The NBA is back to having massive slates as tonight features 12 games. With so many games on the schedule, news is going to be extremely important when building lineups. Stay up to date with Awesemo’s Starting Lineups page to see who is in and out of the lineup tonight. This article features four players driven by Awesemo’s Fantasy Basketball Rankings, one of which is questionable in LeBron James.
DraftKings & FanDuel NBA Fantasy Basketball Rankings
*Grades are ordered DraftKings, FanDuel. The initial grade indicates a player’s strength of output, with the value grade indicating their strength as a play in relation to their salary.
PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Grades: A, A | Values: B, B
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been one of the best players in the league recently. He has shown a massive ceiling playing without Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort over the past six games. During that time, Gilgeous-Alexander has stuffed the state sheet averaging 33.5 points, 8.2 assists, seven rebounds and 2.7 steals per game. He has a 36.1% usage rate while also averaging an insane 60.5 DraftKings points per game. The best part is, Gilgeous-Alexander has shown that he is blowout proof. In three of those six games, the Thunder have lost by over 20 points. Awesemo projects Gilgeous-Alexander to be one of the best pay-up options on the slate, especially on DraftKings.
The Thunder are the second-biggest underdog on the slate, which is no surprise. They are on the road playing against the red-hot Timberwolves, who have won five-straight games. The Timberwolves are 14.5-point favorites as this total is one of four games above 230 points. They now lead the league in pace, while the Thunder rank 12th. These two teams played three games ago as the Timberwolves won 138-101. Gilgeous-Alexander played 30 minutes and finished with 49.75 DraftKings points, which is one of his lowest during that six-game stretch. Prioritize Gilgeous-Alexander on DraftKings, where he has the third-highest ownership in Awesemo’s ownership projections.
PF Marvin Bagley III — Grades: C, C | Values: A, A
Another player that needs to be prioritized on DraftKings is newly acquired Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III. The Pistons will be playing without Isaiah Stewart for a little while as he suffered a knee injury. Bagley started the second half when Stewart left last game early. Awesemo assumes that he will start tonight, but make sure to monitor the starting lineup page to confirm. Bagley finished last game playing 36 minutes while posting a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds for 40.5 DraftKings points. Since the All-Star Break, Bagley has averaged 16.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 29.9 DraftKings points per game while shooting 57.4% from the field.
The Pistons are 5.5-point home underdogs against the Bulls, who are absolutely reeling right now. They have lost five-straight games and have fallen down to 4th place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have allowed 119.4 points per game over the last five games as their defensive rating this season has dropped to 21st in the league. Their center, Nikola Vucevic, missed last game and is questionable to play tonight. Without Vucevic last game, they allowed 56 points in the paint. They rank 23rd in points allowed in the paint this season. Awesemo projects Bagley to be the best value on DraftKings, where he also leads the slate in Awesemo’s ownership projections as the highest-owned player.
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SF LeBron James — Grades: A, A | Values: B, A
It is rare to see a player this highly priced pop up as literally the best value on the slate for FanDuel. LeBron James is arguably the best play according to Awesemo’s NBA DFS Rankings given his high grades and values on both sites tonight. He sat out last game due to a knee issue but should be back tonight. The Lakers are 5-point road favorites against the Rockets with this game total set at 233.5 points. The Rockets present the best fantasy matchup of anyone in the league. They rank last in defensive rating and third in pace this season. They also allow a league-high 117.9 points per game. If James can play, he will destroy in this matchup.
James is coming off a season-high 56 points where he torched the Warriors making 19-31 field goals and 6-11 from behind the arc. James finished with 77.5 DraftKings points. It was good to see the upside as his previous four games since the All-Star break resulted in an average of 46.6 DraftKings points per game. Anthony Davis remains out for the Lakers which boosts the ceiling for James even more. He has the highest boom percentage on both DraftKings and FanDuel according to Awesemo’s Boom/Bust Tool and has an incredible leverage percentage as well. Make sure James is good to go obviously, but he is the best pay-up option on the entire slate.
PG Kevin Porter Jr. — Grades: B, B | Values: B, A
Staying in this same game, Rockets point guard Kevin Porter Jr. is a fantastic mid-range play. The Rockets may have limited options tonight as Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate and Dennis Schroder are all listed as questionable. Porter Jr. has played his last four games without Schroder in the lineup and has averaged 19 points and 34.6 DraftKings points per game. Schroder is the most important news for Porter Jr., with the other two being bonus additions to the injury report. In his last two games, Porter Jr. has averaged 25.5 points per game. He has been much more aggressive scoring the ball and he comes with assist upside as well.
This matchup against the Lakers is one in which Porter Jr. can thrive. The Lakers rank sixth in pace and have allowed 119.4 points per game in their last five games. They are in desperation mode right now as they are only a few games from not being in the playoffs at all. The Rockets are playing carefree basketball, which is always dangerous to their opponents. They just beat the Grizzlies two games ago. Porter Jr. is popping in Awesemo’s ownership projections today as the second-highest owned player on DraftKings and fourth-highest on FanDuel.
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