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 20
Kyrie Irving ($9,900 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) will take on the Pelicans tonight with Kevin Durant and James Harden on the sidelines. Irving has averaged 1.57 DraftKings points per minute with a 32.7 percent usage rate and 43.3 percent assist rate in four games without Durant or Harden this season. Irving has played a total of 392 minutes without Harden, Durant or Caris LeVert on the floor this season and he has averaged 1.55 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.3 percent usage rate and 44.2 percent assist rate over those minutes. New Orleans has played at the eighth fastest pace over the last month, which is likely to allow Irving to produce at even higher per-minute rates.
De’Aaron Fox ($9,800 DraftKings/$9,900 FanDuel) is extremely expensive, but he has also been playing extremely well and has one of the most favorable matchups possible against a Minnesota team that is top five in pace and bottom five in defensive efficiency over the last month. Fox has averaged 36.7 minutes per game over the last month, which is the fourth most in the NBA. Fox has now played 19 games without Marvin Bagley this season and has averaged 1.30 DraftKings points per minute with a 32.4 percent usage rate and 30.6 percent assist rate.
Trae Young ($9,000 DraftKings/$9,500 FanDuel) faces a short-handed Orlando team tonight and is the third high-upside point guard to pay for on this slate. Young has averaged 34.7 minutes per game over the last month. John Collins is back in the lineup for Atlanta, which cuts into Young’s usage, but he has still averaged 1.37 DraftKings points per minute with a 32.7 percent usage rate and 45.4 percent assist rate in 46 games played with Collins active this season.
Cole Anthony ($6,000 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) started and played 34 minutes against the Rockets in Orlando’s last game. He should get another start tonight with Michael Carter-Williams and Terrence Ross sidelined again. Anthony has been a strong fantasy producer when given the opportunity this season, averaging 1.15 DraftKings points per minute in 305 minutes without Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon or Evan Fournier on the floor this season. Over that sample, Anthony has a 26.6 percent usage rate and 33.5 percent assist rate.
Ricky Rubio ($5,000 DraftKings/$5,700 FanDuel) is a tough player to project confidently tonight because the Timberwolves have been in so many blowouts recently. Over his last five games, Rubio’s playing time has ranged from 19 to 32 minutes. On average, Rubio should play about 26 minutes if tonight’s game against Sacramento is competitive. Rubio has averaged 0.97 DraftKings points per minute in 34 games played with Karl-Anthony Towns this season and he has a great matchup against the Kings.
Delon Wright ($4,100 DraftKings/$5,000 FanDuel) is another player that is somewhat difficult to trust but that has a path to significant playing time in a great matchup. Wright has averaged 0.81 DraftKings points per minute and 20.8 minute per game in 12 games with Sacramento, but he has played at least 23 minutes in three of his last four games including 26 minutes against Dallas last game. He is a risky option, and a stronger option on DraftKings than FanDuel, but he does offer some upside in a high-scoring game against Minnesota.
Anfernee Simons ($3,800 DraftKings/$3,700 FanDuel) has played about 30 minutes in each of the last two games without Damian Lillard and Lillard will be out again tonight against the Clippers. Simons has averaged 0.73 DraftKings points per minute in 11 games without Lillard and with C.J. McCollum since the start of last season. In three games this season, he has averaged 0.83 DraftKings points per minute. He isn’t a particularly high-upside option, but there are only five games on this slate and his inexpensive price tag allows for fitting more exciting options into lineups.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Kyrie Irving, De’Aaron Fox, Cole Anthony, Anfernee Simons
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Kyrie Irving, De’Aaron Fox, Cole Anthony, Anfernee Simons
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Paul George ($9,400 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) faces the Blazers tonight. While Portland ranks 20th in pace over the last month, they are also bottom five in defensive rating. Kawhi Leonard returned to the lineup for the Clippers last game, but George has offered plenty of production this season even when Leonard has been active. George has averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute with a 28.5 percent usage rate in 37 games played alongside Leonard.
C.J. McCollum ($8,900 DraftKings/$8,100 FanDuel) will get another game without Lillard tonight. He has a relatively difficult matchup against the Clippers, but he will need to be the focal point of the Blazers’ offense once again. He has only averaged 1.12 DraftKings points per minute in his three games without Lillard this season, but he has a 33.4 percent usage rate and 29.9 percent assist rate compared to a 27.6 percent usage rate and 23.9 percent assist rate in games that Lillard has been active this season. In 11 games without Lillard since the start of last season, McCollum has averaged 1.37 DraftKings points per minute with a 34.0 percent usage rate and 34.7 percent assist rate.
