they are going to split 48 minutes on average. Lee is the “safer” of the two on DraftKings since he is close to the minimum salary. Both players are priced up on FanDuel and much riskier options.
Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant should be the best fantasy producers with Griffin and Wright out. Plumlee has averaged 33.8 minutes per game with 1.09 DraftKings points per minute in seven games without Griffin or Okafor this season. He only has a 13.6 percent usage rate in those games, but he also has an 18.1 percent rebounding rate and 22.8 percent assist rate. Grant has averaged 37.5 minutes per game and 1 DraftKings points per minute with a 28.7 percent usage rate in 10 games without Griffin. Neither player stands out as a top option on the slate in a game that is expected to be low scoring, but they have the most upside from Detroit.
Josh Jackson played 32.3 minutes against Orlando on Sunday and we could continue to see him get extended playing time with Detroit short-handed. Jackson has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute with a 26.1 percent usage rate this season. His salary isn’t particularly appealing, but he offers some upside as a lower mid-range forward option.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Jerami Grant ($7,600), Mason Plumlee ($6,700), Saben Lee ($3,200)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Jerami Grant ($7,600), Mason Plumlee ($7,000)
Nikola Vucevic has averaged 34.7 minutes per game over the last month. He has played six games with Gordon sidelined and Evan Fournier active this season. In those games, he has averaged 1.62 DraftKings points per minute with a 31.7 percent usage rate, 22 percent rebounding rate and 25.2 percent assist rate. For the season, he has a 28.7 percent usage rate, 18.3 percent rebounding rate and 20.4 percent assist rate, so he has seen an increase in his rates across the board without Gordon — which makes sense since Gordon was contributing as a scorer, passer and rebounder prior to his injury.
Fournier and Michael Carter-Williams are the other scoring options in the starting lineup. Fournier has averaged 1.21 DraftKings points per minute with a 30.4 percent usage rate and 26.9 percent assist rate in his six games without Gordon while Carter-Williams has averaged 0.78 DraftKings points per minute with a 17.6 percent usage rate and 23.7 percent assist rate in three games alongside Fournier and Vucevic without Gordon. Pricing on all three players is more favorable on FanDuel and Carter-Williams is especially cheap compared to DraftKings.
Al-Farouq Aminu started last game for Orlando. He was on a minutes limit and ended up only playing 19 minutes. Aminu has averaged 0.74 DraftKings points per minute since last season, so we would probably need to hear he can play at least 24 minutes tonight before we start considering him, even at near minimum salary.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Vucevic ($10,200), Michael Carter-Williams ($5,500)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Vucevic ($9,900), Evan Fournier ($6,800), Michael Carter-Williams ($4,500)
Update: Cam Reddish is now questionable and Rajon Rondo is probable. If Reddish sits, Danilo Gallinari is most likely the biggest beneficiary. It could also open up additional minutes for Kevin Huerter and John Collins as well.
Update #2: Reddish is now doubtful and Rondo is available.
Trae Young has averaged 36.4 minutes per game over the last month and 1.36 DraftKings points per minute this season. He is priced a little bit higher than his per-minute production suggests he should be, but his 33.8 percent usage rate and 42.6 percent assist rate show that he has plenty of upside in tournaments — especially against a Cleveland team that has been the least efficient defense in the league over the last month.
Clint Capela’s playing time has been inconsistent this season, but he has exceeded 30 minutes in four straight games. There is no guarantee it happens again tonight, but he has averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute this season so, if it does, he is likely to outperform his salary. Collins hasn’t played more than 30 minutes in any of Atlanta’s last four games. If Capela plays fewer than 30 minutes, there is a good chance that Collins gets 33 or 34 minutes, and in that scenario, he would be getting more minutes at center as well. Collins has averaged 1.03 DraftKings points per minute this season and his salary is falling since his playing time has been down recently. Capela and Collins are both strong GPP options, but I don’t love the idea of rostering them together since their playing time has some negative correlation and Collins’ most productive minutes also come without Capela on the floor.
