NBA DFS Picks & Lineup Optimizer Building Blocks Today | Tuesday, March 22

Tuesday, March 22, brings a crisp four-game main slate beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Let’s look at the player pool and discuss the top NBA DFS picks today for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. As always, you can head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS & Fantasy Basketball home page for all the fantasy basketball content you need for any given slate.

NBA DFS Picks: Fantasy Basketball Building Blocks Today | Tuesday, March 22

Yahoo Play of the Day — Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 56.59 | DraftKings: 59.36
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 22.4% | FanDuel 33.7% | DraftKings 17.9%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $56 | FanDuel $11,500 | DraftKings $12,400

Denver is only a half game above Minnesota before sliding back into the play-in tournament. In a helpful scheduling quirk, the Nuggets do not have any more back-to-back game sets. These two variable in combination should keep the Nuggets rolling out their best possible lineup until the playoff picture firms up.

Nikola Jokic is having an even better statistical season than his 2021 NBA MVP campaign. The sensational Serbian currently leads the league with 18 triple-doubles, 58 double-doubles, total rebounds, player efficiency rating (PER) and value over replacement player (VORP). Putting this into a fantasy perspective, he also leads all players with 1.65 fantasy points per minute on the season and with 1.80 over the last 10 games.

Even with just four games on the docket tonight, there will be plenty of discount dandies, which will facilitate the preferred stars-and-scrubs roster construction. Current Awesemo median player projections have the optimal lineup targeting 284.4 Yahoo fantasy points. Lineups with both Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo project out for 281.3 median fantasy points.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 60.35 | DraftKings: 62.33
  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 37.8% | FanDuel 57.0% | DraftKings 28.5%
  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $57 | FanDuel $11,200 | DraftKings $12,100

Tonight Khris Middleton (wrist) has been ruled out. This, of course, means that Giannis and Jrue Holiday will be the main options on offense tonight. This season when the core trio shares the court, Antetokounmpo leads the way with 1.71 fantasy points per minute, followed by Holiday’s 0.98 and Middleton’s 0.89 rounding things out. When Middleton is off the court, Antetokounmpo sees his production dip by a tick to 1.66 fantasy points per minute, with Holiday logging 1.11 for a 13% increase.

Over the last two seasons, we have seen coach Mike Budenholzer rest multiple key players in the same game with additional status updates coming out right before tipoff. There is still one game after this tilt, so in the event Antetokounmpo or Holiday is ruled out late, there will be ample pivots across the four teams playing at 8 p.m. or later. Antetokounmpo popped up on the injury report with a sore knee, so there is a strong possibility that he will not suit up tonight. Though again, that news may not be official when the main slate locks.

Bobby Portis becomes a phenomenal option if two or more of the Milwaukee stalwarts are ruled out. While his minutes have remained relatively steady over the last month, he is clearly the fourth or fifth option on offense when the other starters are healthy. The Bucks being at full health have led to a steady decrease in Portis’ salary. On the season when Antetokounmpo and Middleton are on the sideline, Portis averages nearly 1.1 fantasy points per minute. The more players that end up out tonight, will of course lead to an increase in the production and popularity of the Milwaukee understudies.

Look to Portis in this matchup against the Bulls in the NBA player prop market. Currently, he has a 7.5 over/under on his rebound prop, and the Awesemo NBA player projections have him for 9.2, which gives him a 69% probability of surpassing the over. While narratives tend to be more flash than substance, Portis does tend to ratchet up his game when facing the team that originally drafted him and then dealt him away after just 3.5 seasons.

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks

Julius Randle (quad) is out tonight joining Derrick Rose, Kemba Walker, Cam Reddish and Nerlens Noel on the sideline. In his last 20 games, Randle is averaging 36.3 minutes with 20.6 field goal attempts. While his 41.1% conversion rate leaves a lot to be desired, during this stretch, the 27-year-old forward is averaging 24.8 minutes, 10.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.5 blocks for 45.7 fantasy points. This is quite a void to be filled by the remaining ambulatory Knickerbockers. This season without Randle, Rose and Walker on the court, RJ Barrett (1.14), Alec Burks (1.08), Mitchell Robinson (1.02) and Immanuel Quickley (0.98) are all averaging at or above a fantasy point per minute. These four along with Evan Fournier and Obi Toppin, who should both approach 30 to 32 minutes tonight are the desired targets in all formats on all sites. Keep in mind that coach Tom Thibodeau tends to play his starters heavy minutes and it is not out of the realm possibility that more than one of his players could see 40 minutes of court time in this matchup.

Atlanta is not the picture of health either with John Collins last seeing action on March 13 and Bogdan Bogdanovic dealing with a bruised quadriceps. If Bogdanovic is out, then the other guards and wings should see an uptick in production. De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari and Delon Wright are in play; however, their utility does vary based on salaries and positional eligibility depending on your DFS site of choice.

Finally, not to bury the lede, Trae Young and Clint Capela are core plays on Tuesday since they will be the primary offensive options. Capela if fourth this season averaging 11.9 rebounds per game and he is also among the league leaders with 1.3 blocks. The one disappointing thing is that most of his offense comes via lobs and put-back dunks. The silver lining is that in his last four games without Collins, he is averaging 11.5 field goal attempts, which is well above his 8.1 average on the season.

Orlando Magic vs. Golden State Warriors

Aside from rookie Jalen Suggs, Orlando is currently running at full strength. Markelle Fultz still has a 20-minute cap on his playing time, though he can be used as a discount dandy for tournament differentiation on Yahoo ($10) and DraftKings ($4,200). Wendell Carter Jr. has been providing top notch production with an average of 40.1 fantasy points per game over his last 11 appearances. Cole Anthony is coming off his worst performance of the month, though he has otherwise been a fine play and is worthy of consideration on the short slate. The Wagners can be sprinkled in with rookie Franz being more productive from an aggregate perspective, while the older brother Moritz has been keeping pace when considering points-per-dollar production.

Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Moses Moody and James Wiseman are all out for the Warriors. Andrew Wiggins is questionable with knee soreness. This will lead to increased minutes and opportunities for Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, who are core options in all formats regardless of Wiggins’ availability. Kevon Looney is a marginal option now that Draymond Green is back, though Green, himself, should be avoided as he is not ready for more than 20 to 22 minutes as coach Steve Kerr is easing him back after 10-week injury layoff.

Gary Payton II is ready to see action for the first time in three weeks, which means Nemanja Bjelica, Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson are likely out of the rotation. Look to rookie Jonathan Kuminga as a wild card in tournaments as he could thrive in this matchup as long as he stays out of foul trouble.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS picks for the Tuesday, March 22 Fantasy Basketball Slate

We are now in the final stretch of games where there will be a constant flow of surprising news. Playoff standings are beginning to solidify for the contenders and the dregs of the league are looking to acquire more lottery pingpong balls by racking up losses. This means late scratches, as well as key players getting in-game rest if the outcome of a game is likely decided early.

Eric MacPherson
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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