Bruce Brown ($4,900 PG/SF DraftKings/$4,800 FanDuel) played 30.2 minutes against Miami on Sunday and is likely to get similar playing time tonight against the Pelicans. Brown has averaged 28.4 minutes per game and 0.84 DraftKings points per minute in four games without Durant and Harden and with Irving active this season. He only has a 13.8 percent usage rate in those games, but he also has an 11.4 percent rebounding rate as he has been a strong rebounder all season long.
Reggie Bullock ($4,500 DraftKings/$3,800 FanDuel) is another low-usage shooting guard option that should play a lot of minutes tonight. Bullock has played 41 and 37 minutes in the two most recent games without Alec Burks, and Burks will be sidelined again tonight. Bullock has only averaged 0.67 DraftKings points per minute with a 14.4 percent usage rate this season so keep expectations in check, but on a five game slate he offers some value.
Landry Shamet ($4,400 DraftKings/$4,400 FanDuel) played 37.5 minutes against Miami on Sunday. He subbed in for Durant after his first quarter injury and then started the second half in his place. Shamet may not play 37 minutes again tonight, but there are plenty of minutes available in the backcourt with Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza joining Harden on the sidelines. Shamet has averaged 0.72 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Dwayne Bacon ($4,200 DraftKings/$3,800 FanDuel) played 32.6 minutes in Orlando’s last game and he should see plenty of playing time again tonight with Carter-Williams and Ross sidelined. He will also need to play a bigger role offensively. Bacon has averaged 0.80 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.1 percent usage rate in 13 games without Vucevic, Gordon or Fournier this season. In 339 minutes without that trio or Ross on the floor, Bacon has a 24.3 percent usage rate and has averaged 0.89 DraftKings points per minute.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Paul George, C.J. McCollum, Landry Shamet, Dwayne Bacon
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Paul George, C.J. McCollum, Dwayne Bacon
Kawhi Leonard ($9,200 DraftKings/$9,900 FanDuel) returned to the Clippers’ lineup after a four game absence and played 22.8 minutes in a blowout win over the Timberwolves on Sunday. He played about 15 minutes in the first half, and he should play normal minutes tonight if the game is competitive. There is some risk that he plays a few less than his normal 35 minutes, but don’t expect it to be far off as long as the game is close. Leonard has averaged 1.34 DraftKings points per minute in 37 games played alongside Paul George this season and has a favorable matchup tonight against the Blazers.
Brandon Ingram ($8,400 DraftKings/$8,600 FanDuel) takes on the Nets tonight. Brooklyn has improved defensively from earlier in the season, but they are still 20th in defensive rating over the last month. Ingram has averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute and 34.5 minutes per game in 39 games played with Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball active this season. He is one of the highest-upside small forward options on tonight’s slate and is relatively affordable.
Anthony Edwards ($7,100 DraftKings/$7,100 FanDuel) is a scoring dependent player, but he is facing a Sacramento team that is not very good at preventing opponents from scoring. Edwards has averaged 34.5 minutes per game over the last month and he has averaged 1.02 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.3 percent usage rate in 36 games with Towns active this season.
R.J. Barrett ($6,300 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) played 46.1 minutes in regulation two games ago with Burks sidelined and he followed it up with 36 minutes before fouling out against the Pelicans on Sunday. Had he been able to finish the game, he would have played 40 minutes in regulation. Barrett’s 0.86 DraftKings points per minute isn’t going to excite anyone, but it makes him a strong mid-range option assuming that he will get about 40 minutes again tonight.
Joe Harris ($5,900 DraftKings/$4,600 FanDuel) is expensive on DraftKings but he stands out as a value option on FanDuel. He has only averaged 0.60 DraftKings points per minute in his four games without Harden or Durant and alongside Irving this season, but he has averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute overall without Durant or Harden on the floor and 0.85 DraftKings points per minute without that duo and with Irving on the floor this season.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Edwards, R.J. Barrett
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Brandon Ingram, R.J. Barrett, Joe Harris
Julius Randle ($10,100 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) played 42.2 minute in regulation against the Pelicans on Sunday (47.2 minutes overall) and 40.6 minutes in his previous game against Dallas. Like others on the Knicks, Randle has seen an increase in playing time with Burks removed from the rotation. Randle leads the league with 38.9 minutes per game over the last month and he could play even a couple more minutes tonight against Charlotte. Randle has averaged 1.34 DraftKings points per minute in 21 games with Derrick Rose active this season.
Zion Williamson ($9,700 DraftKings/$9,800 FanDuel) has averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute in 39 games with Ball and Ingram active this season. As the season has progressed, however, Williamson’s rates have improved. Over the last two months, Williamson has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute in 13 games with both players active. His usage rate is 31.1 percent, compared to 29.1 percent overall, his rebounding rate is 12.5 percent, compared to 11.7 percent overall, and his assist rate is 20.4 percent compared to 17.9 percent overall. Williamson has also averaged 34.2 minutes per game over the last month. It is difficult to prioritize Williamson over Randle since Randle is likely to play four to six more minutes, but Williamson certainly has the ceiling to be used as a pivot in tournaments.
