NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Donovan Mitchell + Potential Value Plays (January 17)

Wednesday has a nifty eight-game featured slate with the usual lock time of 7 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. There are several options in the player pool worth analyzing to find the top NBA DFS building blocks and NBA DFS picks, including some intriguing playing time situations that provide steady value options. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Donovan Mitchell.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Wednesday, January 17

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Once more there are quite a few open news items at the time of this analysis. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are carrying their customary questionable tags, though it is expected that both will play tonight as the Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks.

Luka Doncic has missed eight days and three games with an ankle injury, and he is questionable tonight. Coach Jason Kidd was asked about the potential availability for Doncic, and he referenced being hopeful that the California sun would help out with the healing process. It is worth noting that the Mavs are taking on the Warriors in Golden State on Friday, so perhaps Luka will be back tonight, maybe Friday, or it could be a few more days until he is deemed healthy. On the last trip to L.A., Dallas did beat the Lakers back in November 104-101, a game in which James, Davis, Doncic and Kyrie Irving all played. In additional notes, Irving and James have squared off just four times in the last four calendar years, with Irving’s teams winning the last three.

Anthony Edwards (knee) is questionable tonight, though the Timberwolves should be able to dispatch the Pistons, even on the road, without him. If Edwards were to sit, most of his scoring would be absorbed by the other key members of the rotation.

Finally, we have the Boston Celtics hosting the San Antonio Spurs. Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White and Jrue Holiday are all listed as game-time decisions with various “maladies,” and given the C’s proclivity for resting regulars, it would make sense that one or two players get the night off.

Donovan Mitchell: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks

It has now been 17 games since Evan Mobley (knee) last played, and Darius Garland (jaw) just passed the one-month mark. Donovan Mitchell missed over a week himself with an illness, though he is back to full health and posted 70 and 50 fantasy points in his last two appearances. The Cavaliers are on a five-game winning streak, and in the seven games Mitchell has played since returning to action, he is averaging 34.1 minutes, 29.1, 5.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.7 combined blocks and steals.

There have been a couple of lopsided games in this stretch, so the metric we should really be interested in is Mitchell averaging a tick shy of 1.5 fantasy points per minute in this timeframe. Over the last 10 games, the Bucks are allowing 119.1 points per 100 possessions, which is the sixth-worst defensive efficiency rating in the league during this span, and they are also playing at the sixth-fastest pace in this window.

Milwaukee is currently a 4-point road favorite, so this should be a pitched battle tonight, and the 236.5 projected point total is enticing for players on both sides. Jae Crowder is set to make his season debut for Milwaukee, though that should not impact the key players, who are all fine tournament options. It is likely Crowder will work in for 16 to 20 minutes unless we hear otherwise, with those minutes coming from Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis and Malik Beasley each losing a couple minutes and Andre Jackson Jr. falling out of the rotation.

Orlando Magic Value

The Magic are still without Franz Wagner and Gary Harris, with Wendell Carter Jr. (knee) coming off the bench on a minutes restriction after losing two weeks to a sore knee. Orlando still has a 10-man rotation, but there are some salary quirks worth noting with a terrific matchup in Atlanta on tap.

Paolo Banchero continues to be a steady producer, and he is projected to just reach double-digit popularity tonight on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Joe Ingles has been assigned a sub-$4,000 salary on both sites, and with his multi-positional eligibility, he is one of the most popular plays on the slate. That should subside as other news rolls in, but he is still likely to end up on close to one-third of all rosters at a minimum.

Jonathan Isaac is at a salary just below Ingles, so he too is being scooped up by optimizers in the early runs. Be wary of Carter on DraftKings as he is currently projecting right on the cusp of being a decent point-per-dollar play. It is important to understand that he is unlikely to play more than 25-ish minutes, so he would need to be around 1.1 fantasy points per minute to even get close to 30 fantasy points, and that is a tall hurdle to clear.

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Additional NBA DFS Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Jarrett Allen is a solid passer, though we should still consider the under on his 3.5 assists prop tonight. The line is currently available at +114, and per the true odds of -119 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a steady 5% expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

It is crucial to take advantage of OddsShopper to look at all the available lines since that can easily be worth another 2% to 3% for your ROI, even on perfectly neutral bets, based on how the different books value things. To demonstrate this very concept, look below — you can see that sharp book Pinnacle is coming in at -147 on under 3.5 assists, which is far shorter than the -107 odds BetRivers and Unibet are currently showing.

Over the last 14 games, most of which have been without Garland and Mobley, Allen is averaging 33.2 minutes and 3.9 assists. He has dished out four or more dimes on six (42.3%) occasions, including two games with six and two with seven that are buoying his overall average during this timeframe. In full transparency, he also has five other games with three assists, so this wager is likely to go down to the wire.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Allen projected for 35.0 minutes and 3.16 expected assists. That median projection is a little below the minimum threshold, though obviously one cannot get credit for half of an assist. The models indicate there is a 54% win probability on this wager, which accounts for a varied range of outcomes.

Here is a terrific video from Dave “Loughy” Loughran on OddsShopper breaking down why it is important to consider wagering on unders.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Be sure to get all the latest news and analysis by tuning into the Stokastic Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock Shows at 5 p.m. ET on YouTube, brought to you by BetMGM– new users, use this link to receive $158 in Bonus Bets when you bet $5 ahead of Super Bowl 58! Full details here.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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