Huerter isn’t the best per-minute fantasy producer, but he has averaged 0.77 DraftKings points per minute and 34.1 minutes per game in 11 games with Hunter out and Gallinari active this season. His salary has decreased as a result of four consecutive poor performances. In those four games, however, Huerter shot 12 for 34 (35.3 percent) overall and 4 for 22 (18.2 percent) from 3. For the season, Huerter has a 42.5 percent field-goal rate and 37.6 percent 3-point rate. Nothing about his role has changed recently, he is just shooting worse than normal and that has caused his salary to decrease.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Trae Young ($9,700), Clint Capela ($7,900), Kevin Huerter ($5,000)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Trae Young ($9,600), Clint Capela ($8,200), Kevin Huerter ($5,300)
The injury situation for Cleveland remains the same. Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, Matthew Dellavedova, Marques Bolden and Larry Nance Jr. are out. Taurean Prince is doubtful. Assuming that Prince doesn’t play, Cedi Osman should draw another start.
Jarrett Allen’s salary has not increased quickly enough after Drummond’s removal from the rotation. Allen has averaged 33.5 minutes per game in five games without Drummond and 1.36 DraftKings points per minute. Overall, since joining Cleveland, Allen has averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute in 415 minutes without Drummond on the floor.
Collin Sexton and Darius Garland see an increase in usage without Drummond since Allen has a 20.4 percent usage rate with Cleveland and he is replacing Drummond’s 31.9 percent usage rate. Sexton has only averaged 0.85 DraftKings points per minute with a 26.4 percent usage rate in five games alongside Allen and Garland without Drummond but he has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute with a 29.4 percent usage rate in 448 total minutes without Drummond on the floor this season. Garland has averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.9 percent usage rate and 30.6 percent assist rate in the five games without Drummond and with Sexton and Allen. He has averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute with a 24.6 percent usage rate and 30.2 percent assist rate in 365 total minutes without Drummond on the floor this season. Both players are likely to play 36-plus minutes if this game is competitive.
Osman and Isaac Okoro should both play big minutes tonight if everything goes according to plan, but neither looks particularly appealing in the context of the slate. Osman is likely to play about 32 minutes and he has averaged 0.85 DraftKings points per minute in 253 minutes alongside Sexton without Drummond. Okoro is likely to play 36-plus minutes, but he has only averaged 0.52 DraftKings points per minute in 219 minutes alongside Sexton without Drummond this season.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Jarrett Allen ($7,200), Collin Sexton ($7,200), Darius Garland ($6,100)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Jarrett Allen ($7,600), Collin Sexton ($6,900), Darius Garland ($5,900)
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The Celtics get a good matchup against a Mavericks team that ranks 29th in defensive rating over the last month. All three of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are expected to play, however, so they are a little bit less valuable than they have been in many games recently where one of them sits. The trio has played a total of nine games together this season.
Walker has averaged 1 DraftKings point per minute and 30.6 minutes per game in those nine games. Brown has averaged 1.13 DraftKings points per minute in 35.2 minutes per game. Tatum has averaged 1.17 DraftKings points per minute in 35.6 minutes per game.
Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson started alongside each other last game and I am assuming that we get the same lineup tonight. Theis’ per-minute production decreases alongside Thompson, but he played about 34 minutes in regulation last game so there is still some potential value. On average, we can expect about 28 to 30 minutes from Theis and about 0.82 DraftKings points per minute. Thompson played about 30 minutes last game and he has averaged 27.3 minutes per game in the five games that he has started alongside Walker, Brown and Tatum this season. He has averaged 0.9 DraftKings points per minute in those games, which makes him look like a decent value if he remains in the starting lineup.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Jayson Tatum ($8,900), Jaylen Brown ($8,000), Kemba Walker ($6,400)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Jayson Tatum ($9,400), Jaylen Brown ($8,400), Kemba Walker ($6,600)
Update: Porzingis and Kleber are both out tonight. This opens up a lot of minutes. I expect Hardaway or Brunson to join the starting lineup with Finney-Smith playing the four. Powell and Cauley-Stein should split center minutes. Whichever of Brunson or Hardaway comes off the bench is still likely to play at least 28 to 30 minutes.
We don’t have an injury report yet since Dallas played last night. Kristaps Porzingis missed that game, so I am considering him questionable tonight. Maxi Kleber left the game early, so I am considering him questionable as well. Dwight Powell started in place of Porzingis and played 26.7 minutes. Dorian Finney-Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. would most likely get more minutes if Kleber is out.
Luka Doncic disappointed in 33.1 minutes last night after an eight-day layoff. Doncic has averaged 1.55 DraftKings points per minute and 33.4 minutes per game in 11 games without Porzingis this season compared to 1.68 DraftKings points per minute and 36.4 minutes per game in 17 games with Porzingis active this season. This is the same thing that we saw last season, so I’m not sure why people keep assuming Doncic is a better play whenever Porzingis sits. I don’t expect him to be worse long term, but I think we should be viewing him similarly with or without Porzingis.
