The NBA Deep Dive is our most in-depth NBA DFS article, offering analysis of some of the top picks and optimal strategy for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups on the slate today. Used in conjunction with Awesemo’s NBA DFS projections, ownership projections and Boom/Bust Tool, it should help you to improve the quality of your lineups. With news breaking throughout the day and the NBA injury reports being released, the best place to find all of today’s starters is our Awesemo NBA Starting Lineups page.
The Deep Dive: NBA DFS Picks & Optimal Lineup Strategy
Dejounte Murray ($9,600 DraftKings/$9,700 FanDuel) has been excellent this season, averaging 1.30 DraftKings points per minute. He leads the Spurs with a 24.9% usage rate and a 32.5% assist rate. He has also contributed a 12.2% rebounding rate, which is excellent for a guard, and 2.8 steals per 100 possessions. He faces the Hawks tonight. Atlanta ranks in the middle of the pack in pace this season, but they have allowed the fourth most points per 100 possessions.
Malcolm Brogdon ($7,600 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel) went through a stretch where he was constantly overpriced after Caris LeVert returned from injury. He is underpriced tonight against the Lakers, however, and it is most likely because he has not played his normal minutes in three straight games. The Pacers benched their starters early in the second half three games ago and then they were involved in massive blowouts in their last two games. While his minutes could certainly vary based on game flow, there is no real reason to think Brogdon is playing less than 33 to 35 minutes if tonight’s game is competitive. He has a favorable matchup against the Lakers, who have played at the league’s second fastest pace, and he has produced 1.09 DraftKings points per minute with a 23.5% usage rate and 29.1% assist rate in the seven games that he has played alongside Caris LeVert and Domantas Sabonis.
D’Angelo Russell ($7,300 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) has a difficult matchup against the Miami Heat, who rank 27th in pace and fourth in defensive rating this season. He is favorably priced, however, as he has averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.3% usage rate and 31.1% assist rate in 33 minutes per game in nine games played since returning from injury on November 8th.
Derrick White ($5,300 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) is having a mediocre season from a DFS standpoint, but he is reasonably priced in a favorable matchup against the Hawks. White has averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute with a 17% usage rate and 23.2% assist rate this season. He has only averaged 29.2 minutes per game this season, but he is coming off a game where he played about 39 minutes against the Suns so there is certainly room for more playing time in any given game.
Jalen Suggs ($4,800 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) was wildly disappointing in his last game against the Bucks as the Magic lost by 31 points and Suggs only played 16.9 minutes. There is always blowout risk with Orlando because they are one of the worst teams in the league, especially without Cole Anthony, but there is a lot of upside here as well. Suggs is one of several Orlando players that are available at a favorable price point in tonight’s matchup against the Hornets. Charlotte is 22nd in defensive rating and third in pace this season. Suggs has averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute with a 26.1% usage rate and 20.1% assist rate in 465 total minutes this season. He has played 226 minutes without Anthony on the floor and has averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute with a 27.1% usage rate and 22.4% assist rate.
Cory Joseph ($4,400 DraftKings/$4,100 FanDuel) is listed as probable for tonight’s game against Milwaukee after playing 34.2 minutes last night against Miami. Assuming that he is able to play, he should start again tonight in place of Killian Hayes and he would be likely to play about 34 minutes again if the Pistons can somehow keep the game against the Bucks close. Joseph has averaged 0.74 DraftKings points per minute this season and projects as a strong point-per-dollar value if he gets his full allotment of minutes, but keep in mind that there is significant blowout risk here as the Pistons are 13-point underdogs on the road against one of the best teams in the league.
Davion Mitchell ($3,500 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) played 24.6 minutes in his first game under interim coach Alvin Gentry and it should come as no surprise that he remains a key part of the rotation off the bench. Mitchell is likely to average about 24 minutes per game going forward, but he has a path to 28 minutes in some game flows (or if he is just playing exceptionally well). Mitchell has produced 0.77 DraftKings points per minute this season and it is possible that he plays a couple of extra minutes tonight to defend Damian Lillard and/or C.J. McCollum.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,200 DraftKings/$11,700 FanDuel) is the highest projected player on the slate tonight, but he is also expensive. He has a favorable matchup against the Detroit Pistons, who are missing their top two centers and rank 23rd in defensive rating this season. Antetokounmpo has produced 1.72 DraftKings points per minute this season and is the best per-minute producer in the league outside of Nikola Jokic. The only real concern for Antetokounmpo tonight is whether or not the Pistons can keep the game close. While players from the winning team in a blowout are not usually of concern, Antetokounmpo is expensive enough that he needs at least 28 to 30 minutes on a massive slate.
