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High-Upside NBA DFS Picks: Consider Fading LaMelo Ball at Price Point

Tyler Schmidt



Monday features a perfect seven-game NBA main slate with a ton of injury news that will dictate lineup builds. Make sure to monitor the starting lineups page to see who is in and out of the lineup tonight. This article features three boom candidates and one bust/fade option. These plays below are driven by Stokastic’s NBA DFS Boom/Bust Tool. Let’s take a look at some of the best NBA DFS picks for the big slate, prioritizing Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and fading LaMelo Ball.

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NBA DFS Boom: Giannis Antetokounmpo: $12,400 DraftKings/$11,300 FanDuel

36.2% DraftKings Boom/56.8% FanDuel Boom

After missing three of his last four games due to a knee injury, Giannis Antetokounmpo is probable to play tonight at home against the Hawks. Jrue Holiday remains out, while it is still uncertain when Khris Middleton will return. Giannis continues to average a career-high 31.8 points, while ranking second in the league with 12.2 rebounds per game. He also is tied for third in usage rate with a career-high 37.5%. On FanDuel, Giannis remains a great value at $11,300. He has the highest boom percentage on FanDuel by over 10% and the fourth-highest percentage on DraftKings.

Giannis is the most expensive player on the slate, but he also has by far the highest fantasy points in our Stokastic projections for both DraftKings and FanDuel. The Bucks are four-point home favorites as they lead the league with a 10-2 record and have yet to lose at home. They have a 114.75 implied team total as the Hawks play at the sixth-fastest pace this season. With very strong value plays on the Raptors, paying up for Giannis doesn’t seem that difficult on this seven-game slate. There are other top tier options who are playing well, but Giannis especially on FanDuel needs to be prioritized.

NBA DFS Boom: Scottie Barnes: $8,000 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel

33.1% DraftKings Boom/46.4% FanDuel Boom

The first of two Raptors players to target on tonight’s slate is reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. His salary is quickly rising, but the Raptors will be without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., and Precious Achiuwa in their road matchup against the Pistons. They are still favored by 4.5 points as the Pistons will be without their second-year star Cade Cunningham. The Pistons already have the worst defensive rating in the league (117.7) entering tonight’s games as they are allowing 118.4 points per game, which ranks as the third-highest this season.

Barnes will be the Raptors primary point guard and creator with Siakam and VanVleet out. He will get a usage bump and even a rebounding advantage with Achiuwa out as well. There is a lot to like about Barnes in this matchup with the Pistons. Barnes already has a triple-double this season and with as much usage as he will have tonight, there is a chance he can add another. He ranks second behind Giannis in boom percentage on FanDuel and fifth on DraftKings. Many will flock to the Raptors value plays because there are so many, but don’t forget to add Barnes to the top of that list.

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NBA DFS Boom: Dalano Banton: $3,400 DraftKings/$4,000 FanDuel

55.1% DraftKings Boom/43.7% FanDuel Boom

Arguably the best value play on the slate is Raptors point guard Dalano Banton. Priced near the stone minimum on both DraftKings and FanDuel, Banton has the highest boom percentage on DraftKings and the third-highest behind Giannis and Barnes on FanDuel. Playing behind VanVleet who ranks near the top of the league in minutes played per game every season will not allow much playing time for Banton in general. However, he has played double digit minutes in four-straight games and had a season-high 14 points shooting 5 of 8 from the field last game when VanVleet left the game.

Monitor the Raptors starting lineup the closer we get to lock, but Banton is projected to start right now and play 24.5 minutes. Banton’s teammate Malachi Flynn is also expected to be a strong value tonight and is projected to play 26.9 minutes. In our Stokastic projections, Flynn has the best value on DraftKings and the third-best on FanDuel. It is best to play whichever Raptors point guard starts, but playing both together is fine as well on this slate. With three starters out of the lineup, this team is going to have several players paying off their salaries so choose wisely!

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NBA DFS Bust: LaMelo Ball: $8,600 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel

60.0% DraftKings Bust/61.3% FanDuel Bust

Starting off the season 3-11 and losing eight-straight games, the Hornets desperately need LaMelo Ball back at full strength. In his first game back on Saturday, Ball played 28 minutes and had 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists. He had a 31% usage rate as he shot 6 of 17 from the field and 1 of 9 from behind the arc. Ball was very involved in the Hornets offense for 28 minutes of action, but our Stokastic projections have Ball for a similar playing time tonight. Until Ball is at full strength it will be tough to get to him at this salary on both DraftKings and FanDuel, but keep an eye out for any minutes updates.

Having LaMelo Ball in the lineup will likely boost the Hornets pace considerably. Last season the Hornets were fifth in pace, while they are currently 16th right now. This is a much easier matchup for Ball and the Hornets against the Magic, but they are still one-point road underdogs. With a 60% or higher bust percentage on both sites, Ball is one of the worst pay-up options on the slate. Take a wait and see approach with Ball until we get him with unleashed minutes.

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