Josh Richardson and Hardaway are both reasonable value options and they could see increased playing time if Kleber sits — particularly Hardaway. Richardson has averaged 0.69 DraftKings points per minute and 32.7 minutes per game in 9 minutes alongside Doncic without Porzingis this season while Hardaway has averaged 1 DraftKings point per minute and 30.4 minutes per game in 11 games under those conditions.
Powell and Willie Cauley-Stein will most likely combine for 48 minutes if Porzingis is out tonight. Powell played about 27 minutes last night and Cauley-Stein played about 21 minutes, but we could certainly see the gap narrow tonight on the second leg of a back-to-back. Powell has averaged 0.76 DraftKings points per minute this season while Cauley-Stein has averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute. If Powell starts, he will be the “safer” option and I would like pivoting to Cauley-Stein in tournaments if Powell is getting a lot of ownership.
Jalen Brunson is also inexpensive and played about 28 minutes last night. He has averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute in 10 games alongside Doncic without Porzingis. He could also benefit if Kleber is out and more minutes become available.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Luka Doncic ($11,200)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Luka Doncic ($11,200)
Harrison Barnes is questionable. Glenn Robinson is out. DaQuan Jeffries started and played 39.6 minutes in place of Barnes against Milwaukee on Saturday. I don’t expect 40 minutes again, but I do expect another start for Jeffries if Barnes is out. He is only $3,800 on DraftKings and would be worth a look as a risky, low-floor value option if he starts. He can be left alone on FanDuel at $4,700.
De’Aaron Fox is always the starting point with the Kings and he gets a nice matchup against the Nets. Brooklyn is no longer playing defense at a historically bad pace, but they’re still 24th in defensive rating over the last month. Fox typically plays 35-plus minutes in competitive games and has averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield are viable tournament options in a game that should be high scoring — particularly if Barnes is out. Haliburton played about 35 minutes against Milwaukee on Saturday and has produced 0.98 DraftKings points per minute this season while Hield has averaged 0.86 DraftKings points per minute and typically plays 34-plus minutes in competitive games. Neither player stands out as a top option like Fox does, but they both are volatile enough players that they have the ability to pay off their price tags in this matchup.
Marvin Bagley has quickly gotten more expensive, but it doesn’t appear he is on much of a minutes limit. He played 35.3 minutes with Holmes and Barnes both out on Friday and then played 28.9 minutes without Barnes on Saturday in a game where he lost first half minutes to foul trouble and second half minutes to a blowout.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: De’Aaron Fox ($8,000)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: De’Aaron Fox ($7,900)
James Harden and Kyrie Irving are essentially the Nets’ entire offense with Durant out. Harden has averaged 1.56 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.9 percent usage rate and 39.9 percent assist rate in seven games alongside Irving without Durant. He also has an excellent 13.9 percent rebounding rate. He has had at least a 33 percent usage rate in three of his last four games, however, and I expect that to continue to be the case going forward. Irving has averaged 1.39 DraftKings points per minute with a 34.1 percent usage rate and 30.6 percent assist rate in his seven games with Harden and without Durant. I expect his usage rate to end up around 30 to 31 percent as the sample size gets larger.
DeAndre Jordan should be extremely productive whenever he is on the floor tonight against a Kings team that has allowed the second most offensive rebounds per game and 11th most total rebounds per game over the last month. His playing time has been somewhat inconsistent this season, but he has played at least 23.4 minutes in seven straight games and at least 27 minutes in five of those games. In his last game against Sacramento, he played about 27 minutes off the bench. If Green is out tonight, it should solidify Jordan’s playing time.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: James Harden ($10,700), Kyrie Irving ($8,800)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: James Harden ($11,000), Kyrie Irving ($8,800)
Seth Curry is listed as probable.
Most of the 76ers are priced up from recent games without Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. Embiid remains a strong pay-up option, however. He is coming off a 25-point, 17-rebound performance in about 36 minutes on Sunday and he gets the same matchup against Toronto tonight. Maybe the most impressive part of Sunday’s performance was that Embiid scored 54.25 DraftKings points despite shooting 6 of 20 from the field. It’s always difficult to prioritize Embiid since he is expensive and plays the most premium position on the slate, but you should be happy whenever you’re able to fit him into a lineup.
