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🏀 NBA DFS Deep Dive for DraftKings and FanDuel | 2/6/21




The Chicago Bulls are reportedly looking into acquiring Demar DeRozan after they already landed Lonzo Ball in free agency

The NBA DFS Deep Dive is our primary in-depth daily fantasy basketball 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 the best NBA DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel for any format.

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NBA DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | 2/6/21

Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic (+1): 224.5

Chicago Bulls

The list of injuries the Bulls are dealing with continues to grow. In addition to Wendell Carter Jr. missing an extended period of time because of a quad injury, Otto Porter is injured and, last night, Lauri Markkanen left due to shoulder injury. He is not expected to play tonight and is officially listed as doubtful. The first thought is that Thad Young benefits the most, and while this is true, he is already priced appropriately. He is playing well lately and that has led to an uptick in salary. Patrick Williams logged 34 minutes last night because of the injuries and he’s cheap enough to consider a top value play. Chicago will also have to lean on Zach LaVine and Coby White to pick up extra usage.

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Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Patrick Williams, Zach LaVine, Coby White

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Patrick Williams, Zach LaVine, Coby White

Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic crushed the Bulls last night and I don’t expect much to change. The team didn’t pick up any new personnel from a few hours ago that will make it possible to guard him effectively. With Markelle Fulz and Aaron Gordon out for Orlando, it’s very clear that everything runs through Vooch. He played 37 minutes last night with a 37.7% usage rate.

I would like Evan Fournier as well if I felt better about his playing time. He looked great to me last night but only ended up logging 29 minutes. This was the fourth game in a row that the Magic held him under 30 minutes. For guard exposure, I would rather get to Cole Anthony at a cheaper price. He’s more of a FanDuel specific play at $5,000 and it looks like he is tasked with creating more of the offense sans Gordon. Anthony racked up a season-high nine assists last night and has registered at least six assists in four of his last five games.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Vucevic

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Nikola Vucevic, Cole Anthony 

Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers (-3): 237.5

Brooklyn Nets

If I wanted, I could write a whole column making fun of the NBA’s COVID policy and trying to figure out what happened with Kevin Durant last night. I’ll save everybody, including myself, the time and get to the crux of how it impact today’s slate. As of now, Durant’s status is up in the air. He finds himself in the league’s Health and Safety Protocols for the third time dating back to the end of last season. Last night, it was reported that he wasn’t expected to play and now he’s questionable on the injury report. What happens next is anybody’s guess. This situation is completely confusing and devoid of logic.

Since this is the tail end of a back-to-back, Kyrie Irving is out. He’s dealing with a finger issue according to the injury report but we generally shouldn’t expect him to play in back-to-back games anyway. With Durant also in the air, James Harden is the top option to pay up for on the slate. He is going to have to do everything for the Nets if KD is out. We will have value plays here as well but it’s hard to know who to target until we find out if Durant is playing and what the Nets’ starting lineup is.

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Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: James Harden

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers

This side of the game isn’t any clearer than the Nets’ side of the game. For the 76ers, Seth Curry and Joel Embiid are both questionable to play. For now, I am assuming that Embiid is playing. He briefly left Philly’s last game with a knee injury but was able to return. This is the same injury he is dealing with I assume he will play since he played through the injury a couple of days ago. It stands to reason that his knee feels better than it did on Thursday when he returned to action after a locker room visit. If he’s out, Tony Bradley and Dwight Howard become viable options although neither have had secure roles in games with Embiid so they become low priority plays. Shake Milton gets a boost if Curry is out.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None

Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks (+4): 225.5

Toronto Raptors

A matchup against the Hawks is obviously favorable although I am still not getting to any Raptors’ exposure in my initial builds on FanDuel or DraftKings. The reason is due to pricing. After a crazy game from Fred VanVleet during the week and some strong outings from Kyle Lowry, the pricing is up across the board. This is the tail end of a back-to-back for the Raptors and this slate has more favorable pricing to target elsewhere. Fatigue is a potential issue was well since Raptors’ players logged heavy minutes against the Nets last night.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None

