NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: De’Aaron Fox + Bam Adebayo = Strong Foundation (January 14)

Sunday has a short, four-game featured slate that locks at 6 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. There are several options in the player pool worth analyzing to find the top NBA DFS building blocks and NBA DFS picks, including some intriguing playing time situations that provide steady value options. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and some potential value plays poised to be unlocked by injury news.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Sunday, January 14

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De’Aaron Fox: Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks

FanDuel made things far too easy with De’Aaron Fox being assigned a salary that is $500 lower than his DraftKings rate. The 26-year-old is having a strong season, with a career-high 27.7 points per game, propelled by a 39.0% success rate on 8.3 3-point attempts per appearance. This has him rating out as the best fantasy point per dollar option on FanDuel and he is among the top 6 on DraftKings.

Now for those who click on his game logs, well, it is not exactly a pretty sight. Sadly he has not topped 40 fantasy points in the last six games, however, in that stretch there have been four blowouts, two in favor of the Kings and two against. Tonight they will be on the road in Milwaukee, against a Bucks squad that had all they could handle last night from a short-handed, but pesky Golden State crew. Over the last 10 games, Milwaukee has allowed 119.4 points per 100 possessions which is the seventh worst in the league during this stretch falling just behind the Wizards and Trail Blazers, but ahead of the Hornets. Clearly that is not where head coach Adrian Griffin would like his squad, but changing out Jrue Holiday for Damian Lillard does tend to have that sort of impact.

Fox is joined by Domantas Sabonis as a strong option, with his teammate once again leading the league with 12.7 rebounds per game. Sabonis has used a pair of 70-plus fantasy point performances to finally crest over 50 fantasy points per game, which is a personal best. Kevin Huerter missed Friday’s game with an ankle injury, and he is questionable again. Chris Duarte moved into the starting lineup but was completely ineffective in a brief 10 minutes of action. Trey Lyles and Malik Monk would benefit off the bench if Huerter is out again, with each getting enough of a projection boost to move into the mix as secondary plays.

Giannis Antetokounmpo played 37 minutes last night and Lillard had 38 minutes of run, with the Bucks basically going with an eight-man rotation in the close game. Wins are at a premium and we could see similar rotations tonight, particularly if oft-injured Khris Middleton gets a break on this back-to-back and third game in four nights stretch. He did play in the last back-to-back, but with 32 minutes in a loss to the Pacers in Indiana, followed by a win in San Antonio the following night that saw him on the floor for just 15.5 minutes.

Milwaukee next takes the court on Wednesday, so all expectations are that everyone but Middleton should see their standard roles intact. Bobby Portis would be the direct beneficiary of Middleton being out or getting shorter minutes tonight.

Bam Adebayo: Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets

Jimmy Butler has missed the last six games with a toe issue and he is doubtful for tonight. Miami plays against tomorrow in Brooklyn and that has loosely been mentioned as the targeted return date for Butler. Bam Adebayo has been in the midst of one of his best seasons from a fantasy perspective, averaging just over 44 fantasy points per game. His 51.1% conversion rate from the field is the lowest of his career and well under his 55.0% overall rate, but he is averaging a personal-best 22.0 points and 10.4 rebounds. Once again targeting post players against the Charlotte frontcourt has proven to be a lucrative strategy, so there is no need to shy away from that approach tonight.

Tyler Herro (should) missed the last game and he is questionable for tonight, while Kevin Love is also at risk of sitting with a sore knee. If Love were to site, that could bring Haywood Highsmith into the starting lineup for a third consecutive game. Otherwise it would really take both players being out or even Kyle Lowry for many other Heat players to move into a prominent DFS role. That is not out of the realm of possibilities, but it is too hard to guess, without knowing which and how many of the Heat will not be available. So many players have missed time recently that Jaime Jaquez, Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin are not automatic plays, until the overall availability of the roster is announced.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns

This is the fourth time these two teams have met this season, and the Suns hold a 2-1 advantage. Deandre Ayton (back) is questionable, but after missing the last 10 games, his conditioning is likely not up to a full workload. Shaedon Sharpe (adductor) is out, though he could be ready mid-week, while Moses Brown (wrist) is out for at least two months.

Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant and Scoot Henderson are decent options on DraftKings and FanDuel, though unless Ayton misses, no other Blazers are overly interesting, even on the short slate.

Phoenix has lost three of the last five games, though the Suns did take the Lakers to task in Los Angeles on Thursday. They should be well rested, and at 20-18 on the season, it is time to quit meandering and start getting their new roster working together. Jusuf Nurkic is averaging nearly 40 fantasy points per game against his former team this season, so even if he plays 25 to 26 minutes, he should be able to be fantasy relevant at his falling salary.

Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are the safest options, though Bradley Beal’s availability does curb their upside potential. However, considering this trio has been on the court for barely 130 minutes and 265 possessions together, it makes sense to see them have a solid 30 minutes of run, even if they are able to dispatch the Blazers early.

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Additional NBA DFS Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

While Booker is a decent option in the DFS world, we can look to hedge some under performance with the under on his 6.5 assists prop, which is currently available at +124. Per the true odds of +111 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a steady 6% expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

It is crucial to take advantage of OddsShopper to look at all the available lines since that can easily be worth another 2% to 3% for your ROI, even on perfectly neutral bets, based on how the different books value things. To demonstrate this very concept, look below — you can see that several books are offering this bet at +110, with “sharp” book Pinnacle peeking into the screen capture on the far right, giving no edge with a -101 offer.

Additionally we can see that going up to an under of 7.5 is in play as well, but for a more subdued payoff, despite the higher likelihood of Booker failing to get eight assists.

NBA Bet Pro has Booker projected for 35.8 minutes and 7.66 assists, which, of course, is above the 6.5 threshold we are hoping he fails to clear. The trio of Booker, Durant and Beal played the last three games, and Booker handed out five, five and eight helpers, with the latter coming in a close loss against Memphis where he played 37.8 minutes. Beal has played in each of the last eight games, with Durant missing three. In the games with Beal, Booker is averaging 6.5 assists, but he has dished out seven or more dimes only three (37.5%) of the time.

The hope for this game is that the trio takes care of business and plays in the low-30s for minutes, or Beal could continue as the main distributor, with Booker focusing more on scoring — or Booker could just pass it to players who do not convert or who in turn pass the ball again. Booker, Durant, Beal and even Nurkic are all above average passers, so it stands to reason that the “plus” money on this wager and a long-term time horizon have this wager working out to a positive ROI.

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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