Curry is priced up on DraftKings but is only $4,000 on FanDuel. He is the fourth option offensively and has only averaged 0.71 FanDuel points per minute this season, but he played about 35 minutes on Sunday and it is likely that we get another 32-plus minutes from him tonight if this game is close. Shake Milton is a risky option off the bench, but he played 28.5 minutes on Sunday and closed the game. He has been a productive fantasy producer this season with 0.92 DraftKings points per minute and he is only $3,900 on DraftKings. His minutes are volatile but, if he gets 24-plus minutes tonight, he is likely to be a good value.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Joel Embiid ($10,600)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Joel Embiid ($10,800)
Kyle Lowry is questionable. DeAndre’ Bembry started the first half in his place on Sunday and Aron Baynes started the second half. My guess is that Baynes starts either way tonight and Norman Powell heads to the bench if Lowry is active.
If he is active and not limited, Lowry is a strong value at $7,100 on DraftKings and $7,400 on FanDuel. He produces at a similar per-minute rate to Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam and plays similar minutes on average, but they are both much more expensive. If he is out, both of VanVleet and Siakam become more appealing options despite a difficult matchup with the Sixers.
Nick Nurse said before Sunday’s game that he liked the small lineups that he has been using recently but that he didn’t think he could use them against Joel Embiid. He then proceeded to start the game with Siakam at center because, once again, NBA head coaches forget that they actually have control over what lineups they use. Baynes played about 12.5 first half minutes, however, and then started the second half over Bembry. He finished the game with 29.5 minutes played and I’m expecting him to start tonight because he is the Raptors’ best chance at slowing down Embiid (though it still isn’t a particularly good chance). Baynes is only $3,200 on DraftKings and has produced 0.77 DraftKings points per minute this season, making him a good point-per-dollar value if he is in the starting lineup.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Kyle Lowry ($7,100)/Fred VanVleet ($8,500), Aron Baynes ($3,200 if starting)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Kyle Lowry ($7,400)/Fred VanVleet ($8,200)
Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry, Kevon Looney and James Wiseman are listed as questionable. It was reported yesterday that Curry was expected to play tonight after being scratched after lock last game, but he is listed as questionable on the injury report so we’ll have to wait and see. If he is out, Brad Wanamaker will see plenty of minutes and there will be increased usage for Kelly Oubre and Andrew Wiggins. Draymond Green’s assist numbers would likely take a hit since Golden State would be missing their best shooter.
If Wiseman and/or Looney play, it would most likely hurt Green who has seen an uptick in playing time, rebounding rate and block rate with both centers out. Wiseman also would add usage to the lineup if he starts, which could slightly lower the usage for Curry, Oubre and Wiggins.
If everyone is active, I don’t have much interest in this team. If Wiseman and Looney are out, I still don’t have much interest in this team but it would increase Curry’s upside and it would also open up Eric Paschall as a sneaky value option. He has been the back-up center for most of the season but it was reported after their last game that the Warriors want to use him at power forward in the future. He played 28.5 minutes on Friday, including closing both halves alongside Green. If Wiseman and/or Looney are out, we could see Paschall start in place of Toscano-Anderson or he could play big minutes off the bench as his back-up.
If Curry is out, Brad Wanamaker becomes a top value as he would most likely play about 30 minutes and he has averaged 0.78 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Read Above for injury scenarios
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Read
New York Knicks
This is a huge pace up spot for the Knicks, but it’s still difficult to prioritize them since they are close to fully healthy.
Julius Randle has averaged 36.5 minutes per game over the last month, which is almost 7 minutes more than the next closest Knicks’ player (R.J. Barrett). Randle has been excellent this season with 1.26 DraftKings points per minute. He continues to lead the team in usage rate, rebounding rate and assist rate this season. It may be difficult to fit him into lineups, but he offers 50-plus fantasy point upside tonight.
Outside of Randle, there isn’t much to be confident in from the Knicks. That said, there are still spots that we can look to take advantage of the volatility in tournaments. While R.J. Barrett has averaged just shy of 30 minutes per game over the last month, he played 34.2 minutes against Minnesota on Saturday so it is still in his range of outcomes. He is now priced for about 30 minutes, so there is substantial upside if he plays more. The same can be said for Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley. Quickley is priced to play about 22 minutes and Payton is priced to play about 26. If either of them plays particularly well, however, they could exceed those expectations by 5 to 6 minutes.