Atlanta Hawks

Like with most of these teams to open the slate, we don’t know the status of a key player. Trae Young is questionable to play after he missed the Hawks’ last game with a calf injury. Without Young, Rajon Rondo started in his place. Rondo was disappointing from a value standpoint but it was a blowout in a really tough matchup against the Jazz. I am going back to him as a top value option if Young is unable to play. Kevin Huerter is too cheap on FanDuel if Young is out and the same goes for John Collins. If Young plays, Atlanta is a fade for me. He takes away from everybody else’s production if he’s in and I don’t like Young in the context of this slate with better stars to pay up for.

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Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None

Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers (+10): 228

Milwaukee Bucks

As long as this game stays close Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to see big minutes. I am not too concerned that this is a back-to-back. In recent games, Antetokounmpo’s playing time is decided by nothing other than foul trouble and the score of the game. In the Bucks’ last set of games on consecutive days, Giannis played 39 minutes in each of those games. Khris Middleton also rates out as a decent play on FanDuel and DraftKings since his price is down. My first run of lineups came out with him at about 10% exposure on both sites. While that numbers will move a bit, I am sure I will get some exposure to Middleton now that he’s priced below $8,000 again.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton

Cleveland Cavaliers

The center minutes for Cleveland are a nightmare. On a day-to-day basis, it’s impossible to know whether Andre Drummond or Jarrett Allen will play the bulk of the center minutes. Even so, I can’t avoid Drummond in tournaments. If he plays 30 or more minutes, his upside is substantial at his current salary. In the last four games, Drummond played 24, 33, 20 and 30 minutes. There is no rhyme or reason to his playing time. Sometimes it’s there and sometimes it isn’t. I wish I had better insight but this is the reality of the situation. If Cleveland feels like giving him bigger minutes, he has a good chance to break the slate. If he plays 22 minutes then he likely will suck. I will likely get him into 20-25% of my lineups for the upside.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Andre Drummond

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Andre Drummond

San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets (+1): 223.5

San Antonio Spurs

Shocking that we have more injuries that we are dealing with in this game as LaMarcus Aldridge remains out for the Spurs while Dejounte Murray is questionable to play. This should lead to DeMar DeRozan as one of my rostered players on today’s slate. He gets a big bump in production without Aldridge  and his production goes to the moon if we also take Murray off the court. Without them, DeRozan has a 30.5% usage rate and scores over 50 fantasy points per 36 minutes.

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As for value, I don’t think there is a ton to see here if Murray plays. Jakob Poeltl was a value when Aldridge first got hurt but now he’s appropriately priced up. If Derrick White moves in the starting lineup in place of Murray, he would draw interest from me. He’s playing really for San Antonio when he’s on the court but his minutes are still monitored. They might not have this luxury if Murray is out in a rivalry matchup against the Rockets with playoff implications. He to start to make it into my lineups.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson

Houston Rockets

It didn’t take long for DeMarcus Cousins to make it back into our lives. Christian Wood suffered a bad ankle sprain in his last game, meaning Boogie will move back into the starting lineup. We have already seen Cousins crush in this role without Wood so we know what to expect. Boogie will score well over a fantasy point per minute while also likely getting over 30 minutes of run. As the slate currently stands, he is my favorite player to roster. I have hit on three key centers now between Vooch, Drummond and Cousins. Of the trio, Cousins is the guy that I think should get rostered in FanDuel cash and he’s my highest priority on DraftKings as well.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: DeMarcus Cousins

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: DeMarcus Cousins

Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder (-1): 219.5

Minnesota Timberwolves

Due to all the injuries on the Thunder side of this game, I am not really sure how this game has a betting line. It’s priced as even so I guess that’s like books saying they don’t know what to expect and that is for good reason. Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t officially ruled out so there is a window for him to return tonight. Even if he does, I expect limited minutes to the point that he isn’t a viable option. D’Angelo Russell remains a bit too cheap on DraftKings, so I will get some exposure to him. He is more of a filler piece than somebody I will actively target though.

