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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Fred VanVleet has an Elite Matchup Against Memphis (February 5)

Eric MacPherson



NBA DFS Picks: Fred VanVleet has Elite Matchup vs Memphis (February 5)

Sunday’s NBA action wraps up weekend with dueling featured slates; FanDuel is rolling with a five-gamer tipping off at 5:00 p.m. ET, while DraftKings is deferring to a four-gamer that locks at 6 p.m. ET. There are several options in the player pool worth analyzing to find the top NBA DFS building blocks and NBA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups, including Fred VanVleet, who has been on a heater over the last fortnight.

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NBA DFS Picks Today: Sunday, Feb. 5

Core Play of the Day — Fred VanVleet: Toronto Raptors-Memphis Grizzlies

Sunday’s injury report is a mess, with several key players questionable. Plus, the Knicks and Nuggets are on the second leg of a back-to-back, with New York having played an overtime game yesterday. There are far too many if-thens to cover, so instead today’s core play of the day is focusing on a tournament differentiation option.

Fred VanVleet did not make the All-Start team this season, but he is posting numbers right in line with last year when he did receive midseason honors. We know exactly what we are getting with the former Wichita State Shocker, and that is a heavy helping of minutes and around 40 fantasy points. When things are going his way, VanVleet has access to the 50-fantasy point plateau as well.

After an early-season shooting slump, the fan favorite has been dialed in over his last 10 games. During this stretch, he is averaging 38.5 minutes and 19.8 field goal attempts with a 47.1% success rate as well as converting 41.5% of his 9.4 attempts from beyond the arc. This has culminated in 27.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 2.7 combined blocks and steals, along with three 60-fantasy-point performances.

Memphis has really slipped on defense over the last 10 games, allowing 115.1 points per 100 possessions, which is well above their 110.2 full-season defensive efficiency rate. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. are dinged up, and Dillon Brooks is serving a one-game suspension, which means we should see a reasonably competitive game tonight with heavy minutes going to the Toronto starters once more, courtesy of head coach Nick Nurse. As other value options emerge and gamers begin to turn to the preferred stars-and-scrubs roster construction, VanVleet is likely to end up lost in the shuffle.

BONUS: If Morant is out, Tyus Jones would become the best play on the slate and Desmond Bane would get a major boost. If Jackson is out, then Santi Aldama, Brandon Clarke and Xavier Tillman would each see an increase in potential minutes and fantasy opportunities. Finally John Konchar returned on Thursday after missing nearly two weeks with a concussion. He played 28 minutes off the bench and is intriguing regardless of who is in or out for the Grizzlies at just $3,900 on FanDuel with shooting guard and small forward eligiblity.

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Philadelphia 76ers-New York Knickerbockers

Joel Embiid is questionable once again with a sore left foot. If he is out, then James Harden will become one of the best plays on the slate. If Embiid starts, he is an excellent countermove against the DFS gamers building lineups around Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis.

New York lost in overtime on Saturday to the Clippers 134-128, and while they are in Madison Square Garden once again, the key starters and Isaiah Hartenstein logged heavy minutes in what was basically a seven-man rotation. This is not going to help the Knicks’ defense tonight, and as such, Philadelphia is currently installed as 5-point road favorites.

Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey are neutral options if Embiid plays, and they will become desirable secondary targets in the event the Cameroonian receives a rest day.

The salaries for the Knicks are quite disparate when comparing DraftKings and FanDuel. RJ Barrett and Isaiah Hartenstein stand out on the former site, while Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson get the nod on the latter. Brunson played 38 minutes last night after missing one game due to a non-COVID illness, and if he is out for some reason, Immanuel Quickley will be the direct beneficiary for additional minutes and opportunities.

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Sacramento Kings-New Orleans Pelicans

De’Aaron Fox (personal) is away from the team for at least one more game, which means Domantas Sabonis is going to be wildly popular. Though he disappointed his supporters on Friday against his former team in Indiana, he is one of the best options on the board — particularly on FanDuel, where he has power forward eligibility. Davion Mitchell reminded everyone that he is far from a fantasy-friendly option, but he is still worthy of punt consideration on Sunday’s short slate.

Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, Harrison Barnes and rookie Keegan Murray are secondary options. Huerter and Barnes look good on both DraftKings and FanDuel, while Monk has the edge on DraftKings. Murray is nothing more than a wild card for tournament differentiation.

The Pelicans edged by the Lakers 131-126 on Saturday, but it came at a costs with Jonas Valanciunas hurting his knee and leaving the game. This would be the first game that Valanciunas misses tonight, but all signs point to him being on the sidelines with Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Dyson Daniels (ankle). That pushes journeyman Guillermo Hernangomez to the forefront of the discount dandies, especially on FanDuel, where he has dual power forward and center eligibility. Larry Nance Jr. also will get a boost, as he will be needed to soak up 25 to 30 frontcourt minutes. There is a chance that New Orleans decides to play smaller against Sabonis and company, so tread lightly with Jaxson Hayes, even if he draws a spot start.

Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum should thrive in this matchup and are borderline core plays. Herbert Jones, Naji Marshal, Trey Murphy III and Jose Alvarado are also likely to benefit from the fantasy-friendly environment and particularly if the Pelicans decide to play a five-out lineup.

Additional NBA DFS Building Blocks Pick – Sports Betting Opportunities

Jalen Brunson is an interesting option in the sports wagering market tonight, with a total of 33.5 for his points + rebounds + assists prop. The 26-year-old did play 38.3 minutes last night in overtime, though tonight will be just his second game in five days after he was out with an illness on Thursday. Over the last 15 games, Philadelphia is allowing 117.1 points per 100 possessions, which is the eighth-worst defensive efficiency rating during this timeframe.

The NBA Bet Pro projections have Brunson projected for just over 34 points + rebounds + assists in 37.1 minutes of action. This wager is likely to go down to the wire with an expected win rate of 55%, which is lower than we like to see, though Brunson has surpassed this threshold on 12 occasions in his last 16 games. At -115 on BetMGM, it has a solid expected ROI of 9%.

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Denver Nuggets-Minnesota Timberwolves

The Nuggets took care of business last night, handing the Hawks a 128-108 loss in Denver. Nikola Jokic authored his ninth triple-double in his last 11 games, and the two-time reigning NBA MVP continues to be a fantasy stalwart. He has been dealing with a tender hamstring, but once again he tops the player pool, with the highest median fantasy projection.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope left the game with an ankle injury on Saturday, and he is listed as questionable. If he is out, then rookie Christian Braun will become the value du jour, with Bruce Brown Jr. also getting a boost in his fantasy projection. Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray are solid options and viable in all formats on Sunday.

Rudy Gobert is again questionable with a sore groin, and if he is out, then Naz Reid enters the fray as another center option on FanDuel. On DraftKings, he would be someone to target, as he also has power forward eligibility. Jordan McLaughlin (calf) is likely to remain out, Austin Rivers is suspended for the next three games and Kyle Anderson (back) is questionable. This in turn gives a little extra nudge to Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, particularly if Anderson is out. There should be more clarity with the late-afternoon injury report.

Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks Building Blocks Today

Sunday has an early ending to the main slate, with the last two games tipping off at 7 p.m. ET. There are quite a few pending injury and availability status reports, so be sure to get all the latest analysis and information by tuning in to the Stokastic Live Before Lock show at 4:45 p.m. ET on YouTube, courtesy of No House Advantage.

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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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