Harrison Barnes ($6,700 DraftKings/$6,000 FanDuel) has averaged the second-most minutes per game (37.6) over the last month, behind only Randle. He has a fantastic matchup against the Timberwolves tonight. Barnes has averaged 0.81 DraftKings point per minute in 20 games without Bagley this season.
P.J. Washington ($5,400 DraftKings/$6,500 FanDuel) played 34 minutes off the bench in his last game. He was aided by Vernon Carey’s foul trouble, but the primary takeaway is that Washington was healthy enough to play 34 minutes and it is most likely just a matter of time before he is back in the starting lineup. Washington has played 279 minutes without LaMelo Ball or Gordon Hayward on the floor this season and he has averaged 0.95 DraftKings points per minute.
Blake Griffin ($5,000 DraftKings/$5,000 FanDuel) started at center and played 26 minutes against Miami on Sunday. It remains to be seen if he will be in the starting lineup tonight but, if he is, he can be penciled in for another 26 minutes or so tonight against the Pelicans. Griffin has averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute with a 20.6 percent usage rate, 13.2 percent rebounding rate and 22.9 percent assist rate in 126 minutes without Harden or Durant on the floor since joining Brooklyn. Irving has been on the floor for 74 of those minutes and Griffin has averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute over those minutes as well.
Jalen McDaniels ($3,900 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) can be expected to play 28 to 30 minutes tonight as long as he remains in Charlotte’s starting lineup. McDaniels has averaged 30 minutes per game and 0.86 DraftKings points per minute in eight starts this season. His matchup against the Knicks is unappealing as the Knicks are a bottom five team in pace and a top five team in defensive efficiency, but McDaniels offers value on a slate that doesn’t have as much injury news as most recent slates.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($3,400 DraftKings/$3,500 FanDuel) started and played 21.5 minutes in Portland’s last game. Jusuf Nurkic is out tonight, along with Lillard, so there are more frontcourt minutes available. Hollis-Jefferson could get some extra playing time if Portland deploys more small-ball lineups with Nurkic out. He should get about 24 minutes tonight. He has averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute in 154 career starts for various teams and 0.76 DraftKings points per minute in 34 total minutes for the Blazers this season.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Julius Randle, P.J. Washington, Blake Griffin (if starting), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (if starting)
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Julius Randle, Harrison Barnes, Blake Griffin (if starting), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (if starting)
Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,600 DraftKings/$10,800 FanDuel) has an excellent matchup against the Kings and he has produced at a high level all season long. Typically, Towns is difficult to roster because of the other high-end centers available. Without Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid on this slate, however, it should be much easier to fit Towns into lineups. Towns has averaged 1.46 DraftKings points per minute and 34.2 minutes per game this season.
Clint Capela ($9,100 DraftKings/$9,400 FanDuel) has been a strong source of fantasy production this season with 1.36 DraftKings points per minute. The biggest issue for Capela has been his playing time as he has only averaged 30.4 minutes per game. Capela’s playing time increased when Collins was sidelined, as he averaged nearly 35 minutes per game. There is some risk that his playing time decreases now that Collins is healthy, but he still played 35.8 minutes against the Pacers on Sunday. Collins was limited to 20.9 minutes in that game so it remains to be seen what happens as Collins gets more playing time, but Capela offers a very high ceiling tonight if he is allowed to play 34-plus minutes again.
Wendell Carter ($6,600 DraftKings/$6,400 FanDuel) played 31.6 minutes in Orlando’s last game, which is encouraging because Mohamed Bamba was active. Carter has been productive since joining Orlando, averaging 1.14 DraftKings points per minute and 28.3 minutes per game. Expect about 30 minutes from Carter again tonight.
Enes Kanter ($6,100 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) has averaged 30.2 minutes per game and 1.18 DraftKings points per minute in 34 games started without Jusuf Nurkic this season. Kanter will most likely start tonight with Nurkic out and gamers can expect about 30 minutes against the Clippers.
Hassan Whiteside ($5,800 DraftKings/$5,400 FanDuel) is likely to start in place of Richaun Holmes tonight. Whiteside played only 18.6 minutes in his start against the Mavericks on Sunday, but that game had a weird game flow. Whiteside dealt with some first half foul trouble and then didn’t play in the fourth quarter as the game went small. Sacramento’s matchup with Karl-Anthony Towns tonight should help Whiteside because Luke Walton will most likely want his size on the floor against Towns. Whiteside has averaged 1.30 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he should be one of the best point-per-dollar plays as long as he gets at least mid-twenties in minutes tonight.
Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns, Enes Kanter, Hassan Whiteside
Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Karl-Anthony Towns, Enes Kanter, Hassan Whiteside