EDIT: Russell is now doubtful to play and KAT has officially gotten ruled out. As a result, I am going to get exposure to Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley with Beasley the higher priority play of the two. I would get to Naz Reid but he’s already priced up since KAT has missed enough time that the salary is adjusted.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Malik Beasley, Ricky Rubio

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Malik Beasley, Ricky Rubio

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder played with a short rotation last night and it led to a ton of value. Hamidou Diallo, Al Horford and Isaiah Roby all had big games relative to their salaries. I hate to say it again but this is another murky situation without clear plays at this point in the day. Lu Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Theo Maledon and Horford are all questionable to play. It seems this situation will have value but we need an updated injury report to know who to target. My best guess is that Horford will rest and Roby will stand out the most. This isn’t set in stone and I am only making an educated guess. Stay up on the news and the starting lineups here because anything is possible with this rotation. I never would have thought a situation could arise that had Kenrich Williams as a top value play yesterday.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: TBD

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: TBD

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks (-4): 231.5

Golden State Warriors

This is the rematch of a game we saw a few days ago that winded up with a final total of 163 points. Neither team was able to get a stop on defense until the Mavericks’ three pointers stopped falling midway through the third quarter. The star of the game was Kelly Oubre since he scored a career-high 40 points. This could make the masses flock to him but I am not willing to pay his current salary. The players I am honing in on are Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Curry has obvious upside but it also looks like Green is going to benefit in a big way from the Warriors missing James Wiseman and Kevon Looney.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Steph Curry, Draymond Green

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Steph Curry, Draymond Green

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks remain on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. There is clearly some frustration setting in and Luka Doncic isn’t hiding it either. The positives here are that Dallas plays one of the easiest schedules in the league going forward. This should certainly help as well as the addition of the players who were on the COVID list. Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith all missed an extended period of time. Even with everybody back, pretty much all the production is coming from Luka and Kristaps Porzingis. Both are strong plays for me in a favorable matchup and I’ll get my value from teams like OKC and Brooklyn which should have great cheap options available when the dust settles.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: Luke Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis 

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: Luke Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis 

Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans (-1): 226

Memphis Grizzlies

Kyle Anderson continues to pick up ownership and I don’t understand it. He played some good games earlier in the season with Ja Morant out but his role is marginalized with Morant healthy. Anderson doesn’t need to play as many minutes at point guard and his role is lesser when he is out on the court. I am comfortable leaving him out of my players pool. Morant is a fringe option that would end up with some exposure to on most slates at this salary although I don’t think I will today. This slate looks like it will setup as heavy stars and scrubs so I will likely have the salary to move up to get to the higher priced guys like Doncic and Harden instead of going to Morant.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None

New Orleans Pelicans

This is more of a fun game to watch than for DFS. The Morant against Zion Williamson narrative is a ton of fun but Zion is now priced well over $8,000 on both FanDuel and DraftKings. I liked roster him and Brandon Ingram where they were in the $7,000 range and now the salaries are caught up to their production. I’ll watch this game for entertainment purposes while avoiding it for DFS.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None

Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers (-14): 214

Detroit Pistons

Detroit is playing on the tail end of a back-to-back as 14-point underdogs against the Lakers. This is a really tough spot and one of the rare games that I think is pretty likely to end in a blowout with starters playing limited minutes.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None

Los Angeles Lakers

This is a spot that the Lakers should ease up on the playing time for Anthony Davis and LeBron James. This is one of the wider spreads of the season and Los Angeles probably won’t have much issue disposing of the Pistons. There are studs I would rather pay up for than LeBron and Davis so they don’t make the cut for me.

Top DraftKings NBA DFS Picks: None

Top FanDuel NBA DFS Picks: None


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Greg is a former stand up comedian who quit telling jokes to pursue a career in the world of DFS. He started playing fantasy sports in 6th grade when Greg and his friends would skip classes to meet in the bathroom for 20 team fantasy basketball drafts. Considering his current career path, it was the best education he could have asked for.

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