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
Luka Doncic ($10,600 DraftKings/$11,000 FanDuel) is always a top option, but he is likely to be a bit lower owned than a couple of the other top tier players on this slate. Doncic averaged 1.62 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.5% usage rate, 12.5% rebounding rate and 44.1% assist rate in 40 games played alongside Kristaps Porzingis last season. He does not project quite as well as a couple of other pay-up options, but he is still an elite play. particularly in tournaments.
Stephen Curry ($10,000 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) is one of the top plays in any format tonight. He played about 36 minutes in Golden State’s opener, so there is no reason to be concerned that he could see a lighter workload early in the season. In 28 games played alongside Draymond Green without James Wiseman last season, Curry averaged 1.59 DraftKings points per minute with a 37.3% usage rate, 8.2% rebounding rate and 29.6% assist rate.
Trae Young ($9,100 DraftKings/$9,600 FanDuel) is similar to Doncic in that he would be a clear top option at his salary on most slates. Tonight is a bit different, however, since there are strong value options at the guard positions. Still, Young offers a massive ceiling. He averaged 1.37 DraftKings points per minute with a 32.9% usage rate and 45.5% assist rate in the 63 games that he played last season.
Tyler Herro ($5,200 DraftKings/$4,900 FanDuel) is likely to play 28 to 30 minutes tonight for Miami against the Bucks. Last season, Herro averaged 0.90 DraftKings points per minute with a 22.7% usage rate, 8.8% rebounding rate and 16% assist rate in 39 games played alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
George Hill ($3,500 DraftKings/$3,600 FanDuel) will most likely join the Bucks’ starting lineup with Jrue Holiday sidelined for tonight’s game. He started the second half of their season opener after Holiday was injured and played about 12.5 minutes in the second half. He most likely would have played another three minutes and 45 seconds if the game had been competitive. Brook Lopez is also out for tonight’s game, so the Bucks have 10 active players. It is likely that Hill will get about 30 minutes, who averaged 0.75 DraftKings points per minute last season between Oklahoma City and Philadelphia.
Jalen Brunson ($3,500 DraftKings/$4,000 FanDuel) is expected to come off the bench for Dallas, but it is likely that he plays about 24 minutes at a very inexpensive price tag. In 37 games played alongside Doncic and Porzingis last season, Brunson averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute in 25 minutes per game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,300 DraftKings/$11,300 FanDuel) is the highest projected player on tonight’s slate. He has a relatively difficult matchup against Miami, but the Bucks still have a 112-point team total, and Antetokounmpo should do the bulk of the work offensively. Jrue Holiday is out tonight, so Antetokounmpo is likely to take on a bigger role as a playmaker as well. He averaged 1.82 DraftKings points per minute with a 35.3% usage rate and 29% assist rate in 10 games played alongside Khris Middleton without Holiday last season compared to 1.66 DraftKings points per minute with a 32% usage rate and 28.2% assist rate in 50 games played alongside both of Middleton and Holiday. Antetokounmpo also averaged 35.8 minutes per game in the games without Holiday compared to 32.5 minutes per game when Middleton and Holiday were both active.
Paul George ($9,700 DraftKings/$9,900 FanDuel) can be expected to see a bump in production this season with Kawhi Leonard sidelined. George averaged 1.38 DraftKings points per minute with a 37.5% usage rate in the 11 games he played without Leonard last season compared to 1.24 DraftKings points per minute with a 28.6% usage rate in the 43 games that he played alongside Leonard. Overall, he averaged 1.36 DraftKings points per minute in 1,165 minutes without Leonard on the floor. The issue for George is that his salary has been increased to account for Leonard’s absence, and as a result, he is not much less expensive than the superstar level players on the slate. He is a strong option, but like Doncic and Young, it will be difficult to prioritize him over Curry and Antetokounmpo.
Jimmy Butler ($8,300 DraftKings/$9,100 FanDuel) is affordable tonight as he takes on the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler averaged 1.32 DraftKings points per minute with a 26.3% usage rate and 31% assist rate in 32 games played with Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic last season. Dragic is now on the Raptors, but Miami acquired Kyle Lowry, and he should have a similar role to Dragic. Butler is one of the top mid-range options tonight.