Nerlens Noel has averaged 29.5 minutes per game and 0.78 DraftKings points per minute in his four starts in place of Mitchell Robinson. Noel is appropriately priced on DraftKings and FanDuel but is viable as a “last man in” if you like the rest of your lineup and need someone at his price point and position.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Julius Randle ($9,300)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Julius Randle ($8,800)
Jarrett Culver and D’Angelo Russell remain out for Minnesota. The Timberwolves also have a new coach, so keep in mind that there is a little bit of an asterisk on everything that has happened so far this season since we have no idea what, if any, changes will be made to the rotation tonight.
Karl-Anthony Towns has now played seven games without Russell this season. He has averaged 1.40 DraftKings points per minute and 32.5 minutes per game. I love Towns as a player and the upside that he offers, but it is going to be very difficult to fit him into lineups on this particular slate.
Malik Beasley has averaged 36.7 minutes per game in his seven games alongside Towns without Russell this season. He has only averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute with a 21.8 percent usage rate and 9.9 percent assist rate, however. He offers some value simply because of how many minutes he is likely to play, but I think that we can find better options on this slate.
Towns and Beasley look like the top two options from Minnesota to me, but there’s nothing here that I expect to prioritize over other options tonight.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,600), Malik Beasley ($6,600)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,700), Malik Beasley ($6,500)
Jrue Holiday is still out for the Bucks.
We finally have a team with a lot of strong DFS options as the Bucks get a nice matchup against a Minnesota team that ranks sixth in pace over the last month. There is blowout risk in this game, but that’s not going to do much to scare me away from the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton have now played eight games together without Holiday this season. Antetokounmpo has averaged 36.3 minutes per game and 1.80 DraftKings points per minute with a 34.8 percent usage rate, 20.1 percent rebounding rate and 30.1 percent assist rate. Middleton put up a couple of terrible games without Holiday but, overall, he has averaged 1.10 DraftKings points per minute with a 26.3 percent usage rate, 9.0 percent rebounding rate and 24.2 percent assist rate. We should expect his per-minute production to increase as long as those rates stay the same because he has only shot 31.6 percent from 3 over these eight games despite being a 43.1 percent 3-point shooter this season.
D.J. Augustin has started Milwaukee’s last two games and has averaged 29.9 minutes per game and 0.66 DraftKings points per minute. The issue for Augustin is that Antetokounmpo and Middleton are strong passers in addition to hogging all of the usage, but he still offers value if he is on the floor for 28 to 30 minutes.
The rest of the Bucks are less predictable, but they still offer value in tournaments.
Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis each played between 23 and 24 minutes last game. Lopez has averaged 0.80 DraftKings points per minute and 25.8 minutes per game in the eight games without Holiday while Portis has averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute in 21.4 minutes per game. Both players are inexpensive enough that if they happen to find themselves on the positive end of tonight’s minutes split, they will be underpriced.
Donte DiVincenzo isn’t the most exciting option, but he has averaged 29.8 minutes per game and 0.85 DraftKings points per minute in the games without Holiday. He remains relatively inexpensive for a favorable matchup against the ‘Wolves.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000), Khris Middleton ($8,400)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300), Khris Middleton ($7,200)
We don’t have an injury report yet for the Wizards. Russell Westbrook played both halves of his last back-to-back, so I assume he plays tonight, but we will need to look for confirmation closer to lock.
Assuming Westbrook plays, he and Bradley Beal are the top options from Washington as usual. They both played about 39 minutes in regulation last night, and 44 minutes overall, so there is plenty of risk here since they could be on tired legs and the Clippers are fully capable of blowing out a tired Wizards squad. That said, if this game is competitive, at least one of these two is the big reason why. Westbrook has averaged 1.45 DraftKings points per minute and 33.9 minutes per game in 20 games with Beal active, but that includes several games where his playing time was limited and one or two games where he was ejected. Beal has averaged 1.36 DraftKings points per minute and 35.5 minutes per game in his games played alongside Westbrook.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Russell Westbrook ($9,800), Bradley Beal ($9,500)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Russell Westbrook ($9,200), Bradley Beal ($9,800)
Los Angeles Clippers
We don’t have an injury report from the Clippers either so I’m assuming that everyone will be available tonight in a great matchup against Washington.