Domantas Sabonis ($8,500 DraftKings/$8,400 FanDuel) has averaged 1.20 DraftKings points per minute in the seven games that he has played alongside Brogdon and LeVert this season. Like Brogdon, Sabonis’ playing time has decreased over the last few games for reasons (mostly) out of his control. Assuming tonight’s game against the Lakers is competitive, he is likely to play 34 or 35 minutes and his salary is at one of the lowest prices of the season.
Miles Bridges ($7,800 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) continues to play huge minutes for the Hornets after logging 41.4 minutes against Washington on Monday. Bridges has averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.8% usage rate in 37.2 minutes per game in the 14 games that he has played with Terry Rozier active this season. P.J. Washington has been upgraded to questionable for tonight’s game which could potentially cut into Bridges’ playing time, but it is likely that he would be limited if he is able to suit up tonight.
Fellow NBA writer Eric MacPherson has his eye on Bridges as well. Check out his full write-up of Bridges and more players in his NBA DFS Building Blocks article today.
Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,300 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) played about 34 minutes against Utah on Monday, but he had not exceeded 30 minutes in any of his previous six games. Dillon Brooks is also expected back for Memphis tonight, which adds another body to the rotation while also taking usage away from Jackson. Still, he is reasonably priced and offers plenty of upside even if he only plays 28 to 30 minutes. Jackson has averaged 1.09 DraftKings points per minute this season with a 24.3% usage rate and 11.1% rebounding rate.
Wendell Carter Jr. ($5,500 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) will most likely be one of the most popular players on the slate tonight. He has averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute and 25.3 minutes per game this season. He is affordably priced on DraftKings and FanDuel, and if tonight’s game is competitive, it is likely that he would play several minutes more than his season average. He also has a favorable matchup against the Charlotte Hornets.
Franz Wagner ($3,900 DraftKings/$5,100 FanDuel) has not been great this season with 0.76 DraftKings points per minute and an 18.1% usage rate, but he has averaged 29.9 minutes per game — the most on the team outside of Anthony. Wagner only played 23.7 minutes in Monday’s blowout loss to the Bucks, but he should play at least 28 to 30 minutes tonight if Orlando is able to keep the game competitive into the fourth quarter.
Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,400 DraftKings/$9,600 FanDuel) can be difficult to roster at times because of the depth of the center position. Since the Nuggets are not playing tonight, it is a little bit easier to get to Towns since Jokic is not on the slate. Towns has averaged 1.33 DraftKings points per minute and 34.9 minutes per game in 15 games played with D’Angelo Russell this season.
Jonas Valanciunas ($8,900 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) has averaged 1.25 DraftKings points per minute in 12 games alongside Brandon Ingram this season compared to 1.37 DraftKings points per minute in seven games without Ingram. While his usage rate, rebounding rate and assist rate are all several points lower with Ingram active, he still is producing at a high rate and has a massive ceiling tonight if he is able to avoid foul trouble and play his normal 33 to 35 minutes.
Jarrett Allen ($7,400 DraftKings/$7,500 FanDuel) played 36.7 minutes in his return from illness on Monday. He has now averaged 1.08 DraftKings points per minute and 32.7 minutes per game in 15 total games played this season. While Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen have returned to Cleveland’s rotation, the absence of Evan Mobley opens up a couple more minutes for Allen to potentially play. It is possible that he plays a couple minutes less tonight for one reason or another, but he is a strong tournament option at low ownership since 36-plus minutes is in his range of outcomes.
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Deandre Ayton ($7,400 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel) has averaged 1.22 DraftKings points per minute and 30.1 minutes per game this season. He is affordably priced and could potentially play a couple more minutes tonight against the Cavaliers’ big frontcourt. Since returning from injury, Ayton has averaged about 32.7 minutes per game in the four games decided by less than ten points.
Mo Bamba ($6,400 DraftKings/$6,800 FanDuel) is a little bit more difficult to roster than Wendell Carter Jr. since he is only eligible at center, but he projects as a strong play with a high ceiling as well. Bamba has averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute and 28.1 minutes per game this season. In addition to a 15.6% rebounding rate that is second on the team to Carter, Bamba has also averaged 3.5 blocks and 1.6 steals per 100 possessions this season.
Jakob Poeltl ($5,700 DraftKings/$5,800 FanDuel) looks like one of the most mispriced players on the slate tonight against the Atlanta Hawks. Poeltl has been a strong fantasy producer this season with 1.05 DraftKings points per minute. He played 15 minutes off the bench in his first game back from a 17-day absence, but he followed it up with 31 minutes in a start against the Suns on Monday. Poeltl has averaged 30.1 DraftKings points per minute in eight starts this season.
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