Khris Middleton ($7,300 DraftKings/$7,800 FanDuel) averaged 1.11 DraftKings points per minute with a 26.3% usage rate and 22.4% assist rate in 10 games without Holiday and with Antetokounmpo last season. He averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute with a 24.1% usage rate and 22.8% assist rate in 50 games alongside Holiday and Antetokounmpo. While the average production was about the same, it is worth noting that his usage rate increased because that typically suggests an increased ceiling. Middleton’s minutes will likely be staggered with Antetokounmpo’s, which benefits Middleton as well.
Kristaps Porzingis ($7,100 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) was a disappointment last season from a real-life perspective, but he still averaged 1.24 DraftKings points per minute in the games that he played alongside Doncic. There is a good chance that Porzingis improves this season as well since he had a healthy offseason and did not need to spend time rehabbing injuries. In the games that he played alongside Doncic last season, Porzingis had a 26.3% usage rate and 15.6% rebounding rate.
Jordan Nwora ($3,700 DraftKings/$4,300 FanDuel) is arguably the top overall play tonight now that Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez have both been ruled out. Nwora can play multiple positions, which comes in handy when the Bucks only have 10 active players. In addition, two of those players are Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis and it is unlikely that they get substantial minutes. Nwora played 26.5 minutes in the opener against the Nets, and while he benefited from garbage time in that game, the absences of Holiday and Lopez make it likely that he will play 26 to 30 minutes again tonight. Nwora averaged 1.10 DraftKings points per minute overall last season. That rate should decrease as he plays more minutes alongside Antetokounmpo and/or Middleton, but at his salary there is a lot of wiggle room before worrying about his per-minute production as long as he approaches 30 minutes of playing time tonight.
Bam Adebayo ($7,600 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) headlines a relatively thin center position tonight (in terms of true centers). He is affordably priced, and he should play around 34 minutes tonight. He averaged 1.24 DraftKings points per minute in 48 games alongside Butler last season.
Clint Capela ($7,200 DraftKings/$7,600 FanDuel) is one of the more volatile options on tonight’s slate — in a good way. He is a strong per-minute producer with 1.36 DraftKings points per minute in the 56 games he played alongside Young last season. The issue for Capela is that his playing time was inconsistent, and he finished the season averaging only 30.1 minutes per game. The inconsistent playing time causes his salary to decrease and gives him enormous upside since there will still be some games where he plays several minutes more than his average. Tonight could be one of those nights as the absence of Danilo Gallinari makes it more likely that John Collins plays the bulk of his minutes at the four instead of being used as a center in small-ball lineups. There are better options in cash games, but Capela is a strong GPP option.
Ivica Zubac ($5,000 DraftKings/$4,200 FanDuel) is another high upside center option with volatile minutes. He averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute and 25.5 minutes per game in 33 starts last season. At his price tag, he projects as a strong value if he plays about 25 minutes tonight and he has the potential to play even more if he is playing well. The downside is that the Clippers are playing against a small Golden State frontcourt, and the Clippers could utilize Marcus Morris or George at center in small lineups. If that is the case, Zubac could have fewer minutes than usual. His salary alleviates most of the risk, but it is still a situation where you will want to pay close attention to projected ownership.
Dwight Powell ($3,300 DraftKings/$3,700 FanDuel) is the Mavericks’ expected starting center to open the season. He started 19 games last year and averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute in 21.4 minutes per game. Dallas has a new coaching staff this season, so it remains to be seen what the frontcourt rotation looks like. Powell should play about 24 minutes if he starts and deliver a strong point-per-dollar performance, though it is unlikely that he will scores enough raw points to be a must-have in GPPs.Thanks for reading to the end of this article! If you appreciate this free content and want to see more of it every day, you can help us out by sharing this article on social media! View our FanDuel NBA ownership projections, our DraftKings ownership and our Yahoo! NBA ownership. Check out our DFS basketball rankings for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA FanDuel projections. We also have FanDuel NBA rankings, Yahoo! ownership rankings and DraftKings rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS tools and the best NBA DFS picks? Our NBA projections DraftKings are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks.
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