There were reports that Kawhi Leonard would be limited in his return to the lineup, but he has played 37.8 and 39.3 minutes in his first two games back so those reports appear to have been inaccurate. Leonard gets a great matchup against a fast-paced Washington team and he has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute in 20 games played alongside Paul George this season. George has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute in those games as well. He only played 26.7 minutes in his first game back, but he played 32.5 minutes last game so I assume he will be able to get back to his normal 34 to 35 minutes tonight. Leonard is my preferred option of the two, but there is nothing wrong with going to George in tournaments on DraftKings since he will almost certainly be lower owned or rostering George on FanDuel if you can’t find the extra $1,300 for Leonard.
Patrick Beverley is a very interesting value option tonight. He has averaged 25.8 minutes per game in 15 games played alongside Leonard and George this season. He has averaged 0.78 DraftKings points per minute in those games. He played 28.3 minutes against Brooklyn last game and I expect to get 26 to 28 minutes tonight. The reason I think he has a lot of upside in this matchup is a combination of the Wizards’ pace and the presence of Westbrook. Westbrook is the most turnover prone player in the league and Beverley is known for his defensive prowess. It is difficult to predict defensive stats, but this has the potential to be a game where Beverley racks up 10 fantasy points just from his defense.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Kawhi Leonard ($9,400)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Kawhi Leonard ($9,800)
Portland Trail Blazers
We don’t have an injury report for the Blazers after their loss to the Suns last night. I am assuming that they have the same players available tonight until I hear otherwise.
Damian Lillard only played 28.6 minutes in last night’s blowout loss, so he should be relatively fresh for tonight’s matchup with the Nuggets. His salary dropped as well, which makes him even more appealing. In 16 games played without McCollum this season, Lillard has averaged 1.50 DraftKings points per minute and 35.4 minutes per game.
Enes Kanter will have his hands full with Nikola Jokic on the defensive end, but he should play as many minutes as he can handle without getting into foul trouble given the lack of bigs behind him. Kanter has averaged 30.1 minutes per game without McCollum or Nurkic this season and 1.10 DraftKings points per minute. I expect about 32 minutes out of Kanter tonight, making him a good but not great mid-range option on tonight’s slate.
The rest of the Blazers look appropriately priced and don’t stand out as particularly strong options. Robert Covington is playing 35-plus minutes in competitive games and his rebounding numbers benefit from the absence of Harry Giles, but he is also expensive. Gary Trent Jr. is a reasonable option at $5,500 on FanDuel based on the likelihood that he plays at least 34 minutes tonight, but there are plenty of other options in that price range as well that don’t have to share the ball with Damian Lillard.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Damian Lillard ($10,400)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Damian Lillard ($10,300)
Jokic is one of my favorite plays on the entire slate as he takes on the Blazers. Portland doesn’t have an answer for him defensively, as most teams don’t. Jokic leads the Nuggets in minutes per game, usage rate, rebounding rate and assist rate this season. He is always one of the top projected players on the slate and tonight is no different. The only question is whether you’re able to get him into your lineup since there are so few center options.
Jamal Murray has a massive ceiling tonight but his salary makes him much more of a tournament play than a cash play since we can find better point-per-dollar options at the position. Murray has averaged 35 minutes per game over the last month and 1.03 DraftKings points per minute for the season. Jokic’s involvement as a scorer and a playmaker keeps his average rates in check, but Murray is very capable of getting hot and turning the offense into a one-man show. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if parts of this game turn into a duel between the two talented point guards.
Zeke Nnaji started and played 29.9 minutes last game. If I were confident that was going to happen again, I would have interest as him as a near minimum option despite his low per-minute production this season. The problem is that Michael Porter Jr. only played about 18 minutes and didn’t close last game. I think that Porter is normally in the closing lineup over Nnaji and that more often than not we only get 20 to 22 from Nnaji. That does make me like Porter in a nice bounce-back spot, however. We can never fully trust him since he still has some growing pains and Mike Malone may also hate him, but there is no denying that he has a high ceiling for his price point and there is nobody on the Nuggets that should take minutes away from him tonight if he is playing well.
Will Barton is also fairly priced as he should play 33-plus minutes if tonight’s game is competitive. He only played 26 minutes last game, but Denver’s second unit got hot in the fourth quarter and Campazzo stayed on the floor in place of Barton. He has averaged 0.79 DraftKings points per minute and is a useful last piece of a lineup in this matchup.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Jokic ($10,800), Jamal Murray ($8,500), Will Barton ($5,300)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Jokic ($10,500), Jamal Murray ($8,300), Michael Porter Jr. ($5,700)
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